Zürcher Limmat-Schwimmen - public swim in the Limmat River

Zürcher Limmat-Schwimmen - public swim in the Limmat River

Aug 17, 2024
Start times from 12pm-4.30pm
Limmat River

Swarms of swimmers jump into the busiest part of the Limmat River on just one day each summer. Fancy floating down on the iconic Limmat River in Zurich and seeing the historical sites? Swimming in this part of Zurich's main river is usually prohibited, so why not seize the moment! 

Here’s what you need to know about the Limmat-Schwimmen, how to apply for the event, and when the swim is expected to take place.

What is the Limmat Swim (Limmat-Schwimmen)?

The Zürcher Limmat-Schwimmen (Limmat Swim Zurich) is a public swim through the old town of Zurich, from the Frauenbad swimming pool near where the river meets the lake, to the swimming pool of Oberer Letten. Due to the river current, most non-competitive swimmers float down the two-kilometre stretch of river, allowing participants to relax, see the sites and leave the water refreshed.

Swimming on this stretch of the Limmat is not usually allowed, so the event is one of the few opportunities to see some of the city’s great historical sites from the water. The Wasserkirche, Rathaus, Gross and Fraumünsters and Swiss National Museum are all visible from the water on the route. If you've ever wanted to float down the centre of the busiest city in Switzerland, the Limmat Swim is your chance!

Alongside those bobbing down the river enjoying the view, there is also a competitive swimming event. The EWZ challenge, named after the local energy supplier, is a race between experienced swimmers to see who can complete the two-kilometre route in the fastest time.

How do I sign up for the Limmat Swim

Participants must sign up online. Registration takes place from the Wednesday before the event until registration numbers are sold out!  

What happens during the Limmat Swim in Zurich?

The event starts at noon on the assigned day, with the EWZ challenge swimmers going first. Then, between 12.05pm and 4.25pm, ticket holders are sent down the course by group number. Be sure to get there 45 minutes before your assigned start time. The swim itself takes up to 20 minutes, depending on the current and your swimming strength.

Participants are then required to get out of the water at the river swimming pool of Oberer Letten. Once there, you will be offered a refreshing drink, hot tea and a special souvenir.

Fun Swim

The fun swim takes place at 12.05pm, but starting timeslots are staggered to prevent overcrowding. You will be informed in advance of your designated timeslot, meaning your swim will begin at some point between 12.05pm and 4.30pm. Swimmers are urged to arrive at least 45 minutes before their starting time.

For the fun swim, you will need a floatation device, which you can bring yourself or if you don't have your own, you can buy one at the starting site. Thanks to the current of the Limmat River, you can simply float along and enjoy the view and have a fun day out on the river!

EWZ Challenge

The EWZ Challenge kicks off at 12pm sharp. This swim is only for competitive swimmers and is limited to 50 participants.

What do I need to bring to the Limmat Swim?

You can purchase a waterproof bag for bringing belongings with you in the water if needed, or the organisers can arrange for them to be transported to the finish line, as long as your possessions fit inside the specially issued bags!

Depending on the ticket that you buy, you will either have to bring a floatation device to the event, or will receive one when you pick up your ticket. If you forget a floatation device, some extras will be available to buy at the start line. You are not able to participate in the Limmat Swim without a floatation device, unless you are participating in the EWZ challenge.

Video credit: Youtube / EWZ

When is the Limmat Swim in 2024?

The 58th Zurich Limmat Swim will start at noon on August 17, 2024. Sometimes unfavourable weather forecasts force the event to be postponed, and August 24, 2024 has been earmarked just in case. Let’s hope for good weather on the day of this year’s event!

Participate in Zürcher Limmat-Schwimmen

Buying your swimming ticket includes travel on Zurich's public transportation services, a drink to quench your thirst and of course a Zürcher Limmat-Schwimmen souvenir. You have to choose between a ticket that includes a waterproof swimming bag in the shape of a fish, so you can take your things with you, or one that includes a plastic bag for your clothing, which will be transported to the finish line to meet you upon arrival.

You can participate in Zürcher Limmat-Schwimmen by signing up online! Check out the Zürcher Limmat-Schwimmen website for more information. The website is in German, but there's an English information page for internationals to gain clear information about the event. Opportunities to swim in the Limmat River are few and far between, but if you miss this one, you can always wait until Samichlaus-Schwimmen in December.