Now that the weather in Berlin is becoming a touch warmer and we have officially ticked over into spring, I’m already dreaming of the idyllic summer days of July and August. Summer here is a time of great delight for Europeans, a time to be cherished and savoured because everyone here knows it will be gone all too quickly.
When the temperature in Berlin creeps beyond the 30 ºC mark, Berliners will most probably head to one of two places to cool down: the Badeschiff in Kreuzberg (literally meaning ‘bathing ship’, an über cool swimming pool in the middle of the Spree) or the Wannsee Strandbad. While I’ll have to wait until this coming summer to give the Badeschiff a go, last August at the suggestion of a few dear friends, we headed down to Wannsee to check out Europe’s largest outdoor swimming area on an inland body of water. I love getting out of the city and exploring new places and this was a perfect little day trip on a hot summer afternoon.
Wannsee is easily accessible from Berlin, the journey taking only 30 mins by S-Bahn to Nikolassee Bahnhof. From here you can either take a bike or stroll through the beautiful forest to the Strandbad. How gorgeous is this little road we wandered down towards our destination?
Once we had paid our 4.50 € entrance fee, we descended down through the main plaza area and onto the beach. With a total beach length of 1,275 metres, there is enough room for literally thousands of sun-bathers at any one time and in the summer this place is swamped. We found a patch of sand to settle on and feasted on our little picnic of goodies we had found at my favourite market at Kollwitzplatz earlier that day.
Europeans always ensure that their main swimming holes are well-equipped and there’s certainly no shortage of activities to amuse you at Wannsee Strandbad. Naturally, there are plenty of Strandkorbs (those big wicker chairs you can see in the photo above) to shelter you from the sun and encourage relaxation. Or, if you feel so inclined you could hire a little rowboat and paddle around the lake. Of course, friendly games of soccer and volleyball are happening everywhere you look. For the more playful amongst us, a giant slide built in the middle of the lake offers up hours of entertainment.
When the sun disappeared behind the clouds that had been slowly rolling in, it was time to make our way back to the city. I can’t say that Wannsee Strandbad can really compare to the pristine beaches we are blessed with in Australia, but when the Baltic Sea is three hours away from Berlin by Autobahn, this little lakeside retreat really isn’t too bad. Come summertime, I’m sure we’ll be heading down this way again for another mini city escape.