The Aare is the longest wholly Swiss river. It originates from the Oberaar glacier in the eastern Bernese Alps, flows through lakes Brienz and Thun, passes by the federal capital of Bern, is channelled into Lake Biel, follows the southern foot of the Jura range and finally flows into the Rhine at Koblenz, in north-western Switzerland. Passenger boats operate on the lakes as well as the river section from Biel to Solothurn.

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Not far from its source in the Grimsel region, the river crosses the deeply carved-out, up to 200-metres-deep Aare ravine near Meiringen. From here, the Aare flows on toward Brienz, where it firstly flows into Lake Brienz, and then into Lake Thun at Interlaken. Scheduled passenger boats including an historic paddlewheel steamer operate on both these lakes at the periphery of the Alps.
At Thun, the Aare leaves Lake Thun and flows on toward the federal capital of Bern, a river section which is extremely popular with the skippers of rubber dinghies. In Bern, the river forms the renowned “Aare loop” around the Bernese old town. While the old original course of the Aare – today only a tranquil rivulet – flowed past the right side of Lake Biel, the channelled river course flows into Lake Biel. Passenger vessels operate on Lake Biel and, in the summer months, on the following river section from Biel to Solothurn.

Leaving Solothurn, the Aare flows towards its debouchure, past the two towns of Olten and Aaran until it reaches Brugg, where, after a narrow valley opening, the Aare merges with the two larger rivers Reuss and Limmat, and at Koblenz, after 291 km, finally opens into the Rhine.


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