The small town of Olten lies between Solothurn and Aarua at the southern foot of the Jura on the river Aare. Thanks to its central location in the Swiss Mittelland, the town is a popular venue for conventions and meetings. The unspoiled nature of the nearby Jura heights however also makes the area an attractive leisure region.
Olten lies at the junction of the north-south Basel-Chiasso and east-west Geneva-St. Gallen railway lines. Moreover, a national Autobahn junction is also in the immediate vicinity. The central location of Olten in Solothurn canton is legendary, and the Olten railway buffet is a popular meeting point since it is equally close for all Swiss. Its good accessibility already made the town a popular location early on for trade and industry.
The town has numerous hotels and restaurants with a sought-after infrastructure for meetings. Benefiting from having been well maintained is the historic core of the old town. The pedestrian zones with their attractive arrays of shops, the active music scene and a vibrant nightlife with various clubs are all popular.
When undertaking a tour through the old town, a visit to Olten’s museums, the nature museum, art museum and “Wertpapierwelt”, the historical museum of shares and bonds, is well worthwhile. Those with a yearning for the exotic will find Switzerland’s largest Thai temple in nearby Gretzenbach. Finally, on travelling around Olten, visitors will encounter a multitude of interesting fortresses, ruins, castles, churches and chapels.
Numerous excursions, walking trails and bicycle tours in a surprisingly untouched natural environment with light broadleaf forests lead towards the Jura and along the course of the river Aare. After a climb through “Devil’s Gorge” on the “Allerheiligenberg” (All Hallows Mountain) one is rewarded with a magnificent panoramic vista across the Swiss Mittelland. The numerous steep Jura faces, climbing walls and quarries attract ambitious climbers to the region. A sulphurous and gypseous spring, as well as an educational nature trail and a riding stable await in the nearby thermal spa of Lostorf.
Golf enthusiasts will find a beautiful, 18-hole golf course between Olten and Aarau. The solar bobsleigh run in Langendorf by Oberen Hauenstein is aimed at children and the young at heart. When snow falls suffice, small ski areas are operated at several other Jura slopes in the winter. However, the ‘Jurahöhen’ (Jura heights) primarily remain a much-loved cross-country ski region in winter.
- Olten Nature Museum – an attractively designed museum for learning and information; dedicated to the nature and natural history of the region.
- Zofingen – a small and pretty mediaeval town, with a particularly well maintained old town that was built to a uniform plan. In Heitereplatz, Zofingen boasts of having the most beautiful festival square in the country.
- Belchenfluh – a prominent border point (1098 m) between the canton of Solothurn and the Baselbiet region. Panorama across the Mittelland, Alps chain, Black Forest and Vogesen mountains.
- Jacob’s Ladder near Egerkingen – a walk with a half-hour climb on the 100-year-old ‘ladder’ with 180 steps leading up to the “Höchi Flue” (966 m) offering up a beautiful panorama.
- Bally Park – from 1868 onwards, the shoe manufacturer Bally arranged for an English-style landscaped park, complete with a straw-roofed lakeside dwelling, to be created along the Aare near Schönenwerd.
- Former Cistercian Abbey of St. Urban – the baroque abbey between Olten and Langenthal is an extraordinarily beautiful testament to Cistercian architecture in Switzerland.