Few sensations beat plunging into a massive outdoor pool, the sky looming big and bright and blue above. Even if you’re bang in the middle of the city, even if you’re surrounded by dozens of other swimmers, you can’t help but feel like you’ve found a place of peace: a calming and energising escape from the frenetic outside world.
And as a big ol’ splashy bonus, it helps that public pools and lidos can also be really damn beautiful. This means that not only do you get the thrill of that first plunge – you also get the constant excitement of looking up and being totally bowled over by your surroundings.
Looking to branch out and do your laps somewhere new? You could do much worse than hit up one of the many beautiful pools that feature in ‘Lido: A Dip into Outdoor Swimming Pools’. This new book by author Christopher Beanland is both a history of pool architecture and a travel guide for super-keen swimmers, filled with top destinations from Slovakia to Hong Kong via Sydney.
So, where should be top of your bucket(-of-water) list? To help you out, we asked Beanland to pick out seven pools and lidos that are genuinely worth crossing international borders for – from manmade lidos done out properly palatially to icy natural pools overlooked by snow-capped mountains. Go ahead and dive in.