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Wannsee Lake in Berlin
The Wannsee lake is situated about 20-25 kilometers southwest of Berlin. It is the most popular recreation spots in the city. Yachts and rowboats cruise through the shimmering waters with a sandy beach one of the hot spots of the summer season. Berliners have been coming here for over 100 years to sunbathe and swim.
Its large (over 1,275 meters long and up to 80 meters wide!) beach (Strandbad) area has white sand imported from the Baltic coast and is Europe's largest outdoor swimming area on an inland body of water. Its cool, calm waters are a welcome respite on a summer day.
Besides its natural features, this beach has everything. It comes complete with a water slide, dressing rooms, showers, a restaurant, playgrounds and chair and boat rental. More active beach-goers can enjoy a game of beach volleyball and soccer. This site also features a promenade where visitors can refill after a busy day of swimming on pizza, beer and the summer essential of ice-cream.
There is also a... family-friendly clothes-free (Freikörperkultur or FKK) area. That's right non-Germans, it is cool to be totally nude with your family here.
Up to 30,000 bathers can enjoy the beach, but during hot days even this much space can become quite crowded. Locals sometimes complain that it is touristy as it makes all the guidebooks, but it is really worth the aggravation. Go on weekdays or early to avoid the crowd like a real German.
Visitors may also walk around the lake (and possibly dip in for free). The area is heavily wooded with impressive 1920s New Objectivity architecture. Watch for stunning examples such as the summer house of painter Max Liebermann. There are also some nearby day trips and attractions on further slides.Continue to 2 of 4 below.
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Visitor Information for Wannsee Lake in Berlin
Address: Wannseebadweg 25, Berlin
Getting there: take S-Bahn S7 or S1 to "Wannsee" or "Nikolassee"' from central S-Bahn stations which only takes about 45 minutes. It is a 10-minute walk to the lake. Some visitors really work up a sweat by taking the 2-hour bike ride in from the city. There is also free parking for those that drive in.
Open: Late March to mid-September; 9:00 - 20:00 (Friday & Saturday until 21:00)
Admission: 5.50 euros (3.50 euros reduced)
Amenities: Dressing rooms, showers, volleyball and basketball court, table tennis, water slides, playground, rental for sun chairs, umbrellas, paddle boats.
Website: Strandbad Wannsee (in German)Continue to 3 of 4 below.
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House of the Wannsee Conference
Once you've put your clothes back on (or on a rainy day), you can get a bit of culture by walking to the nearby House of the Wannsee Conference (formerly known as Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz Gedenk- und Bildungsstätte).
Here the terms of the "Final Solution" (ie the Holocaust) were planned out and it is one of the best WWII historical stops in the city. Tours are available in German, English, Hebrew and a variety of other languages. In addition to the memorial's extensive documentation, the Joseph Wulf Library and Media Resource Center offers further insight. Named after the historian who tried (unsuccessfully) to establish a documentation center on National Socialism here, it contains vast volumes of microfilmed documents, research, eye-witness accounts and material aimed at explaining the atrocities to children and young adults.
Visitor Information for House of the Wannsee Conference
- Address: Am Großen Wannsee 56-58, 14109 Berlin-Zehlendorf (Map)
- Public Transportation:... From Berlin's S-Bahn, take the regional train to Wannsee. Transfer to Bus 114 to Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz. Street parking available.
- Tel.: +49-(0)30-80 50 01-0
- Email: secretariat(at)ghwk.de
- Website: www.ghwk.de
Daily from 10:00 to 18:00 (closed on public holidays)
Free (Donation of two euros is requested)Continue to 4 of 4 below.
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The beach is located closer to Potsdam than downtown Berlin. Explore the playground of Prussian kings with numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites, a Dutch quarter, the Bridge of Spies and visit the palace Sansouci built for Frederick the Great.
How to get to Potsdam
Take the S1 or S7 to Potsdam. Takes approximately 45 mins