Travelling around the world, finding the best of hidden and well-loved swimming spots is what keeps us exploring here at SwimTrek HQ. There’s a whole world of swimming out there to discover and Europe offers up an incredible plethora of swimming adventures for those seeking out beautiful waters to diver into. From the open Mediterranean Sea to the inland rivers of Slovenia, here’s our pick of the most beautiful swimming destinations in Europe.
With its huge variety of swimming conditions on offer and the stunning backdrop setting, this tiny, former Yugoslav country on the coast of the Adriatic offers up so much for the curious swimmer. The UNESCO world heritage site of the Bay of Kotor is home to the expansive beauty of the rolling fjord like mountains and the wide Bay of Kotor offers up unrivalled sea swimming. With the fjords providing shelter from the openness of the Adriatic Sea, here you’ll enjoy the calmness of an inland body of water but still get the fantastic deep blue water hues and the buoyancy of saltwater. SwimTrek’s Montenegro Fjords trip is based in the town of Perast, centrally located in the Bay of Kotor and is a prime spot to swim out to and around the iconic sister church islands of Our Lady of Rocks and Saint George. Further south lies the impressive national park of Lake Skadar, a huge freshwater lake that offers views over the Albanian mountains to the east and has winding rivers leading into it which have plenty to explore. This quiet but stunning country will certainly leave an impression on you.
While Greece may receive many millions of tourists each year, some of the best swimming spots are largely unknown and are found in some the most charming and remote areas of its islands scattered around the Mediterranean. Take a swim around some of the lesser seen islands of the Cyclades such as Milos, Schinoussa and Koufonissi, where the windmill topped islets look out over turquoise waters. Get to know the quieter areas of larger destinations like Crete and then enjoy the charming villages of its far southern coast, like the fishing village of Porto Loutro with its many traditional white buildings, nestled into the mountains and providing a stunning backdrop for swims. From the white cliffs of the Cyclades to the greener shores and rare wildlife of the Sporades, much beautiful swimming in Greece await those who seek it out.
Leave behind the busier cities of Dubrovnik and Split and discover Croatia’s countless remote islands scattered as far as eye can see along the country’s north eastern coast. This part of the world enjoys many beautiful, secluded areas where you can enjoy the just the open waters and the company of your swim mates. You’ll often find olive trees growing among the rocky islands, with its fruity, woody fragrance drifting through the wind. So, whether you’re exploring the Kornati National Park, swimming along the serene Dalmatian Coast or discovering the many, small islands of the Zadar archipelago you’ll find some truly stunning swimming locations along this stunning part of the Adriatic Coast.
Stunning swimming locations aren’t just found along the coast and the Mediterranean and if you head inland to central Europe, many tranquil lakes and rivers await you. As well as the iconic Lake Bled, northeastern Slovenia is home to other stunning freshwater bodies, including Lake Bohinj and Soca River, whose bright, milky turquoise hue is a striking sight as it winds through the countryside. Despite its world-famous reputation, Lake Bled is not as busy as you may think, and its waters are incredibly inviting and calm. Around Slovenia’s western border, you’ll find the Kozjak waterfall, a hidden spring inside a cave and worth the hike up to it. Lakes all around the country often enjoy thick forest that surrounds them and towering mountain backdrops. SwimTrek bases it’s Slovenia trips on the banks of Lake Bohinj, and enjoys the stunning views and fresh Alpine air.
Whether you find beauty in the busy modern metropolis or want to hit the secluded beaches of the sunny south of the country, Turkey is a real swimmers paradise. Once a year, the busy Bosphorus Strait is closed for the annual Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim, and the wide body of water that separates Asia and Europe offers up incredible views that only the lucky few participants get to experience. The same can also be found in the historic region of Troy in the Hellespont Swim, where swimmers take on the challenging route back to the modern city of Canakkale. Swim routes can be found all along Turkey’s Turquoise Coast, where SwimTrek’s Lycian Way trip has its base in the small town of Kas which is found at the southern tip of the country. The word turquoise comes from the French word turquois meaning "Turkish" and the stunning hues of the colour can be found in the water all along this stretch of the coast. Incredibly inviting waters to swim in which are juxtaposed alongside craggy cliffsides, there are so many naturally beautiful swimming spots awaiting you here.
And that’s our roundup of the best, beautiful swimming you can find in Europe! All the SwimTrek tours that take place in these beautiful countries are listed below: