As Copenhagen’s residents head for the slopes of the Alps or for more tropical destinations for the February winter break, I make my own short journey over to Båstad on the Swedish south-west coast to indulge in my first winter sea-bathing. This popular coastal resort famed for its long stretches of sandy beaches, has been offering all-year round bathing facilities since the 1840’s with Nya Kallbadhus, the Ice Bath house, probably the most iconic. The wooden ice bath house hovers on stilts effortlessly a couple of meters over a tranquil Kattegat, joined by a 60m footbridge to Båstad’s sandy beach.
Arriving at the weekend, I was expecting the bath house to be full, but to my surprise I took my first of several, short dips alone, with only a bevy of Swans and a bored mottled grey seal, balancing on a nearby stone for company. By mid morning, the peach-colored skyline had turned a blueish grey and the spacious men’s sauna with a sea-view, had filled. Although there is still little scientific evidence proving that regular winter-bathing has a positive effect against anxiety and stress, I am in no doubt that after 6 years of regular winter-bathing in Copenhagen’s pristine harbor waters, my general well-being has improved. For those hardy, curious souls looking for an alternative location to reset the mind and body, Nya Kallbadhus is an excellent place to start.
Content & Images: Phillip Mills