A (historically) decadent pleasure
Cold bath houses in Skåne became popular in the late 1800s. One of the first places was the picturesque seaside town of Mölle, in north-western Skåne. Mölle became known throughout Europe as a city of sin, where men and women bathed together, decadently dressed in striped swimsuits. This reputation turned Mölle into a magnet for tourists and keen bathers from Europe, who flocked to the Nordic region’s Biarritz.
Cold baths, an effective remedy
Cold bathing is considered good for your health and a remedy for several physical and mental ailments.
As cold water shocks your body, a cocktail of adrenaline and endorphins are released stimulating your whole system. People talk about better stress management, happier moods, better sleep, less chronic pain, better immune function and other health benefits.
The old cold bath houses around Skåne are being refurbished and new ones are being built every year as visitor numbers increase. Give it a go, chances are you’ll get hooked.
Naked or dressed?
It makes no difference if you are a seasoned veteran or a beginner, bathe naked or in a swimming costume, everyone is considered equal. In most cold bath houses you choose whether to bathe with or without a bathing suit, but normally you are only allowed to take a towel into the sauna.
Cold bathing in Skåne: Good to know
The average water temperature along the coast of Skåne between November and March is 3-5 degrees Centigrade.
You can borrow or rent a towel and a deck chair in most cold bath houses but remember to bring a padlock if you want to use a locker for your clothes and valuables.
In most places there are separate saunas for men and women and sometimes there’s a mixed sauna. Dressing rooms and showers are separate.
Ready to take the plunge? Here’s a guide to Skåne’s best cold baths.
Ribersborgs Kallbadhus is in Malmö. The bath house from 1889 is just a 15-minute bike ride from Malmö's city centre. Sit in the hot sauna and watch Copenhagen through the large glass window on clear days. Malmö’s bathers come here to take a cool swim, unwind in the sauna and disconnect from everyday life. The atmosphere is relaxed, warm and welcoming. There are separate sections for women and men and a mixed sauna for everyone.
Read more on Ribersborgs kallbadhus' website
Bjerreds Saltsjöbad is at the end of the long pier in Bjärred beach. The 576-meter wooden pier is one of Sweden's longest, and the unpainted wooden building with its modern Scandinavian architecture is a landmark. Bjerreds Saltsjöbad is on the southwest coast of Skåne, north of Malmö. Watch the sun setting on the sea, colouring the sky and waves in beautiful shades of pink and red.
Read more on Bjerreds Satsjöbad's website
Hotel Skansen's cold bath house
Hotel Skansen's cold bath house
Hotel Skansen is in Båstad, a small seaside town on the Bjäre peninsula. The Skansen hotel recently built a new cold bath house at the end of the pier. There is a lounge with a fireplace in the middle of the bath house and a hot whirlpool on the pier so you can stay outside even if it’s cold. Take an evening swim and dine in the hotel's high class restaurant or enjoy a cool morning dip before hitting the fully stocked breakfast buffet.
Read more on Hotell Skansen's website
The beautiful port town of Helsingborg is a Mecca for cold bathers, with three open-air baths. People here have been taking cold baths for nearly 150 years, and Kallis, with its views over the sound to Denmark and warm, cosy setting is Helsingborg’s oldest. Pålsjöbaden is a spectacular open-air bath that’s been rebuilt on stilts over the sea, with small, picturesque yellow bath cabins squeezed side by side.
Read more on Kallis' website