Urban swimming in Zurich Switzerland Tourism (Gian Marco Castelberg & Maurice Haas)

Urban swimming in Zurich

Top tips for swimming in Switzerland's biggest city.

With 6% of the continent’s fresh water flowing through Switzerland’s lakes and rivers, there are plenty of places for a summertime swim, with the most popular ones found in the cities. Here’s a run-down on the best swimming spots in Zurich.

Frauenbad ZurichFrauenbad, source: wikimedia.org

Switzerland’s biggest city is bursting with swimming spots, not least because it has its own lake. But it’s generally frowned upon to simply jump in as soon as you reach the water; the locals head instead to one of the many lakeside lidos. They are not free, costing 8 francs for an adult and 4 for a child, but that gives you great facilities (changing rooms, showers, toilets, café) and a safe swimming area away from the boats.

The largest, and most popular, is Tiefenbrunnen which has something for most tastes. Lawns for sunbathing or lounging in the shade, diving platforms, kids’ play area, massages and even mountain views. My favourite part is the clutch of wooden platforms anchored a few meters offshore: a great spot for swimming out and leaving the crowds behind.

MännerbadMännerbad, source: wikimedia.org

For something a little different, there are two small pools bang in the heart of the city centre - one for women only and one for men. The Frauenbad (or women’s pool) is at Stadthausquai on the River Limmat, just near the cathedral. It’s an elegant art nouveau creation with wooden platforms and quiet corners away from prying eyes. The Männerbad (or men’s pool) is the oldest in Zurich, built in 1864 alongside the former city walls at Schanzengraben. This little urban oasis is often very shady but has the advantage of being free to use.

WerdinselWerdinsel, source: www.20min.ch

If you really want to go local, then head away from the lake and hop on Tram 17 to Tüffenweis, where a long green island – Werdinsel – sits in the middle of the river. Lawns are laid out for relaxing and you can swim in the river before having a picnic or barbecue. It’s a great choice for a summer evening.

1 Tiefenbrunnen
2 Frauenbad
3 Männerbad
4 Werdinsel