What you need to know about wild swimming in Sweden

Fancy a dip?

This guide to wild swimming in Sweden will help you know where to go and how to make the most of this refreshing pastime. 

An introduction to wild swimming in Sweden

In recent years, wild swimming has become something of an obsession among fitness fiends and spiritual-types alike. Said not only to improve blood flow, strengthen your immune system and ‘align your chakras’ (depending on who you talk to), this unique outdoor experience has been taking the world by storm. 

In Sweden, however, wild swimming has been the norm for generations. In a country blessed with spectacular natural landscapes and some of the most beautiful bodies of water on earth, the prospect of taking a quick dip is one that appeals to many; thrill-seekers or otherwise. 

If pristine nature, unforgettable experiences and better blood circulation sound like your cup of tea, do as the Swedes do and discover the best spots for wild swimming in West Sweden. We can’t promise you’ll be warm, but we can assure that you’ll have fun – frostbite and all! 

If warmer climes are more appealing, don’t miss our guide to the best swimming spots in Malta and Gozo

Where to go wild swimming in West Sweden

All jokes aside, there are a number of things you need to consider when choosing where to go outdoor swimming to ensure that you stay safe while in the water. Temperature, currents, water quality and accessibility all play a part in determining the perfect swimming spot. Consider wild swimming in small groups for added safety. 

You can swim in so many places, from the Stockholm archipelago to the Arctic Circle, inland lakes to the open Baltic Sea.

But here are our author’s favourites in West Sweden:

Wild swimming Dalsland West Sweden by Roger Borgelid
Dalsland has more lakes per square kilometre than any other region of Sweden © Roger Borgelid,


Sandwiched between Bohuslän to the west and Lake Vänern to the east, the province of Dalsland is West Sweden at its most rural. Sparsely populated, Dalsland is truly a land of lakes, making it the perfect place for visitors seeking a dip away from the crowds. 

While there are lots of places to swim in this province, the serenely beautiful Lake Laxsjön is undoubtedly one of the best. Located just south of Bengtsfors, the lake forms part of the Dalsland Canal and offers cool, clear water largely enjoyed by the local communities who live in villas along its shores. Visitors can base themselves in Dals-Långed, a tiny village home to around 1,500 people. Although the settlement is not a destination in itself, it makes a good place to aim for as it’s ideally located to reach a number of surrounding attractions, including the best swimming spots found at the north end of the lake.  

Sydkoster, Sweden © Goran Assner
Rural Sydkoster boasts one of the best and biggest sandy beaches on the entire west coast © Goran Assner,


Of the two Koster islands in West Sweden, most people make a beeline for Sydkoster – the larger and more leafy of the two. The two main settlements, Ekenäs and Kyrkosund, neither little more than a village, both lie on the east coast separated by long unspoilt stretches of sandy beaches backed by pine forest. Because these islands enjoy more hours of sunshine than virtually anywhere else in the country, Sydkoster is the best place to go for visitors travelling to Sweden in the summer months. 

While it is true that island swims are often more suited to an experienced swimmer, the water here is relatively calm and so most people should have no trouble navigating the current. After you’ve had your fill of wild swimming, head to Kilesand – one of Sydkoster’s real gems. Here you can stop for refreshments at the smattering of small cafés and ice cream parlours, or better still at Kosters Trädgårdar, a glorious restaurant and café set in a delightful garden on the lane between the island church and Långegärde.  

A pleasant cycle ride and walk will take you through some of the island’s pretty woodland starting from just south of the church and leading west out to Långevik bay which is a good place to snorkel – just to the left of the beach there are any number of giant oysters, hermit crabs and species of flat fish. 

Läckö Slott, Sweden © Roger Borgelid
The fairy-tale castle of Läckö Slott is another major attraction on Lake Vänern © Roger Borgelid,


There’s nothing like a dip in the clean water of a Swedish lake, and Kinnekulle is a great place to visit for those who are particularly concerned about water temperature. Home to the heavenly warm waters of Lake Vänern, the delightful upland region of Kinnekulle is one of the real treats of Västergötland. Although the area is very much of the mainland, it has a curiously insular feel to it and, indeed, the locals see themselves as living quite autonomously. 

The coastline to the west of Hällekis (the only town at the northernmost point of Kinnekulle) is fabulous and you’ll come across several little beaches where you can readily take a dip in the waters of Lake Vänern. For those brave enough to try their hand at winter swimming, the small settlements that surround the lake hold the promise of a hot drink and wood-fired sauna.  

Vrångö, Gothenburg archipelago, Sweden © Västgöten, Wikimedia Commons
With an otherwise rugged landscape, you may be surprised to find that Vrångö has the best beaches of all the islands in the Gothenburg archipelago © Västgöten, Wikimedia Commons


A large island but with a population of just 400, Vrångö has the best beaches of all the islands in the Gothenburg archipelago. Since it lies towards the southern end of the chain, Vrångö takes a little longer to reach from Saltholmen than the other islands, but it more than repays the little extra effort it takes to get there and there are still several public transport options available. 

If you’re up for a short hike, there are several walking trails in the area that lead to wonderful lagoons ideal for wild swimming. The southern trail continues to the west coast, where you’ll find countless small creeks and inlets which are perfectly suited to swimming and relaxing on sunny days.

Alternatively, the northern trail leads from the ferry jetty to two of Vrångö’s other beaches: the first, opposite the islet of Skarholmen just offshore, features a large grassy area (great for picnics and barbecues) and a glorious sandy strand. The second beach, Vättna, a little further on, boasts an even larger stretch of perfect golden sand; the word paradise comes to mind. 

Want to keep your Swedish adventure going? Check out our guide to driving along the Bohuslän coast.

More information

For more information, check out our guide to West Sweden.

If you’re considering booking a trip, Sunvil operates a number of tours in Sweden to cater to every traveller’s taste.