It’s important to have a healthy amount of respect for the Aare and inform yourself about the possible risks beforehand. Swimming in the Aare is recommended for experienced swimmers only. The Swiss Lifesaving Society SLRG and the City of Bern provide (vitally) important tips for everyone who spends time in and on the Aare.
No Aare bag yet?
If you watch experienced rafters or swimmers, you’ll notice that most of them have a colorful dry bag slung over their shoulder. The waterproof bag keeps clothes and valuables dry if they happen to land in the river. The “Marzilian” Aare bag – available in orange and lavender – is not only practical but also quite stylish. We especially like its extra compartment for valuables, as well as the printed map of the Aare Loop with all the points where you can access and exit the river. It’s available for 45 Francs in the Bern.com online shop or at the Tourist Information at Bern main station.
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Bern’s outdoor swimming pools
In summer, Bern locals practically grow fins and gills. And for good reason. Not only the glittering Aare river, but also a wide selection of municipal riverside swimming facilities beckon with cool water, secluded sunbathing areas and delicious snacks like chips and gelato. With riverside pools like the lively Wyler neighbourhood hotspot, the alternative-inspired Lorraine, and the iconic Marzili, swimming fun is high on the Bern summer to-do list – and it's free!
We Bernese are experts when it comes to celebrating that special summer feeling – and the fact that our outdoor swimming pools don't even charge admission definitely helps.
The people of Bern and the Aare river have a very special love affair. How about a quick dip in the cool water with your colleagues in your lunch break? Or a walk through the Old Town in your bikini with your raft in tow? These are part of everyday life for Bern’s residents. It is even rumored that you used to be able to spot bikinis and swim shorts hung out to dry on the Federal Councilors’ balconies. A dip in the Aare is also a true Bernese experience for visitors to the city!
Mistakes to Avoid when Swimming in a River
During the summer, Bern is a paradise for anyone who loves the water. However, what looks simple on the surface can also be quite dangerous, so swimming in a river is only recommended for very good swimmers. The following myths and mistakes should be avoided at all costs.
The Ultimate Aare Rafting Guide
Summer in Bern is when locals indulge in their favorite pastime: rafting down the Aare. The Ultimate Aare Rafting Guide provides helpful information and fun facts that will be of use to newbies and experienced rafters alike. Read on for more about how to enjoy all the Aare has to offer this summer!
Floating Down the Aare River: Our Three Favorite RoutesAnybody want to cool off? Bern locals know there’s only one way to do it: Jump in the Aare! After all, a summer day in the capital wouldn’t be perfect without a plunge in their favorite river. We’ll tell you what you need to plan for and where floating down the Aare is a particularly rewarding experience.Floating Down the Aare River: Our Three Favorite RoutesMore
The (Aquaphobic’s) Guide to Enjoying the Aare River – our top 12 tipsStrolling along, savouring an ice cream, and embracing culture – in Bern, you don’t need to be a water lover to fully enjoy the Aare. These are our 12 tips for experiencing the true "Bern way of life" on the banks of our favourite river.The (Aquaphobic’s) Guide to Enjoying the Aare River – our top 12 tipsMore
Stories of the Aare
From a popular double bassist who balances out the hectic life of a musician by also working as a ferryman to a young school teacher who makes his own surfboards for the Aare. In a series of enthralling video portraits, five Bernese locals share their personal story of the Aare.
It’s important to have a healthy amount of respect for the Aare and inform yourself about the possible risks beforehand. Swimming in the Aare is recommended for experienced swimmers only. The Swiss Lifesaving Society SLRG and the city of Bern provide (vitally) important tips for everyone who spends time in and on the Aare.
Bern locals are happy to assist with uncertainties and questions about entry and exit points as well as tips for an unforgettable float down the Aare.
The floodplains along the Aare river are particularly sensitive ecosystems. As a result, almost the entire river landscape between Thun and Bern is protected. We ask all those who stay around or on the Aare river to respect nature, not to leave any rubbish or disturb the animals unnecessarily.
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Our Favorite Spots along the Aare
MarziliBelow the Parliament Building and on the banks of the Aare river lies the famous Marzili, an outdoor swimming facility. The pools, lawns and direct access to the river make it one of Bern’s most popular summer hotspots.Aareswimming, Bern for Families, AttractionsMarziliMore
River beach EichholzThe Eichholz camping site on the outskirts of Bern is right on the Aare: campers can come straight out of their tents and the river beach is just a few steps away.Aareswimming, Bern for Families, Bern for freeRiver beach EichholzMore
Lorraine BadThe Lorraine Bad is a perfect starting point to go swimming in the Aare from the northern side of Bern’s Old Town.Aareswimming, Bern for Families, Bern for freeLorraine BadMore
Restaurant SchwellenmätteliWith its large wall of windows, the Lounge looks out upon the currents of the Aare and the tree-lined gravel courtyard.Restaurants, Why Bern?, Why Bern?Restaurant SchwellenmätteliMore
Restaurant Altes TramdepotThe restaurant with its integrated brewery is located right next to the BearPark and offers a fantastic view of Bern's Old Town and the Aare river.Restaurants, Typisch Bern, Why Bern?Restaurant Altes TramdepotMore
Restaurant Casa NovoThis Mediterranean gourmet restaurant (14 Gault Millau points), with its tapas bar and a terrace on the Aare river, serves market-fresh, seasonal cuisine.RestaurantsRestaurant Casa NovoMore
Restaurant DampfzentraleThe industrial charm of this old power plant and its unique location directly along the Aare provide an unparalleled atmosphere – and not just in the summer.RestaurantsRestaurant DampfzentraleMore