The German capital city of Berlin is no one's idea of a beach destination. In this landlocked city, the nearest coastline is a good 250 km away on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Berlin has a lot going for it - incredible museums, vibrant culture, great food, fascinating history - but it is not a city packed with famous beaches.
But the residents of Berlin love the beach just as much as everybody else does. And you don't need the sea to make a beach. Berlin's location on the River Spree means you're never too far from water, even in the heart of the city. Add a little soft sand or even just a stretch of pebbles, and you've got a beach. That's exactly what the residents of Berlin do to take advantage of the best beaches in the German capital.
If you need a break from the city during the height of summer, you're in luck. It may be a long way to the nearest seaside town on the Baltic or the North Sea, but you don't need to go that far to enjoy all the beaches near Berlin. Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Berlin, and you'll find some beautiful beaches both in the city itself and in the surrounding countryside. Berlin's excellent public transportation network means you can reach some of the best beaches in the area from Berlin Hauptbahnhof, while others are just a short drive away. Leave your belongings behind and track down sandy shores near Berlin, where you can stretch out and enjoy a beautiful beach.
Just because you live in a big city doesn't mean you should have to go without a sandy beach, especially in the height of summer. At least, that's how Berliners feel. Opened in 2002, Strandbar Mitte is the oldest beach bar operating in the city itself, offering a sandy beach and real palm trees along the riverside in the heart of the city. You're not going to mistake this beach for the Caribbean anytime soon, but it is a great place to hang out and enjoy the summer atmosphere.
Travel distance from Berlin
Zero. Strandbar Mitte is located on the banks of the Spree just across from Berlin's famous Museum Island. It's just a short walk from Alexanderplatz and the Brandenburg Gate, so it's about as central as a beach could be.
Sports: Berliners love to stay active, even while enjoying the beach. This beach has numerous volleyball courts where you can play a game, plus a basketball court in neighboring Monbijoupark.
Clubs: Strandbar started out as a bar, and it retains that convivial feel to this day. There are several bars and restaurants in the area where you can enjoy a drink or bite to eat. And with comfortable sun loungers set up under umbrellas with views of the water, there are few better places to enjoy a summer drink in Berlin. Whether you're looking for a convenient snack bar or a sit-down restaurant, you won't struggle to find great food and nightlife in this part of Berlin.
Museums: Of course, Strandbar is located right across from Berlin's famous Museum Island, and so some of the best museums in the whole city are right next to this popular beach. Visit the Pergamon Museum, the Altesmuseum, and Berlin Cathedral with just a short walk from the beach, which is something very few beaches on earth can offer you.
Strandbar tends to shut down in the winter, but that doesn't mean the views of the river go away. Plus, this is an area that you're probably going to visit in Berlin anyway, thanks to all its cultural attractions. That means even in the winter when the city beaches aren't operating, this is still a great area to visit and enjoy the views and beautiful buildings.
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the historic significance of its Prussian architecture, Peacock Island lies a short distance from Berlin and is a wonderful place to visit at any time of year thanks to its 19th-century palaces, famous rose garden, and hiking trails. However, you can also find some beautiful beaches on the mainland surrounding the island, with the Havel River providing a good place to swim in the summer. Easily reached from Berlin itself, this is an area you should definitely consider when looking for the best beaches near Berlin.
Travel distance from Berlin
Just 25 km from the center of Berlin, Peacock Island can be reached in only half an hour, depending on traffic. You can also get here on the RE7 train, which takes less than an hour to make the journey.
Grillendamm Beach: Offering great views of the island itself, this beach is made of fine white sand that slopes gently into the water, with an ideal area for swimming in the summer. You can also find shady areas to stay out of the sun and enjoy a picnic on this idyllic beach, just like many Berliners do.
Badestelle Alter Hof: Also located opposite the island, this swimming area is patrolled by lifeguards during the summer. The water is chilly but refreshing, making it the perfect place to cool off during a hot summer in the city. Plus, the beach slopes gently into the water, so it's ideal for families and people who are not strong swimmers. There are also toilets on site, but not a lot of other amenities, so you'll want to bring your own shade and a few snacks if possible.
Located to the south west of Berlin on the edge of the Grunewald Forest, this popular lake surrounded by trees feels much further from the city than it really is. A great place to come if you want that back-to-nature vibe while still being close to everything Berlin has to offer, this beach is accessible by public transportation and makes a great place to swim, hike, and enjoy other outdoor activities in a relatively pristine wilderness close to Germany's capital.
Travel distance from Berlin
Just 20 km from Berlin, you can reach Krumme Lanke with a drive of under 40 minutes. Even better, you can get here on the Berlin commuter rail system by taking line S1 from Gesundbrunnen to Mexikoplatz, then walking for about 20 minutes to the lake itself. You can also get here on the U Bahn line 3 to Krumme Lanke station. Either way, the journey by public transportation takes about one hour.
Swimming: The cool, clear waters of the lake are the reason why so many people come here in the warm days of summer. This is an excellent place to swim, with several sandy beaches around the lake with a gradual slope into the water. Note that there are no lifeguards here, so swimming is at your own risk. However, these beaches are so popular in the summer that someone's bound to notice if you start to struggle. Be aware that there are some nudist beaches on the lake, so don't be surprised if you see someone sunbathing nude. In general, Germans have a liberal attitude toward public nudity, so you'll see more skin on most Berlin beaches than you would in more prudish parts of the world.
Hiking: Of course, with the Grunewald Forest right next to the lake, this is an incredible destination for hiking. There are almost endless hiking trails winding through the forest where you can stretch your legs and take in some nature close to the city. The hiking trails also provide a good way to get away from the crowds that you'll find on most of the beaches during the summer. With all these hiking trails to take advantage of, this is a good destination to visit even in the winter. You won't want to swim, but you can still get a good walk and enjoy this natural environment during the colder months.
The Havel River is home to Peacock Island and also to several of the best beaches in the area. The Wannsee area, in particular, has some of the best-loved beaches in this region of Germany. Easily reached from the capital, this region is well worth exploring further if you want to find some of the top beaches near the city.
Travel distance from Berlin
Just over 20 km from central Berlin, you can reach this area with a drive of around 40 minutes, and public transportation won't take any longer to get you here, either. Commuter rail line S7 runs directly from Berlin Central Station to Nikolassee, and from there, it's just a 1 km walk to one of the best beaches in the area, Strandbad Wannsee.
Strandbad Wannsee: An iconic beach in the area, this beach has become a heritage attraction since it has been used for recreation by city residents for more than 120 years. This large sandy beach is a great place to swim, but its popularity means there are lots more attractions here, too. You can rent a dinghy or rowboat to explore the lake, take windsurfing lessons, play volleyball on the sand, or just rent a sun lounger and stretch out with a good book to work on your tan. There are also restaurants and bars in the area, so you can spend a very enjoyable day here at one of Berlin's top beaches.
Kuhhorn: If Strandbad Wannsee is a little too busy for your taste, a short walk will bring you to this much less crowded swimming area. Free to visit and reachable by public transit, this hidden gem is surrounded by tall trees that provide great shade but still has a small area of sandy beach where you can lounge in the sun. Be aware, though, that the secluded nature of this beach makes it popular with nudists, so you may see more of your fellow beachgoers than you anticipated.
Located in Brandenburg, this town on the lake that shares its name is a great place to get away from it all. Easily reached from Berlin, Schwielosee provides a more laid-back atmosphere than the big city, and there are several great beaches along the shores of the lake where you can enjoy the summer months.
Travel distance from Berlin
At 50 km from the city, it can take around an hour to reach Schwielowsee from central Berlin by car. You can also get here by train in around the same amount of time, making this an easy day trip or weekend break from Berlin.
Beaches: The town of Schwielowsee has its own beach, and along the shores of this large lake, you'll find plenty of other beaches, ranging from the popular and busy to the quiet and secluded. Discovering the beaches for yourself is half the fun, so bring your sense of adventure and some good walking shoes to explore the shoreline of this lake.
Albert Einstein's House: Pay tribute to one of history's greatest minds at the former summer home of Albert Einstein. This humble home welcomed multiple Nobel Prize winners who came to visit the famous physicist before he emigrated to America, and is a great way to learn more about the history of this area as a summer retreat from the German capital.
Berlin may be a long way from the sea, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have some fantastic beaches to explore. Plus, most of these beaches are free to visit, making them ideal destinations for anyone exploring Berlin on a budget.
The beaches on this list can all be reached within an hour or so from Berlin, but the regions they are in are worthy of longer exploration. Plus, if you do want to travel a little further and perhaps even reach the coastal beaches in the north of Germany, the right beach can make a perfect destination for a weekend trip from Berlin. Just drop off your unneeded bags at a Bounce luggage storage and enjoy the best beaches in Berlin for yourself.