While many Germans flee their country for Italy, Greece and Spain in summer, there is no need to leave Germany's borders for a beach vacation. From May to September the waters are (usually) warm enough with the temperature typically running between 25C to 35C. Try to find a space for your beach towel at the 10 best beaches in Germany (starting with the first four here).
Do take note that nude bathing, or FKK, is common and doesn't mean that a beach isn't family-friendly.
Located near lovely Lübeck with its distinctive Hanseatic brick architecture, this seafaring destination has been going strong since 1802. Travemünde is where the Trave River empties into the Baltic and it is actually Germany's largest ferry port with connections to Scandinavia, Russia, Latvia and Estonia.
Like Warnemünde, it has a historic lighthouse, Alter Leuchtturm Travemünde, which is the oldest on the German Baltic coast built in 1539. Wide expanses of beach are dotted with the classic German Strandkörbe (wicker beach chair) with many people taking to the water by sailboat.
If you arrive in July, attend the annual sailing week, Travemünder Woche.
Pristine waters give way to sandy beaches which come up to the short town. Not just small, all the buildings here may be no taller than the trees to make this Ostsee beach the star.
This peninsula stretches into the Baltic and features a 14-kilometre-long beach backed by sand dunes. Feel free to kick off your shoes and feel the sand beneath your toes as this area is maintained as an environmental conservation with designated dog beaches located elsewhere.
The small population that calls this area home is a bohemian crowd of international and national artists. Even the mayor, Hans Götze, has an art career. You never know who you could bump into coming out of the endearing fisherman’s cottage.
Another Baltic Sea island, divided between Germany and Poland (like nearby Stettin), is a summer destination. It is one of the sunniest locations in Germany and it has a 45km-long coastline of sandy beaches. The Sonneninsel (Sunny Island) offers seaside mansions, hotels over the water and leisure activities like cycling, horse riding and thermal spas.
Consider resorts like Drei Kaiserbäder, Bernsteinbäder, Ostseebäder and intimate Zempin.
Long stretches of sandy beachfront extend side to side and far out into the water. The dramatic tides create additional sunbathing space at low-tide, while at high tide kite surfers and swimmers rule the beach.
Soothe the pains of an active day with waters inland. The town is known for its sulphur springs (Therme), the cure to everything for a German.
Its not all about the sea for most Germans. Lake swimming is a big deal, either for a day trip escape or a full-on vacation. The country is covered in pleasant lakes, but some of the best include:
- Lake Constance, known as Bodensee by the Germans, is a 63kilometer long lake that you can't even see across. it might as well be a sea. It borders Germany, Austria and Switzerland. One of the beast beach fronts in Germany is Horn Beach.
- Chiemsee is the largest lake in Bavaria and has two islands and a castle to explore.
- Lake Starnberg is only a 30 minute ride on public transport from Munich and offers typical watery delights.
- Ammersee is little-known outside of Germany, but offers beautiful green waters, water sports and hiking opportunities galore.
- Wannsee (+ list of best Berlin lakes).