Many people think that ice swimming is the best way to relax in winter. In addition of it’s relaxing and calming effect, it also has known benefits for health. Among other things it strengthens your blood circulation and relieves pain and stress.
However, despite the health effects, ice swimming is not suitable for everybody. The combination of cold water and hot sauna is very hard for your heart and it makes your bronchus to contract. You also should not go swimming when you are drunk.
There are many styles of winter swimming
Most people prefer to go to sauna when winter swimming. If you do so, it’s preferable to not go to the cold water straight from the sauna, but let your body temperature become steady at least couple of minutes before swimming. All people have their own styles; some go first to sauna, some to swimming, and some don’t go sauna at all.
In Finland almost every town has their own winter swimming locations. The water is kept open by keeping it in motion by pumping. Sauna fee varies between 5,5 and 7 euros. Of course, if you don’t need sauna, ice swimming is free – you just need to find a beach without an ice cover.
You don’t need many supplies to start ice swimming. Swimming suit and sheet to cover sauna bench is already enough. However, it is advisable to use socks or swimming shoes just because snow and ice are quite sharp and might cause a lot of pain. For people who like to have extra comfort, neoprene gloves are also available. And if you use a beanie, you don’t need to worry about your brain freezing even in the coldest weather!
Ice swimming locations in Turku
Few good and very popular places for ice swimming in Turku are Ispoinen beach and Saaroniemi in Ruissalo. Ispoinen is maintained by Turku’s winter outdoor swimmer’s club, see their website for prices and more information. Saaroniemi is maintained by Saaroniemen Saukot.
The Ispoinen beach and sauna are located about 5 kilometers from the city center. You can get there by car or take a bus number 13 from the market square.
20100 Turku, Ruissalo
The Saaroniemi can be reached with Föli line number 8. ‘
Please note that there are special instructions and restrictions for the swimming during to Covid-19. Always check the current rules from the organizers.
Have you ever tried swimming in winter?
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Also visit in the area
Katariinanlaakso nature reserve in nearby Ilpoinen provides short trails for walking or cross-country skiing. Special characteristics of Katariinanlaakso include oaks and little-leaf lindens, historical boulders, and many curious little squirrels. Katariinanlaakso is also an excellent location for birdwatching.
This is so fascinating! I didn’t realize ice swimming was such a popular activity in Finland! I personally don’t think I’d be able to do it!
Yikes! I have a hard time getting in a chilly pool in the summer. Maybe I’d just hang out in the sauna 😉
Sauna with a cold beverage is not a bad option. 😉
Wow, I didn’t realize ice swimming was a thing! I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to be in the cold water.
I love a good sauna, but I am not sure I can manage the ice swimming bit. I would love to tough it up and try though, and hopefully it won’t end in an embarrassing dip of a toe and then running back to the sauna 🙂
As much as I would like to try out ice swimming, I don’t think I could bring myself to put my whole body in! It looks like a unique experience though.
I never thought about winter swimming! I learned some things. Thanks for sharing.
Every time I hear about ice swimming or the polar plunge, I think: these people are crazy! But also me: I have to try it. So now it’s on my bucket list.
I have never heard it being called the polar plunge! That’s hilarious!
Ice swimming is easier than you would think. Air temperature is low on winter and usually water is warmer than air. It still feels very cold but not as bad as for example on swimming hall where the air is very warm. Most people also doesn’t stop swimming out after summer but keep on around the year. In that way you let your body to get used to colder water little by little.
I…cannot even imagine ice swimming. Though, I suppose if I were to try it, ice swimming in Turku Finland is probably the best place to do it!
This is literally the first time I’ve ever heard of ice swimming.. what an idea! Did you like it?
Yes, I really enjoy it! This is fifth or sixth winter I do ice swimming regularly, at least once a week. And I can assure you that it is highly addictive 😉
This is so interesting. We have something called the “Polar Bear Plunge” in the USA where you basically run into the ocean in the middle of winter, and then immediately come back out. People generally do it as part of a fundraiser for charity. It is funny to think that winter swimming combined with a sauna is a common activity in Finland. Way too cold for me!
I would be so cold ice swimming! Although Turku, Finland looks like a fun place to do it.
Amazing! I know nothing about traveling all over the country, what a wonderful looking place to explore.