From the emerald pools of Italy to the cascading falls of the Grand Canyon, here are the 10 best destinations for wild swimming around the world.
Anyone who enjoys hiking can recall a time when a cool blue plunge-pool would have been a wonderful reward at the end of a long forest trek. Inspired by hikers in need of a swim, we have lovingly put together this list of water sanctuaries for your ‘dipping’ pleasure. Enjoy!
1. Pozze Smeraldine, Dolomites, Italy
The the ‘Pozze Smeraldine’ or ‘Emerald Pools’ lay in the beautiful Friulian Dolomites outside the charming village of Tramonti di Sopra. Search for the near-secret path beside the ‘Borgo Totol Farmhouse’ and head down to the crystal clear waters to take a refreshing dip in this pristine freshwater wonder.
2. Kakuetta Western Pyrenees, France
The spectacular ‘Gorges de Kakuetta’ lays within the sweet embrace of France’s snow-capped Pyrenees Mountains. This magnificent turquoise lake features many gorgeous waterfalls, which flow with an abundance of that shimmery blue gold! With tons of great hiking trails in the area, you will want to explore the region for days.
3. Lake Walchen, Germany
Lake Walchen, known to locals as ‘Walchensee’ is a stunning alpine lake located in the Bavarian Alps. This lake is one of the deepest and largest of its kind in Germany, providing visitors with a tranquil escape from the daily grind. To get there with ease, take the train to Kochel am See where there are transfers to Walchensee or rent a car in Munich (around a one-hour drive)
4. Havasu Falls, USA
You can find this energizing waterfall and a series of plunge pools in the majestic Grand Canyon on the Havasupai Indian Reservation in Arizona. The most well-known of the chutes falls from an impressive cliff of around 100 feet (30 meters) into the famous blue-green waters below. For more information on how to navigate the protected area respectfully, check out the Havasupai Tribe’s official website.
5. Lower Ddwli Falls, Waterfall Woods, Brecon Beacons, Wales, UK
The beautiful Waterfall County sits in the south-west hills of Brecon Beacons. A wonderful place for camping and hiking, this region also has some of the most magical waterfall plunge pools. To find them, you must hike deep within the Brecon Beacons National Park to Ystradfellte where there are more than twenty gleaming pools to cool off in as you walk downstream.
6. Purcaraccia Canyon, Corsica
For those who crave a bit of adrenaline, Purcaraccia Canyon is the ultimate choice for wild swimming as you will encounter jumps, natural slides, and huge vertical drops including the possibility of a 30-meter (100 feet) rappel! Do your research and come prepared for an active adventure. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and, of course, a bathing suit.
7. Mercatello sul Metauro, Le Marche, Italy
Le Marche is tucked into the valleys and hills of Italy’s Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic coastline. One of the most ruggedly beautiful regions of Italy, Le Marche embraces its visitors with an authentic Italian experience anywhere they go. Stroll through quaint villages like Mercatello sul Metauro and explore the Monti Sibilini National Park where you will find the Frasassi Caves and gloriously natural swimming pools.
8. Lake Tahoe, USA
Straddling the state line of California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America. A picture perfect backdrop for a swim, the mountains create a gorgeous panorama that surrounds the deep blue lake. With many activities such as biking, hiking, kayaking, skiing and swimming, you’ll be busy exploring the area for days.
9. The Blue Cave, Croatia
On the east shores of Adriatic Sea, Croatia is home to world renowned natural beauty. Its many National Parks are home to an abundance of waterfalls, lagoons, mountains and wild forests. Take care to visit the Blue Caves located on the east side of island Bisevo. You might even have a chance encounter with a dolphin.
10. Santiago de Compostela: A Firveda, Spain
With its thousands of miles of coast, rivers, forests and waterfalls, Galicia is known as the greenest region in Spain. Amongst many other fantastic treks in the region, head south of Santiago de Compostela to a village called A Fírveda within the Serra do Cando mountains. Here, you can trek through the lower foothills and discover stunning waterfalls and secluded natural pools.