Thursday, 22 August 2013

Exciting & Unusual Places to Swim - Not at the Beach!


Sick of the sand? Summer holiday prices too high? Prone to sunburn? Enjoy These Unique & Exciting Swimming Activities for Adventurous & Relaxing Holidays!

From warm alpine thermal waters to a dip in a fresh lake, swimming in places other than the sea offers an exhilarating way to appreciate stunning landscapes, immerse yourself in nature, or just splash around a lot, somewhere new! Some of the most exciting & unusual places to swim that are not at the beach are as follows:  


Corsican Vasques




Corsica can be extremely hot in the summer and a trip up into the mountains to bathe in a cool natural pool higher up is deservedly refreshing. The natural pools dotted around the island are called vasques and are in such beautiful scenic locations, they are great to visit even if you do get cold feet when you arrive (pun intended - your feet will certainly feel somewhat fresh after dipping them in, as will your entire body when you base-jump from rock into the deep fresh water).

Getting to a vasque

The only way to get to a vasque is to drive or walk from the nearest town, as transport is limited on Corsica and the vasques are naturally ocurring, usually with no immediate facilities nearby.

A great series of vasques and waterfalls can be found on the way to the village of Chisa. The pools and streams are some way down the valley out of sight of the roadside. After parking beside the road in the dusty 'parking' areas the pools can be found down in the valley after a twenty minute scramble through the maquis undergrowth. The water has varied depths and there are shallow areas as well as deep pools.

Swimming is at your own risk. If you're going to jump into the water make sure it is deep enough and remember you are doing so entirely at your own risk! Also there are no toilet facilities so if the urge takes over, make sure you are out of the vicinity of any running water.



Icelandic Blue Lagoon



The geothermal pool at Grindavik, known as the Blue lagoon, is just 20 minutes from the airport at Keflavik. It is the result of overspill of natural geothermal waters from the geothermal plant. The water is naturally very warm, and a milky blue opaque colour due to its rich content of silica and sulphur. The therapeutic water is said to help cure Psoriasis and other skin conditions, and leaves skin feeling extremely smooth and well-nourished in general.

It really is a thrill to run through the icy winter air and plunge straight into the milky warm waters of the Blue Lagoon, especially if it's snowing or you're lucky enough to catch a beautiful Northern Lights display.  

Changing facilities, gastronomy and shopping at the Blue Lagoon are all fantastic, a true 5-star experience. General entrance fees are around 30-40 euros depending on the season.



Thermes de St Gervais Mont Blanc, French Alps



This is another fantastic 5-star experience, and the carefully thought-out stages of relaxation will have even the most neurotic individuals feeling as chilled as an arctic sloth (they don't exist but you get the point).

The thermal baths themselves are in the form of an outdoor pool in the rocky landscape. The pool has a circular swirl shape, and guests slowly follow the progression through the warm water to the hot-tub-like centre, passing various hydrotherapy bubbles and jets along the way, stopping whenever they like.

The fantastic relaxing egg-chairs and dark room, and spherical bubble-type beanbags make wonderful spots for relaxing into a great novel, or just doing nothing, and the fruit, water and breadsticks at the end make a surprisingly pleasant and refreshing snack to enjoy amongst the giant squishy bean-bags.



Leukerbad, Switzerland



Up in the South Western Swiss Alps with stunning views of the mountains and valleys is one of the largest Alpine spa resorts. There is a fantastic range of hydrotherapy pools with different heats and massage, and the naturally heated spring water is mineral-rich with medicinal properties.

Access is easy, with frequent trains to the town of Leuk, and busses up to Leukerbad, also the roads are generally kept clear all year round. There is accommodation in Leukerbad and at the spa itself. Entrance fees are around 23 euros per adult for a day pass.



Cacheuta, Mendoza, Argentina


Natural thermal water tumbles through the red rock to the mountainside resort of Cacheuta. Pools of different temperatures are set into the rock, overlooking the valley, with lots of cacti and desert plants dotted around. Changing facilities are very basic but functional. The climate is usually sunny and pleasant all-year round, making for an ideal spot to relax. There is also a great shallow kids' area for splashing around, climbing, and playing in the fountains.

Entrance fees are around 50 pesos per person. Lockers are also 50, although you get 30 back on return of the key. Buses depart from the main Mendoza bus stop, taking around 1 hour each way.



Krka Falls - Croatia





The many-tiered tumbling falls of the Krka falls in Croatia are an absolutely beautiful setting for enjoying a spot of swimming and fresh air. The falls themselves are usually cordoned off but you can get very close, and the views are spectacular. You can reach the Krka falls by a boat trip from Skradin village. The tourist office sell tickets.

The water is beautifully clear and glows aqua in the sunlight, reflecting the lushious green landscape. 

Swimming is at your own risk, there are no attendants or facilities for changing as this is a very natural setting. However the water is very shallow in places and many children enjoy this attraction as well as adults. 


Gellert Spa Baths, Budapest

Set in a stunning and historic Neo-classical late 1800s hotel, the range of thermal pools in this beautiful building are a unique bathing experience. With their exquisite mosaics and glass windows, these beautiful baths embrace the style of the city as well as its wonderfully therapeutic mineral-rich spring water. Expect to find the manliest of men sizzling away in the searing steam rooms and plunging straight into the ice-cold plunge-pool afterwards without a care in the world. This has to be done for a typically local experience as well as the best tingly sensation and the most amazingly soft skin you've ever had.

Alton Towers Waterpark, UK


Arguably the coolest indoors waterpark in the UK, this is absolutely packed with fun watery things to do, including powerful river rapids with lots of waterfalls and jets coming from various angles, and a great beach pool, along with a fantastic set of waterslides which involve going down on enormous and comfortable rubber-ring seats. Kids can even join up on double rubber rings!

The water is warm and there is a strict adult to child ratio, so the place is never full of screaming kids with a lack of adult supervision! Entrance is around £15 for an adult, however group booking discounts are available.

Also, for some swimming opportunities at amazing beaches visit: Most Perfect Idyllic Beaches

Text and Images Copyright © Lise Griffiths, 2013
All Rights Reserved

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