Must-do summer experiences in Bern Get to know the river Aare

In summer, the Aare river becomes the soul of the city. When the temperature rises, that's where you'll find the locals, either rafting, swimming, floating, jumping, surfing, paddling, chilling or grilling. If you want to get to know the real Bern, you'll want to head to the Aare.

There is something utterly majestic about the Aare winding its way through Bern.

Its crystal clear waters with the special turquoise colour are quite a sight. 

Summer in Bern is all about the Aare and if you want to get to know this relaxed city, that's where you should be heading.

Here's where, what and how to do it. 


Swimming along the Aare

Take your Aare bag and enjoy floating in the Aare

Photo credits: © Switzerland Tourism


Swimming, or rather floating in this glacial river is one of the most exhilarating things you can ever experience. 

And by 'glacial' we actually mean 'coming from glaciers', as the source of the Aare is a glacier in the Bernese Alps.


For the locals, the colder the Aare, the more refreshing and exciting it is. You can see that as you walk from Marzili to Eicholz and join the scores of swimmers ready to dive, float, repeat: 



Jumping in the Aare from one of the charming bridges that dot the river

Photo credits: © Switzerland Tourism/ Andre Meier

Have a look at these lovely routes along the Aare and pick your next adventure. 

Make sure you study the entry and exit points, take your Aare bag to keep your clothes dry and join the locals in their pilgrimage up the Aare. 


What? No Aare bag? Bummer, you just missed our special give-away, but you can still buy this amazing set from the official website of Bern Welcome for CHF 59. 

Photo credits: © Bern Welcome

Rafting on the Aare

Paddling on an Aareböötle (Aare boat)

Photo credits: © Switzerland Tourism


If you're looking for something more laid-back, then you might consider rafting along the Aare.

Let this Ultimate Aare Rafting Guide inspire you. You'll find out if rafting is for you, what equipment you'll need and how to go about rafting on the Aare. 


Relaxing by the Aare

Marzili is the place to be in summer, it has a great view of the Parliament House

Photo credits: © Bern Welcome

There are several beautiful public swimming pools along the Aare, with Marzili being the most well known. With a huge shaded lawn, several free entry pools and an iconic ice-cream shop nearby, Marzili is one of the top places to relax in Bern. 


The walk up the Aare from Marzili to Camping Eicholz is a locals' favourite, with several lovely pop-up bars along the way.

Eicholz is a popular place thanks to the huge grill places and the large river beach, with free access. 

Surfing on the Aare

Yes, surfing! You would have to see it to believe it, it's quite a sight:


Want to find out more about this iconic river and the very special summer atmosphere in Bern? Here is all you need to know about the Aare


Bridges over the Aare in the Old Town of Bern

Photo credits: © Bern Welcome

It's so easy to fall in love with the Aare, especially in the summer. Before you head to the river, there is something you should know: the Aare is cold and fast. As fun as it may seem, swimming in the Aare still qualifies as wild swimming and you need to be very certain of your abilities as a swimmer. Only experienced swimmers can venture in the Aare.

Main article photo: A view of Bern, UNESCO World Heritage site © Switzerland Tourism



Hello Switzerland helps you to live and work in Switzerland. Discover upcoming events and Swiss culture, or contact our Relocation Helpline for free advice and professional support on housing, moving, financials, telecoms, vehicles, career advice and much more! Call +41 58 356 17 77 or visit our Helpline page.

Take control of your relocation

Free guidance and support lets you take control of your own relocation.

Order extra support easily if you need it.

» Browse our Relocation Store

Featured Partners Thanks to all supporting partners of Hello Switzerland