Top 3 winter swimming spots with saunas on Bornholm

Ursula Bach’s guide to the top 3 winter swimming spots with saunas on Bornholm.


Photographer, influencer and keen winter swimmer

Winter swimming on Bornholm is a fantastic experience. The nature may be harsh, rugged and wild at times, but local winter swimmers have a treasure trove of places to choose from. They also know the rocks and cliffs so well that they find ways to avoid the worst waves and are always happy to share their knowledge. On days when the sea is too challenging to swim from the rocks, there are several swimming options at the various small harbours on the island. And some of them even have a sauna that you can use! That’s something that is nigh on impossible to find in the capital.


Top 3 winter swimming spots with saunas on Bornholm


Hasle: Harbour swimming in summer, cosy swimming in winter

We turn into a car park and find the harbour office. It’s a grey and rainy day. Not a soul in sight for miles. Not even in the harbour office. But there’s a machine on the wall, surrounded by old gilt-framed pictures of the harbour. I hesitantly press the button and am presented with three options: Guest sailors, regular sailors and sauna ticket! Yes! I click on the latter and order a sauna ticket for DKK 50, which I can pay with my credit card. The machine spits out a ticket with a PIN code, which I take with me to the sauna.

In the house is a changing room with benches, coat hooks and a string of lights. It seems like such a little thing, but having a place to hang your clothes and keep your bag dry while you swim is a great luxury for winter swimmers. I get changed, step into the cold water and when I’m done, I head straight to the lovely sauna.

It’s not long before I’m joined by a handful of locals, with plenty of chit-chat going on in the warmth. It’s really cosy. I ask them if it’s okay for my boyfriend to take a drone picture of me in the water, and they watch, laughing from the window. It is without doubt one of my favourite sauna experiences. I forget all about the rain and the grey skies and I leave the sauna happy and with my body feeling nice and relaxed.

Imagine if all sauna clubs opened to visiting winter swimmers this way.


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Tejn: Small, but nice and authentic
Before we even arrive in Tejn, we book a sauna for two hours for DKK 200. We contacted Brita from Tejn Borgerforening via a website, and she reserved the small barrel sauna for us. She had already lit it by the time we rolled into the car park.

We found the “lagoon” in Tejn Harbour, which is normally an old industrial harbour. Brita was already there waiting for us. She showed us how to add more firewood to the sauna and gave us access to a small fish shed where we could change and put our clothes on the log piles. Super authentic and just what we needed to keep our clothes from getting wet in the rain!

There was plenty of heat in the small sauna, and next to it sat a hot tub, which you can also rent. We entered the water at the end of the jetty, but you can also access it from the small beach just outside the sauna.


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Svaneke: Architect-designed with great views
The sauna in Svaneke was designed by architect Bente Lange, and with room for 20 people, it is one of the largest in Denmark. The sauna is fairly new and offers beautiful views of the sea and the pretty Svaneke Lighthouse.

The sauna club’s website is a reflection of just how organised these people are, and everyone in the sauna had already been made aware that we were coming to take some photos. However, we chose to chat and swim with the locals and took our photos when the place was empty.

A guest visit costs DKK 50 and it’s worth checking the opening hours on the website before you arrive. The website also tells you where you can buy a guest wristband.


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Do keep an eye on the weather and especially the wind when winter swimming. Safety is paramount and there may be undercurrents that visitors are unaware of. So listen to the locals and avoid swimming where the waves crash into the rocks. Also be aware that some jetties are taken down over the winter. That’s why most locals winter swim in harbour areas, as these are often protected by piers.

I hope you’ve been inspired to bring a few friends to this rocky island and give this slightly alternative winter swimming a try.

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