Psst! Here are our insider tips for the best places in the region to get in the water, including lidos, lakes and rivers.
When you come to think of it, you shouldn’t go telling everyone your insider tips. After all, you only want a few insiders to know about them. And that’s especially true when it comes to secluded swimming lakes and “Badis” (open-air swimming pools) where you can swim, splash around and lay in the sun without jostling against the crowds. But we don’t want to be like that – after all, when the high summer temperatures hit, everyone deserves a bit of paradise, right?
On this weekend, the temperatures have climbed to midsummer heights. The window shutters are bolted tight shut to stop the heat getting into the house, and every single person in our family has just one thing they want to do: get out of the city and go for a cooling swim! And so we set off for the Nussbaumersee. This is a small swimming lake that you can reach in about half an hour from Zurich. Strictly speaking, it lies in Thurgau, but the lakeside itself belongs to the Canton of Zurich. So we’re talking border territory.
As soon as we turn into the little parking lot above Nussbaumersee it’s clear that we are the early birds. There are just a few cars in sight – mostly with Zurich license plates. Laden with an air mattress, ball and barbecue sausages, we make our way towards the lake.
Even just the sight of the turquoise water instantly makes you want to peel off your clothes and plunge into the refreshing water. Which is of course what we do. The younger swimmers have their minds set on one thing in particular: swimming out to the diving platform. No sooner have they climbed on to the wooden structure than the daredevil jumping begins: they show off the lot, from clumsy belly flops to elegant dives and crashing dive-bombs.
While the kids splash around in the water, the grown-ups set about bagging their spot in the barbecue area. There is plenty of firewood about and the tripod structure offers enough space for sausages, veggies and “Schlangenbrot” (bread on a stick).
When we slowly make our way back home around four in the afternoon, after a lavish picnic, numerous rounds of Uno and more daring leaps into the water, the lakeside has plenty of visitors – everyone from teens to grannies are there – but it’s still a long way off being over-crowded.
More tips in the region:
Due to its location at the edge of the forest, the Oberengstringer Freibad was given the name “Zwischen den Hölzern” (“Between the woods”), but the locals affectionately call it “Hölzli”. Although the open-air pool lies in the municipal district of Oberengstringen, it is run by the City of Zurich.
On the outskirts of Zurich in Affoltern, the small lake Unterer Katzensee is perfect for a swim. The idyllic natural pool surrounded by woods has a swimming beach 80 meters long (87 yards).
Story time at the Terrassenbad: in summer when the weather is good, the Baden municipal library reads picture book stories aloud for families with children.
The whole family can enjoy a relaxing day at Kappisee lake near Baden. An island with fire pits, benches and tables makes the perfect place for a barbecue.
In the heart of a nature reserve in the city of Zug, swimming at the natural swimming spot Choller Naturbad lets you experience nature.
The cozy little neighborhood swimming spot “Badi Trubikon” in Oberwil near Zug is situated on a friendly little stretch of sand and is also an insider tip for great food.
At the Strandbad Stampf lido in Jona, children up to 16 years old get in free. With a barbecue area and lakeside restaurant, children’s paddling pool for the kiddies and a diving platform for the older ones.
The Badi Schmerikon, with its enormous play area and sunbathing lawn by the lake, is open daily in summer.
The Affenschlucht in Winterthur Wülflingen is a great tip for nature lovers. A swimming trip to the “waterfall” can be combined with a walk along the Töss River.
When the weather is good, a swimming boat goes from Schwimmbad Dachsen to the Rhine Falls. From there, you can drift the approx. 2 km (1.2 miles) downstream back to the pool.