Relax away with Summer Swimming

Zürich is a swimmers’ paradise in the summer. All around the lake and beyond there are endless opportunities for swimming for all ages. There are a huge variety of outdoor bathing facilities called “Badi” around the lake (Seebad) and along the river Sihl and Limmat (Flussbad). A number of these have an entry charge while there are many places (without facilities) where you can get into the lake or river and swim for free. To save money on entry to the “Badi” buy a subscription (Abonnement) for the whole season, which usually begins mid-May and runs through until late September. You can check the daily water temperature via ‘apps’ and online information. Check out the wide variety of urban and lake locations; they all have their own character and charm and the range of facilities vary widely. It’s a great way to keep cool, have fun with children and to entertain your visitors!
Seebad and Flussbad – with entry fees
The oldest, and probably most beautiful of the city Badi, is the women-only Frauenbad Stadthausquai on the Limmat very close to Burkliplatz. This Art Nouveau Badi was built in 1837. In the evenings the Badi becomes a shoe-free night club (Barfussbar) for men and women. The Frauen Badi is not suitable for children as there are no open play spaces and it can get quite crowded. It is a favourite with women who want to sunbathe and swim in a women-only space. Men have their own Badi along the Sihl river a little further into the city, the Schanzengraben River Pool which has been in operation since 1864. Like the Frauenbad, Schanzengraben at night transforms into a cool Badi-Bar.
For the larger and family friendly swimming pools with a wide range of facilities you might want to check out some of the larger Seebad locations. For example:
Strandbad Tiefenbrunnen in Kries 8. Or on the opposite side of the lake in Kries 2, Strandbad
Mythenquai As the name Strandbad suggests, these Badi have a ‘beach’ area as well as a swimming area in the lake. Facilities include changing rooms, lockers, showers, toilets, café, play areas, lawn and picnic areas with grills, etc. Some of the Badi have diving boards or lake slides as well as separate pools for very small children.
There are several internet links to the wide variety and locations of the many Badi around the lake and elsewhere on the following websites. This includes the city website below that has all the information in German on entry fees and facilities and links to the daily water temperature.
For information in English try these website:ürich
Outdoor Swimming Pools - Freibad
A final option for summer swimming is the outdoor pools (Freibad), as opposed to Indoor pools (Hallenbad), at various locations around the city and beyond. Don’t be misled by the term Freibad, this simply means outdoor! Like the lake and river Badi, there are entry fees to outdoor pools! These facilities offer an alternative to swimming in lake or river water and have the usual amenities that go with conventional indoor all year round pools. The range of facilities, such as special kiddies pools, jaccuzzi’s, diving boards and slides etc. vary from pool to pool. Some of them have multiple pools.
For example, see this link to one of the larger city Freibads, Letzigraben in Kreis 4. The website below has a very comprehensive list of summer swimming options for the Kanton Zürich with links to the location, how to get there by public transport, entry charges, hours of operation and much more.
And to locate swimming pools or lakeside and river Badi by map, try this link:
Swim for Free
You don’t have to pay for a summer swim! If you don’t require a changing room, a locker or any of those extra amenities that come with the Badi entry fee, then you can find plenty of places around the lake to simply take a swim. Take extra care if you decide to do this with children as there won’t be a lifeguard on hand and, in some places, the lake or river currents can be quite strong. Remember too that the bottom of the lake is likely to be rocky so take care not to lose your footing when getting in and out of the water. Try to find a good place where it is easy to walk down into the lake – look out for others who are going swimming and you will probably be in a good spot!
The information contained was up to date when published. Elaine Vautier 22-05-2020

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