Yes, Switzerland is a landlocked central European country surrounded by the highest mountains on the continent, but that doesn't mean you can't treat yourself to a bit of the summer essentials. From secret lakeside beaches to riveting river frolics; rooftop bars to pool parties; the Swiss summer offers as much revelry for the warmer seasons as it does for its snowy ones.
Time Out Switzerland has put together the definitive list for the things to do in the Swiss heat.
Located in the centre of town, it has historically been a popular meeting place for Baselers young and old, particularly when the sun is shining. Recently renovated, but retaining its 19th century “wooden boat” feel, Santi Hans has been named one of the most beautiful pools in Switzerland.
Seerose is Zurich’s answer to Saint Tropez. Suspended above Lake Zurich, its wooden terrace complete with pristine white lounge furniture mimics the deck of a luxurious yacht. When the weather plays along, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were on the Mediterranean.
With men’s and women’s pools and gender-separated sun decks, superb lake access and a range of sauna and massage treatments on offer, this is the place to be during summer in Zurich. Plus there’s the supercool Bato Bar, which has a summer programme of music performances and talks.
At 2,042 metres and yet entirely accessible by train from Montreux, the summit of Rochers de Naye is one of the most attainable alpine peaks in Switzerland, which leads to the rather odd sight of tourists in high heels and other inappropriate attire standing on top of a mountain without having broken a sweat.
As a way to spend a hot summer’s day, drifting on the current down the River Aare with the sun on your face and water to cool off in is hard to beat. The stretch between Thun and Bern is hugely popular. Hire an inflatable raft from one of the boat companies at Thun-Schwabis or bring your own blow-up number, fill it with people, beer and barbecue supplies and hop in for a three-hour drift downriver to Bern. While it’s not exactly white water, the Aare does have a strong current and there’s a small rapid about a third of the way down, so come prepared with life jackets and leave non-swimmers behind. Picnic places abound, if you can react quickly enough to stop the river carrying your boat past your chosen spot. As the river reaches Bern more and more people take to the water for a dip, before it’s time to drag your raft out of the river at the Eicholz park or further along at Marzili.
Explore one of Switzerland's top historic tourist attractions, which inspired the likes of Lord Byron, Rousseau, Delacroix and Courbet. Chillon Castle on Lac Leman (Lake Geneva) features architectural styles including gothic vaulted chapels, medieval dungeons, sumptuous Savoy-period bedrooms and renaissance banqueting halls.
This is an ideal summer oasis located near one of Zurich's most famous local attractions, the Chinagarten. It's the perfect place for drinks after work or lounging around on a sunny Saturday afternoon on sofas set on a wooden decked terrace which sits right out on the waters edge.
The place to hang out in summer, this 1930s outdoor leisure centre is eternally popular when the sun comes out. There’s an (unheated and rather chilly) Olympic-sized swimming pool for lane swimming, a large leisure pool with various water spouts and massage taps, a diving pool, plus ping pong tables, volleyball courts and loads of grass to lounge around on.
Minutes outside the beautiful Baroque town of the same name, TCS Camping Solothurn is a get-away-from-it-all campsite that is also full of things to do. The site is on the River Aare with its own harbour, runs boat trips into Solothurn (Saturdays only) and has motor boats, stand-up paddle boards and e-bikes to rent on-site.
The Richterswil Horn is a popular local park, no doubt due to its stunning location on the shores of Lake Zurich. Offering access to a range of water sports as well as beach volleyball and lake swimming in the summer months, the Horn hosts annual events including Chibli (funfairs), the Beach Party dance music festival and Cine au Lac outdoor cinema. The park also has an excellent children's playground.
A Badi is never just about swimming, and this one offers much more than an audience to flash your perfect body to. On-site swim coaches, yoga classes, ving-tsun, SUP and relaxation techniques plus a beautician and a sauna which is open all year round - you get it all at Badi Enge.
Built in the 1930s, the Bains des Pâquis is a public swimming baths right on Lake Geneva and a popular social meeting place for Genevois of all ages, shapes and wallet-sizes. In summer it’s a lovely place to swim, lounge about in the sun and have a cheapish lunch on the large terrace of the Buvette.