Welcome to Aarau
Aarau, the capital of the Canton of Aargau in the Swiss Mittelland, is located on the River Aare to which the town and canton owe their name. The charming old town boasts the most beautiful eaves, the so-called «Dachhimmel», in Switzerland.
With its natural landscape shaped by the Aare and the Jura, its picturesque old town centre, and its central location between Zurich, Basel and Lucerne, Aarau is regarded as one of Switzerland's most attractive cities.
The people of Aarau enjoy a high standard of living. Visitors come from far and wide to this capital of Canton Aargau to enjoy and admire its rich cultural and natural offerings and its many surprising sights. One of Aarau's special features is its many so-called "Dachhimmel" - these are the carefully painted undersides of the eaves of the houses in the old town centre.
Modern Aarau also displays an appreciation of culture. The Aargau Art Galley has one of the most beautiful and extensive public collections of Swiss art dating from the 18th century to the present. Events at the many museums, cinemas, theatres and festivals enrich the city's lively cultural scene. Local traditions such as the "Maienzug" and the "Bachfischet" are lovingly preserved and celebrated by young and old alike. Aarau's events calendar has something for everyone with its varied, high quality, original offerings.
And did you know that Aarau boasts Switzerland's most beautiful racecourse, that Aarau was the seat of the first Helvetic government, and that you can even explore the city's fascinating underground system of passageways, spaces and shafts?
There’s just not enough time to discover the beauty and sights of Aarau and its surroundings in just one day. You should definitely spend at least one night, or preferably even more, in Aarau to get to know this small city at your leisure. The guest-friendly hotels in the region provide you with your creature comforts. Even if you’re in Switzerland on business, you can spend the night in Aarau. The city is ideally located between Zurich, Basel and Bern. It takes about an hour to make the easy journey to any one of these major cities by car or public transports.
- Painted eaves («Dachhimmel») – the most beautiful eaves in Switzerland.
- Aargau Art Museum – extension designed by internationally renowned architects Herzog & de Meuron.
- «Naturama» nature museum – entertaining and informative insights into themes relating to nature in the Aargau.
- Aquarena Bad Schinznach – thermal bathing in three pools covering an area of 600 square metres at a temperature of 35°C - the benefits of the spa were first enjoyed by bathers in 1658.
- Bally Shoe Museum in Schönenwerd – unique exhibition about the history of footwear.
- Hallwyl Castle – most beautiful water castle of the Canton of Aargau, built on two islands.
- Lenzburg Castle – it is well worth making your way up to the Lenzburg because it houses the History Museum of the Canton of Aargau as well as affording a fabulous all-round view.
- Thai temple in Gretzenbach – only temple of its kind in Switzerland.
- Maienzug – 400-year-old tradition bearing testimony to the custom of pupils and teachers going into the forest to cut rods. This activity was called «Meyen» (first Friday in July).
- Aarau open-air cinema – one of the most beautiful horse race courses turnes into a cinema (July/August).
- Bachfischet – public festival celebrating the return of the water after the creekbed has been cleaned (September).
- Rüeblimärt – popular event focussing on the carrot in all its shapes and guises in the so-called «carrot» canton (November).