8 stunning small lakes to swim in this summer in Switzerland

8 stunning small lakes to swim in this summer in Switzerland

When the temperature stays above 25 degrees for longer than a week, it’s almost inevitable that people in Switzerland will clock off work, ditch the train home and instead head down to the water for a refreshing dip. For those who want to take the plunge, but don’t want to wait for Lake Zurich and Geneva to heat up, here are five stunning small lakes that you can swim in as soon as the summer gets underway.

8 best small Swiss lakes to swim in

While all lakes in Switzerland are swimmable unless stated otherwise, it can take quite a while before the conditions are right in Zurich, Geneva and Lausanne. The larger lakes usually take until mid-July and even August before the water breaks the 20-degree barrier and the process can take even longer for those looking to swim in Swiss rivers.

In contrast, people who cannot wait to get into the water can visit one of the country’s smaller lakes, as they usually warm up to 23 degrees after just a week or two of hot weather. For those looking for the most beautiful swimming holes in Switzerland, here are eight small lakes that are perfect for an early summer splash around.


While not known for its beauty, we would be remiss if we did not mention a favourite of the residents of Zurich: Katzensee. After just a whiff of sunshine, temperatures in this tiny lake can get up to 23 degrees - at the peak of the summer, the water has been known to get hotter than 27 degrees!

What’s more, the lake is just a quick cycle ride or 40-minute tram and bus ride from the centre of Zurich. Facilities at the lake include a restaurant, miniature railway and a “beach” that is free to enter.

Nussbaumersee and Hüttwilersee

Just a quick bus ride away from Frauenfeld, Canton Thurgau, are the three lakes of Nussbaum, Hüttwiler and Hasensee. The Hüttwilersee and Nussbaumersee provide an excellent opportunity to take a swim, with water temperatures getting up to 24 and staying there for most of the summer - unless it starts raining.

The Hüttwilersee also has its own beach facility, with a restaurant which offers tasty snacks perfect for any aquatic adventurer. In contrast, the Nussbaumersee does not have extensive facilities but can be more peaceful at peak times. One top tip is to pair your swim with a walk around all three lakes, which includes a “bog walk” at one point!

Lac du Joux

Situated high in the hills of Canton Vaud at the foot of Mont Tendre is the Lac du Joux. The lake is actually the largest in the Juran Alps - although that's not saying much - and attracts hundreds of windsurfers and sailors because of its ideal positioning to catch the bise - a cold northeasterly wind famous for providing ideal sailing conditions.

During the summer, the lake also attracts swimmers with its promise of 24-degree waters, despite its high alpine location. The lake is also ably served by trains from Le Day.

Lac du Joux, Canton Vaud

Etang de la Gruère

The Etang de la Gruère is a small man-made lake 900 metres above sea level in Canton Jura. After being created to provide power to a local windmill, the lake today is a certified nature reserve ideal for hiking, cycling and, of course, swimming. 

The lake can be reached by taking a bus from the train station at Saignelégier. Once there, you are free to hike around and swim in the lake, which can often be warm from the very start of summer.

Etang de la Gruere


Another grand day out for the residents of Zurich, St. Gallen and Schwyz is the Lützelsee, a small lake and nature reserve. A quick walk around the lake is a must - mainly to see the massive colony of storks on the east side of the lake. 

From May 1, the Lützelsee swimming pool is also open, with temperatures in the water often getting up to around 26 degrees once the hot weather sets in. Be sure to get something nice from the local farm shops (Hofladen) dotted around the lake as you make your way to the swimming pool. The lake can be reached by taking a bus from the train stations at Bubikon or Feldbach to Hombrechtikon, Tobel.


Although larger than other lakes on this list, a trip to the old town of Murten / Morat is a must for any expat, local or tourist. During the summer, a visit to this amazing historical site can be supplemented by a dip in the local lake.

Murten can be easily reached from Bern by train, although the more adventurous among us might prefer taking the boat from Neuchâtel or Biel / Bienne through the canal to the Murtensee. 

Murtensee in Switzerland

Image credit: / Taljat David


Finally, arguably the most beautiful lake on the list is the Lungernersee in Canton Obwalden. Sitting high in the hills above Interlaken, the crystal blue waters pair beautifully with the mountains that surround it.

Lungern can be reached by train from both Interlaken and Lucerne, making it a great day out for anyone in central Switzerland. Once there, a hike or a bike ride with a rewarding dip in the lake is a bucket list filler for any lover of the outdoors.


Take a dip in a small Swiss lake!

While the larger lakes may get more press, we hope that we have convinced you to give a smaller Swiss lake a try. Have a small Swiss lake that you want people to know about? Let us know in the comments below!

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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