Berlin and its surrounding state of Brandenburg can be also called “the land of 3,000 lakes”. With more than 30,000 Kilometers of waterways, the area is the largest water landscape in Germany and, together with the northern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, forms the largest closed inland water system in Europe. It is definitely enough water to get refreshed during the long-awaited summer days!
It doesn’t matter if you are on a boat, kayak, stand up paddle, swimming or simply hanging out by the water, you are sure to be safe. The waters are known for their high quality standard and are constantly measured by the water departments of Berlin and Brandenburg.
Easily reached by public transportation or by bike, most lakes inside city limits can get very crowded, especially on weekends and public holidays. Yes, locals love to spend their spare time by the water. Who can blame us?
To help you experience the feeling of being out in the countryside or even by the beach, while still inside the city, we selected some of best lakes in and around Berlin. If you prefer a park experience, check out our guide to the best parks in Berlin.
Wannsee is the most famous lake in Berlin. Surrounded by villas and yacht-clubs, Wannsee is actually formed by two lakes, Kleiner and Grosser Wannsee. They are separated by the Wannsee Bridge, on the Havel River Bay. The Strandbad Wannsee is an open-air lido with one of the longest inland beaches in Europe. The beach/lido area is located on the eastern part of the Grosser Wannsee.
Built in New Objectivity style, the artificial beach was opened in the beginning of the 1930’s and uses sand taken from the Baltic Sea. The entrance will cost you 5,50 euros but that will get you quite a few ammenities, including a children’s playground, toilets, showers, snacks stands and the Strandkörbe, the lovely wicker chairs, typical of the beaches in the German portion of the Baltic Sea.
There is also a very gay-friendly FKK area, on the eastern section of the beach, that gets packed with nudism-enthusiasts. Drop off on the Nikolasse S-Bahn station and take a 10 minutes walk to get to the entrance.
If that doesn’t sound appealing, you can also just go around the lake and find little pockets here and there where you can park your bike and sit by the water. There’s even a Biergarten (Loretta am Wannsee) around here that we think you should try.
On the edge of the Grunewald Forest, in south-western Berlin, this lake, named by its curvy shape, is very popular among the Frei Universität students and the upper middle-class families of the Dahlem and Zehlendorf neighborhoods. A 2,5 Km circuit path runs around the banks of the lake and is a favorite for joggers and nordic-walking practitioners.
The lake has also a FKK area, in a small sandy beach next to Fischerhüttenstrasse, and the entrance is free.
Just on the south side of Krumme Lanke, this very green lake is appreciated by fishermen, due to its high quality water and the variety of fish species living on its pristine waters.
We prefer to find a spot on the eastern area, close to the Biergarten, to avoid the constant noise of the trains passing by.
The entrance is free. There is a playground and boats for rent on the area around the Biergarten.
Walk just a few steps from the S-Bahn station Schlachtensee and you’re there.
Part of the Havel river, the second largest lake in Berlin is located not far from the airport of the same name. This lake is a favorite in the northern section of the city. It is very popular among sailers and surfers. There is a small lido on the west bank, often crowded on the weekends. The lake has seven islands that can be visited by taking a boat ride. Some of them are connected by bridges and can be visited on foot.
To get there, drop off at the U-Bahn station Alt-Tegel and walk approximatively 1 Km until the Greenwich Promenade. This cute Promenade gets stunning with colorful tulips during springtime. There is also an amazing street art project around Bernauer Strasse curated by Urban Nation. Totally worth a visit!
Just next to the northern part of the Tegel airport, this lake is not only a nice spot to watch the airplanes landing and taking off, but also a nice sunbathing site. Here you can hear the birds singing, instead of the jet engines of planes, surprisingly.
Taken its name from the prison nearby, this small lake is certainly not the first one that pops up on our minds when we think about bathing on a lake. It does, however, have a nice atmosphere. It is mostly visited by traditional families and the occasional hipsters of the Wedding district. Be warned, it does get quite busy on warm weekends. Yet, it is quite nice and mellow during the week.
A 4 euro-entrance-fee will get you access to some amennities, including the sand beach, Strandkörbe, showers, a playground and a snack stand.
From the S-Bahn station Westhafen, take a 20 minute walk until the Strandbad.
If the district of Köpenick is the “eastern version” of the posh neighborhood of Zehlendorf, we dare say that Müggelsee is the East Berlin version of Wannsee. Müggelsee is the largest of the Berliner lakes with a length of 4.3 Km and a diameter of about 20 Km. This is a very popular summer hangout and it is also one of the main water suppliers to the eastern part of the city.
The small lido, free of charge, has a FKK area on the right side, and offers some ammenities like an “Imbiss” and toilets.
For the nautical sports lovers, all kinds of boats can be rented out all around the lake.
From the S-Bahn station Friedrichshagen, take the tramway 60 for five stops and drop off at “Licht- und Luftbad Muggelsee”. Or just keep biking and walking around the lake until you find your perfect spot. Müggelsee also has tons of little restaurants and bars/Biergärten around it to choose from.
This is an “insider tip”. It’s one of the less known of the Berliner lakes, on the far-east side of Berlin. There, you will probably hear no other language than German, since it’s frequented mostly by locals.
One of the three lakes of the Kaulsdorf district, this artificial water spot, shaped in the 1930’s, is surrounded by a environmental protection area. A very green landscape.
The water is really calm and pristine, making it ideal for swimming or for stand-up paddling.
There are no amenities or “Spätis” around, so be sure to bring everything you need for a picnic/snack. And – of course – don’t forget to take back the trash you produced!
Get to the S-Bahn station Berlin-Mahlsdorf, then take bus 62, in the direction of Wendenschloss for four stops. Drop off at Ledebourstrasse and take a 15 min walk until you hit one of the entrances on Kressenweg.
On the other side of Wannsee, in Potsdam, and part of the Havel river waterways, this lake is less frequented than its famous sibling Wannsee. It used to be one of the natural borders isolating West Berlin from Potsdam (East Germany at the time). There is a small, but lovely, sandy beach, surrounded by the Königswald Forest.
Really in vogue three years ago, Liepnitzee is one of the most beautiful lakes on the northern part of Berlin. It has a lovely island in the middle and is reachable by a small ferry boat ride. The island is also an idyllic spot for camping.
*This article was written by Domingos Lepores and edited by Tulio Edreira.