5 of the best European spots for wild swimming

Sian Pages – Travel Planner

Europe offers a treasure trove of enchanting spots for wild swimmers eager to dive into refreshing waters.

This summer, leave the bustling beaches behind and immerse yourself in the best wild swimming locations Europe has to offer. Imagine launching yourself off sun-kissed beaches at sunset, scuba diving beneath cascading waterfalls, or soaking in cool, fresh mountain waters.

Whether you’re drawn to scenic beaches, welcoming geothermal spas, or lake-filled national parks, we have a collection of magical spots perfect for your wild swimming adventures, all within the charm of our own continent.

Green Lakes, Lithuania

In the northeast of Lithuania, you’ll discover six picturesque lakes, their vibrant emerald waters shimmering due to high carbonate levels. Formed by melting glaciers and framed by tree-covered hills, these lakes are a natural wonder.

The largest, Lake Balsys, boasts a well-equipped sandy beach, making it a favorite swimming spot in Vilnius. For those seeking tranquility, the other five stunning freshwater lakes offer equally beautiful waters with far fewer crowds.

Lithuania is one of Europe’s hidden gems. Besides its wild swimming spots, you can explore the Baroque charm of Vilnius’ Old Town or take a tour that includes the other Baltic capitals.

Lithuania wild swimming

Lake Saimaa, Finland

Visiting Finland wouldn’t be complete without experiencing one of its many lakes, especially the magnificent Lake Saimaa. As Finland’s largest lake, Lake Saimaa earns its place among the best lakes to visit in Europe.

This expansive lake, adorned with pine-covered islands, provides stunning scenery and tranquil waters perfect for wild swimming. During the summer’s midnight sun, you can swim leisurely almost anywhere on the lake. Spring and summer are vibrant with wildlife, offering a chance to see the rare Saimaa ringed seals.

In winter, brave souls can try ice swimming, a true Nordic experience with proven health benefits, followed by a cozy session in a traditional sauna.

Autumn is a particularly magical time to visit, as the surrounding foliage bursts into vivid reds, browns, and oranges, creating a breathtaking backdrop for the serene waters.

Finland wild swimming

Mala Kolumbarica, Croatia

For the thrill-seekers, this Croatian beach offers a unique adventure with its high rocky cliffs encircling turquoise waters. Ideal for cliff diving, the small cove promises an exhilarating experience.

If cliff diving isn’t for you, the serene bay is perfect for a relaxing swim. Don’t forget your snorkelling gear to explore the vibrant marine life beneath the surface. Bask in the long summer sun along this stunning coastline, framed by breathtaking mountainous landscapes.

Before or after your wild swimming escapade, explore the historic walled cities of Dubrovnik and Split. Alternatively, plan a Croatian fly-drive adventure and include some wild swimming in your itinerary.

Croatia wild swimming

Una National Park, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Nestled in western Bosnia-Herzegovina lies Una National Park, a haven of tranquil swimming spots and dynamic rivers perfect for water sports. This Balkan treasure is renowned for its striking alpine landscapes and rich history, easily explored from the vibrant city of Sarajevo before indulging in the pristine waters.

Delve beneath the surface with a scuba diving adventure beneath the majestic Una waterfalls, where sunlight dances on swirling foam and cascading water.

Prefer to stay afloat? Dive into the many swimming opportunities or engage in thrilling water sports like white-water rafting and kayaking.

Alternatively, savor a refreshing dip in the cool waters of the Una River under the summer sun. It’s an ideal retreat after a day of exploration and hiking, offering a perfect way to unwind and recharge.

Bosnia-Herzegovina wild swimming

Purcaraccia Canyon, Corsica, France

Embarking on the rigorous ascent to Corsica’s Purcaraccia Canyon demands stamina, yet rewards with a magical experience beyond compare. Here, amidst rugged terrain and ancient granite cliffs, lies a hidden sanctuary of natural wonder.

Navigating the trail leads to a sequence of shimmering pools, each fed by pristine mountain waters cascading over smooth rock formations. Dive into these crystalline waters, where swimming merges seamlessly with exhilarating slides between natural slides.

The pinnacle awaits, at an enchanting infinity pool perched on the brink of a breathtaking waterfall. Here, surrounded by the symphony of rushing water and untouched wilderness, indulge in the serenity of a nature-crafted oasis.

This journey not only tests physical prowess but also offers a profound connection to Corsica’s untamed beauty. It’s a voyage into a realm where the essence of nature’s splendor merges with the thrill of discovery, making every step a testament to the island’s awe-inspiring allure.

Travel - France

Get in touch

If you’d like to discuss future travel plans you have in mind, get in contact with our in-house travel consultant, Sian Pages, on sian.pages@notjusttravel.com.

Sian will be more than happy to spend time talking you through your options; remembering her service is delivered at no cost to clients and professional connections of Longhurst.

Happy Adventures!