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5 lake and river bathing areas to try in Zürich this summer

Summer has finally arrived, and I feel like I have woken up from hibernation!

Back in Spain, I used to celebrate my birthday at a pool or water park. I wanted to do the same here in Switzerland, so I researched all the lake and river baths in Zürich to find the most interesting, cozy places to get together with friends and take a refreshing plunge!

Here are five bathing areas in lakes or rivers I can recommend in Zürich:

Lake Zürich is the obvious choice

My favorite two beaches in Lake Zürich are situated across from one another. So whether you live on the north or south side of the lake, there are no excuses to pack your swimsuit and catch some sun by the lake.

Strandbad Mythenquai in Zürich(Photograph copyright Roland zh/Wikipedia)

Strandbad Mythenquai was the first beach of the city. The large, open space faces the sun for most of the day and offers spectacular views of the alps in the distance. Those who need an adrenaline rush can dive from one of Zürich's tallest diving board at 5 meters...

Along with the Strandband Tiefenbrunnen, Zürich's two beaches charge an admission but provide a lot in return: Facilities such as restaurants and bars, ping pong tables, fitting rooms, diving boards, water chutes, playgrounds and kiddie pools.

Strandbad Tiefenbrunnen in Zürich(Photograph copyright Roland zh/Wikipedia)

Oh, and there are separate nudist areas, which are actually very common in Switzerland.

Flussbad Au-Höngg in the Limmat River

As you know, two rivers are born from the Lake of Zürich: The Limmat and the Sihl. The two rivers snake through the city, offering many spots for young and old to swim and soak in the sun.

My recommendations are the Flussbad Au-Höngg and Flussbad Unterer Letten for they are more special than all the others. This is where Zürich's hipsters go on a pilgrimage after work. "Let's have an apéro by the river!" is a common phrase around here...

Werdinsel Zurich(Photograph copyright Roland zh/Wikipedia)

Flussbad Au-Höngg is located on Werdinsel, the island between the Limmat and a separate channel. It is fairly hidden, cozy, and the ultimate shelter in the middle of the city. BBQ grills, sports activities and the possibility of renting the place for private events are within reach for everybody.

Flussbad Unterer Letten in the Limmat River

Flussbad Unterer Letten is Zürich's oldest river bath from 1909 and used to be for men only. Today, it is partly a swimming pool and partly a showcase for Zürich's hottest beach bodies - women included!

Flussbad Unterer Letten Zürich(Photograph copyright Micha L. Rieser/Wikipedia)

Protected from the tides, this popular river bathing area also offers an open air cinema for those hot summer nights, as well as a pool for the kids. Swimming is not exactly trivial, however, as the river's currents are quite strong.

Katzensee is 100 percent nature

Situated right at the northern border of the city, this idyllic lake is smaller and thus, the water is warmer! The nature around Katzensee is not just a good option for swimmers but also for horse riders, bikers or anyone wanting to be in touch with nature.

There is no admission to enter Bad Katzensee, and yet the infrastructure is great: There are communal BBQ grills, a kiosk and fitting rooms. And yes, a nudist area.

Katzensee, Switzerland(Photograph copyright Roland zh/Wikipedia)

Since Katzensee is a protected area, be ready to have bird visitors wandering around among the bath towels... This lake near Zürich is a very nice option for families and friends' gatherings. It reminds me of lakes in Virginia and North Carolina with their reed beds, wooden docks and sunshine reflecting on the water.

Katzensee, Switzerland(Photograph copyright Roland zh/Wikipedia)

For additional refreshing options in Zürich, check out the official Stadt Zürich Pools or Badi Info websites (German only).

Let us know in the comments: Which is your favorite spot to take a plunge in Zürich?


A travel obsessed, positive thinking day dreamer from Spain who tries to gather as many experiences and memories as possible in Switzerland.

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