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A group of cheerful people and a dog swim and float on an inflatable boat on a river, against the backdrop of an impressive urban backdrop, conveying a sense of freedom and summer fun.


Who needs the sea? When the weather warms up, Bern locals love to splash around in the open-air swimming pools or spend the summer swimming, rafting and surfing in the Aare river.

“We lifeguards recommend that you no longer go swimming if the water volume exceeds 220 cubic metres per second”
Sylvie Schönbauer, Marzilibad facility manager in the Berner Zeitung (08.07.2024)

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 online shop or at the Tourist Information at Bern main station.

Grab the deal

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 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!

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