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The best lakes in Berlin: The classics and some hidden gems

From family friendly Krumme Lanke to the wild boars of Teufelsee, what is you favourite lake in Berlin?

Everyone got their favourite lake in the Berlin summertime, from family friendly Krumme Lanke to popular FKK spot Teufelsee (where a piece of internet history was made in 2020).

So what mood are you in? We’ve got great spots, no matter if you want to chill out in the calm of nature or you’re looking for more of a party vibe. Here are our tips for lakes where swimming is allowed and that have no entrance fee.

Krumme Lanke in Zehlendorf

The Krumme Lanke in Zehlendorf – songs have even been dedicated to the lake. Photo: Imago/Schöning

Let’s start simple: the Krumme Lanke is a very popular spot in the summertime. There’s a lot of nice places to take a dip and not too much of that clingy vegetation that can get wrapped around your legs. Krumme Lanke has plenty of quiet corners, but if you prefer a more lively atmosphere, move to the southern end of Fischerhüttenstraße and join the masses on the sunbathing lawn. To the north, the lake is shallow, which is pleasant for non-swimmers and children.

  • Getting there: The public transport doesn’t exactly stop at the front door (or the pier). With the U3 or the bus 622 you can get to U-Bahn Krumme Lanke, then it takes about 17 minutes by foot.
  • Address: Krumme Lanke, 14163 Berlin
  • Tourist tip: The path around the lake is 2.8 kilometers long and wonderfully relaxing.

Groß Glienicker See in Kladow

The Groß Glienicker See is partly located in the Kladow district of Spandau – the  East-West border used to run through the area. Photo: Imago/Ritter

The Groß Glienicker See is part Berlin, part Brandenburg. It formed part of the border and, in the DDR, citizens were not allowed to enter the water.

This body of water lies on a chain of lakes, along with Sacrower See and Heiligen See, which belongs to Potsdam. This lake-chain formed here in the Ice Age. From north to south, it is almost two kilometers long, and its width is up to 530 meters.

The water quality is excellent at the two official bathing spots. The first is the Moorloch with a sunbathing lawn and a seasonally-staffed DLRG (lifesaver) station. In the northeast at the “Pferdekoppel” there is also a beach.

If you are willing to go looking for them – there are many small areas that are less crowded, where you can sunbathe and enjoy the quiet.

  • Getting there: Buses N/X 34 to Gutsstr. or Kurpromenade (here also line 135) as well as the 604 and the 638 to Potsdam, Am Park.
  • Address: Groß Glienicker See, 14089 Berlin.
  • Tourist tip: Beach volleyball courts, playgrounds, boat rental – this lake has something for everyone.

Jungfernsee in Wannsee

Sunset and sailing, what could be better? Photo: IMAGO / Camera4

Between Heiliger See and Jungfernsee it is wonderfully idyllic, and a visit is worthwhile even for non-swimmers. Swimmers can enjoy the water at two different bathing spots. The first is not far from the Glienicke Bridge, the second near Cecilenhof Palace – the latter includes sunbathing lawns. The north side is less accommodating – a nature reserve keeps you from getting to the water.

The fact that Kaiser Friedrich Wilhelm I had  a summer residence at Jungfernsee speaks to the beauty of the landscape. Like some of the lakes on the list, it is not Berlin-exclusive: most of it is in Potsdam. The small piece in the Wannsee district, however, is Berlin territory.

  • Getting there: Take the S-Bahn to Wannsee and then continue by bike, or take the bus to Glienicker Brücke.
  • Address: Jungfernsee, 14469 Potsdam.
  • Tourist tip: In addition to an asphalt bike path, cyclists will also find a lakeside path at the lake. You can also visit the Cecilenhof.

Müggelsee in Treptow-Köpenick

The Müggelsee: quiet corners, relaxed – no wonder it is so well loved. Photo: Imago/Photocase

A classic (not to mention, the biggest!) of Berlin’s lakes, with plenty of opportunities to sun yourself, have a dip in the water or play sport. If you like a bit of luxury, you can escape to Strandbad Friedrichshagen for a small fee. Alternatively, the beach near the Müggelsee lido is available.

There is a popular nudist area, if you are that way inclined. There are plenty of pubs, people doing water sports, and you can even rent a boat and head out on this enormous lake yourself.

  • Getting there: By bus (60/N61) to Bruno-Wille-Str. or Josef-Nawrocki-Str.
  • Address: Müggelseedamm 216, 12587 Berlin. By the way, Köpenick, Friedrichshagen, Rahnsdorf and Müggelheim border the lake.
  • Tourist tip: In September, illuminated ships sail around, the whole thing is called “Feuerzauber auf dem Müggelsee” (Fire magic on the Muggelsee). From the Treptow harbor, among other places, you can take boat tours to Müggelsee, as well as the tour “Around the Müggelberge”, which can take up to five hours.

Nieder Neuendorfer See, Henningsdorf

Foto: Imago/F. Anthea Schaap

This is another lake that spans both Brandenburg and Berlin, though you should be warned, swimming across the state border is prohibited due the shipping traffic.

The Nieder Neuendorfer See is part of a chain of lakes reaching from central Havel all the way to Berlin and is about six kilometers away from the confluence of the Teufelseekanal. During the German division in the 60s and 70s, coal barges were sunk to secure the border, which later made for great photos.

And for those who want all the trimmings, Heiligensee with its lido is located right next to Nieder Neuendorfer See.

  • Getting there: By bus to Schönbäumer Weg (124), Heiligenseestr./Hennigsdorfer Str. (133, N22, 124) and Mattenbuder Pfad (124).
  • Address: Nieder Neuendorfer See, 13503 Berlin.
  • Tourist Tip: The Currywurst tastes twice as good after renting a bike and cycling a full 20 kilometer lap of the lake. If you don’t like cycling, you can also book a boat tour (or hire a canoe!).

Flughafensee in Reinickendorf

The airport lake in Reinickendorf has a nudist area. Photo Imago/Ritter

Flughafensee used to have a bad reputation: bacterial contamination meant it wasn’t safe to swim there. But in 2019 they took new tested the water again and things looked much better!

Now, it’s a great place to unwind. If you aren’t aware of  what “Frei Körper Kultur” is, it means “Free body culture” and it’s the term used to describe how nonchalant Germans can be about nudity.  Flughafensee will definitely get you acquainted with exactly what is meant by FKK.

The best way to get into the lake is on the eastern side, also you can walk (or drive, there is parking) along the JVA Tegel and then roughly 500 meters walking through the forest. To the north and west, the shore is densely forested; there is even a bird sanctuary.

  • Getting there: U6 to Holzhauser Str. or the  X33 bus to Sterkrader Str.
  • Address: Allee Sankt Exupery 45, 13405 Berlin.
  • Tourist Tip: There are quite a few fish. They make for great diving – and delight the anglers.

Orankesee in  Alt-Hohenschönhausen

Foto: Imago/Spicker

Like the Obersee, the Orankesee is located in the center of the Hohenschönhauser villa district. It is one of Berlin’s lesser-known lakes – even though a beautiful lido nestles on its shores. Unfortunately this is the only swimming option, but if you pay the entry fee, you can slide down the 52-meter-long water slide. The rest of the lake belongs to anglers. There is a lot to catch here, as the lake is populated with eels, pike, carp and pikeperch as well as many other fish species.

  • How to get there: By tram – Take the M13, M17 or the 27 and get off at the Stadion Buschallee/Suermondtstraße stop. By car, it is best to park in the Strandbad carpark.
  • Address: Gertrudstraße 7, 13053 Berlin.
  • Tourist tip: The inn at the lake was destroyed during the war – and for a long time there was no inn at Orankesee. However, since 2017, you can finally eat and drink again on a spacious terrace with a view of the lake.

Plötzensee in Wedding

Plötzensee is great for families. Photo: Imago/Eventpress

Plötzensee covers about 7.8 hectares and is located near the Volkspark Rehberge in the Berlin-Wedding district. The name of the lake comes from the carp fish Plötze, which could be found here in large schools a few years ago. Pike, sander, perch, eels and other fish species also feel right at home here. It is therefore unsurprising that the lake is very popular among fishermen.

It’s also a good spot to take a dip – even if access is permitted only via the lido. As early as 1891, an army sports facility was converted into the Plötzensee open-air swimming pool. Today’s centrepiece on the shores of Plötzensee offers a sandy beach, a children’s playground, as well as areas for volleyball, table tennis and soccer. For the nudists amongst you, nudism is permitted in the marked area.

  • Getting there: Bus 106 to the Sylter Straße stop.
  • Address: Nordufer 26, 13351 Berlin.
  • Tourist Tip: On the west shore is the rock garden at Plötzensee. In icy temperatures, the spot is a popular entry point for ice bathing.

Schlachtensee on the edge of Grunewald

Schlachtensee is popular with athletes, walkers and swimmers – and also has beautiful little bays for yoga exercises. Photo: Imago/Sorge

Schlachtensee is truly a recreational paradise – on hot days, it is deservedly well attended. In the summer of 2020 CNN named it as one of the most beautiful swimming spots – not only in Berlin, but worldwide.

But we don’t need an award to know how lucky we are.

Joggers and strollers populate the circular path (seven kilometers) through the forest (and the adjacent Paul-Ernst-Park). Anglers are happy about more than a dozen species of fish on offer – there are stories every couple of years about the giant catfish who’ve taken a bite from a swan, or a swimmer. But those are generally very slow news days, and the water is lovely.

  • How to get there: S-Bahn 1 to Schlachtensee
  • Address: Fischerhüttenstr. 136, 14163 Berlin.
  • Tourist tip: You can rent a boat on the east side of the lake, and it’s also a good spot for Stand-Up-Paddle-boarding, “Supping” to the initiated.

Seddinsee on the  Schmöckwitz banks

Seddinsee can be up to seven meters deep. Photo: Imago/Ritter

Seddinsee is part of Berlin’s largest nature reserve – but that doesn’t mean you can’t swim in it. The protective measures concern themselves more with the shore. The entirety of about 270 hectares is open for water sports of any kind, many Berliners even moor boats here.

Seddinsee connects the Spree and the Dahme rivers and even has a few islands.

This confluence means that the centre of the lake is quite deep, almost seven meters at its deepest point. Seddinsee is almost three kilometers long and 500 to 1000 meters wide.

  • Getting there: It’s really quite remote (and thus often delightfully lonely) – take the S-Bahn 3 to Erkner or the S9 to Altglienicke and then cycle the rest is what we recommend to inform you beforehand!
  • Address: Seddinsee, 12427 Berlin.
  • Tourist Tip: The area is very beautiful and especially on the Brandenburg side in the area of Gosen.

Tegeler See in Reinickendorf

Tegeler See offers several bathing spots – it is the second largest lake in the city. Photo: Imago/Schuelke

There are several bathing spots at the Tegeler See – however, there are also problems with algae. The bathing ban has been lifted, it’s worth googling it before you go. Usually Tegeler See is considered the body of water with the best visibility in Berlin, and it’s the largest in the city, after Müggelsee. It has nine islands used for water sports and boating. The lake widens into Borsighafen, and several shipping companies have moorings on the Greenwich Promenade. The boardwalk is ideal for strolling.

There are a total of four official bathing spots, Saatwinkel, Reiswerder Strand, Reiherwerder and the Strandbad Tegel. which we visited for its reopening.

  • Getting there: Several bus routes service the lake in different areas, and the U6 stops a little over a 13-minute walk away at Alt-Tegel station.
  • Address: Greenwichpromenade 1, 13507 Berlin.
  • Tourist Tip: The promenade is gorgeous, and you can also enjoy a steamboat ride here.

The Teufelssee in Grunewald

The Teufelssee in Grunewald is busy on sunny days. Photo Imago/Zeitz

The Teufelssee is surrounded by a nature reserve, but you’re allowed into the water – the bathing area is on the southern shore. The sunbathing area is extremely popular – but the lake is home to the bitterling – a type of rare fish, so fishing is prohibited. Swimming is fine, though. The lake is 254 meters long and up to 107 meters wide. In 2020, it made viral history when a family of wild boars harassed the visitors and stole some bloke’s laptop. It is quite a permissive, fun spot in the summer.

In the summer of 2020, the wild boar got a little too comfortable at Teufelssee. Photo: Imago/Contini
  • Getting there: U9 to Birkenstraße or Turmstraße, bus M27 (Havelberger Straße), 101, 123, 187 (Turmstraße/Lübecker Straße), 245, TXL (Turmstraße).
  • Address: Teufelsseechaussee 22, 14193 Berlin.
  • Tourist tip: No, the wild boars are not friendly.

Zeuthener See in Schmöckwitz

Sunset over the Zeuthensee. Photo: Imago/Beautiful Sports

Like many of the best lakes in Berlin, Lake Zeuthen is located in the southeast of Berlin and borders on Brandenburg. Zeuthener See is a widening of the Dahme and thus strictly speaking not a lake. Theodor Fontane crossed the lake in 1874, describing it in his hiking guide “Wanderungen durch die Mark Brandenburg”.

The western shore is heavily built-up, while the eastern shore is more forested. In the north (Schmöckwitz, Wernsdorfer Str. 30, 12527 Berlin), visitors lie on the sand of the beach or happily wander around. The lido Eichwald on the Brandenburg side is beautiful (Schmöckwitzer Str., 15732 Eichwalde).

  • Getting there: Streetcar 60/68 to Alt-Schmöckwitz.
  • Address: Lindenstr. 6, 15732 Berlin.
  • Tourist tip: There is a camping site on the eastern shore.