Swimming in the natural waters of the Natur Bad in Riehen

Riehen’s Naturbad has been on my list of places to visit for a longtime. I love the idea that there is a natural but safe place to swim that won’t expose my skin to harsh chemicals such as chlorine, to swim outside encapsulated by mother nature.

The Naturbad is a man made swimming pool that is cleaned not by harsh chemicals but by reed beds that run along the poolside.  It’s a wonderful example of Herzog & du Mouron architecture and has a certain wow factor to it.  The impressive high, slatted wooden walls, beautiful pool area swathed in tall green reeds that are punctuated with all manner of aquatic flowers.  There are two pools, a very shallow pool for children who can’t swim and the main pool that is partitioned into three main sections. 

The first section of the main pool, is a graduated area that allows all ages to take a dip, with a trendy looking, steel slide at the deep end that lots of children were sliding into the pool on. There is a second area that is meant for swimming but as this is not separated into lanes, nor a very long in length, it wouldn’t be a great place for serious swimming training.  The final segment is the deepest pool that has a dive board above it.

There is plenty of space for sunbathing on the lawn and there are large wooden benches that run along the walls that are shaded if you want shade hide the sun.

I found the changing rooms and locked my phone, camera and money into one of the safety deposit boxes.  The air temperature was 30°C and the pool was reported to be 22°C.  My swim was certainly refreshing and I admit the pool is a very unique place to be however, any tranquility or calm that I could have gained was overrun by the many children I was sharing my experience with.  Next time, Im going to swim in the evening or attend one of the monthly ‘Nachtbad’ or late night swimming evenings where the pool is open up until 23:00.

I have often been put off going to the Naturbad, as there is a rumour going around that on very warm days or at the end of the season the Naturbad water has a bad smell to it and should be avoided.  I didn’t experience this, the only warning I would make is that if you expect clear, blue water to swim in then, you’ll be disappointed as the Naturbad’s water is murky and has green algae floating in it.  To be honest that didn’t bother me at all and didn’t hamper my experience in the slightest.

A single entrance to the naturabad for an adult is 6 CHF and for children is 2.50CHF.  There are multi-entrance tickets and season tickets too.  Opening times are 9:00-20:00 in July-August.  There is a cafe to buy snacks and drinks.

The Naturbad is open mid-May to Mid-September.

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