Of all the lakes that fall entirely within Switzerland’s borders, Lake Neuchâtel is the largest. Nestled beneath the Jura Mountains, its considerable expanse shimmers invitingly during the summer months. Though there’s no shortage of fun things to do at the lake, we’re offering up 9 reasons to paddleboard Lake Neuchâtel.
1. It’s a safe place for first-timers.
Newbies to paddleboarding (also referred to as SUP, or Stand Up Paddling), will love the small but safe, easily accessible beach in a calm, protected swimming area at La Nouvelle Plage. If you have your own board, it’s easy to find great access to the lake at several other places along its lengthy shoreline.
2. It’s good exercise.
It’s great for strengthening your core muscles, which in turn is fantastic if you tend to have chronic back pain (like I do). Plus, it provides an excellent full body workout. We love to kayak, but it’s always a bummer to paddle all day and wake up with burning arm and stomach muscles but your legs and butt didn’t get a workout. Paddleboarding flexes tiny little muscles you didn’t know you had, especially if you alternate positions when you paddle.
3. Dogs are welcome.
Many of the beaches are dog friendly, including La Nouvelle Plage, so your pooch can frolic on shore while you hone your paddling skills. Of course, if your dog loves to tag along for a ride, even better!
4. Anyone can learn to do it, regardless of age.
Not only is the learning curve relatively gentle, but the lake is large enough that you’re guaranteed to find a quiet spot where you don’t have a huge audience when you take your first header off your board. Plus, the good news is when you fall off, it’s easy to get back on!
5. Where else can you paddle with swans?
Lake Neuchâtel tends to be quite peaceful with a minimum of sailboats and fewer speedboats. With the nearby Grande Cariçaie wetlands hugging the shore and teaming with bird life, you’ll have no shortage of swans that elegantly drift along with you as you paddle.
6. It’s a nice place for your friends to hang out, even if they don’t want to join you in the lake.
They can always bring a good book to read, enjoy a glass of Swiss white wine, or just watch in sheer entertainment when your board ditches you, again. Ahhh, how lovely to have friends on shore to cheer you on…
7. Sunset. ‘Nuf said.
8. Paddleboarding merges well with other types of sports.
For example, if you’ve perfected the Flying Pigeon, Firefly, or Peacock on land, maybe you should give SUP yoga a try. Two sports in one – it’s like cheesecake ice cream, and who doesn’t love that?!
9. Dinner will taste even better after your SUP workout.
Lake Neuchâtel is littered with restaurants around the perimeter, but it would be a shame if you didn’t indulge in the best crêpes in Switzerland at La Nouvelle Plage’s adorable little beach eatery. Go for the Grand Marnier & cinnamon crêpes served with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream. And don’t worry about the calories – you’ll shed those pesky little things next time you paddle.
Voilà, nine reasons you really should try paddleboarding at Lake Neuchâtel. So what are you waiting for? Hit the lake!
- Paddleboards are available for rent by the hour at the beach, La Nouvelle Plage, in Estavayer-le-Lac. Expect to pay around 20 chf per hour, per board. Contact them directly for hours of operation as services are limited in the off-season.
- 😳 If you can’t resist skinny dipping (who could?!), try not to make too much of a ruckus. It might save you from alerting security, being spotlighted, and needing a friend to do some fancy talkin’ to get you out of paying a fine.