It is historically a popular spa town brimming with traditional Swiss buildings and a well-preserved old town that will beckon you to explore.
There is a huge range of things to do in Baden, and I have sampled most of them. So, let me guide you to the best that Baden has to offer.
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Things To Do In Baden
Baden is actually brimming with things to see and do, from the historical thermal baths and museums to the historical old town and castle ruins. You are kind of spoiled for choice when you visit this town.
Explore Old Town Baden
Baden dates back to Roman times and you can certainly sense that deep Swiss history as you explore the old town. Starting from the train station, you can walk down the shopping street to the Stadtturm (old town clock tower). This was actually recently restored and looks stunning with the gold roman numerals and the clean white facade on the tower.
Pass under the tower’s archway and you can go three ways.
- Up to the castle ruins via either staircase in the right hand wall just after the archway (image further down).
- Explore the streets on the right hand side, circling back to the main street called Weitegasse
- Explore the streets around the church on the left and then take the road down to the Limmat river and the wooden bridge
If you go straight you will walk past the Löwenbrunnen and then along Weitegasse which is also full of shops and some bars and restaurants. This is also where the markets are on the weekend and at Christmas.
The cobble streets have been lovingly restored not that long ago. I remember watching the Portuguese guys doing it for months on end. One stone at a time! You can see their craftsmanship in the image above.
See Baden’s Historic Holzbrücke
Baden’s unique historical covered wooden bridge is definitely worth seeing while you are in town. There are not that many of them in the world, or Switzerland for that matter.
You can easily reach the bridge by turning left as you pass under the Stadtturm, passing the police station, then following the cobbled road down the hill. The wooden bridge is then straight ahead. You can see it on the Google Map at the start of this post.
From the inside of the wooden bridge, you can also get a great view down the Limmat River. And it is a great place to start a walk along the left bank of Limmat too, which I cover in the walks section further down.
Relax In The Thermal Baths
Baden has a long history with thermal baths going back to Roman times. The water coming directly from the ground is some of the hottest natural geothermal springs in Europe.
Since I have been coming to Baden, the hot springs were always a treat. However, they closed them for many years to rebuild the whole area. The process was slowed considerably by the Roman ruins found underneath. And the latest reincarnation of the baths, called FORTYSEVEN, was only opened at the end of 2021.
They were designed by the famous Swiss architect Mario Botta and are certainly an impressive place to visit. And if you want to save on the entrance, you can check out the building from the outside, along the river bank. There is even a couple of “free” thermal baths outside too. They are usually full of students in their underwear, but if you come early, you might get a spot.
Baden has an enticing pedestrian shopping street that makes its way from the train station through the middle of the old town. There are many brand-name clothes shops here like H&M but also a lot more boutique stores especially if you follow the old town streets down to the Limmat River.
Manor is also a huge department store in the center of the shopping district which covers three floors and has a decent supermarket in the basement.
To top it all off, on Saturday mornings Baden hosts a local farmer’s market. It is held along the so-called Weitergasse in the middle of the old town. I find it a great place to pick up quality produce from local farms and suppliers.
The same part of town hosts a cozy Christmas market along with a larger area in the nearby Theatreplatz.
Try Your Luck At The Grand Casino
Baden is one of the few cities and towns in Switzerland that has one of Switzerland’s best casinos where you can try your luck or lose your shirt, depending on how crazy you like to get with gambling.
The Grand Casino is well located just outside the old town in a lush garden setting. The restaurant there is worth eating at if you want to combine the two, and you can also pop into the thermal bath just down the hill too. Everything is walkable in Baden.
Visit Some Museums
Baden also has an eclectic mix of museums you can spend a little time at during your visit. Starting with the Elektromuseum, which celebrates the power generation industry that is actually a huge part of the town. Kunstraum Baden is also great since the town has been collecting art for quite a while now.
For the kids, you can’t go past the Teddy Bear Museum smack bang in the old town. Or, the Schweizer Kindermuseum behind the police station on Mellingerstrasse.
Last but certainly not least, Historisches Museum Baden can teach you a lot about Baden’s history, as well as the local region. It is just over the wooden bridge.
Walking and Hiking in Baden
Like just about any location in Switzerland, there are a myriad of paths and hiking trails that start here.
Walk Along The Limmat
The Limmat River starts in Zurich and winds its way towards the German border passing through Baden along the way (ok, it also merges with the Aare just down the road, but rivers are another story in Switzerland).
You can spend a pleasant hour or two on the Limmat river in Baden walking from the wooden bridge to the thermal baths. The path is tree-lined and cool in summer, and there is a cool outdoor bar called Café Kajüte there where you can stop for a beer, coffee or even something to eat. Or, you can try the Triebguet Frischluftbar on the other side of the river, just after walking through the wooden bridge.
I love spending afternoons or evenings at either, especially in summer when it is warm and the river is abuzz with locals.
You can walk even further down the river around the corner from the baths if you wish, the path actually goes all the way to Nussbaumen and can even be done by bike.
A Quick Walk To The Castle Ruin
I mentioned this briefly above, however, it is worth covering again. You can do a quick but tiring walk up a bunch of stairs to the best view of Baden. The Baden castle ruins.
To get there, take either of the two stone staircases wedged between the houses on the right just after you pass through the tower archway. One just next to the Bubble House, the other next to Da Giuseppe Pasticceria (grab a tasty treat in there too).
The stairs continue for about 10 minutes up, then you reach the first part of the ruin. From here, you can continue to other parts of the old castle and get a variety of views of Baden below, and the surrounding towns like Wettingen, Ennetbaden and Nussbaumen.
Hike The Lägern Ridge
The most popular though is to walk along the breathtaking spine of the Lägern.
The hiking trail starts on the other side of the main road above the wooden bridge. Just take the tunnel under the road just up from it and you will see stairs heading up to the top.
Just be aware that the path along the top of the Lägern, especially the first part at the top is quite exposed. It is not very wide and any misstep is dangerous. So, don’t do it if it has been raining. I have seen many a helicopter rescuing people from the top. Don’t be one who has fallen, it is not worth it.
It does get easier as you go along, but it is not until you hit the radar quite a way that it becomes easy.
If you choose to walk most or the whole way, you will end up either at the other end in Regensdorf or somewhere on the North or South side of the mountain. You will need to figure out which buses and trains then take you back to Baden train station using the SBB app.
Eating in Baden
When it comes to food, there are a lot of options in Baden. Whether you are just there during the day, or staying for dinner. I have tried most restaurants in the region, so certainly have a lot of experience when I suggest the following:
For the best Italian or just a simple pizza, you can’t go past Brunello. The service is great, the food is reasonably priced and you can sit outside in summer. My second choice for pizza outside would be Gottardo. Not quite at Burnello’s level, but more central and easier to get a table in summer.
For simpler and faster food there are few new kids on the block like Papa Oro‘s Filipino Ricebowls in the old town, or nearby VapVap for anything steamed, including desserts!
For true Swiss-style food in large portions at decent prices, head up the hill just past the castle ruins to Restaurant Belvédère (walk up or take Bus 5 to the Belvedere stop). I have been going there for years and the service, food and prices never disappoint. It is great in summer as you can sit outside on the terrace.
Dory & Du is a more recent addition to the Baden food scene. The decor is hip, you can eat outside, and their food is a mix of modern, vegetarian with a mix of non-veg options. The prices are a little higher here, but the service is great.
If you are looking for something upmarket, I love the steak at Torre (as well as the stunning views). The Casino has some good options but no view. A newer addition to the top is Oberstad, which I have yet to try but have heard good things about. And if you want great views with classic swiss food in a romantic setting, try Schloss Schartenfells opposite the city up the hill.
There are dozens more, so don’t let me stop you from trying them. I am just suggesting my top restaurants. Yours may be completely different!
I have also done a post on the best places to grab a coffee in Baden.
Getting To Baden, Switzerland
Baden is conveniently located just 20 minutes from Zurich, either by train or car. The simplest way to get to Baden is by train, although it is also just off the A1 highway and there is ample parking in town (Such as Trafo, Gstühl and Theatreplatz).
The fast train is the best option, and they run from Zurich at 6 and 36 past the hour from platform 18. Baden is also connected to the regional S6 and S12 lines from Zurich, however, it usually takes a lot longer. You should check your fastest connections via the SBB website.
Where To Stay In Baden, Switzerland
If you are coming to Baden from afar, there are a few nice hotels in the area. I have stayed in the Swiss-Belhotel du Parc, which is not the most modern, but very reasonably priced with good food in the restaurant downstairs. It is also within walking distance of town.
Smack bang in the middle of town is the Blue City Hotel. Kind of mid-range with a decent restaurant I used to eat burgers at quite often. And the new Trafo Hotel opposite is also one to check out I hear. Just keep in mind both are right in town, so peace and solitude is not going to happen there.
If you want something more upmarket right on the river you can head down to the Limmathof Baden Hotel & Private Spa.
The Hotel Blume is great for a touch of history right in the old thermal bath district. The interior is decorated with plants and flowers along all the internal balconies. It is just a little older than the Limmathof if that does not bother you.