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Best Beaches in Switzerland: Where to find Swiss sand, sun and shadow

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5. Mai 2024

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Home 9 English Articles 9 Switzerland 9 Best Beaches in Switzerland: Where to find Swiss sand, sun and shadow

Swiss beach life: Sandy beaches in Switzerland with that tropical feeling you’ve been missing. Eight Likes for four Lakes – discover and enjoy Schweizer Sandstrände Caribbean Style.

Perhaps you’ve heard the joke: «What is the name of the thinnest book in the world? – Beaches in Switzerland.» The punch line is based on the fact that Switzerland is a landlocked country.

Yep – there is no such thing as a sea in Switzerland.

Beaches in Switzerland: A guide to sandy beaches on Swiss lakes.
Beaches in Switzerland. Or «plage», as they say in the French-speaking part of the country. (Photo: Internaut)

And therefore no sea, no beach holiday in Switzerland? No chance to frolick in the sand and splash in the water at all?

Well, it is high time to share a beautiful little secret with you: the Swiss beach scene is alive and kicking – even in the absence of an ocean!

Are there any beaches in Switzerland? Yes, there is a Swiss beach life!

Of course, the expanse of the sea is somewhat lost on the Swiss lakes. Infinity views are lacking, as one can always see to the other side of a Swiss lake, sometimes closer, sometimes a little further away. The fate of a landlocked country.

And salt can only be found at best in the breakfast egg or in the salt shaker on your camping table. But still: there is so much to explore when it comes to beaches in Switzerland. Yes, we are talking about Swiss sandy beachfront places, that are ideal for a getaway on a nice summer day.

Beaches in Switzerland
Beaches in Switzerland: enjoy that barefoot waterfront feeling on Lake Zurich. (Picture: Internaut)

And yet I am here to argue that there are amazing Swiss sandy beaches, which by some measures can compete with their Caribbean counterparts.

Let’s take a look at the Swiss beach scene in a blogpost containing sound sand information across the country.

Is visiting Switzerland expensive? Yes, but these sandy beaches are free to visit

For this blogpost, I traveled around the country and looked at Switzerland’s offering of sandy beaches, talked to beach experts, sand insiders and the Helvetian beach intelligentsia.

As a result, here are my eight favorite Swiss beaches. An important selection criteria that I considered for the crazily over-heated summer months: All of these great beaches have good tree cover, so you can freely switch from powdery sand in the sun back to shade at any time.

Yes, travelling to and in Switzerland may be an expensive thing to do. The nice thing about the beach trips featured in this blogpost: All these sandy beach destinations in Switzerland are free to visit. ¡Vamos a la playa Suiza!

Beaches in Switzerland: Gäsi on Lake Walen, the cool beauty

Most Swiss (and foreign) motorists only know Lake Walen as a large expanse of water to the left of the highway when thundering into the Grisons mountains from Zurich. A small exit at the top of the lake in Weesen is, however, worthwhile for here lies, in my humble opinion, one of the most beautiful sandy beaches in German-speaking Switzerland.

In terms of refreshment factor, Lake Walen usually ranks high: it is a rather cool lake, even in the height of summer the water temperature rarely shoots above 20 degrees.

Sandy Beach on Lake Walen, Switzerland
Unwind in Gaesi at Lake Walen, bring your family. Bonus: plenty of shadow included. (Picture: Internaut)

Of course, the heatwave summers of 2018 and 2023 pushed the water temperature up, but even when it topped out at 23 degrees, Lake Walen remained a noticeable shade cooler than Lake Zurich.

Gäsi is best known in the eastern part of Switzerland. Make sure you travel there in the early hours of a sunny day, so your experience will be better than arriving later and finding a crowded lakefront.

Gäsi Beach Lake Walen: good to know

How to get there: By car via the Weesen freeway exit. Attractive travel alternative: By bike from Ziegelbrücke train station, this trip takes approx. 20 minutes. Infrastructure: Camping site, nice restaurant.

Web info: https://www.amden-weesen.ch/Attraktionen/Gaesi-Sandstrand-zwischen-Wald-und-See

Beaches in Switzerland: peninsula Au Zürichsee, charmingly hidden

Lake Zurich (Zürichsee) is a special phenomenon worldwide: Rarely does one see a lake with a coastline that is so heavily built up.

One can especially appreciate the density of the settlements at night: The chain of lights around the body of water never seems to break.

Beaches in Switzerland Lake Zurich Au Peninsula
Lakefront beach on Au Peninsula, Lake Zurich: Lots of sand, no gnomes of Zurich in sight. (Picture: Internaut)

All the more surprising, then, that this lake also has a picturesque sandy beach to offer: on the Au peninsula, about 25 kilometers away from the city of Zurich. For me, the best free sandy beach experience on Lake Zurich.

Just a short walk from the ferry landing , you’ll come across a pretty ribbon of sand surrounded by trees. Zurich’s answer to Guadeloupe.

Sandy Beach Lake Zurich: navigation

How to get there: By boat or on foot in about an hour from Horgen. Perfect route for cycling, too. Infrastructure: The beach itself is untouched. There are picnic and barbecue facilities, and a short walk away, on the hill above, you will find a country inn to visit. Perfect for coffee and sweets.

Web info: https://www.badi-info.ch/zh/au-halbinsel-baden.html

Beaches in Switzerland: Yvonand Lake Neuchâtel at the pine forest

When one thinks about lakes in Switzerland, two usually come to mind because of their size: Lake Constance (Bodensee) and Lake Geneva (Genfersee, Lac Léman). And of course the very popular Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee) because of its location in the heart of the country and its scenery with the Alps.

For beach fans, however, the triple-pack of Lake Biel (Bielersee), Lake Murten (Murtensee) and Lake Neuchâtel (Neuenburgersee, Lac de Neuchâtel) is worth a visit. In terms of sandy beaches, the latter is my favorite – especially the locations near Yverdon.

Sandy Beaches in Switzerland, Lake Neuchatel
Yvonand, Lake Neuchatel: Sandy beach in the western part of Switzerland. (Photo: Internaut)

My suggestion: Yvonand. The place is blessed with a very pretty beach right next to a wooded area. «Plage des Pins» is the name of this section, which means beach of pine trees.

For me, this is one of the absolute top addresses for a sandy beach in Switzerland.

Yvonand Plage Lake Neuchatel: good to know

How to get there: By car or even by train: the beach can be reached in 15 to 20 minutes from the Yvonand train station. Infrastructure: The campsite has a restaurant, lively little beach bar available at the Plage.

Web info: Look here for travel and beaches on the Yverdon les bains region, including Yvonand plage.

Best sandy beaches in Switzerland: Cheseaux-Noréaz Lake Neuchâtel, Crique-Chic

May I confess something? Okay: I saved my absolute favorite for third last: Cheseaux-Noréaz, also on Lake Neuchâtel, is an excellent Swiss outdoor bijou. In my humble opinion and review: The perfect Swiss Beach.

In addition to a large sandy beach, the so-called «criques», or the small bays, create a very special magic.

Beaches in Switzerland, Lake Neuchatel close to Yverdon
Crique-Chic on Lake Neuchatel. (Picture: Internaut)

And I just like the name: «Cheseaux-Noréaz», which has a certain Club-Med-charm to it and somehow sounds not so much like the Swiss Confederation, but more like the South Seas or the French Caribbean. Simply stunning.

Should you be in the area of Yverdon: Please visit. But make sure to be there in the early hours, before the crowds arrive. After lunch time, the waterfront can get pretty crowded.

Beach on lake Neuchatel: navigation

How to get there: Best by car. Many parking spaces are available at the campsite. Infrastructure: Simple Buvette on the beach, picnic and barbecue facilities also available.

Web info: http://www.campings-ccyverdon.ch/vd8-presentation/?lang=de

Beaches in Switzerland: Vidy Plage, the cool beach near Lausanne at Lake Geneva

In June 2020, I fulfilled a long-held wish: I went by foot from Lausanne-Ouchy to the Vidy beach. On the one hand, because I enjoy a stroll through Lausanne very much. And on the other hand, because I have always heard a lot of good things about the Plage de Vidy.

I must say that what I have seen surpasses what I have heard. The main beach is more than 500 meters long, easily accessible from the promenade and has many shady spots. Seaside feelings, made in Switzerland!

Swimming and relaxing in Lausanne, Vidy Plage Strand
Some call it «Laus Angeles». I call it Lausanne, Vidy Beach. (Photo: Internaut)

The walk from Lausanne-Ouchy takes about half an hour and is absolutely worth it. Wooded areas, sports fields and restaurants make for a varied scene along the lakefront. Especially in summer, the kids of Lausanne gather along this strip, giving plenty of hustle and bustle far into the night. Ça roule – cool.

What diminishes the experience at the Plage de Vidy, however, is that apparently the authorities advise against swimming at this spot. The reason is due to too many microbes in the water. I went in anyway, and a week later I still felt okay. Nevertheless cautious people may prefer to enjoy the beach only, and let the bathing be. Or one couldenjoy the beach first and later walk to the nearby Bellerive swimming pool for a swim. It’s also on the lake and is the star of Lausanne’s public swimming pools.

Vidy Plage Lausanne: good to know

Getting there: From Lausanne station, first take the metro to Ouchy; from there, about a half-hour walk toward Morges/Geneva. Infrastructure: Toilets, showers, restaurant, store and campsite. Web info: https://www.lausanne.ch/de/vie-pratique/nature/parc-promenades/sites-de-loisirs/vidy.html

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Lovely beach on Lake Geneva: Préverenges

And here is another lovely sandy beach on in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. It stretches for hundreds of metres in the small town of Préverenges on Lake Geneva.

Besides of the main part of the beach there are other sandy parts close by.

Lovely Beach on Lake Geneva: Preverenges, close to Morges.
Préverenges offers quite a big sandy beach, close to Morges. (Picture: Internaut)

On a nice summer day – not too hot, perpaps – it is a good idea to talk a walk from Morges towards Préverenges, all along the lakefront. It may take you 35 minutes or so, always along the shore of Lake Geneva.

The last bit will take you through a forrest. Before reaching the main part of Préverenges beach, you have the chance to spot some sandy places in this region that are not as occupied as the big beach itself.

Préverenges beach on Lake Geneva: good to know

Getting there: From Morges it’s just a short bus ride, get out at station Préverenges Village, followed by a 5 Minute’s walk. Infrastructure: Toilets, showers, refreshment bar, car park. Tours and activities: boats, canoes and kayaks for hire.

Web info: https://www.morges-tourisme.ch/en/P6676/preverenges

Free sandy beaches Switzerland: basic information

All these beaches do not belong to a public swimming pool. So: No entry-fee required, free access for everybody. But also: No baywatch or surveillance provided.

Expats wishing to improve their German: You can find this blogpost also in German. Please proceed and visit: Die schönsten Sandstrände der Schweiz.

Lake Murten Salavaux: The classic

In the summer of 2023, I finally manage to research one of the most famous Swiss sandy beaches and list it here: Salavaux on Lake Murten.

This ribbon of sand in the municipality of Vully-Les-Lacs stretches all the way to Avenches and is considered one of the longest natural freshwater sandy beaches in Europe.

Salavaux sandy beach on Lake Morat on a beautiful summer day with people making themselves comfortable by the water. Picture showing a beach bar billboard with offerings, including fish and chips.
Salavaux Beach on Lake Murten. Yesssss, fish and chips is an option the menu. (Photo: Internaut)

Compared to other Swiss sandy beaches, the beach in Salavaux in the canton of Vaud is rather narrow, but very long.

This also offers advantages: protective shade is never far away from the sandy strip: just behind this beach on Lake Morat, it cools down a bit thanks to the large stand of trees.

Beach on Lake Murten in Switzerland on a hot summer day, people relaxing in the shade and strolling on the sandy beach.
Sandy Beach in Salavaux on Lake Murten: strolling on the beach, resting in the shadow – or both. (Internaut)

Good to know: Be there early on weekends, vacations or public holidays. Like other Swiss beaches, this one fills up quickly – and then it can get crowded.

This is especially true for this classic place, best known on Lake Murtej, because the sandy beach is one of the more crowded of the Swiss sandy beaches presented and rated in this Swiss sandy beaches report.

Sandy beach Salavaux Lake Murten: how to get there by public transportation

Arrival: From Bern by train to Ins and then by post bus to Salavaux Ecole station. Or: By train to Faoug and then in about an hour on foot along Lake Murten to the TCS camping. Infrastructure: Good range of restaurants and food stalls, water sports rental, large playground. Web info: Sandy beach Salavaux Lake Murten. Events: Plage Salavaux.

Lake Neuchâtel once again: Colombier

In spring 2024, I manage to research a tip near the town of Neuchâtel on Lake Neuchâtel for the first time: La Plage de Colombier, now politically part of the municipality of Milvignes, is located around 6 kilometers west of Neuchâtel.

Here you will find the sandy beach front, which is considered the largest stretch of a sandy beach on the northern shore of Lake Neuchâtel. A very beautiful beachfront place that is ideal for a getaway in the western part of Switzerland.

Sandy beach on lake neuchatel in Switzerland, almost empty, only a sunshade to be seen.
Stunning beach of Colombier: Perfect for a day in the sun near Neuchâtel. (Internaut)

The fact that this beach near the village of Colombier is also known as «Paradis Plage» is easy to understand when you visit. Fine sand, shady trees – and just behind the sandy beach is a large sunbathing area.

Insider tip: If you have a little time and leisure and fancy a ten-minute walk along the lake in a westerly direction, you will reach the pretty Chalet Petit Robinson restaurant.

Colombier sandy beach on Lake Neuchâtel: Navigation

How to get there: From Neuchâtel city center, take the streetcar from Place Pury Littorail station to Auvernier Littorail station and then walk to the beach in about 20 minutes. The streetcar ride along the lake alone is reason enough to make the trip. Infrastructure: Showers and toilets available, campsite right next to the beach. Web info: Look here for Colombier and other beaches of the Neuchatel region.

Autor:in

Andreas Güntert

Andreas Güntert

[email protected]

Seit 1994 erforscht und beschreibt Andreas Güntert hauptberuflich als kritischer Sympathisant der Wirtschaft die Schnittstellen von Konsum, Gesellschaft und Reise-Industrie. Als Reiseblogger der Internaut lotet er das Reise-Internet aus. Der Internaut ist ein Storyteller – unabhängig, munter, pointiert. Und immer seinen Leserinnen und Lesern verpflichtet.

Kommentare

6 Kommentare
  1. Kofler

    Like it, good idea. But how about ‚Ticino‘, Lago Maggiore/Maggia, Lago Lugano, etc. ? Second part planned?

    Antworten
    • internaut

      Thank you and grazie, Karl. In this very blogpost, I focus on free public beaches. So no beaches in Public Swimming Pools with an entry fee. Ticino has nice sandy beaches in public Swimming Pools, such as Ascona, Lugano and Locarno. Besides taht, do you know any free sandy beaches on lakes in Ticino? If so, please tell me. In my humble opinion, the sandy beaches on Lake Neuchatel and Lake Geneva are best. There I will add more sandy beaches coming up this summer. Best, -andreas-

      Antworten
  2. Edith Weibel

    Good idea! Why moving far away when the charming lake adventures are located so close to our homes?

    Antworten
    • internaut

      Thank you my dear! Wobei: Mal wieder nah am und im Salzwasser wär schon auch mal wieder was. Aber wir müssen Meer und See ja auch nicht gegeneinander ausspielen. Besonders, wenn unsere Seen so viel Mehrwert bieten.

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  3. Jaaag

    Really?? No Preverenge beach?? ????

    Antworten
    • internaut

      Hello and thanks for your input. Believe it or not – just yesterday I happened to be at Préverenges in order to have a close look at ist. Very nice place, quite big by Swiss standards. Usually, each year I add a new beach to this blogpost. So Préverenges will be the next one; the update is due in May. Best, -andreas aka der Internaut-

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