A refreshing dip in icy water?
Believe it or not, swimming in a hole in the ice really does you the world of good.
‘Eek!’ ‘No way!’ ‘You Finns are nuts!’ These tend to be the first unenthusiastic reactions of tourists faced with the prospect of a dip in an icy lake. Slipping into black, frozen water does bring to mind the fate of the Titanic rather than the exciting prospect of a pleasant swim. Why on earth would anyone take the plunge if they didn’t have to? Well, maybe because it’s not an extreme sport for masochists, but an experience that leaves you feeling fantastic and refreshed.
Today, Finland has several new, stylish places where ice swimming is offered alongside other spa and bathing options, purely for the enjoyment of the experience. The fear threshold has been lowered and the entertainment level increased, partly thanks to the installation of underwater lights offering some illuminated reassurance to swimmers.
Depending on location, winter in Finland begins in November and can last up to five months, with temperatures ranging from a balmy zero to a lung-freezing minus 35.