8 Super Spots for a Splendid Swim

Fancy an icy plunge, a geothermal soak or a lush cave cenote? Check out these wild spots for a swim.
Swimmers compete in the 27th annual Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race organized by the Turkish Olympic Committee in Istanbul, Turkey on July 26, 2015
Swimmers during the Bosphorus race © Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
By Alison Mann

Nothing beats the heat of a sweltering day like a plunge into a cool lake. But take that lake into a jungle cave — or even a shipping canal — and things get more interesting! There are countless reasons why people enjoy wild swimming, so whether you’re an avid swimmer looking for your next dip or a novice searching for that first pool to start a new passion, we have the answers.

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Kate Rew, author of "Wild Swim" and director of the Outdoor Swimming Society has compiled this top list of incredible spots to swim.

The shipping channel (pictured above)

Where: Bosphorus, Turkey
Wild factor: 8

Once a year this shipping channel closes so that about 1,000 swimmers can dive in to enjoy a swim from Asia to Europe as part of the Bosphorus Cross Continental Swim, but it can get pretty fast and furious.

Rew's advice: “There is a major current — take all the advice you can get from other swimmers about avoiding eddies around the island and when to start heading toward the finish line to avoid being swept right past it!”

The Corryvreckan Whirlpool, Scotland is popular amongst wild swimmers
Swimmers have to pass before the whirlpool starts © Victoria Hillman

Wild whirlpool

Where: Corryvreckan, Scotland
Wild factor: 10

This is one of the biggest whirlpools in the world and a swim that’s high on the list of many a wild swimmer. The dash across has to be timed perfectly to avoid the whirlpool when it's active, as it is extremely dangerous. The half-mile swim should only be taken on under supervision.

 

Seljavallalaug Pool in Iceland is a remote wild swimming spot
Seljavallalaug Pool in Iceland © Garðar Ólafs Photography

Geothermal joy

Where: Seljavallalaug, Iceland
Wild factor: 6

Seljavallalaug Pool is a hidden gem, nestled in the Icelandic mountains — it's the oldest pool in the country that is still intact. You need to trek through the spectacular Icelandic mountains to get there, which is definitely a bonus. Rew says: “The water is warm and you are likely to be seduced enough by it to stay in until you are wrinkled.”

 

People take part in the traditional New Year's day swim on January 1, 2010 at Lageveld Lake near Wierden.
An icy dip © Vincent Jannink/Getty Images

Bring in the New Year

Where: Scheveningen, Netherlands
Wild factor: 8

This is one of the coldest festival swims in the world, according to Rew, and the next one on her list to complete. The event sees participants don swimwear and rush into the chilly North Sea in Scheveningen. Around 10,000 people give their New Year an invigorating start this way!

 

The Cenotes, Mexico were formed when caves collapses, oprning up incredible pools
The incredible Mexican cenotes © LRCImagery/Getty Images

Breathtaking cenotes

Where: The cenotes, Mexico
Wild factor: 7

Swimmers can enjoy a secret underworld and take a dip in these pools. It gives a feeling of being lost in time, as jungle tree branches and vines dangle overhead. The pools were created when porous limestone collapsed, opening entrances to the cave cenotes. The location played host to the 2014 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.

 

Bantham Beach, Devon, England is the finishing point of the Bantham Swoosh wild swim
The site of the Bantham Swoosh © Charles Bowman/Getty Images

The speedy swim

Where: Devon, UK
Wild factor: 6

Swimming just under 4 miles along a crystal clear Devon estuary is a great swim for those not keen on swimming a huge distance, suggests Rew. The flow of the water also allows swimmers to be somewhat carried, or "swooshed" along by the current, sometimes at up to four times their normal speed. The OSS organize the Bantham Swoosh every year. 

 

Algae in Gippsland Lake, Australia gives the water a blue tinge at night time
This lake leaves swimmers starstruck © Philip Hart/Stocktrek Images/Getty Images

Australian lakes

Where: Gippsland Lakes, Australia
Wild factor: 7

This selection of lakes also makes the bucket list. Due to bushfires and flooding, bioluminescent dinoflagellates (plankton) exist here, giving visitors the feeling they are swimming among twinkling lights.

 

To Sua ocean trench in Upolu, Samoa, South Pacific, Pacific
Wild swimming in Samoa © Michael Runkel/Getty Images

The green plunge

Where: Samoa, South Pacific
Wild factor: 8

The Tosua Ocean Trench is surrounded by lush green trees and allows swimmers to enjoy beautiful clear water. It’s nearly a 100-foot drop into the pool, located near the sea on the tiny island of Upolu.

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