Beautiful weather, long days: ideal requirements for a lake trip. As soon as it’s warm enough, Berliners jump on the train to Brandenburg, hop on their bikes, load up the car and head out — into the green, into the blue. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of lakes in Brandenburg — not even the responsible authorities know quite how many lakes there are in the state surrounding Berlin. And that’s not including artificial and quarry ponds.
Taking a lake dip is therefore pretty much mandatory during the Berlin summer. But it can be tricky to choose between all these wonderful specimens and not resort to the same old crowded favourites. Don’t worry though — we’ve pooled (sorry) our tip Berlin knowledge and have a definitive list of lakes you should know about.
No insider tip anymore, sadly. But the clean and idyllic lake with a large island (and a ferry to take you there) is still one of our favourites.
Directions: Wandlitz train station
The little lake with a small lawn has a small beach hut kiosk serving ice cream and chips, and renting table tennis rackets and boats. Basically all you could want, spiced up with some GDR ambience.
Directions: Wensickendorf train station
About 90 kilometres outside Berlin you can find these waters — part of the Fürstenberger lakeland. The water is pretty clear, as it’s part of the Havel river. Also, there’s a dedicated spot to let your pooch swim, too! What’s not to love?
Directions: Fürstenberg/Havel train station, continue with bus 893 to Himmelpfort/Klosterstraße
There’s a trick with this crystal-clear lake in Neuglobsow: park your car about half a kilometre away from the waters. Trust us.
Directions: Rheinsberg train station
A little more than a hundred years ago, Wandlitz became a spa resort. Walk around the pretty town and see for yourself. There’s plenty of lakes to choose from; Wandlitzsee is the largest. Currently, the beach lido is closed until at least August due to suspected leftover war ammunition there. But you can still access the lake at other spots.
Directions: Wandlitzsee train station
Hidden away behind the dense woods just past Biesenthal, there’s a charming little public beach with changing rooms and wooden jetties and staff with big smiles. Its beautiful location which looks best in the evening light. Wukensee isn’t too small, and it’s not too big either — despite the name.
Directions: S-Bahn station Bernau, continue with bus 896 to Biesenthal, Wendestelle Ambulatorium
Probably the healthiest destination for a Sunday trip is Parstein lake. Located at biosphere reserve Schorfheide-Chorin, it’s exceptionally clean. Stock up on snacks at nearby village Brodowin, a so-called ‘eco-village’.
Directions: Angermünde train station, continue with bus 463 to Parstein
11 hectares of pristine waters, right in the middle of lush woodland — sounds good, doesn’t it? Däbersee is a fantastic alternative to more popular lakes in the Märkische Schweiz region, a hilly part of Brandenburg.
Directions: Müncheberg train station, continue with bus 928 to Waldsieversdorf
A 100-year-old train takes you directly to Wolterdorfer Schleuse, an old lock, and the charming lake Flaken. Quite a stylish way to travel, we think.
Directions: S-Bahn station Rahnsdorf, continue with tram 87
The rustic beach lido Neue Mühle is a sight to behold. You can (and should) rent a boat to explore ‘Little Venice’ and the lake itself.
Directions: Königs Wusterhausen train station
This is one of the cleanest lakes in Europe — and since 1921 the location of the the oldest naturist clubs in Germany. You can keep your swimming trunks on, of course. But why would you?
Directions: Bestensee train station, continue with bus 726 to Motzen
Sacrow shallow water lake has lost its status as a secret among those in the know. But the enchanting lake is still worth the trip! Located in the middle of Königswald nature reserve, it has amongst the best water quality of all Brandenburg lakes.
Directions: S-Bahn station Spandau, continue with buses 134 and 697
Here, you’ll be surrounded by relics from the time of Friedrich Wilhelm II: the new garden, Cecilienhof palace, and the marble palais. It doesn’t really feel like 230 years have passed since the Kaiser revelled in precisely these gardens with his extramarital affair Willhelmine Enke.
Directions: S-Bahn station Potsdam, continue with tram 96 to Reiterweg/Alleestraße
Between the villages of Lehnin and Nahmitz, surrounded by forest, Klostersee is the right destination if you want to experience some ’30s architecture and catch some art between dips in the cold and refreshing water. Lehnin’s sculpture garden isn’t too far from the lake and has changing exhibitions.
Directions: Götz train station, continue with bus 554 to Lehnin Fischersberg
The town of Brandenburg an der Havel is always worth a visit, but especially in summer when you can alternate sightseeing with a swim in Betzsee.
Directions: Brandenburg train station, continue with bus 569 to Radewege, Dorf
In the warmer months of the year, idyllic Nymphensee magically transforms into a summer destination with a beach and clear blue waters.
Address: Brieselang train station
All around Schermützelsee, you can still find remnants of that lovely spa town charm. A dip to the lake turns into a true nostalgia trip.
Address: Müncheberg train station, continue with bus 928 to Buckow
Another gem near Königs Wusterhausen, south of Berlin: Zeesener lake. It’s got a beach lido for all your swimming needs, but is also a great spot to watch herons, go fishing, and just relax.
Directions: Zeesen train station
Located in the middle of the nature reserve Nuthe-Nieplitz, close to the villages Gröben and Siethen, Siethener lake is popular — but never overcrowded.
Directions: Ludwigsfelde train station, continue with bus 751 to Siethen, Jütchendorfener Chaussee
If you want to swim at Zernsee, you’ll need to use all your best detective skills. Not because the lake is hard to find — it’s not, it’s actually quite large, and part of the Havel river system. Not easy to miss at all. But it’s surrounded by private villas with their own private beaches and landings. But cycle around the lake to discover secret hidden beaches and public jetties.
Directions: Werder (Havel) train station
Havel gegenüber Pfaueninsel
Just next to the picturesque Pfaueninsel (peacock island), there’s a little beach with white sand and beautiful surroundings. If you listen closely, you might even hear the peacocks.
Directions: Wannsee train station, continue with bus 218 to Rübezahlweg
Wutzsee und Gudelacksee
Two lakes with very clean, clear water and easy-to-reach banks. Wutzsee is larger and has an island on which you can stay at the nature resort Inselkind.
Directions: Gransee train station, continue with bus 784 to Lindow (Mark), Markt
A provincial lake near Klein Köris village with a sandy beach, a small playground and a kiosk. And frankly, who needs more than that?
Directions: Königs Wusterhausen train station, bus 727 to Klein Köris, Schmiede
On the banks of picturesque Schlänitzsee you can discover Marquardt castle. While the castle and its grounds are used for events now, it still feels like it’s all fallen into a deep slumber. A sleeping beauty.
Directions: Marquardt train station
The clean white beach and the good water quality make this one a keeper. Once a year, there’s a fairly large music festival held by the lake, but there are still plenty of other small landings and beaches you can access for free.
Directions: Frankfurt/Oder, Helenesee train station
Translated by Aida Baghernejad