It looks tempting, doesn’t it? There’s nothing better than clear, clean and fresh natural (running) waters, especially during a heatwave like the current European one. And there’s a thing in the Swiss summer I simply love which relates to these waters – a river float (aare float or similar). A version of which you may find all around the country.
In Zürich, you can just drop in by one of the badis in Limmat river, like the Flussbad Unterer Letten which, as the German name suggests, flushes you quickly forward in the Limmat river, after which you (having been caught by the wired fence like a starfish) jump off, walk back upstream, and jump into the stream again – and flush! And again. And again.
There’s also more relaxed floating options in Zürich (Flussbad Oberer Letten, Frauenbad Stadshausquai etc.), as well as in Bern and Basel, all of which have kinda perfect river settings in the town itself.
But the best full day river float adventure, the best in Switzerland, is the float from Thun to Bern in the canton of Bern (in the pictures).
Aare Float – Explained
If you’ve been to Switzerland and especially Bern during summer weekends, you may have seen the crowds already, carrying their boats and waterproof packs, around the main train station and river. I myself didn’t have a clue what they were up to the first time I came past the wet-haired, half dressed, cheerful people in Bern back in 2016. But soon I understood what it was, and after having done it myself now I have to say – it’s one of the best things one can do on a hot summer day. As in here, you get the water, amazing mountain views and excellently good vibes.
While for the normal badi floating you just need a swimsuit and a fouta, for the aare float you need those and your own or rented inflammable boat (or the trendy flamingo), and maybe an additional sup board like we had, a waterproof back or two with all your belongings which shouldn’t get wet, and some snacks and drinks. Of course, you should also take yourself to Thun, one way or another (I’d prefer train).
In Thun, you may then load and jump in the boat (see the map and location suggestion in Thun for an aare float in here) and go with the flow, all the way to Bern. Along the way, there are multiple opportunities to jump into the river and float free on the go, but make sure you don’t lose your boat and gear while doing it. Many also drop to the shore from time to time, for a proper picnic and bbq.
And when you finally reach Bern you hop on the ground, take a shower in some of the public baths by the river, and continue your day whatever way you fancy.
Like, this slackline (yeah, just the slackline) looks tempting too, doesn’t it?
Ps. You can do the tour by yourself/with friends, buying/renting the boat from wherever you want. Or you may book/rent the boat and a full package tour, from any of the firms offering Aarefloat experiences. Please, look with aarefloat, aareboot etc. for service providers.
Where: Aare, Berner Oberland, Switzerland