The canton of Aargau covers 541.99 sq mi in the northern part of Switzerland on the German border, crossed by the river Rhine, the Aare, the Limmat and the Reuss. Lake Hallwil, Lake Flachsee and the Klingnauer Stausee reservoir are also located in the canton.
With just over half a million inhabitants, Aargau has the fourth highest population among the Swiss cantons. Its rural landscape and 220 districts provide a haven of peace, with a rich historical and cultural past. The largest municipalities are: Aargau, Baden, Brugg, Wohlen, Bremgarten, Zofingen and Rheinfelden. This pleasant green region is poised between the major towns of Basel, Lucerne, Bern, Solothurn, Zug and Zürich, which are easily accessible via the motorways.
The canton’s capital is the medieval city of Aarau, built at the foot of Switzerland’s tallest wall tower (200 ft), the Obertrum. It boasts magnificent frescoes as well as numerous museums, such as the Fine Arts Museum, the “Schlössli”, the Naturama and the Bally Museum.
There are a large number of castles to visit in the canton: Habsburg Castle with its incredible views, as well as the castles of Lenzburg, Wildegg, Aarburg and Hallwyl. At Windisch, a municipality dating from the 1st century, visitors can admire the remains of an amphitheatre, built by the Romans almost 2,000 years ago.
The nature in the canton of Aargau is ideal for sports activities such as skiing, golf and rafting, as well as hiking (almost 1,000 miles of signposted trails) and cycling (621 miles of cycle paths) tours. For those who prefer a less energetic form of transport, the Schinznach tree nursery railway, Switzerland’s only steam railway, provides an ideal means of discovering historical tours, in the comfort of an authentic locomotive.
And for relaxation, several spas are available, such as the Zurzach thermal baths (Switzerland’s largest open-air baths) and the spa resort of Baden Baden. For 2,000 years, the resort’s hot water springs (47°C), which boast Switzerland’s most mineralised water, have provided effective cures for various illnesses, such as osteoarthritis, as well as circulatory and nervous problems. A number of famous visitors have stayed at the Baden Baden resort, including Montaigne, Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo and Richard Strauss, to name but a few.
In bygone days, Aargau’s inhabitants for the most part earned their living in textile mills, from the production of various different materials (silk, linen) and from farming. Today wine production remains considerable, but the canton has undergone major expansion, principally in the energy (AEW Energie in Aarau, Axpo and NOK in Baden and Energiedunst Holding in Laufenburg), furniture (Pfister Arco Holding in Suhr, Toptip Möbel in Oberentfelden, IKEA Schweiz and Interio in Spreitenbach), publishing (Ringier in Aarau and Limmatdruck-Zeiler AG in Spreitenbach) and computer science sectors (COS Computer System in Baden), as well as the pharmaceutical (Siegfried in Zofingen) and textile industries (Triumph International in Zurzach).
Moreover, it is the richest Swiss canton in terms of mineral resources, with huge deposits of lime and gravel and an annual production of 500,000 tonnes, for use in the production of building materials (Richner in Aarau and Jura Holding in Wildegg) and in the metals and machines industry (Thyssen in Wildegg, aluMenziken-Gruppe in Menziken, Franke Group in Aarburg and Miele in Spreitenbach).