For those looking for a challenge with serious bragging rights - taking a trip to swim around a few of the islands in the Arctic Circle should do the trick. Open-water swimming enthusiast Alice Todd describes what's on offer.
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Alice Todd is a keen open-water swimmer, freelance travel writer and a swim guide for swimquest.uk.com. Swimquest, formerly Coningham-Rolls Swim Holidays, was launched in 2010 by John Coningham-Rolls, Channel swimmer and coach, after he spent more than ten years organising and guiding swim holidays worldwide.
Swimquest offers holidays suitable for all swimming abilitites, for those who are...
A visit to the Lofotens would not be complete without a stay in a traditional fisherman's cabin. Set in picturesque surroundings by a sea inlet, the small harbour fishery of Kalle (a few km along the coast from Svolvaer) provides an excellent swimming base.
This is a fantastic day's swimming - a memorable introduction to the great natural beauty of Norway and allows swimmers to really soak up Svolvaer’s dramatic coastline.
Starting from the sheltered eastern side of Lyngværet Island, this is an other-worldly swim around a myriad of small-uninhabited islands in crystal clear shallow waters (often only 15m deep).
Starting off by the bridge to Grundstadvelen and swimming with the tide, this swim will take you through Lofoten's wonderful rocky outcrops and small islands out into the Norwegian Sea. This open section of the swim allows you stunning, panoramic views of the landscape, finally passing Rødholmen Island and reaching Sineset Bay. A short coastal swim then takes you back to the sandy beach in Kleivan Harbour on the northern coast of Vestvagøy Island.
With over 1,000 years of history, the islands are inextricably linked to the vast quantities of winter cod that migrate from the Barents Sea to spawn. When visiting any local town, you will often see the racked cod and stockfish on large A-frames that dry in the sun. Consequently there are some excellent local fish restaurants which provide a wonderfully well deserved feast for hungry swimmers!
Best times to go:
Swimming tours operate in June, July and August, when the sea temperature is between 11 and 15°C and therefore accessible to swimmers. From May 25 until around mid-July, the sun remains constantly above the horizon (midnight sun).
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