For those summer days where the Celsius rises and the only option is to get into the water, Berliners head to the lakes. Berlin has more than 100 lovely lakes for you to chill out. Shaded by trees or with sand underfoot, the lakes are preferred summer hang out for city-dwellers.
And don't be surprised to see people bathing au natural. Freikörperkultur (FKK) is common in East Germany. While suits are just fine at the lakes, you can also embrace the nudity and walk right in to Berlin's best lakes.
Lake Wannsee is to the southwest of Berlin and is the most popular Strandbad (beachfront) in the city.
For over 100 years, Berliners have been coming to sunbathe and swim in its clear waters. Its waterfront is the longest inland sand beach (imported from the Baltic) in Europe and comes with full amenities like beach chairs, dressing rooms, playground, and boats for rent.
As this site is run by the city as a public pool, there is a 5.50 euro entrance fee.
How to Get to Strandbad Wannsee
Take S-Bahn S7 or S1 to Wannsee or Nikolassee. From the S-Bahn station, it is a 10-minute walk to the lake.
With perfect visibility 3-metres down and trees shading almost the entire coastline, this is the ideal location to cool down. In the center, there is an island (Großer Werder) reachable by ferry or a strong swim.
This area north of Berlin was once a summer escape for GDR officials with an exclusive Waldsiedlung (summer house colony). There are still plenty of fine estates, but the public floods in every sunny day. There are boat rentals, a maintained paid beach (3 euro) and free spots beneath the trees around the massive lake.
How to Get to Liepnitzsee
The S2 to Bernau or a regional train to Wandlitz (not Wandlitz See which is one stop further) gets your within walking distance. Bike or walk toward Liepnitzsee (maps are posted) and into the forest. The path is marked with a red circle surrounded by a white rectangle sprayed on the trees and it takes about 15 minutes to reach the lakefront.
Berlin's biggest lake located in the east offers a riches of beachy access. The north side offers the best swimming with shallow waters that go no deeper than your knee for ages. The deepest parts are only 8 meters (26 ft), making it ideal for family swimming. There are no motorized vehicles and the water is fairly clear and still.
The main areas to swim are Friedrichshagen, lido Müggelsee (with a dedicated FKK area) and the smaller Müggelsee.
How to Get to Müggelsee
Take the S9 to Adlershof where you can catch tram 61 toward Rahnsdorf. Stops include Licht- und Luftbad Müggelsee and Strandbad Müggelsee.
Deep in the south west suburbs (Steglitz-Zehlendorf to be exact) is this Berlin lake. This cool oasis is surrounded by trees with the few sunlit patches and small open area covered in people, body to body, trying to soak up the sun.
No matter the access to the sun - the lake is divine. Almost chilly, you ease in slowly over the sandy soil. More adventurous bathers use the plethora of trees to swing in and land with splash.
How to Get to Krumme Lanke
Take the U3 to the Krumme Lanke stop. From there, follow the signs (or people in bathing suits) to the lake.
A favorite See of East Berliners, this sandy paid beach offers comfortable deck chairs for the sunbathing adults and a 52m slide for the kiddies. If you prefer the grass of so many Berlin beaches, they also have a lawn for sports and laying out, plus a playground, volleyball net and snack bar.
How to Get to Strandbad Orankesee
Unusual for Berlin, this beach will take some walking from the nearest public transportation, the M4 tram. Get off at the Buschallee/Hansastr. stop and walk about 600 meters.
Berlin beachfront is only steps away from the S-Bahn at Schlachtensee. The ease of transport makes it one of the most popular beaches and its grassy shores are often crowded. You may need to walk the entirety of the seven km long trail surrounding the lake to find the perfect spot.
Along with swimmers, this is a great lake for boaters...some of them complete with fishing lines. Keep an eye out for boats and flying hooks. And oddly for dog-friendly Berlin, dogs are not allowed. Finish up a sunny day with a beer at the historical Biergartens Fischerhütte on the north side.
How to Get to Schlachtensee
Take the S-Bahn to the Schlachtensee station. You can see the lake from the stop.
Located out west in leafy Charlottenburg,this is actually an artificially created lake in the Volkspark Jungfernheide. There are two designated swimming areas and a loopign train around the week for walkers, joggers and doggie joggers.
How to Get to Strandbad Jungfernheide
The U7 takes visitors to the Siemensdamm stop just moments from the beach. Bus 123 also stops at Siemensdamm.
Located just north of the center in Wedding, this shallow lake is great for splashing around. On the south side there is a paid area, Strandbad Plötzensee (4 euro), with attractions for kids, beach volleyball courts, and deckchairs. Food is available and FKK swimmers have their own area.
Other sections of the lake are unregulated and free to visit.
How to Get to Plötzensee
Take the Ringbahn (S41/42) to Beusselstraße. Then take bus 106 toward Seestraße to the Sylter Straße stop.
Another easy to reach beach is strandbad Weissensee. Just 15 minutes from central Alexanderplatz, it has the beach bar vibe with a palm-tree bedecked, cocktail serving, pizza slinging paid beach (5 euro).
There are also grounds to play sports, boat rentals and an area for dogs. A children's playground and sectioned-off shallow section is ideal for families. On Wednesdays (in good weather) there is also beach yoga.
How to Get to Strandbad Weissensee
Several trams, like the 4, 12, or 13, offer access to the Berliner Allee/Indira-Ghandi-Straße stop.
There are only two designated swim zones and limited spaces to lay out, but most people come for the water. This lake within a nature preserve offers some of the clearest waters and is almost completely devoid of the squishy swamp grass you find entering most other lakes.
The beach on the north end comes with a cafe and restaurant and does a bustling trade. The beach on the east is smaller and quieter. Adding to the elegant atmosphere is the brick Sakrower Heilandskirche. Not so readily apparent or peaceful is the lake's past as the border between West and East Berlin. In 1986, Rainer Liebeke drowned in this lake trying to escape to West Berlin.
How to Get to Sacrower See
Out in the regal wilds of Potsdam, take the U2 to Theodor-Heuss-Platz, then bus X34 to Alt-Kladow ,change to bus 234 toward Selbitz Starße/ Lanzendorfer way and get off at Krampnitz. Continue on foot 15 minutes til the lake.