Beachy-keen for a sandy oasis? Welcome to Berlin, the city of beach bars.
The ocean may be three hours away, but there's no shortage of beaches in Berlin. Jenna Rose Robbins spent a day by the water.
Berlin may be miles from the nearest ocean,
but don’t tell that to its residents. When the mercury rises over 20C/68F, sandy oases crop up in pockets across the city, transforming the urban landscape into an ersatz tropical haven. The following is just a sampling of the surprising sun-soaked offerings the city has to offer. By far the most popular of Berlin’s beach bars,
Strandbar Mitte (Monbijoustr. 3, www. strandbar-mitte.de) rolls out the chaise lounges each summer to a crowd eager to bask in the shade of palm trees, sip tropical drinks, and dance the night away under the stars. The bar’s location on the banks of the River Spree – the Bode Museum rising majestically in the background – provides all the aquatic atmosphere needed to transport you to tropical climes. Berlin’s ingenuity is not limited to converting an old airport into a city park. Over in the Treptow district lies – or floats, rather – the Badeschiff (literally, “bathing boat” – Eichenstr. 4, www. arena-berlin.de), a 30m/100ft heated pool bobbing in the Spree River. Built from the converted hull of a boat, the creative recycling concept is a summer hot spot, and the adjacent shores overflow with bikinied bodies on warmer days, so arrive well before noon for your best chance at nabbing one of the coveted hammocks on the pier. And because the Badeschiff is part of the Arena entertainment complex, parties and concerts abound throughout the summer months.
If it’s sand sports you’re after, head to BeachMitte (CarolineMichaelis-Str. 8, www.beachberlin.de) where more than 40 athletic courts await. Take your pick from beach volleyball, soccer, and tennis, then relax at the Hawaiian-themed beach bar, where you’ll find a mix of healthful snacks like wraps and smoothies and more indulgent fare – and of course, beer and wine to refresh the spirit. If you’re still in need of an adrenaline rush, tempt fate on MountMitte, a megalithic ropes course ( Kletterwald, in German) that features a classic Trabant car as one of its many obstacles. While a bit of a hike from city center, Ku’damm Beach (Königsallee 5b, www.kudamm-beach.de) offers a more upscale ambiance than its centralized brethren. Located out west in Wilmersdorf, the waterfront location affords magnificent views of Halensee lake, particularly when you’ve made yourself comfy on one of the dock chairs. And there's good news for Berliners: after a 10-year ban, starting this summer, the lake can finally be used again for swimming. Culinary options are far above the typical beach fare, with the on-site Grand Café serving high-end Italian cuisine with panoramas of the water.