For me, the success of the Berlin summer is measured by the number of visits to the lake that I have succeeded. I have learned to take advantage of the good weather immediately, no matter if I have the time or not, because you never know how many good days at the lake you are going to have. This year has not been great. I haven’t been to the lake at all. So I have a lot of catching up to do in the remaining weeks of the summer. Hopefully good weather, right?
We already published a great guide to the lakes some time ago which you can find here. For this year we have decided to create a smaller and updated version for you, which reflects a bit more the lakes that we personally frequent. Enjoy!
If I had to choose a lake that I could only go to, I would probably choose Tonsee. It’s a very small lake, with only one beach, but the water is so clear, the sand soft, and the surrounding forest so dreamy. I usually take the bike on the train to Groß Köris in southern Berlin, then cycle for another 10 to 15 minutes through the village and forest to reach Tonsee beach. There is also a campground there with a small bistro where you can buy ice cream or a drink. Especially on weekends and late afternoons, the beach is popular with young, hip families from Neukölln.
The Sacrower See is a relatively less frequented but beautiful and clean lake in the southwest of Berlin. It’s actually not too far from the Pfaueninsel. But since it’s on the other side of the Wannsee, it’s a bit harder to reach, the main reason it’s unknown to many Berliners. However, there are two bus lines (234 from Berlin and 697 from Potsdam) that stop right by the lake. Some of the beautiful features of the lake are the picturesque Heilandskirche church, Schloss Sacrow castle, the natural reservoir surrounding the lake and the Königswald forest, so it is worth walking around the lake to see it all. The only beach on the lake is next to the Landleben Potsdam restaurant, which is also very nice. During our first visit, we were amazed by the quality of the water and the tranquility of the place. It was like a real vacation, only an hour’s drive from Berlin.
We discovered this lake at a festival in North Berlin and were delighted to see how clear and clean the water was. It is located a little north of Eberswalde. The best way to get there is by car, it’s a bit too far by train and by bike. The lake itself has several swimming spots, some of which have cafes and restaurants. Once you reach the street that circles the lake, you will see a huge map of the lake by the roadside with all the beaches marked. We chose the first one we came and it was lovely. Not at all full on a very hot sunny day and plenty of space on the grass in the sun or shade. We had a cafe at the top of the filling which was ok with a good view.
The Bernsteinsee in Ruhlsdorf (not to be confused with that in Velten) is also north of Berlin a little above Bernau. It is also best to get there by car. It has two large sandy beaches, one on the east side with a water ski facility, a cafe, ample parking and a campsite. But the most charming is that of the South. It’s a bit more secluded and can only be reached by a hike through the woods. But it’s worth it, not many people find their way here and you have sun, sand and clear water.
The Liepnitzsee in the north of Berlin near Bernau is one of the classics of the Berlin lakes. It is a beautiful one with amazing water and a small island in the middle. They have an official beach that takes the entrance but has some comforts, but there are also many free natural spots along the entire lake. The parking situation is a bit dire there, so coming here with the S-Bahn or regional train and riding the rest of the way by bike is a good option.
photo: Valerie-Siba Rousparast
The Nymphensee is a gem of a natural lake in West Berlin near Falkensee. There is a lovely little beach called Waldbad Nymphensee which offers a cafe and restaurant and a few amenities. The lake is really picturesque and the water is really clean, one of the cleanest in the area. You can reach the lake by going to Brieselang with the regional train and it is a short walk from the station.
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