After weeks of beautiful sunshine across the capital, Berliners are finally free to enjoy the 39 official bathing places which surround the city centre. The fourteenth of May marked the formal beginning of the ‘bathing season’ in Berlin and this got me thinking about the fact that, in spite of being a city around 200 km away from the nearest coastline, Berlin actually has an incredibly extensive amount of rivers, canals and lakes and, along with its surrounding state of Brandenburg, has Europe’s largest network of inland waterways.
Water may not be the reason that people from all around the globe travel to visit Berlin; generally it is Berlin’s rich history and cultural landmarks that causes its tourism industry to be as successful as it is. If one was looking for a trip in which to enjoy water, Berlin probably wouldn’t be the place at the forefront of their minds. Though it may come as a surprise to many, as it certainly did to me, the water, for Berliners and other residents of the city at least, plays an integral part in filling their free time in the summer months.
To name a few, Strandbad Wannsee, Strandbad Halensee and Strandbad Jungfernheide are just some of the many popular places for Berliners to swim, play and relax in the spring and summer time. Strandbad Wannsee for example is an open-air lido on the eastern shore of the Großer Wannsee lake, a large and beautiful bay attached to the Havel river. The beach, affectionately called the ‘Berliners’ bathtub’ by locals, is 1,275 metres long and 80 meters wide, and is topped up regularly with sand from the Baltic coast. It takes just 30 minutes to reach from Zoologischer Garten and makes for a fantastic place to spend your free time.
As well as the many lakes which surround Berlin, there are also the rivers and canals which make for a great way to discover Berlin and all that it has to offer. The famous river Spree, on which the original center of Berlin was built, is particularly popular with tourists, with many taking boat trips and cruises right through the city center. It snakes between many of Berlin’s most famous sites, including the Dom, Museum Island, in-between the government buildings and through the Tierpark, with many local Berliners enjoying sitting along its banks after work and enjoying a beer, or two.
If you are thinking of moving to Berlin, or are considering purchasing property here, it is good to know that as a city-dweller you can easily reach beautiful lakes, rivers and canals- Berlin really does offer it all.