Bern’s outdoor swimming pools

Bern locals start to get antsy as soon as the water temperature of the Aare rises above 15°C and the city's outdoor pools open their gates. They can't wait any longer because that's when the absolutely most beautiful season of the year begins.

  • Fact

    We Bernese are experts when it comes to celebrating that special summer feeling – and the fact that the outdoor swimming pools featured here don't even charge admission definitely helps.

Leap into the turquoise, glacier-fed water, let yourself be carried along by the current through the Old Town and marvel at the gorgeous scenery. Wow! Or would you rather swim laps in a 50-metre pool and then treat yourself to a well-deserved “Badi” burger? Whether it’s the Wyler, Lorraine or Marzili – there's a swimming pool to suit everyone in Switzerland’s capital. Diving boards, Badi burgers and Aare fun: here we come!

Classic cool-off – 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, right 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 colourful 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 rear area of the Marzili. For the full experience, those in the know make a pilgrimage along the riverbank path upstream to the Eichholz campgrounds, where they can slip into the cool water and be carried back to the starting point (and your towel!). A helpful tip: Thanks to the swimming channel, getting out at the Marzili stop is now somewhat easier. Although the Aare is the undisputed star of the Marzili, there is also a 50-metre pool for the athletically ambitious, one with diving boards for fun-lovers, and a separate children's pool for the little ones. And for those with a sweet tooth, Gelateria di Berna has set up shop just opposite the main entrance. Yummm.

Alternative vibes – Lorraine

The Lorraine pool is the city’s second-largest riverside pool after the Marzili. Situated just below the Lorraine district, it's where offbeat souls 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 put on hold 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 cosy charm. This time-honoured 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. 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. A stop here is definitely worthwhile. Rumour has it that the chips at the Buvette are the best in town. Have you tasted them yet?

Family-style – Wyler

This popular neighbourhood pool in the north of the city has a lot to offer, including a volleyball court, ping-pong tables – and the cosy Wylerbeizli pub, of course, with its fabulously delicious burgers. You can paddle around, swim and dive in pools of various lengths and depths, then dry off and laze in the sun on the spacious lawn. The Wyler pool and its surroundings feel like a large park, and you can usually find a shady spot under the trees. If you settle down on the hill in the upper area, you can watch the exciting activity on the sports field at the same time. A useful insider tip: Visitors will do themselves and all the neighbourhood residents a favour by leaving their cars at home. On nice summer days, the parking spaces disappear faster than a melting ice-cream cone, anyway, and the Wyler is also easily accessible on foot, by bike or by bus (number 20 bus line). 

  • Fact

    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.

  • Safety Note

    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 SLRG and the City of Bern provide vital, potentially lifesaving information for anyone wanting to enjoy themselves on the Aare river.

  • Aare Map
  • Conservation

    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.

You might also like...