5 of the best swimming holidays around the world

Exploring the Baja peninsula, Mexico

With water temperatures of 27C, the Sea of Cortez is so warm that, as SwimTrek puts it, “you’ll feel like you’re swimming in the bath”. Expect to feel comfortable out of the water too, spending a week sleeping in glamping-style bell tents with solar-heated showers, and enjoying fresh local food and cocktails rustled up by your team chef. Each day the swim covers 6km, passing the cliff faces and beaches of this Unesco-protected area, with plenty of opportunity to borrow sea kayaks, paddleboards or snorkels and immerse yourself in the diverse marine life.

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The Minoan Trail, Crete

Female swimmer jumps from a boat in the swim, as part of the Minoan Trail swimming trip, in Crete

The Big Blue Swim spent two years planning this series of swims that involves a six-day sea safari along the wild coastline of south Crete: a landscape that forms the backdrop to well-known myths and history. Starting in the village of Sfakia the journey is eastwards along rugged coastline, exploring caves and remote beaches and passing ancient ruins and churches – loading up on energy with delicious meals at local tavernas. There’s also the option of receiving filmed swimming analysis and coaching sessions, as well as the chance to hone your breathing technique with the help of a yoga specialist.

Snorkelling in Sri Lanka

Nilaveli beach, Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

Diveworld’s 10-day “liveaboard” tour offers the chance to swim in Sri Lanka’s tropical waters and get a close-up view of sea life, including whales and dolphins. The trips, which begin in September, use the newly built Sri Lanka Aggressor, a 44-metre yacht that has air-conditioned cabins, a dive-deck lounge, barbecue area and swim deck. The inaugural whale and dolphin snorkelling trip will set sail from the historic port of Trincomalee in eastern Sri Lanka and sea-life spotting will be under the watchful gaze of renowned naturalist Howard Martenstyn.

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Swim camp holiday, Poros Island, Greece

Fishing boat in the waters of Poros, Greece

Casual dippers need not apply because one of the main rules of this swim camp is that it’s about putting in the hard lengths. Actually, this trip is aimed at those training for events and those new to open-water swimming who want try it in the warmer ripples of the Mediterranean. The seven-night break is based on the Saronic island of Poros, 50km south-west of Athens, and includes seven swims under the guidance of a professional trainer, as well as two video analysis sessions focusing on technique. Daily breakfasts are provided, as well as five lunches and four evening meals. Don’t worry about not enjoying the island’s scenic splendours as the sessions start from Askeli beach or, after a water taxi trip, from the uninhabited islands of Modi and Castle Island.

Weekend swim trip in Lago d’Orta, Italy

The island of Orta San Giulio, Lago d'Orta, northern Italy.

The motto of this weekend break – based at the Locanda Riviere hotel on the shores of Lago d’Orta in northern Italy – is “good food, beautiful surroundings and glorious, relaxed swimming”. It sounds a perfect mix. The swimming aspect comes with one-to-one coaching, video analysis, plus guides (and a safety boat) on hand. Swimming distances are increased over the duration of the trip, from 800m up to 2km and the weekend finishes with a swim around the island of Orta San Giulio: the Basilica di San Giulio and the mid-19th century seminary on the island were transformed into a Benedictine monastery in 1976.

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