Zurich has so many wonderful outdoor swimming areas for families, including pools, lakes, and rivers. You probably have a neighborhood favorite, but it can also be fun to try something new. We’ve listed our favorites here. For a complete list of all swimming areas in Switzerland, check out badi-info.ch.
Lake Swimming, aka Strandbad
There are lots of “Strandbads” along Zurich lake, which usually involve a roped off place to swim in the lake, a park with lots of grass, a small kiddie pool, a playground, a restaurant, bathrooms, changing rooms, etc. There are several free strandbads along the lake, some with services, many without.
The Zurich summer “badi” pass includes the Mythenquai and Tiefenbrunnen lake swimming, aka “Strandbad”. These swim areas open officially for summer middle of May through early September. Outside of this time they are open and free, so if the weather is good in early spring and late fall, you can use these areas for free, but the services will not be open.
Our favorite strandbad is the Mythenquai because it has a sandy beach and shallow swimming areas appropriate for small children. Most other lakeside swimming areas in Zurich have rocky shores.
They also have a kiddie splash pool with lots of sprays and a river for toys to float down. It’s only knee-deep which means you don’t always have to be in the water managing your child, which is particularly helpful when you’re juggling multiple children.
The shoreline is The park has a small playground, plenty of grass for running and ball playing, a grilling area. The cafe is run by Hiltl, a vegetarian restaurant, with an affordable CHF 5 bowl for children, that they can fill with anything on the buffet. On busy days, there is a separate grill cart offering sausages and other meat options.
There’s a large parking lot that costs only 50 rappen per hour. You can also take Tram 7 to Brunaustrasse, then a short walk through a park. Or you can catch bus 161 or 165 from Burkliplatz that drop off right outside the entrance.
If you live on the gold coast, you’re more likely to go to Tiefenbrunnen, which has a great waterslide that spills into the lake. It also has a small kiddie pool and some play equipment. It doesn’t have a sandy beach, but it does have a shallow enclosed swimming hole in the lake.
Photo credit: © Roland Fischer, Zürich (Switzerland) – via Wikimedia Commons
Other lake swimming near Zurich that I like:
Kilchberg – I like this one because it has a waterslide going into the lake (but the lake bottom is rocky and seriously hurts your feet) and it has a proper pool set back from the lake if you want something less murky.
Ruschlikon – it’s free, but it has a wonderfully maintained grassy area, a kiddie splash pool, a sand pit with sand toys, ad a restaurant. I don’t know why they aren’t charging.
At almost any pool, you can expect a partially shaded kiddie splash pool, a shallow non-swimmer pool, a deep lap pool, lots of grass, a playground, and a restaurant. If you have a Zurich summer badi pass, you can get into any Zurich city pool (both indoor and outdoor) not just the one where you bought the pass. All of these pools have very limited metered parking, so it’s better to take public transport if you can. I’d recommend the following outdoor pools:
Heuried – big water slide in addition to the regular stuff
Allenmoos – big water slide in addition to the regular stuff
Letzigraben – The non-swimmer pool has a graduated entry, like a beach, ideal for little kids. It also has lots of sprays and fountains in the non-swimmer pool (not just the kiddie splash pool), so it’s fun for older kids too.
Here are my other favorite pools near Zurich (not on the Zurich badi pass):
Fohrbach Zollikon – Everyone loves this pool. It has both indoor and outdoor pools, a big water slide, a big pirate ship with a slide, lots of sprays, etc. Parking is easy and free.
Schwimmendbad Geren, Birmensdorf – This is a new favorite. I love that it has a playground and sand pit right next to the kiddie pool. So as a mom, you can stay in one place and monitor your kids across the various entertainments. The big pool has a water slide and diving boards to entertain older kids. Parking is easy and free but on a busy weekend, you might have a park in the overflow lot and walk a bit.
Adliswil – They have an extra wide, bumpy water slide that the big kids do all sorts of crazy stuff on. But it’s fun for the little ones too. The kiddie pool and adjacent playground are quite nice.
Schwimmendbad Lättich, Baar – People _love_ this pool. It has indoor and outdoor. Outside, there is a big waterslide and an extra splashy kiddie pool. Inside, there’s a lazy river, diving area, an extra splashy kiddie pool, etc. Paid parking can get full on a busy weekend.
Terrassenbad Baden, wave pool – it’s a bit of a drive, but if you need something different, the wave pool definitely delivers. We went specifically for the wave pool and our 3 and 7yr old boys were in heaven. It helps if you have rafts to float on, so non-swimmers can really enjoy the wave action. There’s also a big outdoor waterslide, a no-frills kiddie pool, a sand pit, big playground, sand volleyball courts, etc.