Winterbathing for Dummies (Part One - Be Prepared!)

When I first came to Copenhagen in 1998, I heard myths of crazy Danes who would bathe all year round in the sea. Then I spied them myself. Crossing the road. In their bathrobes. All along the coastal road - Strandvejen - from Hellerup (just north of Copenhagen) to Helsingør. Yes, I thought they were Completely Nuts.

Surreal to be bathing and hear fog horns out at sea!

Fast forward to a warm summer morning in June 2011. My friend and I were down at the beach for a run. We spotted several ’winterbathers’ and said to each other, “Well, that’s something we will never do!” Yep, you guessed it, half an hour later, there we were, in the sea. Butt naked. Ha! Never say ‘never’! ;)

We’ve been winterbathing ever since – seventeen months, woo hoo! Five days a week. (And six or seven if we can…) Yes, we are Thoroughly Addicted.

Are you interested in trying out this ‘extreme sport’? Read on and get my tips!

Watch out for icicles on the bathing bridge :)


  • Find an old pair of shoes that you can use to walk across the – sometimes frozen – sand. Flipflops are only suitable for the summer.
  • Invest in a really good bathrobe. You need one which is long and warm. Preferably with large pockets (in which you can put your bathing shoes, so they don’t fly away when it’s blowing a gale).
  • When it’s really, really cold and the windchill is minus10 degrees, bring a little hat. Yes, it looks strange to be bathing naked with a little woollen hat on the top of your head but, believe me, you will be glad of it!
  • You’ll need a bag large enough to hold the following: a small towel (useful for drying off your feet, or as a ‘muff’ around your freezing hands and fingers), a thermos flask of coffee or tea and a mug (enjoy a nice hot cuppa after your swim), a few biscuits/piece of fruit/energy bar (winterbathing really fires up your metabolism).
  • Make sure you are well rested and nice and cosy before you bathe. Going into cold water when you are tired and chilly isn’t fun.

And most important of all…

  • Never bathe alone – always, always, always take a friend with you. Safety first! They’ll be bathing too? Hooray, the more the merrier! They don’t want to swim? Hooray – you have ‘a butler’ to hold your bathing robe!

1st December = bathing naked + a Santa hat!

Join me next time for tips on what to do when you actually get to the beach…

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Diane :)