Berlin is simply glorious in summer. The skies are less grey, everyone is eating ice cream, and the Berliner Schnauze (Berliner's famed unfriendliness) becomes a little bit softer. Summer is the best time to visit Berlin.
But the city does have one disadvantage. It is hopelessly far from open water. While Berlin's lakes and outdoor pools are a delightful distraction, its hard to forget that you're nowhere near the beach.
Enter Berlin's beach bars. With an ample scatter of sand and the addition of alcohol — viola! The city is awash in beach-like atmosphere. Get that vacation feeling at one Berlin's best beach bars.
If you only have a few hours in Berlin and just want to absorb the sunshine, you can't do any better than Capital Beach. Most Berliners wouldn't be able to name this beach bar, but of course they have seen it. Prominently located just moments from the Haupbahnhof (main train station) and government quarter, this is one of the best places to sit back and watch the tour boats glide by.
Open everyday at 10:00 for the sun-worshippers, it is also open late on weekend evenings (which means Thursday to Sunday in Berlin) with DJs taking over the sound system.
You usually only catch a glimpse of Strandbar Mitte when you are riding by on the S-Bahn or wandering the outskirt of Museuminsel (museum island). But if you walk from Hackescher Markt toward the Fernsehturm (TV Tower) on a pleasant evening you might find yourself right in the middle of couples mid-tango.
Strandbar Mitte was opened in 2002 and was the first beach bar in Germany. Right on the banks of the Spree, there are palm trees, beach chairs and dancing. During the height of summer there is even sand.
Here, dancing is not just encouraged — there are dance lessons for salsa, tango and cha-cha-chá with everyone joining the dance floor late in the night (note there is a 4 euro cover charge for dancing. Watching, however, is free). There is something magical in the air at Strandbar Mitte and on a warm evening it really does feel like Italy in summer.
While this beach bar is built for couples, it is also the perfect place for solo travelers to interact with outgoing locals.
Nothing is more beach-in-Berlin than Badeschiff (which literally translates to "bathing ship"). A barge parked in the river Spree makes for a 30-meter swimming pool. This is the premiere summertime destination for hipsters, visitors and even families.
The pool itself is a dedicated hang spot — not for swimming laps — which is perfect for observing the best of Berlin's skyline from Fernsehturm to Oberbaumbrücke to Molecule Man downstream. While there are a plethora of swimmable lakes, this is the only way to get in the river Spree.
Get out of the water for the best of the sunshine vibes. Lush sand runs right up to the deck, complimented by a multitude of beach chairs. Order a drink from one of the bars, sink into a chair, and dig your toes into the sand.
Smooth electronic beats are the constant background for this beach bar, but once the sun goes down there is no need to leave. They just turn up the volume with several clubs located in the surrounding warehouse complex known as Arena.
The beach is sky high at this rooftop bar. Looking at the decor, you completely forget you are in the heart of the city — on the 7th floor of a mall parking garage, no less. With billowing white sheets and giant white umbrellas, green fronds erupt almost naturally from the ground. To complete the look, soft white sands invites you to take off your shoes. But look up and you have spectacular views of churches and houses and the Fernsehturm.
With a full bar and restaurant, you can show up when they open at noon and there is never any reason to ever leave. Lie back on the sun beds and stay awhile.
This laid-back beach scene next to the East Side Gallery is a unique space for the alternative community. YAAM actually stands for "Young African Art Market" and for over a decade this has been a gathering spot for everything from reggae concerts to communal dinners.
Some days they host events and concerts, but everyday puts out the sunshine feeling when the music starts playing at 15:00. For those wanting something more active than just lying in the sun above the baking sand, start a game of beach volleyball or jump on a skateboard to utilize the halfpipe.
Strandbad Weißensee (white lake) is the perfect place for a beach day in the city. Sun loungers on the sand, kids swimming in the water, and a cocktail in hand. This is one of the best Berlin beach bars to actually get in the water. If you need more time to focus on your tan, send the kids to the on-site playground.
Located on the Kreuzberg side of the Spree, this beach bar has 600 square meters of sandy beachfront on the river. All industrial inside, it is entirely chill outside. Loungers, rustic beach beds and soothing beats can transport you to somewhere a little more tropical than Berlin.
The beach and the pavilion are open from 14:00 on good weather.
Gestrandet Mitte translates to "Stranded Mitte" (the central neighborhood), but you won't feel lost when you relax at this beach bar with the Fernsehturm in the forefront. Located within walking distance of Alexanderplatz (central square), you will feel a lot farther away from the cobblestones when you sink your feet into the sand.
People start sauntering in around noon with lounge music all day and a DJ bringing the party to life deep into the night.
There is no ignoring the cheesiness of a pirate bar, but this location! Captains Beach is situated above the Spree and perpendicular to both the Oberbaumbrucke (the most beautiful bridge in Berlin) and the East Side Gallery (longest remaining section of the Berlin Wall).
This Berlin beach bar joins Pirates Berlin, a full restaurant and bar. The beach opens around noon and includes comfortable seating, rough-hewn wood and a beach promenade along the Spree.
AddressInsel der Jugend, 12435 Berlin, Germany
Out to Treptow and through the park, along the river and across the bridge, you arrive at the "island of youth". It may not have a fountain, but it is a secret paradise many locals don't even know about.
As this is a legit island only reacheable by footbridge, beachfront lies everywhere you look. While some people picnic and BYOB (bring your own beverage), there are also several bars and restaurants on the island. Serving everything from tarte flambées to pasta, there is also an array of drinks to choose from.
The island also has a more diverse program than many beach bars with a Frieluftkino (open-air cinema) and a reggae dance night. But the real attraction is the ability to have a Pilsner and a swim at the same time.