3 North-South Route
3 North-South Route

Cycling in Switzerland

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North-South Route

Stage 1, Basel–Aarau

Route report
69 photos

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North-South Route

The Rhine Knee, Liestal and the Ergolz Valley are hives of activity. In marked contrast: the tranquil, charming countryside of the Jura mountains in the Basel region. The journey continues through the hills of the Jura Park, followed by a thrilling descent across the southern heights of the Jura and down to Aarau.
Basel Minster, with its red sandstone, colourful brickwork and slender twin towers, is a splendid sight. The vista from the Minster Tower ranges from the nearby Black Forest across the Rhine into Alsace – and then on to the Vosges, the Jura and across the Mittelland as far as the Alps. If you look down instead of gazing into the distance, you see the city's mediaeval heart and the former canons' houses. The cycle route leads down past the world-renowned Art Museum to the St. Alban Rhine trail, and then follows the river Birs to St. Jakob Park. Switzerland's largest football stadium is fondly known as the "Joggeli".

Not everyone is so fond of some of the scenery between the "New World" district of Münchenstein and Liestal: a heavily industrialised zone, with the focus on chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Even so, the pretty historic centre of Liestal has its charms. Many travellers only know the capital of Basel-Landschaft canton from a brief glimpse of its outer walls as they pass through on a train. The cycle route runs straight through the historic little town, to the splendidly painted town hall and the Baselland Cantonal Museum with its interesting temporary exhibitions.

There is also much of interest to see in the Ergolz Valley. The Ergolz rises in the south-east of the canton, near the Geissfluh mountain. The river descends 570 meters as it traverses the Table Jura. In the past, the gradient was used to drive waterwheels and sawmills along various stretches. Nowadays, many fruit and cherry trees strike a cheerful note in the hilly landscape. Grapes from the sunny vine-clad slopes are used to make exquisite Riesling and Pinot Noir. Next, amid wooded hills, come Gelterkinden, Ormalingen and Rothenfluh, before you reach the Talweiher nature trail: listen out for chirruping, twittering and quacking! Wish the frogs good luck as they "wake up to spring" and have to cross the roads in their thousands.

Oltingen is another place you'll feel lucky to visit: a centre of bustling rural activity. After crossing the Schafmatt Pass, a thrilling downhill run takes you to Stüsslingen (Solothurn Canton), soon followed by a lovely stretch of forest in the Cantonal Nature Conservation Area, and a few superb hay meadows and mixed pastures – thanks not least to subsidies! After Erlinsbach dam, where cycle routes 3, 5 and 8 meet, you can look forward to one last attractive section as you glide along the river Aare in high spirits to Aarau. On arrival there, climb to the top of the rocky limestone hill to gain the best view of the excellently preserved historic centre.
The Rhine Knee, Liestal and the Ergolz Valley are hives of activity. In marked contrast: the tranquil, charming countryside of the Jura mountains in the Basel region. The journey continues through the hills of the Jura Park, followed by a thrilling descent across the southern heights of the Jura and down to Aarau.
Basel Minster, with its red sandstone, colourful brickwork and slender twin towers, is a splendid sight. The vista from the Minster Tower ranges from the nearby Black Forest across the Rhine into Alsace – and then on to the Vosges, the Jura and across the Mittelland as far as the Alps. If you look down instead of gazing into the distance, you see the city's mediaeval heart and the former canons' houses. The cycle route leads down past the world-renowned Art Museum to the St. Alban Rhine trail, and then follows the river Birs to St. Jakob Park. Switzerland's largest football stadium is fondly known as the "Joggeli".

Not everyone is so fond of some of the scenery between the "New World" district of Münchenstein and Liestal: a heavily industrialised zone, with the focus on chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Even so, the pretty historic centre of Liestal has its charms. Many travellers only know the capital of Basel-Landschaft canton from a brief glimpse of its outer walls as they pass through on a train. The cycle route runs straight through the historic little town, to the splendidly painted town hall and the Baselland Cantonal Museum with its interesting temporary exhibitions.

There is also much of interest to see in the Ergolz Valley. The Ergolz rises in the south-east of the canton, near the Geissfluh mountain. The river descends 570 meters as it traverses the Table Jura. In the past, the gradient was used to drive waterwheels and sawmills along various stretches. Nowadays, many fruit and cherry trees strike a cheerful note in the hilly landscape. Grapes from the sunny vine-clad slopes are used to make exquisite Riesling and Pinot Noir. Next, amid wooded hills, come Gelterkinden, Ormalingen and Rothenfluh, before you reach the Talweiher nature trail: listen out for chirruping, twittering and quacking! Wish the frogs good luck as they "wake up to spring" and have to cross the roads in their thousands.

Oltingen is another place you'll feel lucky to visit: a centre of bustling rural activity. After crossing the Schafmatt Pass, a thrilling downhill run takes you to Stüsslingen (Solothurn Canton), soon followed by a lovely stretch of forest in the Cantonal Nature Conservation Area, and a few superb hay meadows and mixed pastures – thanks not least to subsidies! After Erlinsbach dam, where cycle routes 3, 5 and 8 meet, you can look forward to one last attractive section as you glide along the river Aare in high spirits to Aarau. On arrival there, climb to the top of the rocky limestone hill to gain the best view of the excellently preserved historic centre.
56 km
Asphalted: 54 km
Natural surface: 2 km
880 m | 760 m
medium

Arrival | return travel

Arrival / return travel Basel SBB
SBB Timetable Show stop and route on map

More …

Saving metres in altitude /Transport Hauenstein Tunnel
There is a train between Gelterkinden and Olten that saves about 550 metres in altitude.
Link Olten-Aarau via Mittelland- and Aare-Route 5/8.
Diversion, Münchenstein-Muttenz
Duration
From mid-March to mid-June 2022
Reason
Construction & maintenance work
The route is being diverted. Please follow the local signposts. See map for details.
Data source: SwitzerlandMobility / Cantonal office

Arrival | return travel

Arrival / return travel Aarau
SBB Timetable Show stop and route on map

Services

Accommodation

Hotel Bildungszentrum 21 AG
Hotel Bildungszentrum 21 AG
Basel
Hotel Balade Basel
Hotel Balade Basel
Basel
Cydonia Bett & Brot
Cydonia Bett & Brot
Basel
Jugendherberge Basel
Jugendherberge Basel
Basel
DASBREITEHOTEL
DASBREITEHOTEL
Basel
Hotel Baslertor
Hotel Baslertor
Muttenz
Courtyard by Marriott Basel
Courtyard by Marriott Basel
Pratteln
B&B Tomsi
B&B Tomsi
Pratteln
B&B Sunnesite
B&B Sunnesite
Pratteln
Hotel Restaurant Bienenberg
Hotel Restaurant Bienenberg
Liestal
Seiler's Hotel
Seiler's Hotel
Liestal
Hotel Engel Liestal
Hotel Engel Liestal
Liestal
Bed & Breakfast Rünenberg
Bed & Breakfast Rünenberg
Rünenberg
B&B und Ferienwohnung Posamenter
B&B und Ferienwohnung Posamenter
Wenslingen
BnB Obere Mühle Oltingen
BnB Obere Mühle Oltingen
Oltingen
B&B Alegria
B&B Alegria
Lostorf
Landgasthof Kreuz
Landgasthof Kreuz
Obergösgen
Rita’s Spycherli B&B
Rita’s Spycherli B&B
Stüsslingen
Gugenhof
Gugenhof
Stüsslingen
Landhotel Hirschen
Landhotel Hirschen
Erlinsbach
Hotel Traube Garni
Hotel Traube Garni
Küttigen
B&B Hochuli
B&B Hochuli
Küttigen
Hotel Kettenbrücke
Hotel Kettenbrücke
Aarau
zum graf bed & breakfast
zum graf bed & breakfast
Aarau
Bed & Breakfast Tuch & Laube
Bed & Breakfast Tuch & Laube
Aarau
Hotel Restaurant Ascott
Hotel Restaurant Ascott
Rombach
B&B zur Föhre
B&B zur Föhre
Rombach
Hotel Bären
Hotel Bären
Suhr
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Bookable offers

3 North-South Route Basel-Lugano
3 North-South Route Basel-Lugano
La Route Verte
La Route Verte
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Places

Basel
Basel
Pratteln
Pratteln
Liestal
Liestal
Sissach
Sissach
Aarau
Aarau
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Places of interest

Rhine Port / Three Countries' Corner
Rhine Port / Three Countries' Corner
Basel's pump track
Basel's pump track
Spalentor
Spalentor
Mittlere Brücke and Schifflände
Mittlere Brücke and Schifflände
Horburg dirt and pump track
Horburg dirt and pump track
City Hall and Marktplatz
City Hall and Marktplatz
Pfalz
Pfalz
Basler Cathedral
Basler Cathedral
Basel Zoo
Basel Zoo
Basel's Old Town
Basel's Old Town
Tinguely Fountain
Tinguely Fountain
Kunstmuseum Basel
Kunstmuseum Basel
Exhibition Tower
Exhibition Tower
Tinguely Museum
Tinguely Museum
Pump track Muttenz
Pump track Muttenz
Ermitage Arlesheim
Ermitage Arlesheim
Arlesheim Cathedral
Arlesheim Cathedral
Römerstadt Augusta Raurica
Römerstadt Augusta Raurica
Between the Aare and the Rhine
Between the Aare and the Rhine
Naturama
Naturama
Aargauer Kunsthaus
Aargauer Kunsthaus
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Swimming

Aquabasilea Wasserwelt Pratteln
Aquabasilea Wasserwelt Pratteln
Gitterlibad swimming complex
Gitterlibad swimming complex
Aarau outdoor swimming pool
Aarau outdoor swimming pool
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Signalization

Signalization
For cycling, follow the logo indicated on the red signposts. Take a printout of our web map on your tour for safety's sake.
Signalization

Travel reports