Wild swimming on the Islands of Guernsey is incredibly popular all year round, with visitors and locals alike taking to our waters. With proven health benefits like boosted endorphins and lowered stress levels, as well as a multitude of scenic spots to choose from, what’s not to love?
To make finding your perfect swimming spot even easier, we have launched a new feature on the VisitGuernsey App, our Swimming Guides. Providing a complete overview of over 45 swimming spots, from beaches and bays to natural pools and unique locations, you can learn everything you need to know about swimming on our Islands.
Read on to find out more about the app, and get ready to download your key to swimming on the Islands on Guernsey.
What is the App?
Free to download, the VisitGuernsey App is filled with walking and swimming guides to help you explore our Islands.
Walking routes include directions to starting points, estimated walking time and difficulty. The map interface helps navigate trails and find areas of interest where you can learn more about our Islands. Audio guidance for the walks is also available.
Our new swimming guides on the app allow you to search all of our Islands to find your perfect swimming spot. Taking into account weather, tides, difficulty of swim and more, you can make informed decisions about the beaches and bays you want to visit on your trip to the Islands of Guernsey.
How do the swimming guides work?
There are currently over 45 beaches, bays and unique swimming spots to explore on the VisitGuernsey App.
You can filter by swimming difficulty and ease of access, depending on your swimming ability and accessibility needs, to find a list of swimming spots that are right for you. You may even discover a new favourite spot that you’ve never seen before.
Tide and weather information is available on the app. Each destination has a swim difficulty rating, a suggested optimal tide and best wind direction for visiting, so you can time your swim at your chosen location perfectly.
You'll also find a guide to swimming at each bay, access information and details about the surrounding location including any facilities and how to get there by car, public transport, bike and on foot. We have also included inside tips from wild swimmers in Guernsey, so you can experience our Islands like a local.
Some of our favourite wild swimming spots
From the best places for a high or low tide swim to the most unique swimming spots on our Islands, here are just a few highlights of what you can expect on the VisitGuernsey App.
Best spots for swimming at high tide
High tide is one of the most popular times for local swimmers to head out for a dip. With the water much closer to the slipway or steps, it’s so easy to get straight in and start swimming. Here are just a few of the top spots for a swim at high tide.
One of Guernsey’s most popular bays on the picturesque south coast, with a pebbled shore that turns to soft sand as the tide goes out. High tide is the best time to swim at Petit Bot, though swimming is possible at all tides. When the tide and current are right, it is possible to swim around the southwest coastline to Portelet Beach (though this is a considerable distance that should only be undertaken with a local swim group).
A favourite bay of our local swim ambassador, Jayne, Marble Bay is perfect for a morning swim on the east coast, especially at high tide. A hidden gem, you’ll need to take the cliff paths to reach the bay. For a unique swim adventure, take advantage of the clear water and explore the floor of the bay with a snorkel. You can swim around the rocks to the right to reach a sandy slip named Divette, only accessible by swimming.
A picturesque working harbour on the east coast, high tide here provides a quiet, scenic place for a swim, especially at sun rise. At high tide you don’t have to walk far to reach the sea, and can swim inside the harbour, where it is sheltered from the elements. On the hill above the harbour sits Vale Castle, which you can see as you swim. A walk up the hill to take in the views from the top of the castle walls is well worth it, whether that’s pre- or post-swim! Please note that this is still a working harbour, so be careful of boats and the strong currents - it's best to stay on the inside of the pier.
With views out to Herm, Sark and Castle Cornet on the east coast, and next to the seawater bathing pools, Havelet is a lovely bay to swim in, especially if you are exploring St Peter Port. You’ll often find swimming groups and office workers swimming here during their lunch breaks or after work. You can swim from the bay to Castle Cornet along the Castle wall or around to the Bathing Pools.
A popular beach for families, Vazon is a vast expanse of sand on the west coast of Guernsey, perfect for swimming. Vazon’s shoreline is long, meaning you can swim along it without having to venture too deep. At high tide, you can walk straight into the sea knowing there’s a large expanse of water to swim into before you’re out of your depth. Vazon is Guernsey’s premier surfing beach, so look out for surfers and be prepared for bigger waves than at other bays.
Best spots for swimming at low tide
Guernsey has one of the largest tidal ranges in the world, about 33ft, transforming our coastline every six hours. While this makes for dramatic, beautiful coastal scenery, at low tide it can be tricky to find somewhere with enough water for a swim. That said, swimming at low tide is perfect for those starting out with wild swimming.For the more inexperienced, swimming at low tide is great as the water is not too deep, so you can always touch the sea floor. Here are just a few of our favourite places to swim when the tide is out.
A small, beautiful bay on the south coast with picturesque views out to Herm and Sark, Moulin Huet was a favourite spot of both Victor Hugo and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Popular with local swimmers for its peaceful atmosphere, it is ideal for a morning swim. The bay is accessible for swimming at all times. Mid and low tide provides some beach to relax on and store your belongings and at high tide there is almost no sand, so you can swim directly from the stairs by the cliffs.
One of Guernsey’s most beautiful beaches, found on the south coast. Swimming here can feel a world away. The trek down is enough to dissuade some people from visiting, so you will find plenty of space for swimming. Especially for the inexperienced, swimming at Petit Port is great. There is a gentle slope into the water and at low tide, you can remain in shallower water.
For over 150 years, La Vallette Bathing Pools in St Peter Port have provided a safe, contained area for sea swimming. There are three pools varying in depth, size and shape, surrounded by walls which keep the water in and the sea creatures out, as well as the Horseshoe 'pool' that provides easy swimming access into Havelet Bay. The Bathing Pools are always open to swimmers and you are guaranteed plenty of water for swimming, even at the lowest tides.
A hidden gem on the west coast of Guernsey, Port Grat is a beautiful horseshoe bay between Port Soif and Rousse. Swimming within the bay is great for the whole family as it is sheltered from the elements and often quiet. High tide gives plenty of water in the bay, but even at low tide there is still water to swim in, you'll just have to walk further to get to it.
Best beaches for a long swim in Guernsey
For the more experienced swimmer, or those looking for a challenge, we have plenty of spots that allow for a longer, uninterrupted swim. The following locations offer large stretches of water, which go on for what feels like miles, allowing you to swim adjacent to the shoreline (and back if you want!) without having to keep stopping and turning.
L’Ancresse and Pembroke Bays in the north join together to create one of the longest stretches of beach on Guernsey. Due to the length of the bays, there’s plenty of space to swim along the shoreline, making it great for beginners. For those wanting to go deeper, at high tide you can swim quite a way out and still be within the confines of the bays.
These three bays on the west coast are some of the longest in Guernsey. You can swim across all three in either direction whilst remaining close to the shore. You can also swim around the impressive Fort Grey, and explore the hidden underwater anchor.
You have several places to begin your swim from. Especially popular in the summer, families flock to Portelet to swim in the sea, paddle along the shore and go rock pooling at low tide. It is still a working fishing harbour, so look out for boats. Rocquaine Bay is one of Guernsey’s few shingle beaches and hosts the annual Rocquaine Regatta in the summer. Making up one end of the largest stretches of beach on Guernsey, L’Eree is next door. The positioning of L'Eree Bay makes for a sheltered swim.
Cobo and Grandes Rocques
One of the most popular stretches of beach on Guernsey, Cobo and Grandes Rocques have plenty of space for swimming and a gently sloping shoreline that means the water never gets too deep. You can begin your swim at either bay and make your way to the next by swimming adjacent to the shoreline without it getting too deep. There is parking available at each bay and plenty of eateries to refuel at after your dip.
Le Grande Havre is made up of a collection of beaches and bays on the west coast, starting at Rousse, where you can jump off the pier into the sea, and ending at Chouet, where the headland creates a lovely sheltered swim. The bays in between are Ladies Bay, Les Amarreurs and Le Picquerel. You can follow the coastline to create one very long swim. The gentle slope into the sea at Ladies Bay, Les Amarreuers and Chouet allows you to control the depth of your swim. Beware of windsurfers at Ladies Bay and paddleboarders and kayakers at Ladies and Chouet Bays.
Unique swimming spots
With the VisitGuernsey App, you can discover some more unique swimming spots that you may never have heard of before. From forts and natural pools to hidden steps and old harbours, there are lots of quiet, scenic places to swim on our Islands.
Swimming here amongst the rocks and boats that are moored is one of the most peaceful spots on the south coast of Guernsey. Whilst there is no beach to sit on, you can jump into the water from the rocks above or walk in from the steps. It is a great place for the more experienced swimmer, as often the water is too deep to touch the bottom.
Along the cliff path between Havelet and Fermain Bay you’ll find the Ozanne Steps, a set of hidden zigzag steps that lead to a rocky cove into the water. Providing a scenic swim in a peaceful setting, the Ozanne Steps are best enjoyed at high tide. Whilst it is normally quiet, it is a popular fishing spot, so watch out for other people in the area.
Bec du Nez
Bec du Nez is a fishing harbour nestled in the cliffs of St Martin. It has been used by fishermen for generations for catching crabs and provides a scenic setting for a swim. You can enjoy a swim here at high tide or a distance swim from Fermain Bay. The distance swim is roughly one mile out and back, so make sure you are confident with your swimming ability before attempting it. Please note that this is still a working fishing harbour, so look out for boats.
A hidden swim spot attached to a historic site, the slipway to the side of Fort Pezeries will lead you directly into the sea for one of the quietest and most peaceful swims you’re likely to get on the west coast of Guernsey. Swim with spectacular views out across to Hanois Lighthouse and Lihou Island. Sheltered by the fort and sea wall, it can be incredibly peaceful, though you may come across a curious seal.
Creux Harbour, Sark
Sarks ‘Old Harbour’ is the ultimate natural swimming spot. The harbour wall provides shelter as you swim amongst the boats moored here. From half tide, water fills the harbour and you can swim directly from the slipway. You might even see dolphins swimming by Les Burons.
The Venus Pools, Lihou and Sark
We have two natural Venus Pools across the Islands of Guernsey, one on Lihou Island and the other on Sark. They are natural pools filled by the sea and formed by rocks, deep enough to jump into and big enough to swim in. Access to both is a little tricky, having to traverse the rocks to get to the pools, but they are well worth it once you’re there. Often having the pool to yourself, they are the perfect place if you want to spend time swimming somewhere sheltered and don’t mind not having the beach to lay out on afterwards.
Download the VisitGuernsey App from your app store today and get started on your wild swimming journey on our Islands.