Although the idea of immersing oneself in rivers, lakes, and oceans is not new, wild swimming in natural settings is becoming increasingly popular among tourists. And it’s not hard to understand why. What could be more wonderful than jumping into cool, sparkling water in the midst of a scenic mountain landscape?
Whether you like adventurous ice swimming in Norway’s glacial lakes or cooling off in the Provençal region’s lakes during the summer, here are the most picturesque wild swimming spots in Europe.
Lac de Castillon, France
Castillon is a glacial lake in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence region, full of sunshine
On the road to Lac de Castillon, you’ll pass through the rugged mountain terrain of southern France, winding through treacherous mountain passes until you see the milky blue water shimmering behind the pine trees. Castillon is a reservoir lake that stretches for 8 km, located between the towns of Castellane and Saint-André-les-Alpes, in the sunny Alpes-de-Haute-Provence region.
There are plenty of rocky beaches around the lake, so you can drive around to find a quiet spot to sunbathe. Alternatively, you can go to the main beach, which is small but has a sandy shore and lifeguards. Here you can rent pedal boats, canoes, and rowboats to explorethe beautiful lake. Immerse yourself in nature even more by camping on the edge of the forest at Camping La Ferme de Castellane.
Clear and calm waters in Fjærlandsfjorden
Surrounded by snow-covered mountains, Norway is a great place to go wild swimming in the natural setting of narrow fjords that originated from glacial rivers. The best place to swim is in Fjærland, a small village near Bergen, where wooden cabins line the banks of the Fjærlandsfjorden. Wade into the water and swim along the rocky shorelines leading to the Flatbreen glacier. Be prepared for a refreshing jump into the chilly water, even in the middle of summer. Stay close to the fjord at the Fjærland Fjordstue Hotel.
Loch Lomond, Scotland
Swim in the beautiful Loch Lomond amidst the Trossachs National Park
Located just north of Glasgow in southern Scotland, Loch Lomond is a sparkling mirror-like expanse of water covering over 54 square kilometers and is one of Scotland’s largest bodies of water. The loch is surrounded by Trossachs National Park, which is home to purple heather-covered mountains and red deer that appear and disappear among the thick oak trees on the hillsides. This is the perfect place to go wild swimming in the natural setting and also the site of the annual Great Scottish Swimevent. Unfortunately, the recent event was canceled due to COVID-19, but that doesn’t stop tourists from immersing themselves in the beautiful scenery here.
Take a long walk along the rocky path to the summit of Ben Lomond before immersing yourself in the cool water of the lake. There are many long-distance walking routes around the lake, from the village of Balloch at the end of the lake to Luss with its stone houses or Milarrochy Bay. Experience the highly-rated Alderdale B&B, located in the center of Luss.
Lake Thun, Switzerland
The town of Thun lies next to Lake Thun, a high-altitude lake at the foot of the Bernese Alps
Surrounded by the majestic peaks of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, Lake Thun is where you can experience the essence of Switzerland’s natural landscape. The towns along the lake are dotted with charming tiled-roof houses and Romanesque-style church spires. In summer, the sparkling blue water invites everyone to dive in.
Experience the area like a local, rent a float and drift down the Aare River from the town near Lake Thun. You can even float down to the beautiful Swiss capital, Bern. Stay at the Boutique Hotel Schlossberg on the hilltop with the best views of Lake Thun and enjoy dry and wet saunas and hot tubs on site.
The Masuria region innortheastern Poland is known for its picturesque lakes, and Giżycko is a great place to experience them. Located on the shores of Lake Niegocin, Giżycko is surrounded by other lakes, making it a hub for water-based activities. The clear blue waters of the lake are perfect for swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding.
Take a boat tour of the lake and explore the nearby islands, such as the medieval Teutonic castle on Boyen Hill. The town itself is also worth exploring, with its charming old town and lively marina area. Stay at the Hotel St. Bruno, located right on the lakefront, and enjoy the stunning views from your room.
In conclusion, Europe has many picturesque lakes and fjords where you can experience wild swimming in a natural setting. From the sunny shores of Lac de Castillon in France to the chilly waters of Fjærlandsfjorden in Norway, there is something for everyone. So, pack your swimsuit and head to one of these beautiful locations for an unforgettable wild swimming experience.