Best time to visit Svalbard

Ice-Cold Swimming in Svalbard

You'll never know how your body is going to respond to this kind of stress

Best time: June–early September

Ice-Cold Swimming

Swimming in ice-cold water is both exciting and dangerous experience. The most important thing is safety. All the swimmers go through a necessary medical check, and if the responsible doctor notices something wrong with someone in the water, that swimmer will be immediately taken back into the boat. The body temperature of a swimmer in such conditions falls to 32 degrees which means moderate and mild hypothermia. Usually, it takes over four hours to get back to normal after such supercooling. A swim test is conducted individually, and each swimmer is followed by a small rubber boat and a larger one.

The secret of immersion into the ice-cold water lies in the feeling of surges running through your body once you jump out of the water. Even though plunging yourself into icy water requires a liberal share of courage, a momentary loss of feeling in your legs and the initial shock will soon pass. As soon as you’re back on the land, your body starts to warm up.

Swimming in icy water has traditionally been something that older people worshipped, and youngsters have made it even more trendy—ice-cold swimming is considered a substantial energy boost. The beaches of Svalbard are rather rocky, and it's not so easy to pick a good place to enter the water. One of the well-known swimming spots is Longyearbyen Camping, known for its Arctic Naked Bathing Club.

The most favourable season is June to early September, as both water and air temperatures are at their highest, anyway more or less around zero. The only two months that see constant temperatures above zero are July and August.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Svalbard for ice-cold swimming?

Ice-cold swimming in Svalbard is an epic activity. The ideal time to visit for this adventure is from June to early September when temperatures remain around zero. Although July and August are the warmest months, they witness huge visitor numbers. Those interested should take all required safety precautions and be mindful of the hazards of hypothermia throughout the year. Show more

How safe is ice-cold swimming in Svalbard?

Ice-cold swimming in Svalbard is a thrilling but dangerous experience. Medical evaluations are mandatory before taking part. Swimmers must be in top condition, with no underlying clinical problems. The water temperature is around freezing point at 32 degrees, which can cause mild to moderate hypothermia. It is therefore critical to swim in safe designated areas and comply with the specified safety guidelines at all times. Show more

Where are the best places in Svalbard to go ice-cold swimming?

Svalbard offers several ideal locations with rocky beaches for ice-cold swimming, such as Coles Bay, Barentsburg, and Grønfjorden. The Arctic Naked Bathing Club at Longyearbyen Camping is one of the most popular hotspots. To find the ideal location for ice-cold swimming, swimmers must research the hazards of the environment, weather, and other safety requirements. Show more

What medical checks do swimmers have to go through before ice-cold swimming?

Before ice-cold swimming in Svalbard, swimmers are subject to a preliminary medical examination, which includes evaluating essential organs, such as the lungs, heart, and circulatory system. Swimmers must also analyze their own conditions for underlying health concerns, such as cardiovascular or respiratory disorders. Each swimmer must conduct the swim test separately, followed by two boats, to ensure safety. The medical team closely monitors each swimmer's wellbeing at every step. Show more

Why is ice-cold swimming a popular activity in Svalbard?

Ice-cold swimming is a famous Svalbard adventure activity that challenges and thrills both locals and visitors alike. This activity is an energy booster, with older folks, in particular, traditionally considering it beneficial for health. Additionally, it may improve blood flow, ward off mood disorders and viral infections. Ice-cold swimming is an extraordinary experience that many people in Svalbard enjoy each year. Show more

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