Europe’s best wild swimming

Forget paying to go to the pool – plunge in at the deep end with these European al-fresco aquatic adventures from The Best Things in Life are Free.

Swim in the clear, cool waters of Lake Bohinj, Slovenia © Spanic / Getty Images

Lake Bohinj – Slovenia

The Julian Alps offer top-class swimming, including the lovely-but-costly Lake Bled lido. However, travel down the road to Triglav National Park’s Lake Bohinj and discover wilder scenery for free. The Sava Bohinjka River provides a chilly thrill for flow-swimming fans.

What sea life will you spot from Baggy Point? © capephotoshop / Getty Images

Baggy Point – England

Swim through several secret sea caves at this delightful Devonshire dipping spot, including one tide-swept tunnel hidden from lily-livered landlubbers. Wildlife along this part of the coast includes seals, dolphins and porpoises.

Urban outdoor swimming offers relief from the city heat in summer © Zürich Tourism / Elisabeth Real

Upper Letten river pool, River Limmat – Switzerland

An urban oasis during the summer swelter, this 400m-long swimming canal in the fast-flowing river Limmat is a spot that attracts hundreds of swimmers. There’s a 2m diving board, plus a bar and beach volleyball fields.

Find your own private plunge pool in Purcaraccia Canyon, Corsica © salajean / Getty Images

Purcaraccia Canyon – Corsica

The hike to the pools in this canyoning hotspot is demanding, but worth the effort. Swim in – and slide between – a series of pools fed by crystal-clear mountain water, and enjoy an infinity pool teetering on a waterfall edge.

Explore offshore islands and swim in deep alpine waters in Lake Walchen © Luigi R. Viggiano / Getty Images

Lake Walchen – Germany

Bavaria is blessed with a batch of brilliant bathing spots, and this deep alpine lake in the mountains south of Munich is one of the most spectacular. Gravel beaches surround the mineral-rich turquoise water, and there are offshore islands to explore.

Mountain gazing should keep you occupied between swims in the pure waters of Lac d’Annecy © Pidi / Getty Images

Lac D’Annecy – France

Heated by subterranean hot springs, this Alpine lake is unsurprisingly popular. Many beaches charge during the summer, but Plage d’Albigny à Annecy-le-Vieux and Plages des Marquisats are free. Wilder spots can be found too – some with great cliff jumps.

Take a dip in Lago di Fiastra, Italy © Buffy1982 / Getty Images

Lago di Fiastra – Italy

Camp beneath mountains on the north shore of this stunning beach-lined lake, and slide into the embrace of its gin-clear water. Take a snorkel – there’s much to explore, including a rumoured submerged village.

Are you wild enough to swim in Loch Lomond? © Spencer Bowman / Getty Images

Loch Lomond – Scotland

You need a brave heart to swim in Scotland, but this beautiful loch – Britain’s biggest puddle – might tempt you in. This is the home of the annual Great Scottish Swim (and also, apparently, a monster – albeit one without the celebrity status of its Loch Ness cousin).



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