With 3,000 lakes and more than 30,000 km of rivers and other flowing streams, Berlin and the surrounding state of Brandenburg has the most inland bodies of water in Germany and, naturally, as many places to take a swim as there are grains of sand on a beach. And that's especially in summer just awesome! Whether it's a traditional lakeside beach, an idyllic bay in the woods, an artificial lake, or a beach along the Spree, Havel and Dahme rivers, when the temperatures rise in the summers, what are often crystal clear waters beckon the city's residents and visitors.
To give you some idea where you can go for a dip, we've put together an overview of the swimming spots that can be reached by public transport, with a look at some of our favourites here. Pack your swimsuit ...
and please observe the rules of distance and hygiene when bathing and sunbathing.
Tip 1: Dämeritzsee – the lake in two states
Every year, the beach at the Dämeritzsee has its first full weekend on Easter, although swimming's usually not on the agenda just yet. As the temperatures rise, the lawn slowly gets greener, the water warmer, and the beach even more popular with Berliners. After all, it only takes 30 minutes to get from Alexanderplatz to Dämeritzsee with the S-Bahn. For an even more active workout, you can also cycle Euro-Route R1 straight to the lake and take a dip to cool off before heading back into the city. Incidentally, if you pass through the middle of the lake you swim in Brandenburg waters.
Where: S3 to Erkner (Oder-Spree)
Tip 2: Liepnitzsee – the turquoise lake
For most, it is love at first sight when they stand with their bicycle at the edge of the forest and catch a glimpse of the turquoise waters of the Liepnitzsee between the beech trees. And as you take the last train back to Berlin's Gesundbrunnen station, it feels like you've come back from a day's vacation in some other world.
Where: RB27 to Wandlitzsee (Bernau) + short walk through the woods
Tip 3: Wannsee – the classic
The Strandbad Wannsee is a classic. With its chic 1920s architecture and white sand, it is one of Berlin's most popular destinations for swimmers, splashers and sun worshippers. The queues are correspondingly long on sunny days, so I arrive early in the morning to get a shady place and enjoy a long day on and in the water. The bathing areas on the opposite side of Lake Wannsee on the promenade are also beautiful.
Please note that you currently have to book tickets online in advance.
Where: S1/S7 to Nikolassee
Tip 4: Flakensee – like being on the Mediterranean
Granted, it's a little further out there, the sea isn't exactly next door to Berlin, but when you walk along the promenade from the Woltersdorfer lock, the scent of the surrounding pine forest makes you think of the Mediterranean. At its deepest, the Flakensee is a good 8 m (27 ft) deep and is therefore very popular with water sports enthusiasts.
Where: S3 to Rahnsdorf, then Tram 87 to Schleuse Woltersdorf
Tip 5: Flughafensee – the lake around the corner
Fancy a quick swim after a day in the office or touring the city's museums? Then a good choice is the Flughafensee. The sandy path to the two larger beaches and several coves takes you through a small wooded grove. Usually it's just a couple of kids messing around on the bridge behind the inlet lake, using it as a base for diving into the water. Otherwise, the lake's a hive of activity, but the water is clear and sometimes even a pretzel vendor will make his way along the beach.
Where: U6 to Otisstraße (Reinickendorf), then walk along Laubenkolonie towards the lake
Tip 6: Groß Glienicker See Süd - the clear one
The wonderfully clear Groß Glienicker See in Spandau has several DRLG bathing sites. The one at Groß Glienicker See Süd (Moorloch) has a lawn under trees where you can spend the day comfortably with a picnic. The best way to combine the excursion with a bicycle tour.
Where: Bus: 135 - Waldallee; Bus 234 - Krampnitzer Weg/ Selbitzer Str.
Tip 7: Krumme Lanke – the student lake
This lake is a part of the Grunewald lakes and offers three official swimming areas; the water in the two bays at the north end is much shallower. If you find the lawn bit too full, check out the small spots on the edge of the woods. A walk along Krumme Lanke is beautiful even in the depths of winter, by the way.
Where: U3 to Krumme Lanke (Zehlendorf)
Tip 8: Schermützelsee – bursting with nostalgia
The Schermützelsee* in Buckow has been appreciated for its clean air since the 19th century and before. This pretty little town in the state of Brandenburg is surrounded by wooded hills and several lakes and has been a popular retreat for many, including authors Theodor Fontane and Bertolt Brecht. So it's a great spot for an excursion and not just when you want to go for a swim. The lake's water is so clear that you can even see your own feet underwater. I especially like spending summer evenings here at the lake as it slowing becomes less crowded, the sailing boats start returning to their marinas, and the greenish water glistens in the setting sun.
Where: RB26 towards Kostrzyn, Poland; get off at Müncheberg, then take Bus 928 to Buckow Strand
* Not to be confused with the Scharmützelsee in Bad Saarow
Tip 9: Schlachtensee – the one in the woods
From the S-Bahn station Schlachtensee it is only a few steps to the popular lawn with lake view. If you prefer it a little quieter, you can find one of the small shady bays by the water. And if you swim in the lake surrounded by beautiful trees with the clear water, then you will enjoy the perfect Berlin summer pleasure. For refreshment there is also a beer garden on the shore, from there it is also not far to Krummen Lanke.
Where: S1 to Schlachtensee
Tip 10: Müggelsee – the biggest in Berlin
The Wannsee of East Berlin - that is Lake Müggelsee, which is also Berlin's largest lake. Here you can feel sand between your toes, play beach volleyball and eat delicious fries. The lido is also great for families with children, as there is a playground and a huge shallow water zone - which is of course also great for water games. Lake Müggelsee is also popular with surfers and sailors.
Where: S3 to Friedrichshagen, then Tram 61 to Strandbad Müggelsee
Tip 11: Plötzensee - the hidden one
As you relax in the water surrounded by trees, it's hard to imagine that you're actually in the middle of Germany's largest city and had pedalled past factories and the Westhafen port on your way here. The lido at Plötzensee imbues 1920s chic, like a smaller version of the beach at Wannsee, a bit of the countryside right in the middle of the city. In addition to a small beach there are also extensive lawns.
Where: U9 to Westhafen, S 42 to Beusselstraße. Best reached by bicycle
Please ensure to keep enough distance to other visitors of the lakes.