Fun things to do by the river Aare in Bern, Switzerland

When we were moving from Lausanne to Bern we told ourself how much we would miss the lake. People were telling us that we would have a magnific river Aare. Puh, a river! That is nothing compare to the lake Léman. Now after a little over a year living in Bern, the river Aare is so much more than just a river.


Yes, we do miss having a lake around the corner but we are quite suprise how much less we miss “our lake” for each time we are by the river. We are enchanted by it’s beauty and we have discovered so much cool things to do on the river and along the river around Bern.

Float like the locals

If you are not at all familiar with the way how the locals in Bern swim I suggest you to come for a visit on a hot summer day. It is a fun thing to experience but if you don’t dare to join in, it is still an unique thing to see.

The first time we experienced Bern’s way to cool down, we quite didn’t understand what was going on. Hundreds of people were in bathsuit and barefeet, marshing at the same direction.

Where are they going?

The photo here under was taken on a wednesday at 1pm. Three hours later the path was filled with hundreds of people in swimsuit.

Aare Bern

We understood later that the people are walking upstream as far as they can and then jump into the river and just let themself float away.

There are stairs to pull yourself up all along the river so if you missed on there will be another!

Aare BernA lunch brake with the colleagues?

Some brave (or crazy) would first throw their waterproof bag in the river and then themself after. But before jumping, they have to make sure that no one is floating underneath.

 Photo: Here

Photo: Here

Photo: Here


Float like a king

Aare BernJuliet, myself and Ying. 

If you prefer, you can use something to float on. The most common thing people are floating on are plastic boat, stand-up paddle and a swim ring. And now all over the river, pink unicorns and flamingos.

Photo: Here

The river Aare is so long so you can choose from where to start and where to end but you will need to know well the way because some parts has a dam build on ect.

We did once from Thun to Bern. It takes about 3 hours but you can stop along the way wherever and whenever you want. There are beautiful places to make a brake and to bring out the sausages to grill.

Aare Bern

Floating like a local is not totally out of danger. Please be careful when jumping into the river. Have fun but stay safe!


Swimming pool by the Aare 

If you are not a fan of jumping into the river or have small kids there are swimming pools by the river.

To these three swimming pools you can walk or bikecycle from the center of Bern. It is a stroller friendly path along the river with a lot of shades.


Marzili baden

This free swimming area is just right by the center of Bern. It is big, kids friendly and has everything you need.

For more information click Here

Photo: Here

Lorraine bad

Not very far from northern part of Bern city lays this free swimming pools. It is small but has a restaurant, toilets, dressing rooms and a paddling pool and a playground.

For more information click Here (only in german)

Aarebad Muri 

This swimming pool is the furthest away from the city center. It is our favorit because they have fun water slides for the kids and a great playground.

For more information click Here

Photo: Here

The Dählhölzli park (Zoo)

The Zoo of Bern is not far from the city center and is a very lovely walk along the river. There are animals outside where you can watch for free.

For more information click Here

Photo: Here


Learn how to wakeboarding

For free you can attach a rope on a tree, hop on a wakeboard and jump into the river. Simple as that! Or is it?

Photo: Here


Visit the bears of Bern

If you come to Bern you shouldn’t miss the brown bears in the city by the river. After all they all the symbole of Bern.

Photo: Here

Picnic and BBQ

What I love about a river is that you can find cozy places to chill without sharing it with to much people.

Aare Bern

Aare Bern


Just accros of the Zoo, also next to Eicholz park lays this camping next to river not far from the city.

Photo: Here


Bikecycle is a great way to discover the river. Not both side of the river is bike friendly. If you come from Bern city, bike upstream on the right side (same side as Marzili bad) and you can bike very far on that road. Atleast all the way to Münsingen baden!

We would love to one day bike for several days and camp by the river. Or atleast bike as far as possible and take the train back.

Restaurant by the river

There are many restaurants by the river but Schwellenmätteli has to be the most unique one because the restaurant is build on a dam. We have not try it yet though so I can’t say if the food are any good but the surrounding is lovely.

For more information click Here

Photo: Here


The river taxi

Incase you need to change the side of the river for some reason and the next bridge is to faraway, there is a river taxi that will bring you to the other side for 2chf. The taxi is next to the restaurant Fähribeizli.

Aare Bern

Have you guys swim like the locals here in Bern? Please tell me all about it!


  1. I love Bern! It’s actually one of my favorite cities in Switzerland. I’ve had some drinks on the bar/restaurant on the dam – so beautiful and relaxing with the sounds of the water!

  2. I love your pictures! And they make me wistful as I feel summer slipping away… What a fun fun thing to do, Bern and Zurich too! Swimming in the lake is quite the past-time in Zurich, during lunch breaks too. I imagine that would be safer than the Aare. Absolutely gorgeous pics, Dawan!

  3. Watersports and Camping must be fun thing to do here. Free swimming area in centre is a great place. I really to explore Bern and its surrounding areas

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