Denmark’s best luxury spas for winter bathing

By Laura Hall

Photo: Great Northern Spa.

If you’re looking for the endorphin rush that only comes from a cold water dip, we’ve got all the right spots for you - from Ruth’s Hotel in the white sandy dunes of Skagen to plush Hotel Vejlefjord, these are the ones you can't miss

According to Dr Susanna Søberg’s book Winter Swimming, anyone can learn to winter swim in icy water, and enjoy it – to the benefit of their body and mental health. In it, she says that a cold water plunge is good for your health in all sorts of ways, from boosting your mood to lessening joint pain, increasing energy levels and helping with the regulation of brown fat, which counteracts the development of metabolic diseases. It also activates the immune system, all the more important as we go into the winter months.


The good news is that while you can dive into the tradition from wherever you are on Denmark’s coastline, there is also a chic and luxurious way to do it: pair it with one of Denmark’s top class spas. It doesn’t even have to be winter to have a beneficial effect: cold water at any time of year will give you a boost. So why not make a splash at one of these luxury spots?

Alsik Hotel & Spa

With over 60 different spa and wellness experiences on offer, Alsik Spa in Sønderborg has one of Denmark’s largest arrays of treatments for spa-loving swimmers, with ancient Nordic bathing rituals using hot and cold therapy at its heart. A stunning Aurora Cave with flickering northern lights, and an infinity saltwater pool with a view of Alssund, mean Alsik is also a great place to get acquainted with the region’s water-based therapies.

Nørre Havnegade 21-25, Sønderborg

Photo: Alsik Hotel & Spa.

The Great Northern Spa

At the exclusive Great Northern Spa, nestled between two fjords in Funen, water-based therapy is at the heart of their Aqua Spa. Swim under the calm skies in the outdoor pool, or dip into one of the many indoor pools, which include a saltwater bath, a hot bath at 40 degrees celcius, a cool bath at eight degrees and an ice bath, held at a goosebump-inducing six degrees. The team suggests you take three dips in the ice bath interspersed with warm showers, a sauna and/or a hot pool, to really get the best effects.

Great Northern Avenue 1, Kerteminde

The Great Northern Spa is nestled between two fjords. Photo: J Sjoman.

Svinkløv Badehotel

One of Denmark’s most beloved ‘badehoteller’ or seaside hotels, Svinkløv is a WiFi-free rustic beach house-style hotel nestled in the dunes by the North Sea. It’s a classic spot for sea-lovers and for some, the experience is all the better if it is pared back to the essentials. Take a walk in a bathrobe down the dunes to the sea for an invigorating dip, then wander back to discover the restful atmosphere and resolutely local food in the hotel itself. Like most of Denmark’s badehoteller, it’s open April to October, and advance booking is necessary.

Svinkløvvej 593, Fjerritslev

Svinkløv offers a rustic beach house-style experience. Photo: Niclas Jessen, VisitDenmark

Ruth’s Hotel

Ruth’s is one of the best-known hotels in Skagen, Denmark’s most northerly town and the location for its winter swimming festival each January, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2022. The hotel has a small spa facility with treatments, sauna, steam room and therapy pool, and is under 200 metres from the blonde sands of Skagen beach itself, making it a prime location for winter dippers. As Danish seaside hotels go, it’s a bona fide classic.

Hans Ruths Vej 1, Skagen

skagen beach

The gorgeous sands of Skagen are just a stone's throw from Ruth's Hotel. Photo: Mette Johnsen, VisitDenmark

Hotel Vejlefjord

The grand Hotel Vejlefjord has the look of a mid-19th Century European spa hotel, with well executed spa experiences to match. Its thermal baths and thalasso spa offer a salt spa and salt sauna, along with fire, ice and forest baths. You can even bathe in a Champagne pool, where the light dancing along the ceiling recalls the colour of Champagne and the bubbles bursting in it. Vejlefjord itself, where the hotel is based, is known for having very clean water and is just steps away.

Sanatorievej 26, Vejle

The forest bath and sauna at Hotel Vejlefjord. Photo: Hotel Vejlefjord