Swimming in the Aare with the Mayor of Bern

Swimming in the Aare with the Mayor of Bern
StoriesSwimming in the Aare with the Mayor of Bern

We’re all equals in the water

Most of the Bernese – ranging from workmen to professors – go swimming in the Aare in summer. Even prominent politicians can be seen here in their swimwear: take the Mayor of Bern, Alec von Graffenried, for example, who can be regularly seen splashing around in the Aare in summer.

The Bernese have an ongoing love affair with the Aare

In no other city in the world can you enjoy such clear, fresh river water while gently drifting past the picturesque old town of Bern – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Urban swimming is a fixed component of the city’s culture.
Nearly everyone enjoys a refreshing dip in the river in the summer months. But you don’t simply go to “the Aare”.

Insiders have their favourite spots where they jump in, drift along and get out – from one point to the next. And if the entry point via the pebble beach at Eichholz camping site is not challenging enough, take a deep breath and dive straight into the cool water: a favourite spot among the locals is Schönausteg, near Dälhölzli Zoo. And since the entire population of Bern seems to converge on the Aare, it is not at all rare for the locals to find themselves swimming past prominent national politicians...

«Swimming in the Aare is pure relaxation for me.» Alec von Graffenried,
Mayor of Bern

The most important inhabitant of Bern, Mayor Alec von Graffenried, is also to be spotted regularly on the banks of and in the Aare. “Swimming in the Aare is pure relaxation for me”, he says.

«When I can, I travel between meetings by bike and then take a quick dip in the Aare – and preferably several times a day.» Alec von Graffenried,
Mayor of Bern
Locals Sophie (27) and Manuel (32) also avow that swimming in the Aare is their favourite pastime in summer. Its advantages are obvious, says Manuel: “Bern is small and compact. Everything is close by, and the Aare flows through the centre of the city”.

But the couple find that the Aare’s magic is not only palpable in the water: to get a completely different perspective of the river, the two recommend enjoying an aperitif in Bern’s romantic Rose Garden as the sun sets over the city. From here you have a breath-taking view of the Aare bend.

Beginners Aare course

Under the watchful eye of the Swiss Life Saving Association (SLRG), this course is a chance to try river swimming for the first time and learn interesting facts about the Aare, the Aare outdoor baths and swimming in the Swiss capital’s river.
More information (German)

Our partners

Bern Economic Development Agency
Swiss Travel System
Switzerland Mobility
Grand Tour of Switzerland
Hotellerie Bern+ Mittelland
Hotelier-Verein Berner Oberland
Emmentaler AOP