Five reasons to pack a bathing suit
Brush up on your breaststroke or front crawl to enjoy some of the most memorable swimming pools around the world.
1. Swimming spree
Located in Berlin’s gritty Treptow is a 30-metre barge-turned-swimming pool anchored in the Spree River. This is the Badeschiff or Bathing Ship – a symbol of the creative and quirky side of the German capital. The sky-blue freshwater pool with a depth of 2.05 metres is under the watchful eye of a lifeguard and offers fantastic city panoramas. A wooden footbridge connects the pool barge to the river bank where the hipster crowd kick back to play volleyball or practice yoga.
2. The big blue
Swimming for Icelanders is a national pastime. A 60-km drive south of the capital Reykjavik is the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, where both locals and travellers come to swim and relax in the warm, mineral-rich seawater. The seawater originates 2,000 metres beneath the ground where it is heated by earth’s natural forces to a perfect 37 to 39 degrees Celsius. Floating and swimming in the turquoise-coloured waters is a uniquely surreal experience. Renovation work is ongoing during this spring.
3. The empire swims back
There’s nothing like the experience of swimming on a rooftop with the city beneath – especially when that city happens to be New York. Situated in the uber-cool Meatpacking District, the Hotel Gansevoort Park Avenue boasts a 45-foot heated indoor-outdoor swimming pool 20 storeys up. When you tire of swimming laps, order a cocktail from the adjacent bar, relax by the poolside, and enjoy the Big Apple views. Pool access is available to guests throughout the year.
4. Taking the waters
Budapest is well known for its ornate bathhouses and the Gellért Baths are arguably the finest of them all. Its main swimming pool, surrounded by high galleries and marble columns, is a stunning example of Neo-Classical architecture. Standard entry at Gellért includes access to the main swimming pool, (there’s also an outdoor pool for warmer months), medicinal thermal baths, sauna, and steam room. Another excellent Budapest bathhouse is Szechenyi, which is one of the largest in Europe.
5. Pool with a view
Situated on the edge of Sydney’s Bronte Beach are the historic Bronte Baths. Set into sculpted cliffs and dating from 1883, this 30-metre saltwater pool promises fabulous ocean views and attracts everyone from travellers to children jumping off the edge into the surrounding rock pools. “I learnt to swim here and so did my kids and grandkids and I reckon half of Sydney has, too,” says John Maguire who swims several laps here every day of the year.
Text Andrew Marshall