Hallwyl Castle

Seengen, Switzerland

Hallwyl Castle is one of the most important moated castles in Switzerland. It is located on two islands in the River Aabach, just north of the northern end of Lake Hallwil. Since 1925, it has been open to the public, and since 1994 it has been owned by the canton of Aargau and is part of the museum of Aargau.

The first mention of the castle is in the year 1256. However, the originally free noble family of Hallwyl were first mentioned in a testament from 1167. Some discoveries indicate that the castle was founded in the late 12th century. Hallwyl Castle was the home castle of the Lords of Hallwyl, who owned the surrounding land and parts of the lake as their personal property. It consisted of a residential tower with a dry moat. In 1265 the keepwas expanded.

In the early 14th century the dry ditch was converted into a moat. The old castle tower was surrounded by a moat and a wall on what became the Rear Island. To the east of the Rear Island, an artificial island was built in the River Aabach. This island, the Front Island, was outfitted with a curtain wall, and was occupied by residential and commercial buildings. During the conquest of Aargau in 1415 by the Swiss Confederation, the castle (which was known after 1369 as the Ganerbenburg) was burnt by the Bernese troops. The castle was immediately rebuilt and expanded.

After the construction of two turrets in 1500 and 1579-1590 there was an extensive general renovation. After long neglect, the castle was partly rebuilt in neo-Gothic style in 1861 and 1870-74. However, this project was mostly reversed in 1914.

In 1925 the family foundation made an effort to preserve the castle. Since 1994, it has been in possession of the Canton of Aargau.



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Burgweg, Seengen, Switzerland
See all sites in Seengen


Founded: 12th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Switzerland


4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Kolja Hinrichsen (14 months ago)
A beautiful, historic landmark that one should definitely visit. I would have given five stars, but I was a bit surprised that one has to pay an entrance fee just to go to the café. The full tour costs 14 Swiss francs. The entrance to the courtyard and café only costs 3 Swiss francs. I would expect the entrance to the café to be free, considering that they are earning money through the sale of food and drinks there. Alternatively one could get a free drink or snack as part of paying the entrance fee.
Daniel Kazor (15 months ago)
Great visit. Love the history, well done, great place to spend an afternoon.
Beat A. Schwendimann (16 months ago)
This impressive 11th century castle was built on two islands by the Von Hallwyl family, who then held the castle for 800 years. Today, the castle has been turned into an interactive museum about the history of the castle, the family, and life in the middle Ages. Labels are in German, with audio commentary in English. There is a bistro on site. Friendly and knowledgeable staff.
Wanderers Compass Travel Blog (17 months ago)
A castle with a fully active moat, quite remarkable. The castle is well preserved and beautiful. Truly takes you back to medieval times. Lots of hiking trails around and in a nice setting. Free parking across the street.
Mario Caruso (2 years ago)
Very nice and well kept castle. Has activities for kids. The people that work there are very educated in the whole process and lifestyle of this specific castle. You can have a snack / eat and drink at the bistro. Entry price a bit elevated but worth if you take your time for everything and have interest
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