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 river 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.
Go with the flow (Video: Switzerland Tourism)
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.
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. If you want to take it slow, step over the pebble beach at Camping Eichholz into the green Aare. For the experts, a jump into the cool water is a good idea: 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.
The Mayor of Bern, 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.
«Swimming in the Aare is pure relaxation for me.»
Alec von Graffenried,
Mayor of Bern
Magic of the Aare river
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 breathtaking view of the Aare bend.
Something to be learned
Swimming in the Aare is a unique experience. However, not everyone feels safe in the current right away. It is important that safety is not neglected! Important tips and information can be found under Aare you safe.ch.