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Lenzburg Castle: Stepping Back in Time to Medieval Switzerland

Last Updated on February 8, 2024 by Darla Uhl

Lenzburg Castle in Switzerland is a castle complex that has been built over 900 years, and it is considered one of the country’s most stunning hilltop castles. Since the 11th century, it has served as a sturdy base for protecting the Aare Valley due to its hilltop location.

Originally serving as both a residence and an administrative center, it is now open to the public for enjoyment and exploration. Located in Canton Aargau, it is one of the oldest and most significant in the country.

Lenzburg Castle
Image of Lenzburg Castle by DerWeg from Pixabay

Lenzburg Castle: A Brief History

Image of Lenzburg Castle, 1642 from Wikimedia

1100 to 1415: Kyburgs and Habsburgs

From the 11th until the end of the 18th century, Lenzburg Castle has been an important military base. At first, it was a military refuge and fort. Ulrich II, the Count of Lenzburg, used to hold it as stated in documents dating to 1077. Count Ulrich died without heirs and the castle was passed on to the Holy Roman Emperor. Frederick I, Barbarossa was the one who took it over in 1173. Later on, the Lenzburg castle was passed on to the Counts of Kyburg.

Two centuries later, the castle of Lenzburg went into the hands of the Habsburgs. This happened because the last count of Kyburg did not have any male heir. Due to this, his daughter Anna was married to a nephew of Rudolf IV. Rudolf IV himself belonged to the Habsburg dynasty. The Habsburgs expanded the castle to build the Knight’s Hall. This was to ensure that their liegemen could reside in and administer their tasks on the castle grounds.

1415 to 1798: Bernese Bailiffs

From the 15th to the 18th centuries, the Bernese took over the Habsburg castle. The castle housed 71 bailiffs whose duties included regional administration, tax collection, and maintaining law and order. The castle was also strengthened for war purposes.

1803 to 1956: A Boys’ Institute and Private Residence

Between 1803 and 1860, Christian Lippe repurposed the castle as a boys’ institute, and in 1860 it was acquired by affluent families including Pestalozzi, Wedekind, and Augustus Jessup. Additionally, the family of the polar explorer Lincoln Ellsworth resided in the castle from 1911 to 1956.

1956: Opened to the Public

In 1956, the Canton Aargau and the city of Lenzburg bought it. They transformed it into a public foundation. The castle’s history is colorful. In the past century, it has served as the following: a fortress, an administrative building, a reform home, and a private property

Castle Lenzburg: Things to Do

Lenzburg Castle
Image of Lenzburg Castle by TouringSwitzerland.com

Cultural Monument and Museum

The castle nowadays is a cultural monument and a museum. It showcases life within its walls from the Middle Ages up until its acquisition in 1956, spanning the medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods.

Visitors can observe how the castle was utilized by its private owners, complete with projections and audio clips. The Great Knight’s Hall is also a good event location. Banquets, seminars, dinners, and anniversaries can be celebrated here.

Additionally, the Knight exhibition delves into the houses of Kyburg, Habsburg, and Lenzburg, exploring their historical events, power structures, courtly culture, conflicts, and more.

Children’s Museum

The Children’s Museum is on the top floor. It is also an interesting corner. Kids can engage in crafts and costumes. They can do role-playing and pretend to be knights, princesses, or dragons.

Café and Museum Shop

In the Gallery, you can enjoy an exhibit presenting various weapons of war. There is also a small café on the premises.

Visitors seeking medieval-themed souvenirs or items, particularly those who admire knights and princesses, will find an intriguing shop available.

Foxtrail Aargau

Logo courtesy of FoxTrail.ch

Starting from Lenzburg railway station, you will first encounter the fox at the city gates. Follow the fox through the scenic Old Town until you reach the base of the Schlossberg. Proper counting is crucial for success. Once you reach the top, retrieve the note from the captives and locate the key to gain access to the splendid castle grounds. Here, you will uncover the deepest secrets of the Bärtschi Brothers.

You can buy your Foxtrail ticket at https://www.foxtrail.ch/en/alle-trails/schloss-lenzburg.

Lenzburg Castle: How to Get There

View of Lenzburg Village from the Castle by TouringSwitzerland.com

The castle is most easily accessible by car, with parking spots available nearby. Alternatively, visitors may opt to arrive by bus or train. The uphill trek from the train station to the castle is quite lengthy and typically takes approximately 20 minutes.

AddressSchloss Lenzburg
5600 Lenzburg Aargau
BusLenzburg, Schloss
TrainLenzburg (20-minute walk)

Lenzburg Castle: 5 Tips for Your Visit

  1. Check the opening hours before you go to avoid disappointment. It is typically open from April until October, Tuesdays to Sundays, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
  2. Adults and children aged 4 and above are required to pay admission fees at the entrance. Otherwise, it is free for holders of the museum pass or Raiffeisen members, as well as friends of castle members.
  3. If you’re interested in learning more about the castle and its surroundings, there is a brochure available with a map of the area after paying the entrance fee.
  4. Lockers are provided near the entrance of the castle museum for storing bags and jackets.
  5. To fully enjoy your visit to Lenzburg Castle, it is recommended that you wear comfortable shoes as there are many stairs, uneven steps, and slopes to navigate. Additionally, the castle is situated on a hill, so be prepared for some uphill walking.

Lenzburg Castle: Our Experience

Lenzburg Castle
Image of Lenzburg Castle by TouringSwitzerland.com

We have been to Lenzburg Castle multiple times. Our children had a Princess and Knight phase when they were young. They also learned about the medieval period back in Kindergarten. So the castle was a hit for us.

To reach the castle, we tried both taking the car and public transportation. Unfortunately, the train/bus connection timings aren’t really good. So, I would recommend going in the car if you can. It is still possible to go by train and bus, but unless they change the timings, you will have to wait for a long time at the train station.

In any case, there is a short climb going up. You will pass by the streets and to the left will be a tiny play area with small wooden houses. It is perfect for children or even for taking photos. They try to recreate how houses could have looked way back.

Once inside the castle grounds, you will first have to pay an entrance fee. After entering, you will be inside a courtyard, and from there, you can walk around or walk inside the castle. The castle starts with several levels of exhibitions as it is a museum. They have various artifacts from the past few centuries with each floor or room focusing on a particular century.

They also have a small shop with some food (Café) and also for souvenirs. The castle is not completely accessible to those with walking difficulties. They have numerous staircases.

On the very top of the castle is a children’s play area. It is really cute and was built like a mini-castle. They have costumes, a mirror, and a King or Queen’s chair to take photos in. They also have an arts and crafts corner for those who want to make their crown or whatnot.

The venue itself is picturesque. It has Gothic great halls (Knight’s Hall) and romantic gardens. The castle can be booked for special events, anniversaries, and seminars. They have enough space for 260 guests (banquets) and up to 500 guests (lectures).

Final Thoughts: Lenzburg Castle

The castle is a must-visit attraction, particularly for those interested in medieval history. The experience of visiting the castle is like taking a step back in time. It’s a great place to bring kids, especially those with a fascination for princesses and knights. Despite its popularity, the castle doesn’t feel too crowded.

If you’re looking to explore other castles or museums in Aargau, here are some of the other options available:

  • Hallwyl Castle
  • Habsburg Castle
  • Wildegg Castle
  • Königsfelden Monastery
  • Vindonissa Museum and Legionnaire’s Trail

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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.

Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.