Swimming In Ice Cold Water? Are You Out Of Your Mind!?

No, absolutely not! Did you know that winter swimming can keep you in a good shape? More than 150,000 Finns are enjoying this activity on a regular basis during the season. All you need is a swimsuit and a hole in the ice of a frozen lake, river or pond.

It is a sport that has been practiced more in the past by elderly people but it is now gaining terrain also among younger generations. If you fancy trying new things, this post is for you.

Winter swimming keeps you in shape

Winter swimming is an old natural way of cure and we now use it as a self-treatment to stay healthy. There is no age limit to try and enjoy this sport. You simply need to be in normal physical condition. It is proven that winter swimming has a positive influence on your body, if practiced regularly.

It provides you with a better resistance to cold weather, improves your immune system and helps you breathe and sleep better. Last but not least, it releases all your stress.

Some like it so much that it has become a real addiction. They can go to practice it up to 4 to 5 times per week.

Check this Visit Finland’s video to gain more insights.

Where can you try winter swimming?

In fact, Finns can practice this sport anywhere where they have access to a lake near to their cottages. If you visit Finland for the fist time, the easiest way to get started is to visit one of the places built for that specific purpose.  You may ask for an updated list of places from the tourism board of your destination.


In the capital of Lapland, you can join the locals to try this thrilling experience right in the city center. You can also relax in a hot tub or go to sauna before and after taking a dip in the ice-cold water. The swimming pool has been dug in the ice covering the Kemi river near the Lumberjack’s Candle bridge. You can easily walk there from the city centre.

In 2014, the Rovaniemi winter swimming pool welcomed competitors from all around the globe during the World Championships. It was a great success!


While visiting Helsinki, the capital of Finland, have a look at the Allas Sea Pool, located right in the heart of the city. It will be opening its doors again in spring 2017.

There you can swim in a 2˚C sea water pool and in a 27˚C pool. Saunas are also available to relax and chat with other swimmers and locals.

To better enjoy this experience, we recommend joining Finns or asking locals for advice to get the best out of these unforgettable moments.


If you don’t feel quite ready, you can still try the exciting floating, wearing survival suits, in the Baltic Sea in Kemi in Northern Finland. The Sampo Icebreaker and local safari companies are regularly organising these excursions during winter. January and February would be the best months for this adventure.

How to get started with winter swimming?

So you decided to get your feet wet? Here are a few recommendations to get the most out of this thrilling experience:

  • Winter swimming is for anyone in good shape and if you have a doubt, ask your doctor for advice.
  • Neoprene socks to protect your feet are recommended, although not mandatory.
  • If you go to sauna before swimming, let your body cool down a bit before going in the water.
  • Don’t put your head under water.
  • Get familiar with cold water with care to avoid shock: stay in the water only for a few seconds and then try longer period when you feel comfortable.
  • There is no rule how many times to go swimming, just use common sense and know your limits.
  • Put on warm clothes after sauna and winter swimming.

Winter swimming is not recommended for:

  • Young children
  • People having a flu or fever
  • Persons with heart related disease or weakness

In Finland, this discipline has now been taken to a whole new level. Have you ever heard of Johanna Nordblad, the Finnish free diver?

She holds the world record for 50-meter dive under the ice. She discovered her love for the sport through cold-water treatment while recovering from a downhill biking accident that almost took her legs. Discover her passion with this beautiful video.

On our website you’ll be able to find a great choice of cottages and accommodation with winter swimming possibilities.

Written by Bruce Deschamps
French Travel Blogger & Wilderness Guide in love with the great outdoors. The Finnish Lapland is my favorite playground!