Hiking is a perfect sport to enjoy the natural beauties around us, whether in the mountains, the forest, or near the sea. However, sometimes you might like to add something to your walks… For us, nothing can beat a quick plunge into the open water after a long summer walk. That’s why we share some of our favorite hikes, which you can end with a wonderful wild swim.
Norway - Kragerø Coastal Path
The picturesque village of Kragerø, on the south-eastern coast of Norway, features a magnificent coastal hiking path. The path of 42 km goes mainly along the coastline, and parts of it enter into the idyllic forest. The coastal way is an excellent opportunity to experience Norway's beautiful nature on foot. You can also make some detours to higher points with stunning views, and you easily find bathing areas that are suitable for a well-deserved swimming break.
The Azores - Sanguinho Trail in São Miguel Island
The Sanguinho Trail is a magnificent hiking trail on the Azores' biggest island, São Miguel. It starts at Faial da Terra - a sparsely populated, magical little village. On your hike, you can admire the rustic charm of the old villages that are set in the beautiful scenery.
The best is to come at the end when you reach the majestic waterfall of the Salto do Prego spring. It will leave you in awe, as the spot is breathtaking. The water is crystal clear, and the surrounding nature is unbelievably green and lush. So allow yourself here a small break and dip yourself in the refreshing waters before returning to the trail's initial point. Enjoy it!
There is no experience so authentic as walking through the unparalleled landscapes of Iceland's Highlands, followed by a relaxing dip in a hot pool. Where to go? First of all, we recommend Landmannalaugar. It is a unique place where volcanic activity has left visible marks on its landscapes. You can hike in colorful mountains and old lava fields and finish your day with a dip in the hot springs.
Another magnificent place to go is the Husafell Canyon Baths, a surreal hot spring paradise. Just two hours from Reykjavik is this man-made geothermal pool tucked away in the pure wilderness - far away from the crowds. Walk among natural wonders and make the 64 steps down to the canyon baths. Here you get rewarded with two geothermal pools of varying temperatures (30-41°C) and a spectacular view of the surrounding canyon, mountains, and glaciers. The perfect location to recharge and breathe in the pure Icelandic air.
Madeira - Levada das 25 Fontes
The Levada das 25 Fontes trail is probably the most iconic of Madeira. The trail's name lives up to the number of streams or little waterfalls that pour down along a 30m-high-wall into a magnificent lagoon where you can take a refreshing dive in the cool water. The trail starts in Rabaçal, and on the way, it reveals many wonderful landscapes and a wide variety of local species of flora and fauna. The trail is almost 8 kilometers long (round trip), and it will take about 2 hours and 45 minutes to walk. As it is a popular hike, especially in summer, pick your time away from crowds or groups, the best is to come early.
Sicily - The island of Vulcano
The Aeolian Island of Vulcano off the coast of Sicily gets its name from the dormant (but active) volcano that dominates this unique island. Its last eruption ended in 1890 but still burning vapors and a strong smell of sulfur come out from the main crater (and greet you on arrival). Hiking up to the 500-meter main crater, Gran Cratere della Fossa, is a truly exciting sensation. Going up the sandy path, you can enjoy the views of the sea, and at the top, you can walk on the crater's edge and enjoy the lunar landscape surrounding you.
After this hike, we recommend going to the nearby thermal springs and taking a dip in the mud baths with therapeutic and medicinal properties. Afterward, you can go to the smooth black sandy beach of Vulcano (called Sabbie Nere), which is just a 10-minute walk from the mud pools. Enjoy overlooking the sea and the neighboring islands of Panarea and Stromboli in front of you.
Scotland - Loch Morlich
Loch Morlich in Scotland's Cairngorms mountains has this perfect combination of hiking and wild swimming. Start with the circular walk around the lake; it is a well-marked trail of approx. four miles on a relatively flat path with a few small climbs.
At the end, you can enjoy a swim at the designated bathing area on the eastern side of the shallow loch. It is a 500-meter-long stretch with a fantastic sandy beach, so take time to refresh and have a picnic.
Portugal - Serra da Estrela - Hike to Praia Fluvia de Loriga
Serra da Estrela - mainland Portugal’s highest mountain - is characterized by unique glacial valleys shaped over the years by immense ice masses. One of which is Loriga Glacier Valley. Many hiking trails you find here, from moderate short circular routes to challenging hikes in the heights. Yet, the highlight of this area is the Loriga river beach, the only river beach in Portugal that is set in a glacier valley. The pure, crystal-clear waters come from a spring in the mountains, and once you enter, you can enjoy the rugged mountains surrounding you. Don't miss it on your next trip to Portugal.
Sicily - Cavagrande del Cassibile Natural Reserve
The Laghetti d'Avola are part of the spectacular 2,700-hectare Cavagrande del Cassibile Natural Reserve located between Avola, Noto, and Syracuse in south-eastern Sicily. In the reserve, the Cassibile river has formed a spectacularly deep canyon (with walls reaching 300 meters in certain parts) where you can find small waterfalls and natural pools. However, to reach the amazing pools, you need to make a 90-minute hike, but it is absolutely worth it! So don’t forget your towel and swimsuit to lie on the rocks after a well-deserved dive into the clear waters of the pools.
Ireland - Annagh Bay on Achill Island
Tucked away, entirely out of sight, Annagh Bay has to be one of Ireland's most breathtaking wild swimming spots. With its white sand and turquoise waters, few places on the planet are more inviting! You can only access the bay only on foot – it's about a 1.5-hour hike over the hill to get there! But with stunning views throughout, the walk only makes the entire experience more memorable.
Portugal - Rota Vicentina
Walking the Rota Vicentina Fisherman's Trail on Portugal's West Atlantic coast is a perfect way to enjoy the natural beauty of southern Portugal. It stretches for nearly 400 km along the coast of The Algarve and Alentejo from Sines to Cabo São Vicente. The trail follows the footpaths used by locals to access prime fishing spots. During the trek, you might see fishermen patiently waiting for their catch. Of course, you can also relax on the beach and take a swim in the ocean before heading on your track. You can discover some little-frequented beaches such as Carriagem, Amoreira, and Monte Clérigo. Of course, you don't need to walk the complete trail; you can also choose just a part of it.