(CNN) — Cooling off on a summer city break doesn’t have to mean going on a sweat-soaked search for the nearest air-con unit.
1. Copenhagen, Denmark
A city surrounded by water, Copenhagen is a joy for swimmers, especially as midsummer looms and winter becomes a distant memory.
If leaving the city seems like a chore, the sensational harbor baths at Islands Brygge and Fisketorvet are a winning alternative. Daredevils can try out the diving boards while fitness fanatics can plow out laps in the clean, cool water.
2. Zurich, Switzerland
Switzerland’s love affair with diving into rivers and lakes isn’t just confined to the High Alps. Zurich has 18 official outdoor bathing spots, all offering crystal-clear water in stunning surroundings.
Tiefenbrunnen swimming beach, on the shores of Lake Zurich, is the big draw thanks to its kids’ pool, diving boards and the chance to get a post-swim massage.
3. London, England
London’s Brockwell Lido: Swimmers and dinners.
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4. Hong Kong
At Repulse Bay, the water laps gently on the sand, making it the perfect place for an easy dip. For a hectic but fun-filled swim, Shek O offers amazing views to swimmers venturing out from the packed beach.
5. Vancouver, Canada
Vancouver’s obsession with all things outdoors makes it the best city in Canada for anyone looking to take to the water. The beaches here are wonderful.
For a quiet dip away from the crowds, Third Beach is the place to be.
On the Stanley Park seawall, its calm waters are great for a lengthy session of breast stroke. Best of all, visitors can bring their own barbecue.
6. Sydney, Australia
Clovelly Beach: Better than Bondi.
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Swimmers should swerve the surfers at Bondi and instead make for Clovelly Bay. At 350 meters long and just 60 meters wide, with a breakwater dampening those big waves, it’s the ultimate place for a seaside dip.
For a more secluded paddle, check out the South West Arm Pool. Cut off at low tide, this saltwater swimming hole is like nowhere else in this corner of Oz.
7. Lisbon, Portugal
While aping Lord Byron and swimming across the Tagus is no longer possible, swimmers spending the summer in Portugal’s ultra-hip capital will find wild water easy to come by.
The railway line from the city center east to Cascais is blessed with vast stretches of sand and turquoise waves.
For those not tempted to take the train, the Inspira Santa Marta hotel offers shuttle buses to the beaches at Carcavelos and Guincho. It’ll even throw in beach towels so guests don’t need to weigh themselves down when packing.
8. Paris, France
The annual Paris Plages event sees the banks of the Seine transformed. Sandy beaches dot the river, as well as a temporary pool for cooling off in the heart of the city.
These will be a welcome change from the current scenes in Paris, where flooding has left stretches of the Seine river bank underwater.
For a swankier swim, there’s Molitor. Formerly Paris’ most popular swimming baths, this stunning location sat derelict for 25 years until 2014, when it was reopened as one of the city’s hottest hotels. Each of the 124 rooms has views of the vast courtyard lido.
9. New York
10. Berlin, Germany
Berlin: Big on swimming.
Berlin might be a long way from the sea, but swimming is at its heart thanks to a string of picture-postcard lakes.
There’s the classic beach at Wannsee, opened to the public in 1907 and still thriving thanks to its balmy freshwater and ace waterslide.
In the east there’s the glorious Muggelsee, with a roped-off lido and kids’ play area.
And in town, the uber-hip Badeschiff floats on the River Spree in an old barge, a short footbridge connecting the pool to a bar area where there are hammocks and ice-cold beers.
11. Stockholm, Sweden
While daring swimmers dive straight into the water from Stockholm’s myriad quays, there are plenty of pretty beaches and secluded coves for more peaceful dips.
There are diving platforms from three jetties and steps for climbing out from the cool depths.
12. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Daytime temperatures rarely drop below 70 F (21 C) in Rio de Janiero, even in July (the city’s coldest month).
Two of the world’s best beaches can therefore be enjoyed year round.
Copacabana and Ipanema are great for anyone looking to shake off a night on the caipirinhas. The views from the water to Sugarloaf Mountain are worth wading out for.