The Land of Lakes and Leisure

This summer has been somewhat underwhelming and the usual amount of unpredictable for Berliners. But despite the rainy days and the disappointing amount of warm sunshine, there’s still plenty of reason to get outside because Berlin is the land of lakes and leisure! Visitors are often surprised to discover that a large portion of the landlocked state is water and forest. If you have the right inside knowledge you can access some of Germany’s most tranquil and restorative locations, just a short train or bicycle ride away from the hotel. Lucky for you we have the insider knowledge and willingly share it with you!

Swim Halensee 5  © Berliner Bäder

Bathing deck at Halensee © Berliner Bäder


It’s hard to believe but there is in fact a lake right on the city edge, just 5 kilometres from the hotel. A stroll out the front of the hotel and an easy walk (or ride) west down Kurfürstendamm will deliver you to the small but picturesque Halensee. The shore of the lake is accessible from Koenigstrasse and there is a small bathing area open to the public from 10 am until 8pm daily. There is an entry fee of €8 and towel rental is available. Venturing there in the late afternoon means you can also enjoy aperitivo between 5pm and 10pm. Ku’damm Beach bar serves  champagne, Aperol spritz, wines and long drinks along with tasty Italian snacks and a resident DJ provides there soundtrack on Saturdays while you swim. Halensee offers an elegant day of leisure off the tourist radar. Find Halensee at Koenigsallee 5B.

Swimming at Halensee © Berliner Bäder

Swimming at Halensee © Berliner Bäder


Another one of Berlin’s more user friendly lakes is the crystal clear Shlachtensee. It’s a popular spot for those wanting an accessible no fuss day at the lake with it’s very own train station taking all the drama out of getting there – step off the train at S Bahn Schlachtensee and stroll just a few hundred metres to the shore. There is also a restaurant at the station and the lovely Fischerhütte beer garden on the opposite shore. There’s plenty of space to stretch out on the grass and bask in the sun and if you’re feeling energetic, there is a 7 kilometre boardwalk perfect for walking or jogging.  Best of all it will only cost you the price of the train fare.

Schlachtensee © Fischerhütte

The beer garden at Fischerhütte am Schlachtensee © Fischerhütte


For a classic day of olde world charm, you will not be disappointed by a day at Wannsee. This heritage listed bathing complex is the largest and oldest inland swimming area in Europe and though it gets very busy on the best summer days, it is really a wonderful place to enjoy typical German lake culture. It is accessible by a 20 minute train journey on the S7 from Zoologischer Station to Nikolassee and then a lovely walk along Wannseebadweg to the front entrance of the bathing complex. There are plenty of food options, changing rooms, toilets and showers and rentals of seats, umbrellas and towels.

Hot in the city - Wansee lake during summertime. Image: Wiki Commons

Hot in the city – Wansee lake during summertime. Image: Wiki Commons


Neuer See

The summer has not been the most wonderful for swimming, so if you want to enjoy some decent lake time, without freezing to your core then wander through the Tiergarten and rent yourself a row boat at the Neuer See. It’s a nice way to enjoy the water and escape the crowds around the tourist sites. You can also enjoy a cold drink and some decent German snacks at the beer garden on the banks of the lake, or a more substantial lunch inside at Cafe am Neuen See, where you can enjoy the views of the lake away from the elements if the weather is particularly bad. Take any of the entrances into the Tiergarten then follow the maps and signs to Großer Weg or Neuer See.

Neuer See © Melinda Barlow

Boating on the Neuer See © Melinda Barlow



Melinda Barlow is an Australian freelance writer and editor, based in Berlin since 2012. Melinda works with print and online media and has a natural curiosity that informs her work. She is passionate about travel and great content. She loves to write most about the world, its people and why we all do what we do.