The best places to go wild swimming
By Martha Hales
Immerse yourself in nature in more ways than one when you discover these wonderful wild swimming spots around the world. From lakes and rivers via beaches and waterfalls to natural pools and hot springs, there are some truly unforgettable wild swimming spots out there, great for a family adventure or a soothing moment for peaceful reflection. Have a look at our top ten favourites - we challenge you to resist the temptation to dive right in!
Taking up around a fifth of Malawi’s territory, Lake Malawi is one of the country’s defining features. The lake is blessed with clear blue waters teeming with colourful fish that make it feel like the ocean, but it's a freshwater lake perfect for swimming and snorkelling. Cape Maclear is the best base, located on a lovely peninsula on the southern shore of the lake.
Take a look at our trusted local partner's Southern Malawi Circuit Itinerary for holiday inspiration.
Deep in the crevices and valleys (wadis) of Oman you can find serene and beautiful pools perfect for a cooling dip in this sizzling country. Many are remote and tricky to get to such as Wadi Bani Awf, and you will often have these to yourself, but there are plenty that are easier to reach, like Wadi Shab and Wadi Bani Khalid, both popular but stunning, with clear turquoise pools.
Discover Oman's spectacular desert oasis' with one of our local partner's itineraries.
Lago Nahuel Huapi is one of the prettiest lakes near Bariloche in the Argentine lake district, with dazzling blue water and plenty to do in the vicinity. The waters in the lake are often cold - the lake sits at 700 metres altitude and is fed by glacial meltwater - so pack your wetsuit. Some of the best beaches to swim from include Playa Bonita, Playa Serena and Villa Tacul.
For more information on an Argentine adventure check out our trusted local expert's range of suggested itineraries.
Swimming is definitely challenging in the Dead Sea, as the salt content is so high that us humans float, so swimming isn’t really a possibility, but for a ‘wild float’ the Dead Sea is unique. The lowest point on earth has a particular atmosphere, and combined with the mineral rich water it is a destination that rejuvenates and revives like no other.
Explore the delights of Jordan with our locals partner's Ultimate Jordan Adventure itinerary.
Around an hour from Luang Prabang by local transport are the lovely Kuang Si waterfalls, a stunning series of cascades and pools nestled in the jungle like an all-natural waterpark. The water is a milky aquamarine and in places the pools are deep enough to swim in. Wooden walkways around the site give access to great viewpoints for photos.
Visit the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfalll with our trusted local expert's Laos In Brief tour.
Semuc Champey is remote and takes some effort to reach, but it is one of the most beautiful attractions in the whole of Guatemala. A series of inviting turquoise lagoons sit on top of a limestone bridge surrounded by jungle-clad hills, a truly jaw-dropping sight. The swimming is sublime after trekking through the forest, and the walk to the viewpoint affords wonderful views.
Explore the wonders of Guatemala with our local partners.
Cenotes are unique to the Yucatan region in southern Mexico, and they are idyllic underground water holes which were once thought to be sacred, but are now popular attractions for keen swimmers who hunt out the most tempting cenotes for a refreshing swim in deliciously clear water teeming with little fish. Ik Kil Cenote is known as one of the most scenic and photogenic, while Yaxbacaltun Cenote has a fun swing to jump off.
Discover the beauty of Mexico with our trusted local experts.
When Hurricane Hattie ripped through Caye Caulker in 1961, it split the island into two, and the gap it created, called The Split, has calm water and docks to access the beautiful sea. Be aware that the channel is used by boats and depending on the tide there can be quite a current, so it's best to stick to the designated swimming areas. Belize is a hotspot for marine life so snorkelling is popular here, too.
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Veteran travellers shrug and readily concede that El Nido is quite likely the most beautiful place in the world. Sheer limestone pinnacles alive with vegetation soar vertically from the clear, clean cerulean sea, sheltering stunning lagoons perfect for snorkelling and swimming with the fish, or searching out deserted little beaches.
Take a look at our local partner's Luxury Philippines Itinerary for inspiration on a Philippines getaway.
Take a day trip from Tagazhout to the blissful oasis that is known as Paradise Valley in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, a wonderful valley of palm trees and blue pools perfect for a refreshing swim. Spring (March to May) is the best season to visit as there is usually enough water; in summer and autumn it is likely to be much drier. The hike up the valley is part of the adventure, with great views over the deep, clear pools and waterfalls.
Discover the highlights of Morocco with our local expert's trip of a lifetime itinerary.
Make it happen
Wild swimming is growing in popularity worldwide, and these are just a handful of the best places to try it out. Get in touch with our local experts who will point you in the direction of the best places to visit and plan your bespoke itinerary to make the most of your time away. Click on the links above to find out what else these inviting destinations have to offer. To speak to someone in the TravelLocal office please call (0)117 325 7898.