At the moment in Berlin we have all been sweltering, baking, stewing, steaming and sweating due to the extended heatwave that has struck central and eastern Europe. Many towns in Germany, Poland, Czech republic and Belarus have set new record highs. Thankfully today is a bit cooler, although the temperatures should rise again soon.
Since on the whole German buildings do not have air conditioning, it has been really tough being productive this week at work in the office (for the record, I am not a big fan of air conditioning either, but when it’s mid-30 degrees Celsius on a humid, windless day and you work in a glass building, it might be a good idea!). Thank goodness we have the lakes to cool off in, and even in the evenings it is still warm enough to go swimming.
In the last week alone we visited three lakes, Müggelsee, Weissensee and Flughafensee. Some other popular lakes in and around Berlin include Schlactensee, Krumme Lanke, Teglersee, Plotzensee, Wannsee and Liepnitzsee. As far as I understand it, some of the lakes are natural, and some are formed by sand mining. Here are a few notes on some of the lakes, for others who might need to cool off.
I already wrote about this big lake in the south-east of Berlin here. It’s a nice one to visit for the day because it has good facilities (bathrooms, shops selling food, drinks, ice-creams and other seaside items) and you can also hire various boats.
This lake is in Pankow in the north-east of Berlin, and easy to get to from central Berlin by tram. There is a Strandbad (1 euro to enter) with a beach/pool area, music and some stalls for buying food or drinks, although in good weather it is bound to be crowded. You can also swim anywhere else around the lake. The water is not always the cleanest (there can be quite a lot of water plants floating around in it and sometimes we have seen a bit of litter), but for a quick swim it’s fine (and seriously, when it’s this hot there’s no time to be fussy!).
This lake is near Tegel in the north-west of Berlin, and the water was pretty clean and warm on the day we went there, so we had a really good swim. There’s a big beach with a hill and several small beaches but no facilities (although we did see rudimentary toilets and some people walking around selling pretzels). You can also sit around the lake in the forest if you prefer to avoid the more crowded beaches.
Teglersee is a big lake in the northeast of Berlin. There is a large promenade on one side of the lake that is pleasant to stroll around, and it has restaurants (you can even get fish and chips). There’s also several beach areas where you can go swimming, and a place to rent paddle boats. Some parts of the lake are also surrounded by forest, so it’s a nice place to walk and ride bikes. Somewhere in the forest you can find Berlin’s oldest tree: an oak tree named Dicke Marie.
Schlactensee and Krumme Lanke
These lakes are in the south-west of Berlin and the water is clean and a beautiful green colour. It can be pretty cold, but if you’re hot, that’s good, and it also depends on the weather! Next to the lake is also a nice beer garden and restaurant. You can also hire boats there. People go for walks there at all times of the year as there are pretty forests around it (one section is particularly popular with dog walkers).
Wannsee is quite a popular place to visit, but the water is a bit dirty because of all the boats, and there are also a lot of water weeds, so for swimming I would not recommend it. However you can rent an SUP or boat there for some time out on the water, there are also lots of restaurants around, and it’s nice to walk around the lake. The area between Wannsee and Potsdam is also lovely for cycling. For a fun day trip, you can also take a ferry to Pfaueninsel.
We have only visited this little lake once. There is a paid entry side, but there you can’t swim out very far/deep, so it’s more just for cooling off. There are some facilities though, because of the fact that it’s paid. There’s also an unpaid side, but on warm days it’s always packed with people and hard to find a spot to sit. The main advantage of the lake is that it’s right in Berlin, in Wedding.
This lake is apparently quite nice for swimming and is becoming quite popular, but we have only been there in winter. It’s also a scenic lake to walk around, and there is a beautiful and unusual church right next to the water that is worth a visit in its own right.
This beautiful lake is actually outside of Berlin to the north-east, in Brandenburg, but it is very popular with Berliners. It’s one of my favourite lakes too, all year round. It is surrounded by beautiful forests and has clear, blue-green waters. It’s a deep lake so the water is on the cold side but it’s still great for swimming in summer and pretty to walk around at other times of the year. To get there you can take train RE27 from Karow.