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Whether it’s in a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains or a hot and sunny tropical river, there are so many amazing places across the world where you can swim in open waters.

If you love a challenge, here is a list of the top 10 most iconic open water swims in the world for you to try if you dare!

1. The English Channel

English channel Open Water Swimming

The English Channel is a 21-mile swim that connects England and France. It has been done many times in the past, but don’t let this fool you! This is a super-challenging swim due to its length and the rapid currents.

2. Waikiki, Hawaii

Waikiki, Hawaii Open Water Swimming

One of the most iconic open water swims is situated in Waikiki in Hawaii. A regular event called the Waikiki Roughwater Skin is held here for those who want to take on the 2.4-mile challenge.

3. The Arctic Circle, Sweden

The Arctic Circle in Sweden

The Arctic Circle in Sweden is one of the two polar circles. The temperatures are extreme, and it is an incredibly challenging swim. There are regular open water events that are held for competitors to take on this swim.

4. Catalina Channel, United States

Catalina Channel, United States swimming

As with the English Channel, the Catalina Channel is 21 miles long. It is situated in Southern California in Los Angeles. Not only is this swim very long and hard, but there is also a bunch of marine wildlife in the area.

5. North Channel, Scotland

North Channel, Scotland swimming

Here’s another Channel to add to the list. The North Channel sits above Scotland and is a challenging open water swim ranging from 11 to 21 miles depending on the route. It has been attempted almost 100 times, with a success rate of around 10%, so it’s definitely not one for the faint-hearted!

6. Tsugaru Channel, Japan

Tsugaru Channel, Japan swimming

In Japan, the main island and the most northern island Hokkaido are separated by a 12-mile channel, one of the most challenging open water swims. With strong currents and lots of marine wildlife, this channel is not easy to complete.

7. Bosphorus International Swim, Istanbul

Bosphorus International Swim, Istanbul

The Bosphorus International Swim is a 4.4-mile swim that separates Europe and Asia. There are strong currents and varying temperatures, making this swim a challenge.

8. Strait of Gibraltar, Atlantic Ocean

Strait of Gibraltar, Atlantic Ocean swimming

The Strait of Gibraltar lies at the border of the Atlantic Ocean, and the Mediterranean Sea meet. It is the shortest pathway to go from Europe to Arica, spanning 8.9 miles.

9. Manhattan Island Swim, United States

Manhattan Island Swim

Found in New York in the United States, this swim is a whopping 28.5 miles. It begins near Wall Street and requires an incredible amount of endurance and strength to complete.

10. Alcatraz, United States

Alcatraz swimming United States

Alcatraz is an island near San Francisco in the United States. The Alcatraz Challenge involves swimming 2.4-miles across strong currents in cold waters, so it’s far from an easy swim.

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