Swimming is one of the most popular activities in the world. Swimming can be competitive or leisurely. While most competitors stick to the pool lanes, those of us who are seeking adventure have hundreds of options for unique swimming experiences around the world.
When trying to determine the very best swimming vacation spots in the world many factors come into play. Swimming spots include beaches, rivers, lakes, caves, hot springs, and more. No matter which you prefer, you are certain to have many amazing options.
Let’s dive in! In this article, we will briefly outline how to plan and what to keep in mind when finding a swimming spot before submerging ourselves in the top 10 best swimming vacation spots in the world.
So you’re thinking of planning a swimming vacation? Great, what’s next?
First off, pick a destination (10 great options below), then book your flights and accommodations. Here are some tips for finding cheap flights.
A key to planning a swimming vacation is to know what the water is like in the place you’re visiting. Is it a geothermal spa (such as Iceland) or is it a chilly dip in the ocean? The best swimming vacation spots vary greatly from place to place. If it’s super cold you will need a wetsuit. Here is some info on staying safe while swimming.
Remember to always respect the local customs in a new place. Some countries are far more conservative than others and may not appreciate you showing too much skin. Other countries might be more liberal. Remember you are a guest in that country.
Don’t travel anywhere on your own if you aren’t certain it is safe. Do some research ahead of time or book a trip with a reputable travel operator. Some of the coolest places in the world also happen to be very remote. You don’t want to get stranded or caught up in a bad situation.
Many swimming places have been commercialized to support local economies and control crowding, to preserve the natural beauty. Some places may not be open year-round or all day. So make sure you know it’s open before booking a trip to see it.
Always know, follow and respect the rules of the destination. For example, if you are visiting a waterfall and signs say not to climb somewhere, don’t climb there. That’s how people get hurt.
Remember that these amazing places are also natural habitats for a variety of plants and animals. Don’t litter or feed the animals. Follow the rules of interacting with nature.
Now let’s examine the top 10 places to swim on your next vacation. This list includes beaches, hot springs, caves, and more. Looking for something more extreme on your next trip. Check out our breakdown for extreme sports vacations.
The Seychelles cracks a lot of top ten lists for its serene beaches. It is in the running for the most picturesque beach in the world.
The sand is a pure white powder and the water is a brilliant shade of turquoise.
Access to the beach is free of charge and you don’t need to book in advance. Just a heads up you have to pass through the four seasons hotel to get there. When you visit do not miss out on snorkeling!
Railay Beach, in Thailand, is really unique and picturesque. While it’s on the mainland, it’s only accessible by boat due to the sheer cliffs on either side.
The beach itself is very clean and well maintained.
There is a small village with hotels, restaurants, and shops to check out while you can also get a massage right on the beach. It never feels too overcrowded and certainly is worth a visit.
Tulum has one of the most serene beaches in the world.
The sand is pure and the ocean is the perfect color and temperature to enjoy a day of swimming.
Tulum has a lot to offer if you book a trip here. It’s highly popular with influencers (there is an outdoor gym on the beach). Located on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan peninsula slightly more than an hour’s drive south of Cancun. There are also ancient ruins nearby that are worth checking out.
The Blue Cave is a remarkable cave on the island of Bisevo off the coast of Croatia.
The deep blue color makes this cave a really unique and interesting swimming experience. It is sometimes also referred to as the Blue Grotto.
There are tour operators organizing day trips to the caves by boat. They have become quite a popular tourist attraction so be prepared for a bit of a crowd. Going off-peak or off-season may be your best bet for a more private experience. Don’t forget a pair of swimming goggles so you can see underwater.
Capri is a tiny island off the coast of Italy and a great vacation swimming spot.
The scenery is truly breathtaking and the history and culture are worth seeing on their own.
You won’t want to miss an opportunity to take a dip in the Mediterranean while you are there. What sets Capri apart is that the island is quite mountainous without your typical white sandy beaches. Instead, you have small inlets with tiny beaches you can swim in. There are also caves you can explore but try to stay safe.
Iceland is one of the most unique countries in the world.
The Blue Lagoon is a major site for many tourists who visit the island every year and it is worth the hype.
The Blue Lagoon is essentially a geothermal spa or hot spring, naturally heated by active volcanoes nearby. It’s a little pricey to experience but most would say it’s worth the cost. While it is a popular tourist spot there is a ton of space for everyone.
Devil’s Pool is a tiny little pool right next to the edge of Victoria Falls in Zambia.
While it’s too small to swim laps, it really is one of the more unique places you can lounge in a body of water.
When visiting the pool you can go right up to the edge of the falls, there is no current so you won’t get swept over the edge. Lots of interesting things to do nearby as the falls are truly remarkable and you can try bungee jumping from a bridge or take a helicopter tour nearby.
Hanauma Bay cracks many top ten lists for best beaches in the world. Located in a nature preserve the bay is rife with plants and animals. Unfortunately, as with many naturally beautiful places, over-tourism has taken a toll. It’s still worth visiting as it offers great snorkeling.
The bay is naturally protected from larger waves.
If snorkeling isn’t your thing then you can simply relax on the beach.
The Yucatan peninsula is known for Cancun and Chichen Itza but there is another attraction worth seeing.
Cenotes are sinkholes filled with water and they are scattered all over the Yucatan.
The Cenote Ik Kil is located a short drive from Chichen Itza, an ancient city with spectacular pyramids. After a few hours of visiting the sites, a dip in a cenote is refreshing. The water is clean and inviting. Life jackets are provided and there is a ledge you can jump off from if you’re seeking a little extra thrill. This quick-dry beach towel will come in handy when you visit the cenotes.
We will close off the list of best swimming vacation spots with Red Beach in Santorini. The Mediterranean made the list a few times and for good reason.
Santorini is a really unique island. It was one much larger island until the volcano exploded. What is left is one of the top tourist destinations in the world and a trip here isn’t complete without a visit to the Red Beach. The Red Beach is accessible by a trail from the cliffs above. It’s a little rocky so bring some water shoes.
The water is warm and inviting so make sure to take a dip. You can’t go wrong with this place.