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Baden is a popular weekend destination from Zurich, and a big commuter town – a historical base for ABB, and now Hitachi Energy (among others). A health spa destination dating back to Roman times, it has many places to ‘take the waters,’ a hilly landscape to explore, a very nice riverside promenade, and in the late summer lots of river activities. The overall vibe is a bit crunchy – lots of creatively dressed people of all ages, heavily populated parks with people lounging. In the winter, it’s pretty quiet. 

The historic spa area is heavily under construction for a massive Mario Botta designed spa & living complex. It’s open now (2023), on our list to visit. 

Baden is a convenient location for regional bike rides, with a major train hub.

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Hotels, Dining

  • We stayed at the historic ***Atrium-Hotel Blume, which was a good choice. It’s run-down in a charming way, the inner Atrium is quite lovely, and the spas (baths and a sauna) are very 1950s cool. Food is acceptable, not amazing.
  • **Biergarten Baden is okay, a walled garden with beer. Nothing special, but for a beer garden experience – sure.
  • On the more corporate side, **Blue City Hotel Baden is perfectly fine, good location for work trips next to the train station. Rooms were comfortable enough and quiet.
  • **Gottardo is an Italian restaurant with a long menu – pizzas, pasta, meats. Nicer indoor spaces and a big patio. On the more corporate side of town, but I liked it.
  • **Lemon Restaurant focuses on burgers – rather good ones, with some diversity. It’s a nice space (modern hip, not brewpub) with friendly staff.
  • *Trafo Hotel Baden is pretty terrible, a bunker of a space with almost no staff, overlooking a conference hall.
  • **Trudelkeller is a good dining option. It’s a little vegan/creative for my taste, but the concepts were well executed and quite tasty – lots of meat options as well. The building is very 1960s (owning it with flair) and the servers were very good.

Sites

  • The **Ruins of Stein Castle offer an excellent view over the city. Said to have been founded by the counts of Lenzburg in the 11th century, the medieval castle of Schlossberg was the seat of administration of the Habsburg Swabian territories in the 14th century. Conquered by the Swiss in 1415, Stein Castle was captured after heavy fighting and demolished. From the old town, there is a stairway up the hill to the ruins. We ate at the adjacent **Restaurant Belvédère, which is very worth it for the views and excellent schnitzel. 
  • The **Museum Langmatt opened in 1990 and is considered an important private collection of French Impressionism. The actual works are rather limited, but I’d still visit to see the lovely house and gardens. It would be a perfect place for a picnic on a sunny day.

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