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Mikkel Karstad maintains that the best mornings start with a rush of adrenaline in the chilly Copenhagen sea. Here, the chef and food stylist lists his top three winter swimming destinations.

Svanemøllebugtens Vinterbadelaug
It’s quite important to me that I start every day, year-round, with a short swim. Before our four children are awake, my wife, Camilla, and I often ride our bikes to this bay in Copenhagen. Anyone is welcome to swim here, but private club members can also enjoy the sauna during winter months. The water dips to zero degrees when the weather’s cold, so we last about 20 seconds before moving to the steaming sauna, and then back out to the bay again. Adrenaline rushes through your body with the changing temperature. You just feel incredibly healthy and a sense of peace. It sounds torturous, but everyone I’ve brought here says the feeling is really special.

Svanemøllebugten (North Side)
Svanemøllebugtens Vinterbadelaug can get busy with sailboats and people walking along the harbor. There’s a small pier on the north side of the bay that tends to be quieter during the summer. Here, we can swim naked early in the morning because there’s hardly anyone around. I just dip in and out. I’m not doing laps or training for something, just refreshing my body and mind. It gives me the energy I need to start the day, and it’s a nice way to spend time alone with my wife. Our lives get so busy with full-time jobs and the children. If we can’t manage to swim early in the day, we’ll try to sneak out at night when the kids are asleep.

  • Words:
    MacKenzie Lewis Kassab
  • Photography:
    Lasse Fløde
Mikkel Karstad - Winter swimming in Copenhagen

Amager Strandpark
Because this spot is at the other end of town, we typically swim here as a family during the weekend or whenever we have some extra time. It has a beautiful pier called Sneglen, or the snail. It’s round and built from reclaimed wood to look like the inside of a snail’s shell. No one knew it was there at first, but it’s quickly becoming popular. Still, the mornings are quiet. Camilla and I are up by 5:30 a.m. most days, so we have time to swim while the kids are asleep. We then come home and eat breakfast with the children before they go off to school and we go to work. The routine was difficult in the beginning, but swimming has become an important ritual. It can’t be a proper day without it.

This post is produced in partnership with Skandiastyle.

Mikkel Karstad - Winter swimming in Copenhagen

Mikkel Karstad - Winter swimming in Copenhagen
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