Sponsored by Talisker
Living in a big city has many, many benefits, but I do need to leave once in a while, or more often, to reset my brain and recharge immersed in nature. Thankfully Berlin is surrounded by hundreds of lakes, some of them even inside the city and so there’re plenty of options to escape. Especially if you want to keep it short and sweet, and are just looking for a micro adventure without much planning or big budgets. To kick off outdoor season, I have assembled my favorite unique spots by the water in and around Berlin. There aren’t many things that are as soothing as staring or jumping into a natural water and Talisker knows that more than anyone else. Their profound connection to the sea is unique and reflected in their whisky made on the Isle of Skye. Berlin’s shores aren’t nearly as rough and rugged but beautiful in their own, often murky way and the perfect destination for a beautiful break from daily routine. You can find even more ideas for micro adventures on Talisker’s madebythesea.info!
This is your best option for a lake surrounded by a picturesque walkway and big trees if you only have time for a quick dip before or after work. Take the S-bahn to Schlachtensee, get out of the train and into the lake. That’s it! You’ll be greeted by an “out-of-the-city” feel, because it’s located inside of the Grunewald, Berlin’s biggest inner-city forest. It’s quite busy, also thanks to the 5k circumferential path loads of people use to run (it’s a great route, since you can just jump into the lake to cool off after!) If you wanna swim alone, choose the mornings since this is a popular spot (because it’s so convenient and pretty!) or take the walk to the adjacent lake called Krumme Lanke. If you bring a dog, opt for Grunewaldsee, since pups aren’t allowed at Schlachtensee. And plan in some time to get a drink or a snack at the beergarden overlooking the lake. By the way, the name does not refer to a battle (“Schlacht”) but probably to the Slavic word for golden, slaty. (It might also just refer to a slat, pilework, or solt, a swamp, we don’t really know.)
Located on the other side of the city, this long lake (11k!) is actually just a wider part of the river Dahme (which later joins the Spree). There’s a proper Strandbad with a 100m long sandy beach and wide lawns to soak in some sun (or hide in the shade), but a more Berlin way to enjoy it is to walk (or cycle, since it is.. lang) along the shore and look for a place beneath a tree to leave your stuff, and dive in from there. The water here is very natural, meaning it can be murky at the lakeside and will probably have some plants and fish in there. There’s a Tram starting at S Bahnhof Grünau going along the southern shore, by the way.
If you got the day off, consider making a real Ausflug about an hour east of Berlin to Fürstenwalde and visit Trebuser See – it’s like your regular Brandenburg lake (meaning there’s murky grounds, loads of plants and fish), but with jetties around. Little wooden platforms line the lakeside and offer the bestest place to take the whole day off. It’s incredibly picturesque and lovely, and will get you into a holiday spirit where you feel remote from any city. Since you’re going to Brandenburg, remember to bring picnic and drinks, there’re little options around – and don’t forget your flask filled with Talisker for some sunset company.
This lake is the easiest to reach by car, but you could also take the train to Fürstenwalde and then walk or cycle the remaining 5km.
Weststrand am Darß
And if you have a weekend (or longer) take a trip to what I think it the most stunning beach of the Baltic Sea: the western shore of Darß, a peninsula between Stralsund and Rostock. This part of the island is a natural reserve with only forests. Thanks to the forceful winds and tides, the beach has white sands, light blue and green water, and fallen trees, of which the bark was washed off by the (slightly) salty water to reveal bright red wood. It’s different every time you go, I went last over new years and couldn’t even access parts of the beach because of high water and storm. If you know the usually quite tame conditions around the Baltic Sea, you’ll appreciate the wildness of this place. There are cycling and walking paths everywhere, and I recommend you either stay in Ahrenshoop or Prerow, the latter is about 5k from the Western beach. Both of these places have plenty hotel and guesthouse options.
If you want to remember the spirit of sea and water at home, enjoy a Talisker mixed drink like this one:
Talisker Black Beard
4 cl Talisker Skye
1 cl blackberry liqueur
Pour Talisker Skye and blackberry liqueur in a high ball glass with ice. Fill up with ginger beer and decorate with a blackberry.