Winter bathing for beginners and other landlubbers

Photo: Ralf Andersen

Thinking about trying winter bathing? Then you’re far from the only one, as winter bathing is the new rage.  Here is a miniguide to a successful winter bathing outing.

Winter swimming by the North Sea and Ringkøbing Fjord is not only a brave challenge for body and mind, but also an extraordinary experience that anchors you in the raw beauty of nature. When winter's cold embraces the coast and fjord, it opens up a unique connection with the elements that strengthens both body and soul. Here are six unique places to begin your winter swimming experience:

Hvide Sande Harbour: With the roaring waves of the North Sea as a backdrop, Hvide Sande Harbour is a perfect introduction to winter swimming. There are many forces at play in the North Sea, so we can only recommend that you enter the water at the buoy barrier at the end of Dækmolevej in Hvide Sande. Hvide Sande Harbour has created a safe, closed-off area in the harbour specifically for winter swimmers. There is no crowding, although a small seal may pop up every now and then.

Skjern Å bath: This hidden gem further inland offers tranquil surroundings for a refreshing winter dip. The tranquil environment makes it easier to relax and enjoy the refreshing feeling of bathing in the middle of the winter cold. Skjern Å Bad is established in an old river course and therefore has a direct connection to the river Skjern Å. After a cold dip, you can jump straight into the sauna and warm up. You'll find the area just before you reach Kong Hans Bridge

The harbour in Ringkøbing: If you're trying out winter swimming for the first time, head for the bathing jetty at the end of the motorhome parking area at the harbour in Ringkøbing, Fiskerstræde 70. This is where the winter swimming club Neptun is based, and the facilities are perfect for the purpose. After a cold shower, you can warm up in a sauna with a panoramic view of Ringkøbing Fjord

Blåvand beach and Hvidbjerg beach: If you're looking for a cold dip in the North Sea, Blaavand beach or Hvidbjerg beach is the right place to try your hand at the winter swimming discipline. Both beaches are sheltered by Horns Rev, which creates a calmer atmosphere despite the wild forces of the North Sea. Hvidbjerg Strand is home to the North Sea's only jetty for winter swimmers, wheelchair users and anyone else who wants easy access to the water or to enjoy it from the front row.   

Søndervig Strand: With its wide sand dunes and roaring sea, Søndervig Strand is an iconic place for winter swimming. The open horizon and refreshing air create a special atmosphere that inspires you to plunge into the cold water. The magnificent view of the open sea gives a sense of freedom and immersion

Vejers Strand: Winter swimming at Vejers Strand is not only a brave challenge, but also a rewarding and refreshing experience with multiple health benefits. The ice-cold dip in the fresh North Sea at Vejers Strand can boost your health in several ways. Combine your dip with one of the scheduled sauna sessions in the mobile sauna on the beach. You won't get a greater sense of wellbeing. The beach is also accessible by car, so you can grab a quick dip and jump back into the warm car. 

Winter swimming at the North Sea and Ringkøbing Fjord is more than a physical challenge - it's a journey into the magic of nature that strengthens both body and mind. So take the plunge, experience the refreshing feeling of the icy water and be inspired by the Danish winter in its most authentic and invigorating way. It's important to respect the water and think before you jump in. It is an advantage to winter swim during the daytime when the sun is shining and the weather is calm without too much wind, as the wind can have a "wind chill factor" that can multiply the cold experience.

Mennesker vinterbader i Vesterhavet til solnedgang

Photo:Mette Johnsen

How to get started with winter bathing

Starting winter swimming can seem like a challenging task, but with the right preparation and a few tips, you can have a safe and rewarding experience. Here are some tips for getting started with winter swimming in the North Sea and Ringkøbing Fjord:

Preparation is key: Warm up well before you enter the water. Do some light exercises or take a short jog along the beach to increase your body temperature.

Dress properly: Invest in a proper winter swimsuit or thick neoprene shoes and gloves to protect you from the cold. A hat can also be useful for keeping warm.

Take it gradually: Start with short stays in the cold water and gradually extend the time as your body gets used to the temperature. Avoid staying in the water too long, especially in the beginning.

Focus on weather conditions: Choose days with moderate weather and avoid strong winds or extremely low temperatures. It's important to be aware of your surroundings and the water conditions.

Make sure to warm up: After winter swimming, it's crucial to warm up your body again. Bring a hot beverage such as tea or hot chocolate and dress warmly with layers of dry, insulating clothing.

Follow local recommendations: Look out for any warnings or recommendations from local winter swimming clubs or experienced winter swimmers. They can give you useful tips and advice based on their experience.

Seek company: Invite a friend or join a winter swimming club for support and fellowship. Winter swimming with others can make the experience more enjoyable and safe.

Listen to your body: If you feel uncomfortable or too cold, get out of the water and warm up. It's important to respect your own limits and not push yourself too hard.

Winter swimming is not only a physical challenge, but also a mentally invigorating experience. By following these tips, you can enjoy the joys of winter swimming and discover the beneficial effects it can have on both body and mind.


Photo:Brian Kyed

Five good reasons to go winter swimming


  1. Boost your immune system: The short stays in the cold water during winter swimming can stimulate your immune system and make your body more resistant to disease.
  2. Improved circulation: The cold water causes blood vessels to contract and dilate, improving blood circulation. This can have beneficial effects on the heart and circulatory system.
  3. Reduced stress and improved mood: Winter swimming releases endorphins, also known as "happy hormones," which can help reduce stress and improve your mood. The soothing sound of the waves at Vejers Strand amplifies this positive effect.
  4. Increased mental focus: The intense cold of winter swimming can be a form of mental training that increases your mental focus and clarity. It can also strengthen your willpower and resilience.
  5. Improved sleep quality: Regular winter swimming has been linked to improved sleep quality. The combination of fresh air, exercise and temperature changes can help promote healthy and deep sleep.

The North Sea and fjord offer a scenic setting for winter swimming, where you can immerse yourself in the raw beauty of the North Sea. However, as with any extreme activity, it's important to start gradually and consider your personal limits to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.



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