Five of the World’s Most Splendid Public Pools
Although these pools look fit for royalty, you don’t need to be minted to enjoy the fun. Here are five of the world’s most luxurious and splendid pools, all of them open to the public and costing little more than spare change!
1. Bondi Icebergs in Sydney
Caption: The pool at the Bondi Icebergs Club, Sydney, Australia
For over 100 years, the azure blue Tasman sea has crashed dramatically into the sea wall at Bondi Baths. This ruggedly beautiful outdoor swimming pool is only separated from the big blue beyond by a solid concrete wall that allow the waves to crash into the swimming area, sans sharks and seaweed.
The pool itself is slightly colder than the ocean, even though the pool and ocean are connected. For real time updates on the temperature fluctuations, Bondi Icebergs fanatics should jump on Twitter before jumping into the deep end. The public can join Bondi Icebergs, but in order to gain the sought after title of an Iceberg, then you must do as the locals do and log at least 75 swims here during the chilly winter months. After a stimulating winter swim, head to the on-site gourmet bistro, club house or gym. Non-members can come and people-watch and brave the pool all year round for the reasonable price of $6 for a day pass.
2. Krapfenwaldlbad in Vienna, Austria
Vienna is known for its beautiful architecture, art and classical music roots. Although there are some incredibly picturesque neighbourhoods where the locals love to hang out. This includes Krapfenwaldlbad, a popular public baths perched n the rarified alpine air of the Cobenzels mountains in the 19th district of Vienna. These public baths opened in 1923 with one section devoted to nude bathing, one of the earliest of its kind in Vienna. The baths briefly shut down following the devastation of WWII but reopened in 1952. Constant renovations and new add-on attractions have turned Krapfenwaldlbad into both a local haunt and tourist mainstay. It’s worth checking out the lap pool, family pool including water slide and sporting facilities if you are ever in Vienna. Adult admission costs a measly $6.70 for a day pass.
3. Kastrup Søbad in Copenhagen, Denmark
Kastrup Søbad captures a certain understated Danish design aesthetic. It is a circular wooden pavillion with clean lines and a calming, dreamy sort of landscape. Created in 2005, these sea baths were designed to provide a spectacular vantage point of the beaches nearby. Instead of being completely noticeable and a foreign body in the landscape, the design fits in organically with the surroundings. A 100 metre board-walk connects the sea bath with the shore, where there are showers and lockers for swimmers. This natural swimming pool is popular with hardy Scandinavian swimmers, as the water rarely rises above a chilly 15°C. This is the place for communal camraderie though, the very Danish quality of hygge .i.e. quality time with friends. Better yet the entry is free and only a five minute train ride from central Copenhagen. Head down there during the summery months of June to September.
4. Thermae Bath Spa in Bath, England
One of the most splendid living relics from Roman antiquity, Thermae Bath Spa is just as peaceful and restoring nowadays as it was when Roman conquerors soaked away their battle wounds in 43 A.D. Since ancient times, these baths have seen a number of fancy accoutrements added on. Including an ornate 17th Century turret and the recently added Minerva bath. A large and futuristic bath with massage jets, a whirl pool and a ‘lazy river’. The Cross Bath Building is built upon an ancient Celtic Pagan worshipping site for added historical mystique. Enjoy the sensuous pleasure of thermal pools of mineral water in the same way the Romans did so long ago. This one is slightly more expensive, with a two hour spa including costing $40 per person.
5. Gellért Thermal Baths. Budapest in Hungary
Gellért Thermal Baths has existed since 1918, however there has been a glorious history of long soaks in this peaceful spot since the 15th Century. Nowadays there is a grand Art Nouveau style to the complex with intricate stonework, columns and mosaic tiles glittering underneath the water. There is a magnificent double-height glass roof that will make you feel giddy while you swim beneath it. It’s incredibly decadent and one can’t help but leave feeling thoroughly invigorated and pampered afterwards. Be sure to investigate the saunas, steam room and gigantic open air wave pool. The indoor section is open to the public all year round, with the outdoor parts open from late spring to early autumn. It costs $20 for a swim, a price that’s still pretty accessible given the luxurious surroundings.
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