Ten countries’ most beautiful natural swimming holes that only locals know about


In almost every culture bathing and swimming are seen as forms of relaxation. People go to the coast to enjoy the sea and hike towards beautiful mountain lakes to take a refreshing swim. Experiencing the water whilst having an amazing view is the best after all. And, on top of that, natural swimming pools are the place to connect with local people.

We asked our contacts in Peru, Italy, Morocco, Nepal, South Australia, Brazil, Serbia, Romania, and France the following question: ‘What is the best place for natural water swimming in your country?’

In return, we learned about some amazing swimming holes - absolute water gems - that you really don’t want to miss out on if you are in the area.

1.     Peru: Bayoz Waterfalls and Velo de la Novia

Photo by: carlos-ruiz-huaman

“There are many places to swim in natural water in my country, especially the waterfalls in the jungle part of the country”, our contact from Peru told us.

“For example in Chanchamayo, which is only about 6 hours from Lima. The most popular waterfalls in this area are Bayoz and Velo de la Novia, or the Veil of the Bride”.

Catarata Bayoz consists of multiple waterfalls that each end in a pool, and together create a stairway of swimming holes. They are really beautiful, facilitate great swimming and are actually located in the jungle!

Velo de la Novia is another waterfall with a 120 meter high drop! It’s possible to do some abseiling, or mountain biking there. The area is said to be stunning, so it’s definitely worth a visit!

2.     Italy: the sea next to Cilento

The best place to swim in natural water in Italy is definitely located in the South. “I love Cilento, south of Naples, below the famous Amalfi Coast. A wonderful area where you can find incredible coastal views and a crystal clear water for a relaxing swim that you won’t forget!” said our Italian friend. The Cilento region is allegedly the place that local Italians visit, while tourists gather at the Amalfi Coast. The region has beautiful, unspoilt and untouched mountains and beaches. On top of that, if you are a real culture vulture, you can discover well preserved Greek temples, or 12th century castles.

3.     Morocco: the laid back beach at Sidi Kaouki, which is also one of the best surf spots.

Photo by Bernard Hermant

Morocco was luckily granted two amazing coastlines (the Atlantic Ocean in the west and the Mediterranean Sea in the north). But one of the best places is Sidi Kaouki, a quiet little village that's located along the Atlantic coast, a 30-minute bus ride from Essaouira. It’s a prime destination for fans of windsurfing and other water activities. It’s much quieter than the beach of Essaouira, but just as beautiful.

4.     Nepal: Sisneri Natural Swimming Pool

Sisneri is located in the Makwanpur district. It is considered as a natural swimming pool which is about 35km south from Kathmandu city. It is a beautiful area for swimming and diving for daredevils. It has recently gained popularity with local young people, but we recommend it to anyone who likes a cold but refreshing swim while it’s hot outside, and with a beautiful view of the mountains!

5.     South Australia: West Beach and Moonta Bay, Adelaide

“There are so many great places! South Australia has many beautiful beaches. Even having visited many other countries, I think that South Australia has some of the best beaches on the planet, and most of them are nearly empty! It’s not unusual to have kilometres of beautiful, sandy white beach all to yourself!” states our South Australian connection.

“It’s hard to choose a favourite because there are so many good ones. There is West Beach which is very close to the city, and I also love Moonta Bay which is about two hours away from Adelaide”. West Beach really looks tropical with white sands and turquoise water. On the other hand, in Moonta Bay you can do a variety of activities aside from the beach itself, such as visiting the Splash town water park, or fishing!

6.     Russia/Abkazia: Goluboye Ozero, Blue Lake. Better for pictures than for swimming

Abkazia is an area between Russia and Georgia, and probably not an area which many of us can visit. But, if you can, our contact advised us to visit Goluboye Ozero, the Blue Lake. This lake, called the ‘bottomless lake’, is very deep. It’s interconnected by natural underwater tunnels and the water is bright blue (unless it has just rained). The temperature is 5-7 degrees celsius in summer, and 3-4 degrees in winter, and the water there never freezes. Swimming is not allowed, but it is probably much too cold for most of us anyway. The lake is close to Gagra and on the way to the Ritsa Lake. Be aware though that local people may ask money for taking pictures.

7.     Bosnia: Boračko Glacier Lake

There are several great lakes in Bosnia. Our contact’s personal favourite is Boračko Jezero (The Boračko Lake). The lake is open to the public for camping, swimming, and BBQing. It’s a glacial lake and located in a mountainous area, making the view spectacular. There also is a town on the seaside - Neum, that has lovely beaches and is a very popular vacation place. The seaside of Bosnia is only 20 kilometers long (12 miles), so the beach can get very busy.

8.     Brazil: Baia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha Archipelago

When you think of flipflops you also think of beautiful beaches. Brazil has a large coastline but there is a small beach located on an island in the Atlantic Ocean that absolutely meets the requirements of a white-sand blue-water beach. Fernando de Noronha is an archipelago where the beach Baia do Sancho is located. It is such a well-protected place that there is a daily limit to how many people can travel and live there. It is a hidden gem that everyone needs to go to at least once in their lifetime. It is a one hour flight from Natal.

9.    Serbia: Silver Lake, Veliko Gradiste

Silver Lake (Strebno Jezero) is one of the most beautiful lakes in Serbia and is located in Veliko Gradiste, 110km from Belgrade. It is a popular place for swimming in Serbia. Besides it being characterized by clear water and beautiful beaches, the Silver Lake is also extremely rich in a large variety of freshwater fish. It has been rising in popularity and is now sometimes called The Serbian Sea.

10.  France, Pont du Diable (Devil’s Bridge), Thueyts, Ardèche

The Ardeche is famous for its beautiful rock formations, streams, and waterfalls. Canoeing is a popular activity, because the surroundings are so beautiful and because of the excitement of the few rapids you pass. You can swim in between the rocks at Thueyts, below an old bridge, the Pont du Diable. The entire location looks like that of an idyllic paradise.