It’s summertime again, the perfect time to explore the lakes of Berlin and Brandenburg. Escaping into nature and cooling off in a lake seems to be one of the essential parts of a Berlin summer, and there are so many to choose from! Here are some of our picks for the best lakes to enjoy the sunshine.
Please note that prices and opening hours for the ticketed lakes may change, be sure to check online before heading out.
Strandbad Plötzensee is a beautiful bathing lake complete with sandy beachfront is in Wedding, making it only a short walk away from the Amrumer Str. U-Bahn Stop (U9) or the M13 tram. Sure, it’s a city lake, but this comes with the benefits of sports areas and dining options, as well as being able to easily catch the U-Bahn home.
Trading tranquility for convenience does come at a cost, though. Entry is €7, though there are reduced rates for students, Berlin Pass holders and families. Also, as the lake is managed, it’s subject to opening hours. Currently the open hours are from 9am to 10pm, with swimming finishing at 7pm.
Information & Tickets
Krumme Lanke is in the South-West of Berlin, towards the edge of the Grunewald forest. Tall trees surround the lake, which is long and curved in shape. In fact, ‘Krumme’ translates to ‘crooked’! This creates a peaceful swimming spot enveloped in nature.
If you’d like to get some activity in before relaxing by (or in) the water, there is also a jogging track that goes the whole way around the lake.
Krumme Lanke is easily accessed by U-Bahn, simply ride the U3 until the end of the line. It is also free to visit. It can get busy on summer days, so it can be best to come early if you have a favorite spot to relax. Make sure to bring what you need as there aren’t any amenities at the lake, and once you’re there, take the time to enjoy being in the forest and be sure to see if you can spot any fish while you’re bathing in the clear water.
The beautiful Großer Wannsee is technically not a lake but rather a bight of the Haver River at the South-West of Berlin near the border of Potsdam. An iconic swimming spot, Berliners have been flocking to its waters since the early 1900s.
These days, the main attraction is the Strandbad Wannsee which features a 1-kilometer long sandy beach. Low buildings appear to rise out of the sand, which is imported from the Baltic coast. Amenities include dressing rooms, showers, sports areas, and beach chairs. Boat rental and even dining are also available. Tickets are currently €3,80 for a time-based slot.
Stranded Wannsee can be accessed by the S1 or S7 to either Wannsee or Nikolassee, with an additional 10-minute walk. From the city center, it can take under an hour to get there.
Information & Tickets
You might need to make a day trip out of this one. 35 kilometers to the north of Berlin and into Brandenburg lies Liepnitzsee, a truly unique and beautiful lake to explore. Not only is the water cleaner than the lakes in Berlin, it’s actually turquoise! This lake is a doughnut shape with a first island in the center, so the lake itself is deceptively larger than it appears.
There is both a paid beach area as well as other areas of the lake that you can explore for free by yourself. Be sure to check your route, you will likely need to catch a bus from the Bernau S-Bahn, or you can also cycle from Berlin-Buch for about an hour.
This one is a really wonderful way to get out of Berlin and experience the nature in Berlin and have a dip in one of its most beautiful lakes.
Information & Tickets (Paid Beach)
Fancy a Skinny Dip?
While relaxing by the water, don’t be alarmed if you see German families all enjoying the summer naked! Freikörperkultur (FKK) is part of the German lifestyle and is about being nude as part of nature, and not to do with sex or sexuality. Many of the lakes have dedicated FKK areas if you should also wish to experience the freedom of immersing yourself in nature without the restriction of clothing.
Some of the lakes we mentioned earlier also have dedicated FKK sections. Both Strandbad Wannsee and Strandbad Plötzensee have separate FKK areas, and the South-East bank of Krumme Lanke is known as the area for naturists.
However, if you’re ready to fully embrace FKK, be sure to check out Teufelssee.
Teufelssee is one of the go-to lakes for naked swimming. Initially created by a large chunk of dead ice, it now often needs to be topped up over time. Head to either the South or South-East bank to join a mix of clothed and unclothed (but mostly the latter) Berliners enjoying the peaceful area in the middle of the forest. There is no infrastructure here so you will need to bring your own supplies but once you’re there you’ll be able to experience a more secluded and serene swimming experience.
To get there you’ll need to get the S-Bahn to Heerstraße (S9 or S75) and then walk 30 minutes through the Grunewald forest. Alternatively, it is easy to reach by car and park nearby.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t have the entire summer off, and cannot always get out of the city. Fortunately, there are many lakes inside Berlin for you to visit. While the city lakes may often be busier than truly getting out into nature, there’s something to be said about small pockets of greenery and water hiding in amongst central Berlin. That said, when you do have the time, make sure to venture further afield before the summer is over. The calming serenity is definitely worth it! Here are some of the best pizzas to try after your day at the lake.