Aare River, Bern
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.
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!
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!
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
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!
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.
Not a fan of the water? No problem! There is something to whet everyone’s appetite all along the Aare. This is where the leisurely Bernese atmosphere is celebrated, whether you are sitting around an open fire in Eichholz, sunbathing in the famous Marzili pool or feasting on ice cream from Gelateria di Berna.
Sunbathing with a View Over the Parliament Building
Most Aare swimmers splash about in the Marzili pool which lies directly beneath the Parliament Building. The people of Bern have been indulging in a swim in the Aare at the “academic swimming baths” since the 18th century, which at that time were still strictly separated into pools for each gender. Nowadays, a colorful mix of students, families, retirees and tourists can be found on the sunbathing lawn.
Camping and Relaxing
Want to hop into the Aare as soon as you wake up? Eichholz – a camp site and river pool in one – turns this wish into a reality! Here you can grill sausages, play guitar around the fire, balance on a slackline, and play beach volleyball. Pure Bernese leisure! It’s the perfect place to end a day spent rafting down the Aare – and an ideal starting point for floating downstream to the Marzili pool.
Legendary Ice Cream Indulgence
Marzipan and poppyseed, raspberry and ginger, or mare di Nutella? Those with a sweet tooth can find the most creative and delicious ice cream in Bern at Gelateria di Berna. The owners learned their trade in Italy – and the proof is in the eating! A trip to the parlor directly next to the Marzili pool is the perfect way to round off a day by the Aare.
|Freibad Lorraine||13 55.4 °|
|Freibad Marzili||22 71.6 °|
|Freibad Weyermannshaus||15 59 °|
|Freibad Wyler||20 68 °|
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.
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.RestaurantsRestaurant 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 BernRestaurant 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
Tierpark-Restaurant DählhölzliHearty dishes made from regional ingredients straight from the market, interpreted in a surprisingly different, contemporary style – these are the hallmarks of Dählhölzli.Restaurants, CafésTierpark-Restaurant DählhölzliMore
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