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Lai Barnagn: Switzerland’s Beautiful Family Lake

(Last Updated On: October 18, 2023)

Savognin’s bathing lake, Lai Barnagn, lies in the canton of Grisons (Graubünden), Switzerland. Located in the Surses Valley (Val Surses in Romansh), it is 1,160 meters above sea level.

It is quite a small lake. You can walk around the lake in 20 to 30 minutes. It only has a length of 250 meters and a width of 50 meters. 

Image by TouringSwitzerland.com

Some consider Lai Barnagn to be the cleanest lake or freshest lake in Switzerland.

Savognin’s bathing lake offers many attractions for its visitors. Since it is not as high and as large as other alpine lakes in Graubünden, it gets warmer faster. In fact, it is one of the warmest bathing lakes in the Swiss Alps. The water is also crystal clear.

One of Switzerland’s Freshest Lakes

What makes people think it’s fresher than other lakes? The lake only exists during the summer.

Each year, the lake’s waters change. It is only present from Spring through Autumn. The water is then drained again before winter. The lake is then filled up again starting in May of the following year.

The water comes from the local spring waters. When the ski season is over, the area where the lake will be is thoroughly cleaned. Over time, the lake gradually fills up with fresh water. Around the end of May, it gets filled. The lake stays there until autumn.

Local waters of the Julia River. Image by TouringSwitzerland.com.

During the winter, the water is drained. The site is prepared and transformed into a parking lot. The parking lot is there to accommodate the influx of winter guests. With 80 kilometers of ski slopes, Savognin gets a lot of visitors; so the space for the lake in summer serves as a parking lot for both day visitors and campers in winter.

You can easily see the floor of the lake, especially right after it has been filled. That is how clear the water is. A greener, more turquoise-like color develops over time in the water. 

Things to Do in Lai Barnagn Lake

Swimming

Image by TouringSwitzerland.com

One end of the lake is shallow while the other is deeper. The shallow end is also near the children’s playground, so toddlers and young children tend to stay there. Adults and older children tend to stay on the other end – the deeper end.

Children’s Play Area

The end of the lake next to the play area has a shallow area which is nice for small children. The lake’s shallow end is a favorite spot for kids to wade; the water playground and wooden raft are also popular. 

At the other end of the lake, the water is deeper. This area is more popular with adults and older children. Those who dare can also use the slackline at the other end of the lake. 

Beach Volleyball

A soccer field and a beach volleyball court are located next to the restaurant.

Image of Beach Volleyball Court by TouringSwitzerland.com

Mini-golf Course

There is a minigolf course at the lower end of the lake. 18 different courses make up the mini-golf course. Clubs and balls are available for rent from the kiosk near the lake. 

Image of Mini-golf Course by TouringSwitzerland.com

 Apart from bathing, there are several other things to do. You can rent a pedalo, a boat, or a Standup Paddle at the restaurant. 

Treasure Hunt

Image of Treasure Hunt Instructions by TouringSwitzerland.com

Children can also participate in a treasure hunt. I’ve seen children and pre-teens trying to solve these puzzles. The lake restaurant can provide you with a treasure hunt log book. You will need to follow the signs around the lake and answer the questions. Once you have completed the logbook, you should bring it to the tourist office of Savognin for the key to the treasure chest. 

To sum it up, here are the various activities that you can do at Lai Barnagn:

  • Beach volleyball courts
  • Raft with mattress
  • 18-course Miniature Golf
  • Pedalo
  • Slide, carousel and swings
  • Sand playground
  • Slackline
  • Table Tennis
  • Treasure Hunt
  • Water trampoline

Eventually, a bike pump track will be constructed near the lake. Let’s hope they’ll add it very soon.

Lai Barnagn Restaurant

Image of Lai Barnagn Restaurant by TouringSwitzerland.com

Several barbecue spots are located along the lake for those who wish to eat. In addition, there is a kiosk that sells drinks and food.

From May to October, the kiosk is open daily. Check valsurses.ch for the official dates and opening hours. Next to the kiosk are changing rooms, showers, and toilets. 

How to Get to Lai Barnagn Lake

Image by TouringSwitzerland.com

You can reach the lake by bus from Chur or Tiefencastel. The stop is called “Savognin, Cresta”. On foot, you can reach the lake in about 10 minutes from the bus stop. 

By car, you can park near the Savognin Valley Station and walk to the lake. You can reach Lai Barnagn in a minute from the parking lot.

Summary

Image by TouringSwitzerland.com

Switzerland has many family-friendly lakes, including Lake Heid (Heidsee), Lake Cauma (Caumasee), and Lake Zurich (Zürichsee). Lai Barnagn is one of those I would consider family-friendly. In addition to being very fresh, these waters are also warmer than other alpine lakes. Aside from that, it is small enough for parents to keep an eye on their children.

You can do a wide range of activities in the lake besides bathing. There is a pedalo, a boat, a water trampoline, and a slackline. The lake has several sports options: table tennis, a soccer field, or a mini-golf course, and you can do any of them near Lai Barnagn. 

Image by TouringSwitzerland.com

If you would like to eat, you can do so at the kiosk (they have good food) or you can use one of the barbecue pits near the lake. 

The lake is not only family-friendly but also free. It is always open, so you can come in at any time. No gates or barricades prevent you from entering. For young children, I think the lake is ideal. Here, toddlers and primary school children will feel at ease. Getting there early is a good idea during summer when it’s quite busy. 

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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.

Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.

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