Bern’s Four Riverside Pools
Leap into the turquoise glacier-fed waters, let yourself be carried through the Old Town by the current and marvel at the gorgeous scenery – swimming in the Aare is something even couch potatoes can get excited about! However, the most popular hobby sport that Bern locals indulge in is not just about fun and thrills. On hot summer days, the gentle waves of the Aare provide the perfect way to cool off.
If you want to have even more fun in the water, you should head to one of Bern’s riverside pools. Whether it’s the Marzili, Lorraine, Eichholz or Muri – there’s a pool to suit everyone where you can experience Bern’s summer feeling in all its sun-filled glory.
And the best part is that all of Bern’s riverside pools are free, except for the Aarebad pool in Muri. So slip into your swimsuit, grab a towel, put on your sunglasses and let’s go!
The Classic Pool – Marzili
Most Aare swimmers like to splash around in the Marzili pool directly below the Parliament Building. As early as the 18th century Bern residents liked to spend time in the Aare at the “Akademische Badeanstalt”, a swimming facility that still kept genders strictly separated. Today, a colorful mix of students, families, pensioners and tourists sprawl out on the sunbathing lawn. Women who prefer a little more privacy can enjoy the “Paradiesli” section reserved for them in the back area of the Marzili. It seems that “all” of Bern meets up at the Marzili. On peak days, over 10,000 visitors descend upon what is considered to be the most beautiful riverside pool in Switzerland. Not even regulars tire of the impressive view of the majestic Parliament Building, which towers high above the sunbathing lawn. You might be interested to know that the Gelateria di Berna ice-cream shop has now opened a branch right across from the main entrance. During rush-hour at the pool, the line of scantily clad, barefoot gelati fans can extend far back into the Marzili neighborhood. Marzipan-poppyseed, raspberry-ginger, or chocolate sorbet, anyone? The selection of handmade ice-cream flavors is large and creative. The start-up crew of the legendary Gelateria di Berna learned their trade in Italy – and you can taste the “italianità” influence!
Open April–September Admission Free Attractions Swimming pool (50 meters), diving area, beach volleyball court, naturist bathing for women (in Paradiesli section), restaurant Visitors All ages, swimmers and sunbathers, parliamentary politicians Special features Largest riverside pool in Switzerland, summer meeting place for Bern locals, Gelateria di Berna ice-cream shop nearby
The Alternative Pool – Lorraine
The Lorraine pool is the second-largest city riverside pool after the Marzili. Here, just below the Lorraine district, unconventional and free spirits meet up for an uninterrupted soak in the sun far removed from the city's hubbub. The Lorraine also has a good many years of history behind it. The facilities were constructed at the end of the 19th century for school swimming lessons. However, the lessons were soon canceled because the city’s entire waste water flowed through the Lorraine pool. Luckily, that’s no longer the case, as the swimming pool is now fed by spring water. The graffiti-covered walls, wooden loungers and retro change rooms combine to create a cozy charm. The time-honored swimming facility offers two sunbathing areas, a naturist section for both sexes and the legendary pool, where you can swim with the fish from the Aare that enter the Lorraine pool by slipping through the grates. However, let’s not get distracted here. We prefer swimming in the Aare itself no matter what. Everything moves more slowly here, just like Bern itself. Thanks to the gentler current, this section of the river is ideal for floating down on your back, and you’re guaranteed not to miss the exit point at the Lorraine pool. It’s definitely worth making a stop here. They say that the fries at the Buvette snack bar are the best in the city. Have you tasted them yet?
Open May–September Admission free Attractions Swimming pools and kids’ pools, playground, Buvette snack bar Visitors Students, unconventional types, relaxed swimmers, fish-watchers Special features Fed by spring water, fish in the swimming pools, probably the city’s best fries
The Family Pool – Aarebad Muri
At the Aarebad Muri riverside pool near Bern, the air is filled with the smells of French fries, battered fish and sunscreen. The soft pings and pongs from the table-tennis tables blend with children’s laughter and splashing. A paradise for families with everything you need for a satisfying and fun day in the water with your kids. Swimming pools, a slide and diving boards provide children with entertainment while parents can indulge in sunbathing, reading or chatting with their fellow towel-mates. Large concrete steps down to the Aare allow you to warm up in the sun and wave to the people floating and rafting down the river as they pass the Muri pool. Aviation fans will also love the view, since the planes at the BERN Airport take off and land directly opposite from the pool. While you’re basking in the sun, you can try to guess the destinations of the planes taking off. Elba, Majorca or perhaps the Isle of Jersey? Who cares? Who needs the ocean when the Aare is so close?
Open May–September Admission CHF 5.00 (adults)
CHF 2.50 (children)
Attractions Water slide, diving boards (3 meters, 1 meter), beach volleyball court, restaurant Visitors Families, aviation fans Special features Located outside of Bern, opposite the BERN Airport
For Grill and Chill Pros – Eichholz
Would you like to jump in the Aare as soon as you wake up in the morning? You can do it at Eichholz, a campground and riverside pool all in one. While sausages and stuffed mushrooms sizzle on the grill, people strum guitars, balance on slacklines strung up between the trees, play beach volleyball in the back, or throw frisbees over the large sunbathing lawn. It doesn’t get more Bernese than that! On weekends, campers feel like they are at an outdoor exhibition of rubber dinghies as hundreds of rafters exit the Aare at Eichholz and leave their boats to dry in the sun. This is the perfect spot to end off the day after a relaxing ride down the river. There’s also a small gravel beach that not-so-brave souls can use to inch their way into the waters of the Aare. The section from Eichholz to the Marzili pool downriver is the most used and most popular for floating down the Aare. If you need to re-tank after your refreshing excursion, visit the summer restaurant at the campground, which happens to be operated by the same company that ran the former iconic bar in the Serini Garage in the Lorraine district.
Open Always Admission Free Attractions Fire pits (including wood), large lawn, beach volleyball court, campground, restaurant Visitors Picnickers and grill pros, Aare rafters, sporty types Special features River beach, Bern Animal Park opposite
|Freibad Lorraine||17 62.6 °|
|Freibad Marzili||21 69.8 °|
|Freibad Weyermannshaus||20 68 °|
|Freibad Wyler||23 73.4 °|
It is important to treat the Aare with respect and find out more about the dangers before you swim. Swimming in the Aare is only recommended for experienced swimmers and is at your own risk.
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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