10 of The Best Paces In The World To Go Wild Swimming
Cooling off in a pool on a warm day or getting in some exhilarating full-body exercise that makes you feel alive, swimming can be great, but sometimes chlorine filled pools, fluorescent lighting, and squeaky tiles just won't cut it. Wild swimming offers up all the benefits of swimming as well as being out in the open and at one with nature.
It is a great way to get out and experience the world around you as well as interacting with it, and if you are a traveler, the involvement with your surroundings can create much more vivid memories. Here we look at a few of the best places in the world to go wild swimming.
1. Refugio Frey - Argentina
Take a dip in this glorious lake high up in the Argentinian Andes that offers relentless views that are almost as breathtaking as the cold water. If you follow the well-marked trail from Cerro Catedral in the Nahuel Huapi National Park up to the hut at the water's edge, you can swim in the shows of the vertiginous mountains.
January and February will be warmer times to splash about, but braver souls can take an icy dip any time they like.
2. Hampstead Mixed Pond - London, UK
The glorious greenery of London's Hampstead Heath is an oasis of serenity just North of the hustle and bustle of the city center, and many misunderestimate the size of the heath which has three bathing holes to enjoy during the summer months.
The best has to be the mixed pond though which costs £2 entry and has lifeguards to reassure nervous swimmers and a test of its waters daily to make sure all is well. Make sure to grab a spot by its banks early on though as when it is sunny, it becomes very popular.
3. Bajo Del Toro Rainforest Waterfalls - Costa Rica
Hiking through the lush Bajo Del Toro may well be sweaty business but it is well worth it, and afterward, you can take a dip in one of its many stunning waterfalls which include the La Promesa waterfall with its shallow plunge pool and nearby El Silencio Lodge.
Just 10 minutes walk from that is Bajos del Toro waterfall, which at 300 feet is one of Costa Rica’s highest.
4. Havnebadet, Islands Brygge, Copenhagen - Denmark
No one loves outdoor swimming more than the Danes, so much so that they will regularly take a dip when temperatures drop below freezing. Havnebadet in the center of Copenhagen is home to five pools and has space for both lounging about in the water and powering through a good few lengths of the pool.
With 'Kids Only' areas as well, be sure always to take your swimming essentials when you're in the area.
5. Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island - Canada
Vancouver Island has many beautiful bays and beaches to enjoy, but Qualicum Beach has views of the Strait of Georgia and the Coast Mountain Range that add that extra aspect of wonder to the paddling the wilds of Canada.
Popular in summer and with facilities for swimming and snorkeling it's a great spot to head out to.
6. Erskine Creek, Great Blue Mountains - Australia
The Great Blue Mountains are stunning, eucalyptus covered mountains about 70km West of Sydney and should you find yourself there head for Erskine Creek on the Jack Evans track.
A sandy beach and a 200-meter pool are what you will find along there, but there are plenty of other great swimming spots in the mountains including the Wentworth Falls.
7. Pedra de Luna, Sal - Cabo Verde
This island chain just off of the coast of Senegal has some stunning mountain backdrops, and that includes the extinct volcanic crater of Pedra de Luna which can be hiked to the top of to find a fantastic salt water pool.
Float on your back and let the world drift by in this crater in an otherworldly landscape that few other settings can really match up to. The salt crystals can be sharp underfoot, so bring neoprene shoes or sandals as entering barefoot is not advisable
8. Lake Geneva, Geneva - Switzerland
The iconic lake in Switzerland has long drawn swimmers to its waters as well as the Rhone rivers around it and the stunning mountainous region and glorious city that mixes old and new sure do make for a jaw-dropping backdrop.
On the Northern side of the Alps, it is shared by France and Switzerland.
9. Nauthhólsvík Geothermal Beach, Reykjavík - Iceland
In the world's most Northernmost capital, you may not expect to find a small white-sand beach, packed to capacity on bright summer days with sunbathing locals, especially since the air temperature rarely rises above 15°c even in summer but head into the geothermally heated water and you'll be in for a pleasant surprise.
A long, shallow pool full of geothermally heated seawater, right on the sand makes this a pretty awesome place to swim.
10. Cenotes X’keken and Samula - Mexico
The Yucatán peninsula has a wealth of cenotes, natural limestone sinkholes, that open up into vaulted caves with shimmering, if not a little chilly, pools of clear water and Cenote X’keken and Cenote Samula are arguably among the best.
Tree roots coming through the ceiling and moody lighting make it beautiful and thrilling.