I was able to call Sydney home for roughly 7 years and now that I have left, I realise just how lucky I was. Spectacularly draped around its glorious harbour and beaches, Sydney really does have a visual wow factor like few other cities.
I have come to realise that one thing I definitely took for granted was how easy it was to do my favourite thing in the world - go for a swim! I had the choice of beautiful beaches, harbour bays, rock pools and all within the city, there was no need to get in the car and drive for 2 hours.
With that being said, I thought I would take a look at some of the best places in the world to enjoy a swim without needing to leave the city.
Camp Cove - Sydney, Australia
Yes, I know what you are thinking "what about Bondi Icebergs?". Do not get me wrong it is special, an Australian institution even! But for me, when it comes to the best swimming spot in town it's got to be Camp Cove.
Just a short walk from Watsons Bay Ferry Wharf, Camp Cove is a small bay within Sydney Harbour that provides millionaire views of the city centre. Thanks to it's U shape, the water at Camp Cove is always calm, making it perfect for a relaxing and soul enhancing swim.
Having recently been recognised as one of Australia's Top 20 beaches, it is no longer the "locals secret" it used to be, so make sure you get there nice and early if you want a good spot.
Piscine Molitor – Paris, France
Tucked away in the leafy outskirts of Paris, Piscine Molitor first opened in 1929 and quickly became a magnet for all things chic. It was designed to resemble an ocean liner and was adorned with Art Deco stained glass by famous French artist, Louis Barillet.
Unfortunately, things began to change towards the end of the century and in 1989, Piscine Molitor was drained and the doors were closed.
Fast-forward 25 years and a €80 million investment that has breathed new life into the complex, with the official reopening being held on 19th May 2014.
Facilities now include a glamorous 124-room hotel, spa, gym, rooftop bar and obviously the stunning piscine.
You might recognise it from the film Life of Pi...
Kitsilano Pool in Stanley Park - Vancouver, Canada
Stanley Park is a 405-hectare public park that borders downtown Vancouver and the sun is shining and you are looking for a way to cool off, Kitsilano pool is the spot to be.
One of five public pools in Vancouver, Kitsilano is the only salt water pool in Vancouver and has been titled “the most scenic”. It overlooks Second Beach and English Bay and boasts stunning views of the southern city coastline and western mountains.
Badeschiff Wein– Vienna, Austria
The Badeschiff Wein is a trendy floating barge also known as the “Pool Ship” anchored between Schwedenplatz and Urania in the Danube canal.
Enjoying a fantastic view of the city, the Badeschiff Wein is like the ultimate floating playground.
Facilities include the outdoor pool, a football cage suspended directly above (as you do!), restaurant and bar, multiple sun decks to kick back and enjoy a drink in the sun, DJ/live music, bowling alley, nightclub and even a curling rink!
Seebad Utoquai – Zurich, Switzerland
Situated on the lakeside promenade just down from Bellevue, Seebad Utoquai is Zurich’s last remaining 19th-century lake bathing house. Opening in 1890, the authentic wooden structure is now considered one of the trendiest summer pools in town.
With men’s and women’s pools and gender-separated sun decks, fabulous lake access and a range of sauna and massage treatments on offer, this is definitely the place to be during the summer months in Zurich.
Lake Vouliagmenis – Athens, Greece
Located under 20km south of Athens, Lake Vouliagmenis is a real treasure of nature found in the heart of the Athenian Riviera. A mineral spa that is reported to have healing properties, Lake Vouliagmenis also has an underwater cave system that has still not been fully explored.
The lake is surrounded by beach chairs and umbrellas and there is also a café-bar-restaurant serving excellent food.
Whether you are lucky enough to call any of these cities home or you are planning on visiting, I trust you will enjoy and be thankful for every moment you have as they are all special in their own right.
And of course, do not forget to take a pair of Nicolas Alexander swim shorts with you. I have already picked out my choice for each spot, I would wear the Ibiza at Vouliagmenis, the Gaudi at Piscine Molitor and the Gentleman's Navy at Camp Cove.