Swedish bathers enjoy annual Easter dip

Ice-cold winds and a sea temperature of just above freezing was no deterrent for a hardy band of Swedes taking the plunge in the traditional Varberg 'Easter dip'.

A hardy group of fifty people gathered at 'Barnens beach' in the spa town of Varberg on Thursday afternoon to throw themselves into the sea. For most, it was their first swim of the season.

The sea temperature is measured at five degrees Celsius and a loud howl is heard before they all run back on dry land.  

Close friends Filippa, Miranda, Elin and Klara have just come out of the water.

"When I came out I could not feel my feet. It was ice cold," says Filippa to Swedish Radio's local station in Halland.

Alongside her stands Miranda who has just put on her bath robe.

"Nice but cold," is her opinion.

The friends go for an Easter dip every year.

"We go together. It's a tradition. We're friends," says Elin.

Many curious spectators had come to see the event.

"I was just looking at the simpletons who are swimming. We have not been here before," Anneli Johansson tells the local newspaper, Hallands Nyheter.

The Maundy Thursday Easter dip in Varberg is in its fifth year. It began as part of the 200th anniversary celebrations of Varberg as a Spa town. Varberg has the most spa facilities in Sweden.