Italy certainly isn’t shy when it comes to stunning scenery. Think pastel-coloured Campania, scorching-hot Sicily, and trendy Tuscany, to name a few places that’ll give you a serious case of wanderlust. Set in the bottom right-hand corner of Italy’s heel, though, is where you’ll find peaceful Puglia. It’s home to one of the most beautiful natural pools on earth, called Grotta Della Poesia. This too-good-to-be-real sinkhole is an important Bronze Age and Mycenaean archaeological site, dating back to ancient times. The 100-foot-wide grotto is made up of two turquoise-blue sinkholes, and you can walk down a guided staircase to reach the water – or you can dive straight in, we’ll leave it up to you.
Did you know there are around 7,000 cenotes in Yucatán, Mexico? Bright-blue Ik Kil is the most famous one, though. You’ll find it just under two hours’ drive away from the sun-soaked resort of Playa del Carmen, which is nestled on Mexico’s Caribbean coast. The Mayan people declared it a ‘sacred well’ back in ancient times and used it for human sacrificial rituals. Aside from its intriguing history, it’s also rated as the most beautiful swimming hole in Mexico. It’s marked by towering limestone walls that are blanketed in bright-green vines, giving it a storybook feel. And thanks to its azure-tinted waters that plunge 130ft underground, it’s the perfect place to polish up your diving skills. Plus, trips to Ik Kil are the ideal way to cool down after you’ve spent the day exploring UNESCO-rated sights, like Chichen Itza. Tempted, yet?
With its milky, teal coloured waters containing skin-healing properties, it’s no wonder the Blue Lagoon in Iceland is on everyone’s must-visit list. This world-famous cove sits away from the crowds in a black-lava field in Grindavík, so it’s got a really secluded feel in comparison to lively Reykjavik. It’s the nutrient-filled, 37-degree-water which pulls in the crowds, though. The water here is rich in blue algae, mineral salts, and fine silica mud, which all have great benefits for your skin, making it the ultimate pamper session. All you need to do is swim or float over to the spa area and choose a treatment to slather over your face – and then relax. We recommend trying out the mud mask, which strengthens and minimises pores. The lagoon is also home to a swim-up bar, where you can sip a glass or two of Prosecco as you soak up the stunning settings. And once you’ve finished snapping those all-important selfies for Instagram, you should make tracks for the Lava Restaurant. This fine-dining eatery overlooks the Blue Lagoon, and has fed the mouths of celebs like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West – so you can expect a pretty good meal.
It’s not a trip to Croatia unless you visit Krka National Park, which is one of its wildest natural treasures. Here, you’ll get to breathe in the freshest of airs and explore vegetation-rich and waterfall-splashed landscapes. Krka National Park is a place of thundering waterfalls, lakes and riverside walks. The park’s crowning glory is Skradinski Buk – a huge natural pool with 17 cascading waterfalls bursting through the trees. You’ll be able to go for a dip in the fall’s lower lake. You can also go wildlife-spotting as nightingales, herons, falcons and owls are all regulars here.
Holidays to Greece mean stunning scenery, textbook whitewashed houses, and flawless beaches right at your fingertips. And while places like Crete, Halkidiki, and Mykonos are long-standing favourites among holidaymakers, why not try out somewhere that’s more of a secret, like Thassos? This up-and-coming resort is home to one of the best-looking natural pools in Europe, called Giola Lagoon. You’ll find it around forty minutes’ drive away from Golden Beach, nestled next to a village called Astris, so it’s the perfect excuse for a day trip away from your sunlounger. This natural rock pool is marked by crystal-blue, bath-warm waters that are popular for swimming in among locals and tourists alike. Plus, the rocky edge sidles up to the Aegean Sea, so it’ll feel like your very own, private infinity pool. We recommend visiting this place before your friends do…
Fancy a dip in one of these natural pools?
Stay home. Keep dreaming. Keep discovering.
Just so you know, this was written before the COVID-19 outbreak.
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Author: Olivia Hunt
This family-friendly hotel makes the most of the Croatian scenery, with stunning views from the pools, restaurants and its three white-pebble beaches.
This adults-only hotel flaunts a large pool, a gourmet restaurant and sea views that are made for Instagram.
The TUI BLUE Carolina feels like an exclusive hideaway. It’s perched on the shores of a tree-smothered island, with views of Kvarner Bay.
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