Daunting at first but highly rewarding afterwards: winter swimming in a freezing Swiss Alpine lake. Dip, Duck & Dive into a crystal clear lake, for a few seconds or maximum a few minutes to experience in invigorating rush off energy flowing through your body. Made highly popular by Wim Hof winter swimming is a fun and ever growing activity where you can embrace the invigorating thrill of winter swimming and discover the hidden treasures of Interlaken’s winter wonderland. With its stunning scenery, serene atmosphere, and unique experiences, Interlaken is the perfect destination to embrace the magic of winter and create unforgettable winter and summer swimming memories
Best Winter Swimming Spots in Interlaken
Nestled amidst the breathtaking scenery of the Swiss Alps, Interlaken is a haven for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. While its reputation as a summer paradise is well established, Interlaken’s allure extends far beyond the warmer months. As the snow gently blankets the landscape and the air turns crisp and invigorating, a unique and exhilarating experience awaits: winter swimming.
Interlaken offers a variety of winter swimming spots, each with its own distinct character and appeal. Whether you’re seeking the invigorating thrill of open-air swimming or the tranquil ambiance of a heated pool, Interlaken has something to suit every preference.
Lake Brienz: For those seeking a truly authentic winter swimming experience, Lake Brienz is an unparalleled destination. Nestled amidst snow-capped mountains, the lake offers a serene and picturesque backdrop for a refreshing dip. The water temperature typically hovers around 4 degrees Celsius (39 degrees Fahrenheit), providing a bracing yet invigorating experience.
One of the notable places to take a winter dip is at the bay of Iseltwald: Nestled on the shores of Lake Brienz, the bay of Iseltwald offers a sheltered and tranquil environment for winter swimming. The surrounding mountains provide a stunning backdrop, while the calmer waters make it a suitable option for those who prefer a gentler experience.
Thunsee: Thunsee, with its crystal-clear waters and stunning views of the Bernese Oberland, is another popular winter swimming spot. The lake’s temperature is slightly warmer, as it does not gets directly fed by the Jungfrau glacier water, than that of Lake Brienz, making it a more comfortable option for those who are new to winter swimming.
Thunersee’s most notable winter dipping location are Neuhaus & Kieferinsili: Located on the shores of Lake Thun, Neuhaus and Kieferinsili offer a picturesque setting for winter swimming. The waters are typically calmer and less crowded than other spots, making it a peaceful retreat. This is also the location of the annual DIP, DUCK & DIVE New Year’s Swimming event on the 1st of January.
Bönigen: Located just a short distance from Interlaken, Bönigen boasts a unique winter swimming experience. The village’s lido, or open-air swimming pool, is heated to a comfortable temperature of 34 degrees Celsius (93 degrees Fahrenheit), making it an ideal spot for those who want to enjoy the invigorating sensation of cold water without the harshness of an open lake.
The Aare in the center of town: The Aare River, which flows through the heart of Interlaken, offers a unique and exhilarating winter swimming experience. Opposite the Cafe Aarburg right next to the Unterseen Old Town there is a nice area with easy staircase access to the river. Locals can be often seen dipping into Switzerland’s longest river right there.
Bachalpsee (when not frozen): While not technically a swimming spot, Bachalpsee, a mountain lake located above Interlaken, is a stunning destination for winter activities. The frozen lake provides a mesmerizing landscape for ice skating, hiking, and simply enjoying the serene beauty of the alpine environment.
Burgseeli: Burgseeli, a small lake located near Interlaken, offers a secluded and picturesque setting for winter swimming. The surrounding forests and snow-covered peaks create a magical atmosphere, while the calmer waters make it a suitable option for those who prefer a more peaceful experience.
Winter Swimming Events
Winter Swimming Events: Interlaken’s winter swimming season is not complete without its exciting events. The annual New Year’s Dip & Dive, held on January 1st at the lake of Thun, is a festive occasion that draws hundreds of participants eager to start the year with a refreshing plunge into the lake. At the event dubbed DIP, DUCK, DIVE Interlaken New Year’s winter swim most participants wear beanies and bring their favourite rubber duck to join them for a fun, engaging and refreshing dip into the lake.
At the event hot pea soup is provided and most people bring some bubbly champagne or prosecco to jointly raise the glass and cheers to the new year!
Tips for Winter Swimming
With water termperatures around freezing it is smart to be careful, use common sense while using some of these winter swim tips:
- Wear a beanie….for both warmth and style!
- Start slowly and gradually increase your exposure to cold water.
- Warm up properly before entering the water.
- The best way to enter water is slowly, in a controlled way. One of the first things you will learn to control as a winter swimmer is the ‘gasp’ reflex, where it feels as if the cold water has punched the air out of your lungs, and you cannot breathe. If this happens to you: exhale with a strong ‘fwaw’.
- Avoid swimming for prolonged periods in very cold water.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water both before and after swimming.
- Listen to your body and stop swimming if you feel uncomfortable or experience any adverse effects.
With its diverse range of winter swimming spots, Interlaken caters to a wide range of preferences and skill levels. Whether you’re seeking the invigorating thrill of open-air swimming in a scenic setting or the tranquility of a heated pool, Interlaken has something to offer everyone. So, embrace the magic of winter and discover the hidden treasures of Interlaken’s winter wonderland, one refreshing dip at a time.