Things to do in Basel

My guide to swimming in the Rhine

The Rhine river, the heart of Basel

Why Rhine swim?

Rhine swimming is on of the best ways to appreciate Basel.  To be immersed in the water of the Rhine on a hot summer days is just fabulous, what better way to travel through the heart of Basel!

WICKELFISCH for Rhine swimming

The wickelfisch was first sponsored by the IWB our hydroelectric company in Basel, they designed a bag for holding clothes and belongings that could also give some boyancy to the swimmer if needed.  The hope was that Rhine swimming would become easier and safer for all.  Wickelfisch are sold in Bidder and Tanner, given to all Roche employees on their first day of work and are also sold in many of the Rhine side bars and restaurants e.g. Ufer 7 or Consum.  The local box company have their own wickelfisch with the slogan ‘this is yours’.  I personally like the original wickelfisch my first one was orange and the middle size, after that I lust after a Consum style swimming bag because I love the mosaic design, in the meantime I received a wickelfisch as a gift from Roche my employer.

Where to get in? Where to get out?

Tingluey Museum to Kaserne

The most popular route is from around the Tingluey museum to just before Dreirosenbrücke.  This takes in three bridges, the Basel Münster on your left and Kaserne the old Rhine side barracks on your right.  You’ll also swim past four Rhine taxi’s, the Wilde Maa, Ueli, Leu and the Vogel Gryff, more on those here

Breite Badi to under the Munster

Starting just above the Rheinbad Breite ‘Rhybadhysli Breiti’ to just before the Münster, a short float but located near the badi which offers toilets, showers and food.  More about Badi’s next year as they are members only this year due to the corona-virus.

Sankt-Johann's Badi to Johanniterstor

From Johanniter Brücke to St. Johann’s Tor another short float but still a great way to cool off in the summer months.  The Rheinbad at St. Johann ‘Rhybadhysli’ is the safest place for children to swim in the Rhine as they have a barrier that tames the Rhine’s current affording a still water pool at the Rhine side.

You can also swim in the Birs river where it exits into the Rhine but don’t continue to Swim underneath the bridge as this is not safe.

The green channels are where you can safely swim, the red channels are for boats and are typically deeper and not safe to swim in.  This map can be found along the Rhine side please refresh your memory of where to get in and out before swimming, if you are unsure.  The toilets and showers plus location of restaurants, the four ferries that cross the Rhine and major land marks like the Münster or Kaserne are shown on the map below. 

How to Rhine swim safely

  • Don’t swim alone or after drinking alcohol
  • Don’t jump of the bridges you could hurt yourself or others!
  • Swimming in the port or near weirs in not safe
  • Avoid the bridge pillars, there are dangerous eddies there that could pull you under
  • Please note:  Use of Inflatable flotation aids in the Rhine are prohibited by law

Rhine swimming app

The BACH App gives you the Rhine temperature, where to get in and out, where to find showers toilets, restaurants and bars.

Here’s a link to the current water temperature in the Rhine.  

Wild Swim by Steffan Daniel

From Glacial swimming to a paddle with the family, Wild Swim overviews more than 100 places to Swim in Switzerland’s beautiful lakes and rivers.  How to get there, how to swim safely and how to enjoy wild swimming to the maximum.  34.90 CHF from Bergli Books.


Thanks for reading the Things to do in Basel blog.

Love, Louise

Blogger @ Things to do in Basel

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