GENEVA, Switzerland — Chances are that when it gets hot, you’ll be dipping in one of the many rivers or lakes in the area. But.. what about water quality and the dreaded “duck fleas”?
Here is what we know.
Water quality is measured monthly in Lake Geneva, while bacteriological tests are carried out every other week from May to October by both Swiss and French authorities (find the Geneva weekly results here). Unless otherwise noted through the media or townships – most lake water is considered safe.
Finding a beach near you
In a regular season, there are between 112-115 beaches approved for swimming including 14 in canton Geneva. Download / open the 2015 brochure for beaches or download the App here for the latest beach info.
Swimming in rivers
In general, canton Geneva discourages people from swimming in its rivers as they do not meet the “high ecological standards” set up in the German-speaking cantons. Nevertheless, the city has built piers and improved access to both the Arve and Rhone rivers.
Beaches around these rivers—and there are more than 300km to explore around the canton—are also open to dogs. Most humans however, dip in the Rhone river starting after the quai de Sujet near la Jonction (see photo below).
- Find the beaches and fresh water bodies that get high marks here.
- Find beaches in rivers and lakes in neighboring France in this official website.
- Find beaches in rivers and lakes around canton Vaud here.
Duck fleas & prevention
Those pesky “duck fleas” (not really “fleas” but rather parasitic larvae) that produce the Cercarial dermatitis or swimmer’s itch, are mostly found in warm (20C), shallow waters, surrounded by vegetation.
To avoid them, it is recommended to swim in colder, deeper waters. To avoid itching, shower after swimming, or dry off vigorously with a towel to remove possible offenders.
If you would rather swim in one of the many chlorine-sanitized pools in the area, find a listing I prepared for GenevaLunch which contains all indoor and outdoor pools.
Now… let’s swim!