The coastline and lakes of Sweden are dotted with cold baths open all year round, where you can dip in the natural cold water in mesmerising surroundings and end the experience with a visit to the sauna.
The first cold bath houses in Sweden started emerging at the end of the 19th century. However, outdoor pools with stairs had been used for over 100 years before that. Studies show that regular cold water swimming has a positive mental and physical effect on people. Already in the early 1800s, the Swedish Medical Association was subscribing cold, salty baths to patients, and it became part of the health trend of the 60s and 70s.
Cold bathing fell out of favour for a while until the 2020 pandemic blew new life to this trend as social media posts about cold baths and ice swimming poured down the feeds.
Now, the long-time Swedish tradition of cold bathing is starting to become more and more popular across borders for its health benefits. Most cold baths in Sweden have isolated bathing areas for men and women and separate saunas.
If you are curious about cold bathing and want to try this Swedish tradition for yourself, head to one of these magical cold water baths.
The Ribersborg Kallbadhus (also known as Kallis or Ribban) in Malmo sits elegantly at the end of a pier on Ribersborg Beach, only a 20-minute walk from the city centre. This is also a great day trip from Copenhagen as you can easily cross Oresund Bridge.
Originally, the bathing facility dates back to 1898, but it was destroyed by a storm four years later and has since been rebuilt and modernized multiple times.
The bath house has separated bathing areas and saunas for women and men where you can bathe in the Oresund saltwater dividing Sweden and Denmark. You can join a German sauna tradition called Aufguss, where the sauna host will pour essential oils into the hot stones and wave the steam toward you, which is quite a refreshing experience.
The cold bath also offers massage and a solarium for women, and there are hot water tubs in each section. On the first Monday of the month, the bath hosts “Queer Kallis” and is open to anyone that does not identify as either a man or a woman.
There is also a restaurant on site where you can fuel up after your cold bath experience.
Situated in Stockholm’s dreamy archipelago, Saltsjöbadens Friluftsbad is a wooden open-air cold bath house. It was established in the 20th century in a delightful setting.
The women’s side of the bathhouse was originally built in 1913, and the men’s part was built shortly after in 1920. However, both sides were renovated in the year 2000 - keeping the original style. Each side has jumping towers and idyllic wooden sun decks where you can sunbathe.
On the beach, there is a third section to the bath where both women and men can go. This area is perfect for children to play, and the older kids can leap into the water from a jumping tower. There is also a common restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a view.
Saltsjöbadens Friluftsbad is only open to the public in spring, summer, and fall. In the winter months, it is only open to groups and must be booked in advance ( you can book through their official website).
This historic cold bath was built in 1903, but a floating pool was already present in the water for cold dips in the 1820s. This is a nudist bath house, so Kallbadhuset Varberg has separate areas for men and women. It is incredibly beautiful sitting on wooden stilts at the end of a pier from the beach with elegant domes giving it an oriental style.
Besides bathing and using the sauna, the establishment has a lovely cafe with sweeping sea views where you can enjoy a traditional Swedish “Fika” with anything from toast to waffles with hot chocolate. Kallbadhuset Varberg is a beautiful attraction in Sweden worth a visit whether you dare to dip in the icy cold water or not.
The cold bath in Kalshamn is a unique and simple design that sits on skinny stilts 3 meters above the water. The baths are situated in the idyllic Väggaparken Park between the city centre and Vägga Fiskehamn. This is truly an astonishing place for a bath house.
The bath house has separate areas for men and women with swimming pools, outdoor pools, sea baths with stairs into the water, and saunas. As opposed to the above cold baths, Kallbadhuset Karlshamn does not feature a restaurant, but there is a lounge where men and women can meet.
You can bring your own food and drinks to enjoy in the lounge only. It is also possible to book the lounge for private parties.
Only half an hour from Stockholm, you find this blissful traditional Swedish cold bath on a tiny peninsula in the Baltic Sea.
Surrounded by the idyllic rocks, green grass, and deep green trees so typical for this area, there is nothing more “Swedish” than a visit to Nynäs Havsbad. The facility has outdoor pools and saunas and a spa department where you can book relaxing treatments.
Nynäs Havsbad also has a hotel where you can stay overnight to get more out of your visit, but even if you come for the day, you can enjoy the menu of the season in the restaurant accompanied by exquisite views.
The cold bath facility is open all year round, so even if you do not travel to Sweden in winter, you can pay it a visit.
The beautiful Ulricehamns Kallbadhus was first opened in 2008, but the tradition of cold baths has lived on in Ulricehamn for over 100 years, and the earliest cold bath house was built in 1871 on the same spot. Situated in Åsunden Lake, it is surrounded by natural beauty, and it is hard to think of a prettier place to unwind.
The bath is open all year round, and after your cold bath and a visit to the sauna, you can indulge in a therapeutic massage with hot lava stones, a facial, or a classic full-body Swedish massage.
Every Tuesday to Saturday, the on-site restaurant is open so you can enjoy traditional Swedish food elegantly fused with Italian and French cuisine. Match this with extraordinary views of Ulricehamn, and you will have an experience of a lifetime.
This traditional cold bath is built in the same place where Swedes with cold bath prescriptions were pulled out in the water by horses in so-called “bath wagons” in the 1800s. Once in the water, they would dip into the water day after day, a little bit longer each day, carefully monitored by a doctor.
The current cold bath house was built in 2009 and sits on the end of a 60-meter-long pier in the sea. You can indulge in the outdoor pool, heat up in the sauna, or sit by the fireplace in the common lounge with sweeping sea views.
If you want to stay for longer than a day, there is a hotel with a traditional spa where you can relax with a treatment or massage.
Finally, Arctic Bath in Harads is worth mentioning as one of the more unusual Cold Baths in Sweden. Situated in the heart of Lapland in the Lule River, this cold bath house is designed as a circular floating bird’s nest.
Considering its location, you are also guaranteed a true cold bath all year round, as the water temperatures never rise much so far north. This also means the bath house isn't always floating, as sometimes the water around it is frozen.
The design from 2013 is inspired by the times when timber was transported down the Lule River, and as it often got stuck in rapids, the timber was sticking up in all directions, just like you see on the Arctic Bath today. The cold bath is connected to a hotel where you can stay in wooden cabins at the end of floating docks.
The hotel also has a spa, so you can enjoy the complete health benefits of cold baths, a sauna with Aufguss sessions, and massages with healing stones, among other wellness treatments. The hotel also offers a wealth of exciting arctic experiences like Moose Safari, snowshoeing, chasing the northern light, and snowmobile tours.
Arctic Bath has an exquisite restaurant serving traditional northern Swedish food prepared with local and sustainable produce with a modern twist. If you are not staying at the hotel, you might have lunch or dinner in the restaurant, but be aware that if the hotel is fully booked, there might not be free tables as the guests have priority.
Last Updated 4 August 2023