Floating in the Aare

It’s a unique pleasure I’ve so far only observed in Switzerland: citizens jumping from bridges and floating in rivers through their cities. But who would want to blame them when the river is so clear and has such a beautiful color like the Aare? It is the longest river of Switzerland; it originates in the Alps and runs into the Rhein.

In contrast to swimming in the Rhein at Basel the situation at Bern is a bit more complicated as the river is obstructed within the city. Underneath the Münsterplattform there is a dam which you don’t want to get into, the Mattenschwelle. Additionally, the river also runs pretty fast. Therefore, you need to know where you can safely enter and leave the river.

Most people use the Schönausteg, a bridge close to the zoological garden Dählhölzli to jump into the waters. If you still ask yourself whether this is legal you can stop worrying: There are even some lockers for your valuables next to the bridge. Before you reach the dangerous Mattenschwelle you will see signs requesting you to leave the river and there are steps and stairs on both sides of the river.

The best option in my opinion is to take a short tunnel on the left side and to swim directly into the Marzilibad, the public outdoor pool of Bern. There you’ll find good facilities and a small restaurant. Swimming in the Aare at Bern is not as spectacular as in Basel as you don’t directly swim through the city center and can do sightseeing from the water – but it is still relaxing on hot days and a nice experience.


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