Crete is an ideal place to enjoy swimming at any time of the year. All needed, beyond a good mood and leisure time, is a relatively nice day without much wind and extreme cold. You don’t need to go too far away, because the informal meeting points of winter swimmers are located very close to the towns of the island.
In Heraklion the winter swimmers meet mainly in Amnisos beach, while in Arina the beach volley net stands on the beach all year round and there are also some swimmers. In Chania, the fans of winter swimming gather on the beautiful beach of Kalamaki, where they usually cut the New Year cake of their club. Even the smallest towns on the island hare informal meeting places. Thus, in Agios Nikolaos swimmers meeting place is the bay of Ammoudi, while in Rethymnon, Sitia and Ierapetra they meet on the long beaches next to the city center.
For those who haven’t dared it, winter swimming looks like a craziness, while it has turned to a habit of life for those who swim. Apart from the beneficial properties of bathing, pretty much known to all, swimming in winter improves the function of the immune system. Moreover, the quiet and authentic winter beaches (no umbrellas, bars, etc) give a chance for a nice relaxing break, while the cool water stimulates the body. Finally, the beaches, especially those next to the city centres, are much cleaner than in summer.
Generally, on December the sea temperature is not lower than in June (18-19°C). The lowest temperatures occur on January, February and March, never fall below 13°C. Temperature starts decreasing significantly when the first snow melts on the mountains, especially on beaches with rivers and torrents. In www.meteo.gr you can get informed about the sea temperatures per region, while below we present you a nice video showing how the temperature varies throughout the year.
If you are a beginner and want to start winter swimming, running on the wet sand is the best warm-up, before entering the cold water. It is best to avoid direct dives, but enter by gradually wetting your body with your hands. Finally, there is an unwritten rule for the ideal time for staying in water. Thus it is proposed to stay in water for as minutes, as the sea temperature is (in Celcius degrees). Thus, if the temperature is 15 ° C, then the proposed swimming time is 15 minutes. Of course this number can vary, according to someone’s physical condition and stamina.