50 ways to have the best summer in Switzerland

From swimming to festivals to rooftop cocktails to the perfect picnic spot, here’s everything fun you need to do in Switzerland this summer
Summer in Switzerland
By Time Out editors |

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.

Flussbad Oberer Letten Outdoor Swimming Zurich
© Zuerich Tourismus
Things to do

Flussbad Oberer Letten • Zurich

icon-location-pin Industriequartier

The editors of hipster-bible Monocle never get tired of pointing out the 'Badis' as Zurich's unique attraction. And this one here is definitely the Badi of all Badis. 

St Johann Rheinbadi Swimming
Sport and fitness

Rheinbad St Johann • Basel

icon-location-pin St. Johann

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.

Mythenquai badi, Zurich
Sport and fitness

Strandbad Mythenquai • Zurich

icon-location-pin Enge

Mythenquai badi is a popular summer spot. Spend a day diving into the sparkling, clear waters of the Zurichsee, or sun yourself on the lawns here. 

TCS Camping Geneva-Vésenaz
Things to do

TCS Camping Geneva-Vésenaz

icon-location-pin Geneva

TCS Geneva-Vésenaz’s leafy setting on the edge of a park belies its location – the campsite is just six kilometres outside Geneva. Nestled beneath willow trees on the banks of Lake Geneva, the modern site is perfect for people who want to get away from it all. 

Pully Plage, Lausanne pool, Time Out Switzerland
Things to do


icon-location-pin Lausanne

There may be a great big lake on our doorstep, but sometimes the convenience and facilities of swimming in an outdoor pool appeal instead – it’s all the fun with none of the hassle that comes with al fresco bathing.

Restaurant Seerose
©Restaurant Seerose
Restaurants, Seafood

Restaurant Seerose • Zurich

icon-location-pin Wollishofen

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. 

Friends Café, Lausanne bar, Time Out Switzerland
Bars and pubs, Wineries

Friends Café • Lausanne

icon-location-pin Flon

Accessed from the downstairs bar via the hotel lift, this terrace looks out over the urban jungle of Flon, making for a good inner-city spot for people-watching and lapping up the sunshine on a hot summer evening, mojito in hand.

Time Out says
Sky Bar
©Eden au Lac
Bars and pubs, Rooftop bars

Sky Bar • Zurich

icon-location-pin Seefeld

It goes without saying: a grande dame on the Zurich hotel scene, Eden au Lac has created the swishest of the swish rooftop bars. High above Seefeld on the shore of Lake Zurich, Sky Bar allows you to channel your inner Hollywood film star. 

Sky Terrace
©Schweizerhof Bern
Bars and pubs, Bars

Sky Terrace • Bern

icon-location-pin Old City of Bern

The Sky Terrace bar perches atop the Schweizerhof Bern with delightful 360-degree views over the city’s Unesco World Heritage old town. 

Adventure Park Davos Färich
Things to do

Adventure Park • Davos

icon-location-pin Davos

Situated at the foot of the Flüela mountain pass, this high wire and cycle park offers a fun day out for adventurous adults and children alike. 

Seebad Luzern
Sport and fitness, Yoga and Pilates

Seebad • Luzern

icon-location-pin Lucerne

Swim in the crystal clear waters of one of the world's most beautiful lakes. The Seebad Luzern offers a laid back vibe with its simple wooden construction of two courtyards surrounding open air pools. 

Summer skiing
Sport and fitness

Summer skiing • Zermatt

Located 3,883 metres above one of Switzerland's best ski resorts, the Snowpark Zermatt offers a summer skiing adventure with the advantage of doing it in your beach wear.

Golf Ascona
Sport and fitness, Golf

Golf Club Ascona

icon-location-pin Ascona

What better way to enjoy a fine summer's day than with a round of golf? Considered one of Switzerland's finest golf courses, the Golf Club Patriziale Ascona is flat and well planned and can be enjoyed by players of all levels from beginners to pro. 

Seebad Utoquai
Sport and fitness

Seebad Utoquai • Zurich

icon-location-pin Seefeld

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.

E-Bike basel
Things to do

E-bike hire • Basel

icon-location-pin Basel

Switzerland's popular e-bikes or pedelecs have a bit of extra va-va-voom. These electrically-assisted bikes can be rented at the rail station and are a nippy way to get around town or explore more of the region's lush countryside.

Splash & Spa
Health and beauty, Spas

Splash & Spa Tamaro • Ticino

icon-location-pin Monteceneri

Get set for a tidal wave of fun and, er, relaxation! Splash & Spa Tamaro has a huge amount of water-based activities on offer including five exciting waterslides to try (we suggest the Gravity Killer!). 

Rochers de Naye, Montreux mountain, Time Out Switzerland
Things to do

Rochers de Naye

icon-location-pin Montreux

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. 

Thermalbad Brigerbad, Brig spa, Time Out Switzerland
Health and beauty, Spas

Thermalbad Brigerbad • Valais

icon-location-pin Brig

Elevating this Valais spa above some of its neighbours is the immense 182m-long water slide, a giddy prospect for kids – and big kids.

Uetliberg Zurich
© Christof Sonderegger
Things to do

Uetliberg • Zurich

icon-location-pin Friesenberg

An observation tower at the top of Uetliberg offers panoramic views, and The Planet Trail ridge walk takes you all the way to the Felsenegg, from where you can take the cable car down to Adliswil. 

ZSG Werfthalle

ZSG Werfthalle • Zurich

icon-location-pin Wollishofen

From May to September the ZSG boat hall, situated right on the water at the top of Lake Zurich, is an unbeatable location. 

The Alps Trail Davos
Things to do, Walks and tours

The Alps Trail • Davos

icon-location-pin Davos

The Alps Trail Davos has been named an IMBA Epic Trail and with good reason. This 45km mountain bike route starts near Europe's highest-altitude city of Davos and offers some amazing views along the way. 

Thun-Bern rafting, Time Out Switzerland
Things to do

Thun-Bern float trip

icon-location-pin Espace Mittelland (Jura & Three Lakes, Bernese Oberland)

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.

Chillon Castle
Things to do

Chillon Castle

icon-location-pin Montreux

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.  

Fischtube lounge, zurich
Restaurants, Seafood

Fischstube • Zurich

icon-location-pin Seefeld

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.

Time Out says
Café Cuba cocktail bar, restaurant, tapas Geneva
Bars and pubs, Wineries

Café Cuba • Geneva

icon-location-pin Plainpalais

Big, brash and loud, there’s nothing subtle about this Cuba-inspired bar which imbues this prime spot in Plainpalais with a beach holiday feel. 

Time Out says
Bars and pubs

Rimini • Zurich

icon-location-pin Kreis 1

When it comes to a pool-party venue, Rimini is a bar that excels in chilled-backed atmosphere. With tropical foilage, oriental cushions and exotic cocktails, you could be forgiven  for forgetting that you're only a few miles away from the Alps in this bohemian paradise.

Volière's Facebook

Volière • Lucerne

icon-location-pin Lucerne

In the clement months, youth radio station Radio 3FACH opens its alfresco bar on the site of a former aviary on the shores of Lake Lucerne. The emphasis is on the local – homemade iced tea, Luzerner Bier on draft and freshly made snacks. 

Bellerive Plage
Things to do

Bellerive Plage • Lausanne

icon-location-pin Ouchy

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. 

La Buvette des Bains Geneva
Restaurants, Swiss

La Buvette des Bains • Geneva

icon-location-pin Pâquis

This café-restaurant is part of Geneva’s Bains des Paquis, a 1930s-era public swimming baths and spa on Lake Geneva’s right bank. As such, it’s a great place to hang out in the sun right next to the lake, whether for coffee, drinks or a light bite. 

Time Out says
TCS Camping Solothurn
©Tim Williams
Things to do

TCS Camping • Solothurn

icon-location-pin Biel/Bienne

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. 

Freibad Allenmoos waterslide
Things to do, Games and hobbies

Freibad Allenmoos • Zurich

icon-location-pin Oerlikon

A badi season favourite, at Allenmoos you'll find three separate pools surrounded by grass-covered open space that's perfect for sunbathing and summer picnics. 

El Mojito
El Mojito
Bars and pubs

El Mojito • Lugano

icon-location-pin Lugano

El Mojito Tropical Lounge is a throbbing summertime cocktail bar-cum-beach shack on a lakeside jetty. Admire the view or the beautiful people, or both. Chill on deckchairs or dance to DJs. The mojitos, as you might imagine, are sublime.

Aare baths
Things to do

Aare outdoor baths • Bern

icon-location-pin Bern

The outdoor baths at Marzili, in the shadow of the grand parliament building, are among the oldest in the country, and free to use. 

Richterswil Horn
Things to do, Festivals

Horn Richterswil

icon-location-pin Richterswil-Samstagern

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.

Camping Arolla
©Georges Reif
Things to do

Camping Arolla • Valais

icon-location-pin Sion

Whether you’re in it for gazing at mountains from your tent, going on a hike or making friends with Willy the campsite cat, there isn’t much that Camping Arolla in Canton Valais can’t offer.

paddleboard supswiss
Things to do

Stand-up paddling • Zurich

icon-location-pin Kreis 2

Just three steps: stand on a board, paddle and keep your balance. Practice makes perfect at the certified SUP school of Switzerland. 

Bourg Plage, Lausanne bar, Time Out Switzerland

Bourg Plage • Lausanne

icon-location-pin Ville Marché

Owned by alternative theatre and performance venue Le Bourg, this outdoor pop-up bar tucked under Bessières bridge is a great spot to kick back with a drink in summer.

Time Out says
Bateau Lavoir, Geneva bar, Time Out Switzerland
Bars and pubs, Café bars

Bateau Lavoir • Geneva

icon-location-pin Rive Gauche / Left Bank

Bateau Lavoir is a lovely spot to go for a drink, a light lunch or an apéro as the sun goes down. In summer the rooftop terrace is a great spot to linger, soaking up the sun with the sound of water lapping at the side of the boat. 

Time Out says
Seebad Enge, badi, swimming pool, bar, concert venue, Zürich
Things to do

Seebad Enge • Zurich

icon-location-pin Enge

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. 

Bains des Paquis
Things to do

Bains des Pâquis • Geneva

icon-location-pin Pâquis

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. 

Lido di Lugano
Things to do

Lido di Lugano

This large, central Lugano swimming centre has an Olympic-size swimming pool, a diving pool and children's water play area. Plus there's a large, sandy beach where you can sun yourself before testing the waters of the stunning Lake Lugano.

More to explore