A First-Timer’s Guide to Taking a Dip in Basel’s Scenic Rhine River

A First-Timer's Guide to Swimming in Basel's Scenic Rhine River

For this guide, we look at why travellers looking to dive into wild swimming for the first time should consider heading to the banks of the beautiful Rhine this summer for the famous Basel Rhine Swim.

There are plenty of reasons why Basel is the ideal swim destination for those dipping a toe into the world of outdoor swimming – here are just five ways beginners can get started.

Download the BachApp
Knowledge is power, so downloading the free BachApp for Apple or Android is a great way to get up to speed on everything you need to know.

BachApp will keep you updated on the Rhine’s water temperature and levels and provide you with a map of entry and exit points, bathrooms, and barbecue areas for post-swim dining. It’ll even give you key safety information and update you on any events happening on and off the water, such as the Floating Floss Festival in August.

Get a Wickelfisch Bag
Are you wondering what to do with your belongings while floating down the Rhine? Bring them with you in a waterproof Wickelfisch bag! These clever, colourful bags have been a signature of Basel outdoor swimming for decades – simply buy one for less than £20, pop your clothes inside, wrap it seven times and then bring it into the water where it will float alongside you.

Families on one of the many beaches

Pick your point of Entry
On the map provided by BachApp or the Swiss Lifesaving Society, you can see all the Rhine points of entry and exit, but for the easiest, we recommend starting at Schaffhauserrheinweg 93, just below Museum Tinguely.

From May to September, you can also easily enter and exit the water via the Rheinbad Breite and St. Johann bathing houses. For a small fee, you can use their showers, toilets, and changing rooms.

Book a free Guided Swim
First-timers who don’t feel confident going it alone can register for a spot on an accompanied Rhine swim, which takes place every Tuesday evening in July and August. Swimmers of all ages can meet at 5.45 p.m. below the Tinguely Museum at Chez Jeannot restaurant and swim the kilometre to the Wettstein Bridge alongside a trained lifeguard.

A family wearing floatation devices swimming in the river

Join the official Basel Rhine Swim!
Although swimming in the Rhine can be enjoyed throughout the year, once a year, there is an official summer event where up to 5,000 swimmers gather on the Kleinbasel bank to dive into the refreshing water and float down the river.

After their dip, swimmers dry off in the sun and enjoy a beer or ice cream at one of the riverside buvettes (small open-air eateries). This year’s Basel Rhine Swim starts at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, August 13, 2024.

For more information about Basel, visit www.basel.com.

A First-Timer's Guide to Taking a Dip in Basel's Scenic Rhine River 2

Editorial Team

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