The following list doesn’t include your ordinary swimming pools installed by millionaires with a love of water, but pools that go several steps beyond. To make the cut, each pool had to have public access (i.e. either for free or for a fee, theoretically anyone could take a dip). Size doesn’t matter as well, just the details that make each pool a little harder to keep up than most.
Nemo 33, Brussels
In Belgium, you can enjoy more than waffles and fries. There’s a pool with a maximum depth of 34.5m (113ft) full of un-chlorinated water, and it’s kept at a toasty 30C (86F). Nemo 33 is open to the public with the only stipulation being you have to be at least 12 years of age, and the fee for a dive starts at 22€. Just in case you’re not a certified diver, Nemo 33 also offers diving courses for all ages and types.
Gellért Thermal Baths and Swimming Pool, Budapest
Next time you’re in Hungary’s capital city, check out this Art Nouveau-styled pool, constructed between 1912-1918. The thermal baths take water from Gellért’s mineral hot springs, but there are also saunas, gender-segregated plunge pools, an effervescent pool, an open air pool with artificial waves, a children’s pool, and a Finnish sauna with cold pool. It’s played host to a number of movies, and also features medical services on site.
San Alfonso del Mar
The world’s largest swimming pool can be found on a private resort in Algarrobo, Chile, and covers 20 acres. A total of 66,000,000 US gallons of water is taken from the Pacific Ocean where it’s filtered and treated for bathers’ safety, and the water is desalinated before it reaches the pool. For swimmers that are still okay after paddling 3,000ft to the deep end, they have a chance to descend 115ft. The cost to build it was $1.6 billion, and another $3.2 million a year is required to maintain it.
Devil’s Pool, Victoria Falls
Swimming hotspots may not be the first thing that comes to someone’s mind when they think of Zambia or Zimbabwe, but there it is. But Victoria Falls is one of the largest falls in the world, and contains a natural rock formation that forms a swimming pool. For those interested, here’s a word of caution: water from the Zambezi River rushes over the edge to a final destination some 128m below into a gorge. There’s a rock wall that stops swimmers from going over, too, but you can’t see it until you’re in it.
Library Blood-Red Pool, Koh Samui
Thailand is a vacationer’s paradise, no matter what your tastes are. And for swimmers who like a water experience out of the ordinary, this blood-red pool is for them. The water isn’t made of blood and nor is it dyed or colored, but comes from the red, orange and yellow tiles that make up the pool.
Main Pool, Singita Grumeti Sasakwa Lodge
When you’ve finished tackling Mt. Kilimanjaro and are ready for a refreshing dip, book your stay at this lodge in the Grumeti Reserves in Tanzania. The infinity pool gives you a panoramic view of the Serengeti Plains, letting you watch the annual antelope and zebra migrations from the comfort of a heated pool. Not only was the pool built on a cliff on the resort’s front lawn, but there are also installed telescopes that help you see the animals.