Serene Swimming Spots

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Wild swimming is having a renaissance and it’s not hard to see why. Wading into gloriously fresh water with a backdrop of forests and hills – as opposed to squeezing your way into an overcrowded lido with sides littered with used plasters and bawling toddlers – is definitely an idyllic picture. Studies have also shown the hobby to be beneficial to your mental health – so don those bathers and practice some self-care at these glorious dipping sites from across Europe.

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled

Slovenia has become something of a popular destination in recent years – around about the time visitors discovered it, it was just as beautiful as neighbouring Croatia and Italy. Within the country’s alpine landscape Lake Bled makes for a stunning wild swimming spot. Go in the summer for a warmer swim, and breaststroke out to the quaint islet in the centre of the lake. The swim takes about 10 minutes or so and ends with a charming walk around the church that has made the tiny island its home.

Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye, Scotland


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Found in Glen Brittle on the beautiful Isle of Skye, the Fairy Pools are truly something to behold. Why or from where the pools got their name is not certain, but tales of the little people have been told on the island for centuries. Swimmers are continually enticed into the water by its striking blue and green hues. Would-be dippers are warned however, that temperatures can be extremely low, as the pools are fed from fresh mountain streams and stay frigid throughout the summer – sounds brrrilliant if you ask me.

River Aare, Bern, Switzerland


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Wild swimming need not always be consigned to the countryside, as proven by this rather central spot in Switzerland’s capital. With a backdrop of the Swiss parliament building, the riverbank near Marzilibad is a lovely place to spend a summer afternoon. Pack a picnic and a blanket and dip into the cool waters of the River Aare to enjoy a breath of nature right in the centre of the city. You’ll find locals and tourists alike enjoying the waters and sunbathing on the grass – bliss!

Terme del Bullicame, Lazio, Italy


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Though these pools are wild, they have now had some infrastructure built around them too. The steaming thermal baths offer a gorgeous setting for a soak in piping hot spring water in the serene surrounds of the Italian countryside. This place is ever-popular with locals who come to relax their tired muscles and lounge under the trees. Furthermore, the hills around this whole area are dotted with even more hot springs, so be sure to chat to residents if you fancy going on a bath hunt.

Lake Skadar, Montenegro


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With its distinct dolphin shape (the nose of which pokes into Albania), this stunning lake is the largest in southern Europe. Wild swimming doesn’t get much more scenic than this, with floating meadows of water lilies, quaint shoreline villages, island monasteries and a mountain backdrop to boot. Hire a car so you can make the most of your exploration around the water, stopping for a swim here and there as you go. The Montenegrin portion of the lake lies in a protected national park, so clean waters and peaceful surrounds are guaranteed.

Elbstrand Blankenese, Hamburg, Germany


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Leave central Hamburg behind and travel out to the quiet suburbs of the city’s edge. Here you’ll find the Elbe River flowing lazily past grand houses surrounded by lush fauna, and even better – a long stretch of golden sand. The beach offers a tranquil summer retreat for Hamburgers (you heard) to enjoy after a long week at the office – though tourists are just as welcome to rock up and flop down. Pick up a stacked sandwich or two from a nearby deli and some ice-cold German beers from the local bottle shop and you’ll be laughing.