With Spring soon upon us, it’s bound to get you in the mood for some outdoor swimming, right? There are few things better than chucking on your bathing suit or swim shorts and jumping head-first into a refreshing outdoor pool. And whilst a trip to your local leisure centre is all well and good, we think swimming can be better (and healthier) than that.
Here are some of the health benefits connected to outdoor swimming, including a boosted immune system, strengthened muscles and an enhanced mood.
Cold water swimming is more effective for weight loss
Taking a chilly dip has been proven to burn around 6% more calories than swimming in more ambient temperatures. This is due to your body using up additional energy trying to keep warm, as well as through exercising.
A saltwater swim is an ancient beauty treatment
Thalassotherapy (seawater therapy) was pioneered by Ancient Greek philosopher, Hippocrates. Not only has it been shown to improve circulation and immunity, it’s also an incredible skin exfoliator and can give your hair extra shine.
Underwater swimming is a wellness wonder
Studies have shown that underwater swimming can improve mental health conditions including depression and anxiety, thanks to the increased feelings of calm that regular breathing control encourages.
So, without further ado, we’ve found some of the best outdoor swimming places in cities around the world. From lidos and beaches to lakes and sea baths – straighten your goggles and spruce up your front crawl, it’s time to dive in!
1) Bondi Icebergs, Sydney, Australia
Going for a swim in the panoramic Bondi Icebergs pool comes complete with one of the best ocean views imaginable. Jutting out into the Tasman Sea, and often awash with crashing waves, this saltwater haven dates back to 1929 when it was used to train lifeguards.
2) Hampstead Heath Ponds, London, United Kingdom
Once a collection of clay pits, Hampstead Heath Ponds have found a new lease of life as a swimming destination for water-loving Londoners. With rugged edges and a woodland setting, the three ponds offer lanes, lifeguards and lounging all year round.
3) Kitsilano Pool, Vancouver, Canada
Vancouver’s only saltwater swimming facility, the expansive and inviting Kitsilano Pool is a favourite destination amongst the city’s fitness fans. Open May to September, this is the perfect place to chill out in the balmy summer months, overlooking the city skyline and still waters of English Bay.
4) Badeschiff, Berlin, Germany
Swimming in the river Spree itself may not sound all that enticing, however, the city’s Badeschiff pool offers all the incredible views of a day on the water, safe within its crystal-clear depths. Commissioned by the City Art Project, this incredible experience is a must for swimmers of all ages and abilities.
5) Armier Bay Swimming Hole, Valletta, Malta
Pic Source: Tom and Teri Camilleri – dustandbells.com
Head to the northern tip of Armier Bay to find a pool of vibrantly turquoise seawater, tucked away within the cliffs. Only a 15-minute drive from the nearby town of Mellieha, this natural dive pool is the perfect place for a splash on a hot summer’s day!
6) Kastrup Søbad, Copenhagen, Denmark
This intriguing take on a public swimming pool has earned the nickname ‘the snail’ from the city’s residents, and it’s easy to see why. The award-winning seawater lido also boasts views over the Øresund Bridge (star of the BBC4 series ‘The Bridge’) all the way to the Swedish coast!
7) Montjuic Olympic Pool, Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona’s vast Montjuic Olympic Pool is urban swimming at its finest, offering a view of the rambling skyline of Spain’s most famous city that gets better with every stroke. Overlooked by the gothic spires of the Sagrada Familia, this is an ideal location to take time out from the busy streets.
8) Széchenyi Baths, Budapest, Hungary
Oozing faded glamour and elegance, Budapest’s Széchenyi Baths feel like the backdrop to a vintage Hollywood film. Boasting 18 separate pools, most of which are fed by thermal springs, this amazing setting sees locals flooding in to experience city swimming in style.
9) Piscinas das Marés, Porto, Portugal
A short drive outside of the city of Porto, the spectacular Piscinas das Marés can be found overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Classified as a national monument in 2006, this seaside swimming location has all the fun of the beach with fantastic conditions to make a splash!
10) Lake Vouliagmeni, Athens, Greece
A thermal lake surrounded by rugged scenery just outside of Athens, this stunning natural pool is replete with craggy rock pools and underwater tunnels to explore. Accessible by car or bus, it’s the perfect antidote to a hot, dusty day in Athens.
11) Astoria Park Pool, New York, USA
Used for qualifying events in the 1936 and 1964 Summer Olympics, the Astoria Park Pool has a serious sporting pedigree. At 330 ft long, it’s the largest of its kind in the USA, and if you like a swim with a view, this public pool overlooks both the RFK Triborough and Hell Gate bridges.