We often get the question: are there any lakes near Zurich? And if so, which lakes are near Zurich?
Well, there is an obvious answer to this question: the city of Zurich is located at one end of Lake Zurich. However, there are also several smaller lakes in the vicinity of Zurich. Many of them are popular destinations for wild swimming during the warmer months.
In order of decreasing size, these lakes are within easy reach of Zurich:
Lake Zug (38.3 sq km)
Lake Hallwil (10.3 sq km)
Greifensee (8.4 sq km)
Lake Aegeri (7.3 sq km)
Pfäffikersee (3.3 sq km)
Türlersee (0.5 sq km)
Unterer Katzensee (0.3 sq km)
Lützelsee (0.1 sq km)
What facilities can I expect at these lakes near Zurich?
Any and all of these lakes are perfect for wild swimming. At the very basic level, they have access points for swimmers who want to take a dip. And on a more advanced level, there are public swimming areas with facilities such as changing rooms, take-out restaurants or diving boards.
Please be aware that unsupervised areas are inherently dangerous. Swimming is at your own risk and I personally prefer lakes with facilities and lifeguards on site.
Here are some of the highlights for each of the lakes that are within reach of Zurich:
the largest of the lakes is within easy reach of Zurich. Hop off the train in Cham or Zug to access the lake. A 15-minute walk from Cham is Strandbad Hünenberg featuring a diving board, a beach volleyball patch, stand-up paddle (SUP) rentals and a restaurant. In Zug, I can recommend the historic Strandbad Seeliken with its gourmet bistro. Admission is free, there is a lifeguard on site and the location is perfect for amazing sunsets…
there are at least five official access points, with my favorites being Strandbad Seerose and Arbeiterstrand Tennwil. Located on the eastern shores, both baths offer sunset views. What I like about the “worker’s beach” in Tennwil are the many trees providing shade, as well as the epic wooden bench reaching into the lake. There’s a also a self-service restaurant and a campground.
circling the lake by foot, by bicycle or on roller blades is a favorite pastime of the locals. For swimming or SUP, there are several wild access points in Greifensee, Fällanden, Maur, Egg and Niederuster. A proper public bath is located in Niederuster. It features an Olympic size pool, convenient lake access and a diving board, as well as a restaurant.
access the lake from the public beach in Unterägeri. It features a lawn to play games, sunbathe or enjoy the scenic mountain views. There is a diving board, a beach volleyball plot, a rental station for SUP and a restaurant.
there are three ways to access this lake near Zurich. My all-time favorite spot is Badi am See in Pfäffikon with its large lawn area sloping towards the lake. It is a versatile lake bath as it provides outdoor massages, a heated lap pool and accessibility for wheelchairs. Strandbad Auslikon at the southern end of the lake is a cozy public bath with a lawn, a pebble beach, changing rooms and a small bistro.
it takes a good hour to access this small lake from the city, but what a gem! You can rent an SUP or rowing boat and glide across the still waters. The idyllic lake also offers a round-trip hiking path, a campground and a bistro.
a bit hard to reach with public transport, I can recommend using a PubliBike rental bicycle to access the lake. Admission to the lower lake is free and there is a designated beach as well as a deck stretching into the lake. With its BBQ pits, this lake is popular among crowds of friends.
popular among locals and resident storks, the smallest lake near Zurich is a must-see destination. There is one public access point with changing rooms, a lake deck and diving board. The bistro serves a delicious brunch and sunset drinks. Look out for the live sunset concerts during summer months.
And here is an overview map of all the lakes near Zurich:
What about swimming in Lake Zurich?
Naturally, if you are staying in Zurich with too little time on your hands, you have several options for swimming, too. Lake Zurich is the largest body of water near the city, after all.
The historic Strandbad Mythenquai with its sandy beach is a favorite among families. There is a large grassy area to play games and the views of the lake are magnificent.
Strandbad Tiefenbrunnen on the opposite side of Lake Zurich is easy to access by foot from the Seefeld neighborhood. If you are arriving from the city, why not hop on a river boat at the Swiss National Museum or at Bürkliplatz? The river boats Felix, Regula and Turicum will whisk you to Strandbad Tiefenbrunnen in style…