Discover 11 free lidos & swimming places in Zurich and the region. Bathing fun is guaranteed here.
Text and pictures by Marc Gottwald
Favorites in the city of Zurich
There are so many beautiful rivers and lakes in Switzerland. And Zurich has various of them in the vicinity including many free lidos and swimming spots that are too beautiful not to visit. Accordingly, we show you our favorites here. We will start with the lidos in the city of Zurich, before we move on to the region. All of them can be reached in a maximum of 45 minutes from the city center.
If you go to one of the lidos and want to use a locker, you should always have a 2CHF coin with you. If necessary, you can often exchange them at the kiosk, but it is usually not welcome.
Werdinsel – Flussbad Au-Höngg – Our favorite lidos / outdoor swimming pools in Zurich
The Werdinsel is outside the city center located in Altstetten and attracts hundreds of people every day during the summer season. The free lido is one of the best in Zurich and our absolute favorite. An approximately 200 meter swimming channel with natural Limmat water, long sunbathing lawns as well as soccer fields are among the plus points.
The Flussbad Au-Höngg also scores with its warm showers, changing rooms including a clothes locker, lockers and toilets. If you want to eat, you can find snacks, desserts and smaller hot meals such as barbecue, French fries at the restaurant-kiosk Werdinsel.
The bathing area is accessible both in summer and winter.
Also very popular in the summer is the Limmatböteln. A good place to start is at the well marked spots on Werdinsel. From there you can float all the way with your rubber boat to Dietikon, which is also a popular sport among the people of Zurich.
Swimming place Rentenwiese
Along with the China Meadow, the Rentenwiese is one of the largest parks in Zurich. Thanks to its ideal location directly on Lake Zurich, the park is a popular destination for swim-hungry Zurich residents. This bathing spot is one of our top favorites because it is in the city center and you also have enough shady spots thanks to the many trees. In addition, toilets and food stalls are available.
From the streetcar and bus stop Rentenanstalt you can reach Lake Zurich in just two minutes by foot. Furthermore, from Bürkiplatz you can reach the place in a 5-minute walk.
If you prefer a little more comfort, you can pay an entrance fee to the lakeside resort Enge. Here you have additional changing rooms, restaurant, etc..
Oberer Letten River Bath
“Seen and be seen”, that’s how you could describe it in a nutshell when Zurich residents tan their bodies on warm summer days at Oberen Letten. The wooden walkway, which is about 100 meters long, as well as the various sunbathing areas attract hundreds of people on a warm summer day. Makes sense as the Obere Letten is also one of the most beautiful free bathing facilities in the city of Zurich.
An approximately 400-meter swimming channel as well as a diving tower and beach volleyball courts offer fun for everyone. Changing rooms and toilets are also available. If you are hungry, you can treat yourself to something tasty or refreshing in the restaurant/bar.
The easiest way to reach the Flussbad Oberer Letten is by foot from Zurich main station in about 5 minutes. The pool facility is open from 9 am to 8 pm, and you can swim at any time at your own risk.
River pool Unterer Letten
The Untere Letten is also one of the top outdoor swimming pools in the city of Zurich and is historically the most important swimming pool. Because it is by far the oldest Flussbad with an age of over 110 years. In terms of appearance, not much has changed since then, which means you can visit a very traditional swimming pool at Untere Letten. This was for a long time reserved only for men, as men and women went swimming separately.
With a 100 meter swimming channel in the Limmat, wooden landing stages as well as a diving tower, the lido is also one of our favorites. In addition, there are other functionalities such as toilets, checkrooms, playground and a locker.
In the last three weeks of July they do also film nights with the open-air cinema “Filmfluss”.
The easiest way to travel is by S-Bahn or bus 33 and 46 to Wipkingen station, where you can reach the river swimming pool in about 7 minutes.
Open air bath Chinawiese – Zürichhorn
The Chinawiese is one of the largest meadows in the city of Zurich and accordingly very popular with the local population. Thanks to the many perfect entry points into the water, the Chinawiese is the perfect swimming spot on the Zürichhorn. Since it is not an official lido, there are accordingly no changing rooms. Toilets, BBQ-electric crickets as well as benches and fountains are part of the infrastructure. There are also many large trees in the park, which can provide shadow for the guests.
If you’re hungry and didn’t take a picnic with you, you can get something to eat at one of the stands along the lakeshore.
It is recommended to arrive by public transport, as parking spaces are very limited. From the city center you can reach the bathing area by foot on a nice walk along the lake promenade in about 20 minutes. It is even faster to get from Tiefenbrunnen train station to Zürichhorn in about 10 minutes.
Outdoor swimming place Wollishofen Landiwiese and Saffainsel
One of the most dreamy places on Lake Zurich, including free swimming places, is the Saffa Island right by the historic Landiwiese, where the Swiss National Exhibition was held in 1939. Here you can easily spend a day on the peninsula. This also makes the island extremely popular for swimming or going on a SUP adventure in Lake Zurich.
Toilets are available, but changing rooms and food stalls are not. Therefore we recommend to bring your own picnic and drinks. Otherwise, there are still the stores at Wollishofen station if you urgently need something.
The easiest way to reach the bathing area is by bus number 161 and 165 from the city center. Also from Wollishofen train station you can reach the Landiwiese and Saffainsel in a few minutes.
Bathing places in Kilchberg
Fantastic meadows along Lake Zurich await bathers in Kilchberg. The meter-long meadows including a landing stage are a great insider tip for the summer.
But Kilchberg is not only the right place for swimming, but also for relaxing on a bench in autumn, winter or spring. And of course, then you can visit the Lindt Chocolate Museum as well.
Those who wish can also choose the popular but fee-paying Seebadi Kilchberg. With top facilities including a Hiltl restaurant, the bathing area offers a lot.
You can get directly to the bathing places by boat from Bürkiplatz Zurich. You can simply choose the stop “Kilchberg ZH (See)”. Bus 165 also leaves from Bürkiplatz and is much faster. The bus stop is called “Kilchberg ZH, Bendlikon”.
Bathing lake Husemersee
Although Lake Husemersee does not have a swimming pool, it is one of the biggest and most beautiful insider tips when it comes to swimming and lakes in the canton of Zurich.
In the western part of the lake there is a sunbathing area. In addition, you can prepare a delicious meal on the BBQ grill. Anyway, it is advisable to take a picnic and enough drink with you, because there are no catering facilities nearby.
Please note that bathing is only allowed in one part of the lake due to nature protection. Furthermore, air mattresses are prohibited.
To get to the lake, a walk of about 30 minutes is required. It’s best to get off at the train station in Ossingen to get to the bathing lake as quickly as possible.
Swimming at Lake Türlersee
Also Lake Türlersee has a beautiful bathing meadow. And it is the insider tip par excellence. While most people go to the camping beach Türlersee, this bathing area is often overcrowded in summer, despite the entrance fee. Also to find parking spaces is relatively difficult.
If you prefer it quiet, you can make yourself comfortable on the sunbathing lawn “dog meadow”, which is very popular among connoisseurs in the summer. The sandy-gravel beach also offers a gentle entry into the water. Since there are no facilities, be sure to bring drinking water and, if necessary, a picnic.
Lakeside resort Seegräben on Lake Pfäffikon
Also an insider tip in the Zurich region is the free lido “Seegräben am Pfäffikersee”. The idyll as well as the great infrastructure like raft, diving board, (cold) shower and the checkroom make the place perfect. There is also a toilet (Plumsklo) on the swimming area. The sunbathing lawns are located directly above the hiking trail.
If you are hungry, you can either get something to eat at the snack stand or treat yourself to something delicious at the well-known farm “Juckerhof”.
The only problem are the parking spaces. Because these are relatively sparse and very popular due to the Juckerhof. On nice days, the parking is already full shortly after 10 am, even during the week. This means that if you want to go to the lake resort by car, you should arrive beforehand. From the parking lot you have about 10 minutes walking distance to the bathing area.
If you come by public transport, then you can take the S-Bahn to Aathal, where it takes about half an hour to walk to the destination.
Rhine Lido Eglisau, canton Zurich
Although Eglisau has only about 5000 inhabitants, it counts as a town for historical reasons. Not only a stroll through the old town is worthwhile. Likewise, a visit to the Rheinbad Eglisau is an absolute must for swimming enthusiasts. The free lido has a 15 meter long pool, a diving board and sunbathing lawns. It also has showers ready (cold water only).
If you want, you can also find various free bathing spots along the Rhine, where you are almost all alone and can even have a barbecue.
You can either take the S-Bahn to Eglisau and then walk for about 15- 20 minutes, or you can get to the old town by car, although parking is limited.