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Switzerland Cities: Bern, Schwellenmaetteli

The Local ch reports: Bern residents know there’s nothing better than a swim in the river Aare on a hot summer’s day.

Jumping in upriver and floating down the fast-flowing water into Bern is a popular pastime in the city.

Some even use the turquoise river as a means of commuting to work, drifting around the Swiss capital with a change of clothes in a dry bag.

The Aare flows in a loop around the base of the city, with the town sitting up above, so residents have to walk down from the roads and bridges above to access the riverside.

Now one Bern-based organization wants to make it even easier to go for a dip – and increase the fun factor at the same time.

Grassroots organization Alternative Linke (AL) has proposed to the Bern city authorities that slides be installed at various places in the city to offer a fast and fun way to access the river below, reported 20 Minuten on Thursday.

The public chutes could be installed in the Lorraine and Bundesrain districts, said Markus Flück, who came up with the idea.

The slides “combine usefulness with pleasure,” he told the paper.

“We are aware that this is a very imaginative idea but also one that is very realizable,” he added.

AI submitted the idea to the authorities in early summer, said the paper.

The organization’s plan also suggests installing lifts on several bridges in the city to allow people to get back up to the city centre again.

Discover wild swimming in Switzerland

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Visit Bern - Capitol of Switzerland

Nestled beneath the Capitol Building you will find a swimmers paradise.

Offnungszeiten Freibad Marzili Swimming Pool Opening Times

Offnungszeiten Freibad Marzili Lido

A Lido free for all to use with diving boards, children’s pools, play areas, sunbathing and cafe’ facility’s.

Swimming at Offnungszeiten Freibad Marzili Bern Switzerland

But outdoor swimmers will be tempted by the city’s special attraction; swimming in the Aare.

Wild Swimming in the Aare

Of course you must be a good swimmer if you want to go river swimming. Try short swims to begin with paying special attention to how experienced swimmers both enter and exit the water and then copy their methods. Rivers with a strong current like the Aare deserve respect and so it makes sense to follow the advice of locals!

Aare wild swimming

Campingplatz Eichholz Aare Swimming

You can walk up to the park and camping ground: Campingplatz Eichholz, Strandweg 49, 3084 Wabern, and swim from there to the city center. Take notice of the warning signs and get out well before the last take out point.

Source of the River Aare

The river Aare begins with glacial melt water and its wonderful colour results from the minerals it contains.

Are you safe swimming in the Aare

Wonderfully refreshing as it is to swim in cool water on a hot sunny day, remember that you can get too cold! If you get cold GET OUT and warm up again in the sunshine. On a hot day adjust to the cool water before setting off on a swimming adventure.

Swimming in the Aare

Warnings wild swimming

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Wild River Swimming in Bern Switzerland

It’s hard to imagine now, but at one time river and lake swimming were encouraged throughout Britain.
Before the current era of NO SWIMMING signs, wild swimming was very much the thing to do each summer.
Those that chose not to swim enjoyed watching the spectacle of fun freedom and adventure as it unfolded in the waters all over the UK. Later the lido era drew huge crowds of spectators as swimmers, divers and beauty contestants pulled in crowds from traditional bathing places.
The sunbathing era  changed the focus of swimming and eventually put pay to the chilly lido, especially when bargain holidays to Spain came within reach of the working man.
Throughout Britain, outdoor swimming has been discouraged since the 70’s, yet by contrast throughout Europe, America and Australia attitudes are have remained liberal and supportive.
These pictures might just tempt you to take a trip to Burn this summer to see and experience for yourself what life is like for swimmers who have remained free.
Wild Swimming
The following information is provided by: Tourist Information Bahnhofplatz 10a | CH-3011 Bern | T +41 (0)31 328 12 12 | F +41 (0)31 328 12 77 | info@bern.com | Bern.com
Swimming in the Aare – Information
Dear Guests,
Summer in Bern is a wonderful season of the year. The arcades provide shade for visitors strolling through the city. And when the weather becomes too hot in the old town, swimming in one of the Bern municipal pools or in the Aare beckons.
In summer, the River Aare is very popular. Many Bern residents enjoy a refreshing swim in the river. The Aare is a beautiful, but untamed river which must be treated with the respect it deserves.
To avoid getting into any kind of difficulty when swimming in the Aare, please observe the following rules:
Only good swimmers venture out into open water (rivers or lakes) and swimming aids do not provide 100% safety.
Never go swimming on a full or entirely empty stomach – wait for two hours after eating a rich meal.
On no account drink alcohol or consume drugs.
Never jump into the water when you are very hot – your body needs time to adjust.
Never jump into turbid or unfamiliar waters – especially not head first!
Small children must not be allowed in or near the river without supervision.
Make sure to comply with the local notice boards. You will find them in all the bathing pools in the River Aare in Bern.
Never swim on your own.
So if you wish to swim in the Aare, you will do well to start at the Marzilibad (admission free of charge) and leave your personal effects at the bath (lock up all valuables). The river reach at Marzili is a good place to get to know the Aare for the first time. Many landing stages and steps down to the Aare make for easy access to the cool water. Here you may also take the opportunity to swim for a few metres to familiarize yourself with the river.
If you then wish to spend a little more time in the Aare, just follow the Aare path up to the Schönausteg, a good point of access to the river. If you prefer, you can also walk as far as the Eichholz camp site where you will find another ideal access to the river.
You can then swim down the Aare back to the Marzili pool where you may leave the water by one of the landing stages identified by a red handrail. Marzilibad is the final point at which swimmers can leave the River Aare. Please comply with the warning notices!
If you are not sure where and how to get in to the River, just ask a local Bern resident. We will all be happy to help you.
Have fun and enjoy your stay in the Swiss capital!
Best regards,
Michael P. Keller
Head Tourist Information, Bern Tourism

 

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