Best Aare swimming spots in Bern
Swimming in Switzerland’s stunningly blue lakes and rivers is a quintessential summer experience. A swim in the Aare river, which snakes through Bern, provides a particularly scenic experience, granting excellent views of the Parliament Building and the famous UNESCO World Heritage Old Town.
Top places for “Aareschwimmen” in Bern
There are several well-loved spots to enjoy a refreshing swim around the city but the most famous of these is probably Marzilibad. This is an outdoor pool and bathing area located directly below the Parliament Building and next to the Aare river. Bring a picnic to enjoy on the large lawn and when it gets too hot, pop into the infamous Gelateria di Bernaacross the road.
Route: Join the throngs walking up river and jump in from the footbridge next to the zoo entrance. Float back down to Marzili.
Tip: Keep an eye out for the red poles that mark where the stairs are to help you get out of the water. The river moves swiftly so these are a big help!
Eichholz is another local favourite. The barbeque area and adjacent campground area are sure to be teaming in the summer but it always has a relaxed vibe. The shore of the Aare is also more shallow here so it’s a good spot to take a dip if you don’t feel like floating down.
Route: Wade in here and float down to Marzili.
Tip: Bring a floaty! A blowup ball will do but people in the know have an “Aarebag”, a waterproof bag to that also acts as your flotation device so you can take your things with you when you swim. Pick up a locally designed one at Kitchener.
For a more alternative and laidback experience, stretch out in the sun next to the graffiti covered walls of Lorrianebad. The river moves slower in this section of the river, which can be a nice change of pace from Eichholz and Marzili.
Route: Hop into the river anywhere from the famous Bern bears to the Altenberg quartier and drift down to Lorrianebad.
Tip: This is fresh mountain water! Monitor the river temp with the handy Aare Schwimm app… Recommendation: wait until it is at least 17.5 degrees celsius!
Muri is another relaxed spot. There are lots of small beaches to barbeque or sit in the water.
Route: Dive in and get out… wherever - it depends how far you want to walk back! Look out for the red poles to help you out.
If boating is more your style, rent or bring your own inflatable raft and take the afternoon to boat down the Aare with friends from Thun to Bern, getting out at Eichholz.Safety first
Swimming in the Aare is the epitome of Bernese summer, but the water moves swiftly so make sure to stay safe! The Aare is for experienced swimmers. Always go with friends, know your limits, and bring a floaty!
All images © Emma Baumhofer