Highlights : Baden, Königsfelden Friary, Habsburg Castle, Wildegg Castle, Aarau
Route 5: Section 3 (Kloten 433m–Aarau 365m)
Stats from SwitzerlandMobility.ch (www.veloland.ch/en/routes/etappe-01055.html): 64km , height difference Kloten–Aarau 300 m (360 m in the opposite direction). Their site has the full profile. The 21km from Brugg to Aarau are shared with Route 8:07.
Oh how I hate when the Swiss trains are even just a few minutes late and I miss my next connection…… I had planned to tour around Schaffhausen but because of a delay in Zürich, I had to change plans. Thankfully, with so many bike routes in Switzerland, the next adventure was just around the corner…..and this one started in Kloten (Zurich Airport)
Overall, this Section was not particularly scenic, but it passed through the ancestral land of the Habsburgs and along the rivers Limmat and Aare.
The initial part, from Kloten to Baden, alternates between countryside and small new towns and is not particularly interesting. But then the path enters an area full of historical vestiges.
My first stop was the cloisters / abbey of Wettingen, just outside the town and a bit off-path. This is a large complex of buildings. Its church has a richly decorated altar. It was originally founded in the 13th century.
Shortly after, the route enters the medieval town of Baden, which sits atop the river Limmat and it is famous for its thermal waters. There is a cute covered wooden bridge that crosses the river into town.
Back on the road, I passed through some developments and river crossings until the village of Windisch, near Brugg. Here I stopped at the Königsfelden Friary, built in Gothic style in the early 14th century to honor the death of an Habsburg king. It contains some very important gothic stained glass windows.
At the site, is also the only Adventure Legionary Camp in Switzerland (for children), depicting the life of Roman legionaries who used to occupy this region.
The old town of Brugg (www.schweizmobil.ch/en/services/places/ort-0510.html) was built at the intersection of 3 rivers: Aare, Reuss and Limmat. It is a small and quiet village without any particular landmark so I just passed through it without stopping .
Between Brugg and Aarau the path coasts the Aare river through a tree-shaded trail. Here is where the Habsburgs built their ancestral castle in the 11th century, atop a hill overlooking the valley (www.schweizmobil.ch/en/services/places-of-interest/sehenswuerdigkeit-0385.html) . From here, they set-off to conquer Europe in the centuries to come. The castle cannot be seen from the path and I had to detour for several km and bike the hidden steep trails of the forest surrounding the property. The path is not well marked either so a gps is a must. The Castle has a nice little restaurant with a magnificent panoramic view on the Aare valley.
Just before Aarau I spotted the grandiose Wildegg Castle on top of a hill on the other side of the river (m.myswitzerland.com/en-us/castle-of-wildegg.html). The castle was also built by the Habsburgs in the 1200 to control the region around the river. It then passed to the Effinger family from the 1400 to the early 1900. One can visit several of the castle rooms, but I did not have time and continued to Aarau. I think I’ll come back another time to tour this and other landmark castles in the area.
I completed the journey with a stroll around Aarau , known for its beautifully decorated houses and eaves (also in Route 3:01 )(myswitzerland.com/en-ch/aarau.html)(aarauinfo.ch/welcome-to-aarau).
At the end, I stretched this section to 80 km thanks to the various detours .
Links to Introduction and other Sections: