The Ultimate Aare Rafting Guide

The Aare from A to Z

Who doesn’t appreciate a good A-to-Z list? There’s one on nearly every topic, but not the Aare – until now! So without further ado, here are the ABCs of the best river in the world!

  • A as in...
    Aare water cocktail at Art Café
    Mix together vodka, blue curaçao, Rose’s lime cordial and one secret ingredient. That’s the recipe for the delicious Aare water cocktail. Cheers!
  • B as in...
    Bathing suits
    Lucy Byrnes, originally from the West Australian port city of Fremantle, designs bathing suits for “real women” with “real bodies.” Her brand, aareswim.com, comes from the love of Bern that she developed while living in Zurich for ten years.
  • C as in...
    Café on the Aare
    Check out the lovely summer terrace at the Casa Novo restaurant. There you can enjoy a quiet coffee break and watch swimmers do their thing in the river.
  • D as in...
    Diving
    Diving just like in the Maldives? No problem – Bern also offers gorgeous turquoise waters!
  • E as in...
    Eau de parfum
    Perfumer Brigitte Witschi has captured the scent of the Aare. The cool green, the fresh waves and the depth of the earth round out her Aare tribute perfume by Art of Scent.
  • F as in...
    Fantastic photos
    Looking for a souvenir from your trip to Bern? For a fantastic photo, we recommend Untertorbrücke (Untertor bridge), Schwellenmätteli with a view up to the Old Town, and the cliffs at Felsenau.
  • G as in...
    Good times all year
    Enjoying the Aare doesn’t have to be restricted to the summer. Members of the Gfrörli Club go swimming in the river twice a week. Even temperatures below ten degrees aren’t too cold for them. A cool experience indeed!
  • H as in...
    Home
    Nothing connects the Bernese better than their love for the Aare.
  • I as in...
    #ilovebern
    Do you love Bern too? Post your Aare experience with the hashtag #ilovebern for a chance to get featured.
  • J as in...
    Jogging
    Professional track and field athlete Mujinga Kambundji recommends jogging the route along the Aare from Schwellenmätteli to the Bear Pit, going up through the Old Town and returning via Kirchenfeldbrücke (Kirchenfeld bridge). She got this tip from a friend, since sprinters don’t really do jogging.
  • K as in...
    Kieselsteine
    “Kieselsteine” is the German word for pebbles. These small stones are responsible for giving the Aare its characteristic sound. Our tip: Hold your head underwater, listen and be amazed!
  • L as in...
    Linguistics
    Up until the 1960s, the language known as Mattenenglisch was actively used. This was a secret language used by the former lower classes of Bern, and it makes its presence felt even today: Modi, meaning girl, and ieu, meaning yes, are still part of the local dialect.
  • M as in...
    Marteria
    In 2017, German rapper Marteria went on an afternoon Aare rafting tour before his visit to the Gurtenfestival. The video of the event went viral.
  • N as in...
    Nisu
    The Bernese musician Nisu sings us directly from the soul with his latest song "Id Aare" (into the Aare river). Bernese summer, how beautiful you are!
  • O as in...
    Ovomaltine
    The Ovomaltine slogan “With Ovomaltine you may not be able to do it better, but you’ll be able to do it longer” also applies to Aare rafting. The malt beverage was invented by chemist Dr. Georg Wander in the Old Town of Bern in 1865.
  • P as in...
    Pop-up
    From June 11 to September 9, 2018, the area between Marzili and Eichholz will be transformed into an idyllic pop-up bar. Get ready for your evening beer!
  • Q as in...
    Quality
    The water from the Aare is of exceptionally high quality, according to both EU and Swiss standards.
  • R as in...
    Ready to jump in
    If you want to dive into the Aare, it is particularly fun from the Schönau and Untertor bridges. Just be sure to watch out for rafters!
  • S as in...
    Sunburn
    Stay out in the sun too long? To soothe your skin, we recommend applying a thin layer of aloe vera several times a day. A mixture of quark and cucumber will also do. But applying enough sunscreen beforehand is an even better approach.
  • T as in...
    Team trip
    Did you know that you can also do activities with your colleagues on the Aare? It’s not only a great way to promote team building but is also a lot of fun! (Come on, admit it!).
  • U as in...
    Urban swimming
    Fancy taking a quick cold dip in the afternoon? Not a problem in Bern! Even the mayor Alec von Graffenried takes an afternoon swim as a break on stressful days. What other city lets you do your afternoon swim against such a backdrop?
  • V as in...
    Venturing home by water
    Many people who work in Bern’s Old Town throw on their bathing suits, pack their things in a waterproof Aare bag and swim home from work (or the other way around). Sounds – and feels – like vacation!
  • W as in...
    World record
    In 2012, leisure portal Gonnado announced a challenge: raft from Kiesen to Bern and break the world record for the highest number of people rubber rafting in one place. With an impressive 1,268 participants, the record was easily broken!
  • X as in...
    Xylometer
    Did you know? A xylometer is an instrument used to determine specific gravity of wood. Only a tenuous connection to the Aare (driftwood perhaps?) but interesting nonetheless!
  • Y as in...
    Yippee!
    This is the exuberant sound you’ll make when enjoying all the Aare has to offer!
  • Z as in...
    Zibeleschwümme (Onion Swim)
    Zibeleschwümme, or the Onion Swim, is an annual cold-weather swim that takes place on the fourth Sunday of every November. Since 1986, swimmers have been jumping into the Aare and bravely swimming the 350 meters from the Marzili pool and back. Onion tart and mulled wine are perfect for warming back up again post-swim.

Chapter Overview