Kayaking - the popular summer activity in Switzerland for active nature lovers. Countless rivers and lakes suitable for kayaking are on the Swiss map. Our guide will help you choose the most suitable routes across lakes and rivers. Our FAQ at the bottom of the page will give you important information about safety and specific dangers when kayaking. You can also read about the differences between kayak, canoe and Canadian canoe.
Lake Lucerne kayaking
Kayaking on Lake Vierwaldstättersee is a real highlight! The lake is characterized by its winding outlets and deep blue color and is one of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland. With a maximum depth of 214 meters and an area of 114 km2, the lake lies on the territory of no less than five Swiss cantons: Lucerne, Uri, Schwyz, Obwalden and Nidwalden.
On the Lake Lucerne the kayak heart beats immediately higher! On the beautiful azure lake you can explore nine different tours around the entire lake and the beautiful surroundings of the shores surrounded by mountains.
The so-called Canoe Trail Lake Lucerne consists of nine routes that can be navigated by canoe or kayak even without great prior knowledge. If you complete all nine stages, which can also be planned as daily stages, you can even circumnavigate the entire Lake Lucerne!
The unbelievably beautiful view of the Swiss Prealps is a special feature of the waterway. Canoes or kayaks can be rented directly on site and you will also find all the equipment you (still) need. Guided tours can also be booked or kayak/canoe courses attended as desired.
The canoe routes can be arranged by yourself or you can follow one of the already arranged routes. The documents and guides for these tours also include the best entry and exit points, rest areas, campsites, toilets and no-drive and danger zones. So on the Canoe Trail Lake Lucerne you are perfectly equipped to paddle into a scenic and active adventure!
Starting points for the canoe trail include Lucerne, Horw, Stansstad, Brunnen, Weggis or Küssnacht. The towns are all easily accessible by car or public transport.
Lake Brienz kayaking
In the canton of Bern, Lake Brienz is nestled between the Bernese and Emmental Alps. Its shores are steeply sloping, which is why it has almost no shallows, and it is one of the cleanest lakes in all of Switzerland. On the northern shore is the municipality of Brienz, which gave it its name, and on the southern shore are the well-known towns of Interlaken, Matten and Unterseen.
For example, in the village of Bönigen, which is located directly on Lake Brienz, you can rent kayaks and other water sports equipment and discover Lake Brienz on a tour. Schools located directly on the lake offer kayak courses, coaching and guided tours.
The tours also lead upstream to the truly impressive Giessbach Falls, where the Giessbach plunges over rocks and cliffs over a height difference of an incredible 500 meters. A path leading under the waterfall can even be explored on foot. You can combine this incredible sight with a leisurely kayak tour.
Enjoying the breathtaking view over the mirror-like lake and the surrounding mountain peaks, while actively steering your kayak and experiencing the atmosphere of pure nature: the kayak tours on Lake Brienz will enchant you!
Lake Geneva kayaking
Kayaking on the largest lake in Switzerland and France has long ceased to be a rarity. The lake is located on the territory of three different Swiss cantons (Geneva, Vaud, Valais) and France. Along the southern shore you can enjoy the magnificent view of the Mont Blanc massif and also of the popular Swiss city of Geneva, while along the northern shore are the famous cities of Lausanne and Nyon.
Not only a wonderful natural landscape and various nature reserves await you on the various tours. There are also historical highlights: the world-famous Chillon Castle, for example, which is considered the "Jewel of Lake Geneva", sits enthroned on the shore of the lake and can also be reached by kayak. A short tour of the moated castle, steeped in history, is a welcome change from paddling.
Or how about a tour of the Jet d'Eau, the landmark of the city of Geneva? The fountain of the fountain, which stands directly in front of the city shore in the water of Lake Geneva, reaches a height of up to 140 meters and is the most famous visitor magnet of Geneva. To see it up close is possible only from the water.
Lake Geneva is very scenic, with many of the hidden beaches, often only accessible from the water, being natural and offering great views of the Alps.
The many kayak rentals and tour providers are scattered along the entire shore of the lake and are mostly accessible by car or public transport.
Lake Trübsee Kayaking
Enjoying the surrounding landscape on a crystal clear mountain lake at over 1700 m.a.s.l. and the whole thing in a kayak? The Trübsee between Engelberg and the Titlis makes it possible!
The beautiful mountain lake is located in the middle of an alpine plateau. Its deep blue color contrasts beautifully with the green overgrown Alpine nature and the surrounding mountain massifs.
The wonderful view of the mountain panorama of Titlis and Co. is breathtaking and accompanies you all the way across the mountain lake. Between July and August, guided tours by kayak on the Trübsee can be undertaken in good weather.
Lake Trüeb offers not only cozy and scenic spectacular moments, but also hidden bays in the quiet mountain world to discover. A bath towel, sporty clothes and a change of clothes should be brought along, other equipment (kayak, paddle, helmet, life jacket) will be provided
Without any previous knowledge, you can marvel at the flora and fauna of the Alps while kayaking and at the same time do some sports. The Engelberg Ski School offers tours here for beginners and leisurely paddlers, starting at six people. A reservation is therefore advisable.
In addition to the kayak excursions, it is also possible to book a barbecue or a subsequent ride on the scooter back to Engelberg. The tours offer the perfect alpine adventure for water sports enthusiasts and kayak fans and last about 1.5 hours.
The splashing of the paddles in the mirror-smooth lake allows a feeling of active relaxation and makes for an unforgettable kayak tour at 1764 meters above sea level
For adventurous kayakers, Switzerland offers a range of river tours that include calm and leisurely stages on the one hand and wild rapids on the other. The Swiss river landscape offers the right conditions for really everyone. Here are the most beautiful river tours by kayak:
With a length of 164 kilometers, the Reuss is the fourth longest river in Switzerland and rises in the famous Gotthard massif. From there it makes its way to the canton of Aargau, where it flows into the second largest river in Switzerland, the Aare. As one of the few large rivers in Switzerland that is still in its natural state, the Reuss is considered a true natural spectacle.
The Reuss trumps above all with its wonderfully green banks, which are dotted throughout with small, secluded gravel beaches. They invite you to stop, barbecue or take a break. Not all sections of the Reuss are suitable for kayaking, but the permitted stretches offer all the more to discover
Especially the route between Bremgarten and Mellingen is considered one of the most beautiful. Various river islands and sandbanks protrude from the riverbed here and invite you to swim and relax. You can enter the water at the Hexenturm in Bremgarten, where the river tour, which takes about 2.5 hours, begins. The official exit is below the old people's home in Mellingen.
On the Reuss, smaller rapids alternate with calmer passages: a perfect mix of adventure and relaxation. Due to the different water conditions and the non-continuous water depth, it is advantageous to already have kayaking experience. On guided tours on the Reuss, the skills for this can be learned quickly and experienced guides ensure safety when driving and handling the kayaks.
The Reuss is a natural spectacle for kayak fans!
The Aare flows in the famous "Aareschlaufe" around the old town of Bern. In summer, it is one of the hotspots of the whole of Switzerland, where the most diverse water sports enthusiasts and the so-called "Böötler" meet. Especially the section between Lake Thun and the national capital enjoys a boom in the summer months.
The longest river running entirely through Switzerland is a true paradise for kayakers. There are several kayak providers on the banks of the Aare. Here you can gear up for a leisurely paddle and maneuver your way down the river toward the capital. The currents on the Aare are usually quite swift, which is why you can drift along this stretch in many places and use the paddles to steer
The banks of the river are also very busy in the summertime. While you pass between green, natural sections and well-visited bathing places and beaches, you can in between overcome the currents and rapids and immediately afterwards spend calmer passages leisurely in the kayak. The Aare is very varied. Equipped with an introduction and a life jacket, this route offers perfect conditions for all ages!
There are also numerous places to get off along the banks, where you can stop for a bite to eat, a barbecue, a swim, or simply take a break. For example, you can get off completely at the Eichholz campsite and river beach, a true place to be! Located on the outskirts of Bern, this is where sun-seekers enjoy summer days eating, playing volleyball or simply soaking up the sun. Many return points of the various kayak providers are also located here. The Aare can also be navigated from its region of origin.
The Ruinaulta, as the Rhine Gorge is called in Rhaeto-Romanic, is a gorge through which the Vorderrhein flows. In the canton of Graubünden, it flows as the source river of the Rhine through the landscape characterized by steep cliffs, deep gorges and pointed rocks. The protected natural areas of the Rhine Gorge have plenty to offer adventure-seeking kayakers.
The rugged nature of the river is characterized by ripping rapids and fun whitewater. The most famous white-water stretch runs through the Flims Gorge, offering experienced kayakers challenging currents and exciting maneuvers. The most difficult passages can be easily circumnavigated, but the Vorderrhein gorge is not suitable for beginners on their own. However, with a qualified guide at your side, it is possible to navigate the easier flowing sections of this beautiful valley even without prior experience, while gaining basic knowledge of the sport.
For kayak professionals it is possible to book guided tours, where you can improve your kayaking techniques and test the spectacular flowing conditions of the Vorderrhein. For very experienced riders there is the possibility to paddle the river on their own. Of course, it is also important here to adapt to the safety regulations and instructions and to travel safely with a life jacket and helmet.
The breathtaking and wild nature in the whole valley is absolutely worth visiting the Ruinaulta and keep the adrenaline level high during an exciting kayak trip.
Welcome to the sunny region of Switzerland! The Mediterranean climate in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino, beyond the Gotthard Pass, lets you really breathe in the vacation air. Leisurely heading towards the sunny south, kayaking enthusiasts can paddle on the eponymous Ticino River, marveling at Switzerland's beautiful alpine scenery alongside palm trees thriving in the warm climate. Kayaking through the unspoiled Leventina Valley means southern flair paired with alpine mountain air.
The most famous and popular route is the one from Cresciano to Arbedo, which leads over 8 kilometers on the clear blue river through the Ticino nature. Various operators run tours on this stretch and at other points on the river. For independent trips, SwitzerlandMobility offers, for example, maps and information on the route, water conditions and any danger zones, as well as the best embarkation points and tips on getting there and back. In addition, canoes for several people can be rented in Cresciano. Not far from the end of the route is the well-known city of Bellinzona, capital of the Canton of Ticino. Here, for example, a small city tour and a delicious gelato are also an option.
The shores of the Ticino offer, in addition to dense vegetation, long beaches that seem to be made for pausing kayakers. On these beaches and islands you can moor and enjoy your break in perfect vacation mode: sun, warmth, nature. The Ticino has a very wide gravel bed and therefore offers the ideal conditions to paddle comfortably with the current towards Bellinzona.
For those who want to actively relax, enjoy the Mediterranean nature and at the same time feel the Swiss Alpine charm.
Swiss Activities Tips
Verzasca Valley - Kayaking in top class white water
Switzerland definitely comes up trumps with many natural spectacles and one of the most beautiful of these can be found in Ticino: the Verzasca Valley. The Verzasca River flows through the gorges in the form of emerald green water, past huge boulders and tongues of rock and right through the middle of a magnificent green landscape. You almost feel like you are in the tropics! Large and small waterfalls, entire waterfall terraces and especially the crystal clear water make the Verzasca Valley one of the most beautiful destinations in the whole of Switzerland and offer kayakers not only spectacular views but also very challenging and adventurous kayaking routes
Due to the sometimes very steep slopes of the Verzasca, it is not suitable everywhere for inexperienced kayakers. The higher part of the river is easier to navigate and very popular, but is still considered a white water stretch. The further you go downstream, the more challenging the stretch becomes, as the water eats into the rocks more and more in the lower areas
This creates truly spectacular whitewater courses that are an excellent opportunity for professionals to enjoy an action-packed trip. For inexperienced kayaking enthusiasts, it is highly recommended to run this river only in the company of a guide and after a kayak introduction. The beauty of the river sometimes drowns out its potential danger
The tours through the Valle Verzasca are by far among the most beautiful and spectacular in the whole of Switzerland.
Kayaking in the Swiss summer offers the right tour for everyone. Whether it's leisurely lake tours or adrenaline kicks in the white waters of the Swiss rivers: with the tours described here, you'll be well equipped for a kayaking adventure of your choice in beautiful Switzerland.
Lake Thun - canoeing for leisurely people
In addition to kayaking, canoeing has also become a popular recreational activity in Switzerland as a very similar water discipline. In a canoe, up to four people can paddle in one boat at the same time, making this trip the perfect family adventure together on Lake Thun!
Lake Thun](https://www.swissactivities.com/en-ch/bern-region/bernese-oberland/interlaken/lake-thun/) is located in the Bernese Oberland on the edge of the Alps, making it one of Switzerland's beautiful alpine lakes. Between the southern tip of the lake and the adjacent Lake Brienz is the world-renowned alpine town of Interlaken. At the northern end of the lake is Thun, the town that gives the lake its name.
The breathtaking landscape of vines, castles and green lakeshores is framed by the mountain panorama of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau in the background. A spectacular and incredibly diverse environment awaits canoeists on the turquoise-blue Alpine lake.
The Lake Thun Canoe Trail runs along the entire western shore of the deep blue Lake Thun, showing every paddler idyllic spots and recommended places to take a break. With quad canoes, which can be rented from two persons, or a SUP, the individual stations can be reached on the lake path.
The canoes and SUPs can be rented and returned at all stations, which is why a one-way offer is also possible.
In Spiez, for example, you can not only admire the most beautiful bay in all of Europe and the ancient castle of Spiez, but there is also one of the stations of the canoe trail. The station at the Blue Turtle Bistro, about 4.5 kilometers further on, invites you to eat or take a breather, while the stretch between Spiez and Gwatt reveals untouched natural shores
The drop-off points are not always open due to weather conditions, so it is advisable to book in advance
Whether with the family, in groups or with friends, a day canoeing on Lake Thun is not only enormous fun, but also shows the magical beauty of this popular Alpine lake