15 popular beaches in Germany
Planning on hitting a beach in Germany this summer when the weather is fine? For a vast country, we may be laughably short of coastline, but we’ve got more than enough sand to compete with the rest. From windswept, white-gold islands in the north to stunning lakeside retreats at the southernmost tip of Bavaria, we’ve put together a list of 15 of our favourite beaches. So, wherever you are, you’re never far away from a sandy day in the sun!
Best beaches in northern Germany
Germany’s northern coast is blessed with mile after mile of rugged cliffs, dramatic dunes and glorious sandy beaches. No surprise then, that these are some of the federal republic’s most popular summer destinations.
You can’t live in Germany without making a trip to one of its islands and Rügen, the biggest, should be your first stop. Home to the stunning white chalk cliffs of Jasmund National Park, this small island packs in an incredible 61 kilometres of spotless sandy beaches, elegant seaside resorts and more hiking and biking trails than you can shake a stick at.
Langeoog, Lower Saxony
If you’re looking for pure relaxation, ditch the car and head over to the vehicle-free island of Langeoog, one of the East Frisian Islands on the edge of the Wadden Sea. Wander barefoot through the mudflats, scramble through the dunes or explore the island’s perimeter on your bike. At day’s end, retire to one of the quaint cafes right on the beach’s edge.
Timmendorfer Strand, Schleswig-Holstein
Psst… tourists don’t tend to know about this one, so keep it to yourself! There’s a reason why Timmendorfer Strand is so popular with the locals: kilometres of bright, white, soft sand, gently descending into the crystal-clear, aquamarine waters of the Baltic sea. There’s even a bird park and an aquarium nearby.
Beaches in western Germany
Now we’re getting further away from the sea, but fear not! There’s still plenty of beach fun to be had in the west of Germany.
Steinhuder Meer, Lower Saxony
Northwest Germany’s biggest lake Steinhuder Meer comes complete with a butterfly park, water activities, boat trips, several sandy beaches and even a dinosaur park! Nature lovers will be rewarded by glimpses of some of the area’s diverse flora and fauna, while sun-seekers can recline on the sandy beach and watch the boats sail lazily by.
Bleibtreusee, North Rhine-Westphalia
When coal mining came to an end in this area in the mid-1930s, the empty mine pits were slowly filled with rising groundwater, leaving us with a collection of lakes on the outskirts of Brühl. Bleibtreusee, with its large sandy beach and water skiing school, is the largest and one of the few where recreational activities such as swimming, sailing and windsurfing are allowed.
Strandbad Tenderingssee, North Rhine-Westphalia
The secret’s out: what used to be one of the west’s best-hidden gems is getting more popular every year. But don’t let the crowds at Strandbad Tenderingssee put you off. There’s a reason everyone goes: an enormous stretch of golden sand, spotlessly clean water, activities and refreshments, all in an idyllic location.
Best beaches in central Germany
Even the centre of Germany has its fair share of sandy places to swim and relax in the sun.
One of the largest reservoirs in Europe, the beautiful Edersee bathing lake is surrounded by the charming mountainous landscape of the national park Kellerwald-Edersee. Whether you want to boat across the sparkling lake with the wind through your hair or just recline on the sandy beach and admire the spectacular views, there’s something for everyone.
Langener Waldsee, Hesse
When summer arrives, everyone from Frankfurt heads in the same direction: the 900-metre, gloriously soft sandy beach at Langener Waldsee. Battle it out on the volleyball courts, take a dip in the clear turquoise water, or engage in a spot of FKK (Freikörperkultur, Germany’s favourite pastime) at the dedicated nudist area.
Beaches in eastern Germany
With plenty of beautiful lakes to choose from, there’s nothing to stop you getting your beach fix in the east of Germany.
They may be 200 kilometres from the Baltic Sea, but Berliners won’t let that stop them getting that authentic beach experience. The fine, golden sand at Wannsee was once carted by the tonne in freight cars from Travemünde to Berlin, along with a bunch of those iconic beach chairs (Strandkörber). With shallow, crystal-clear water, plenty of kiosks, space for 50.000 sunbathers and even a tune in its honour, what’s not to like?
Due to its sparklingly clean water and kilometres of spotless white sand, Helenesee is often called the “Little Baltic Sea.” The lake was a functioning lignite mine between 1930 and 1959, before being flooded and declared a nature reserve back in 1960. There are designated spots for both nudists and non-nudists - whatever takes your fancy.
Cospudener See, Saxony
At only 19 years old, this must be one of Germany’s newest beaches. Cospudener See (or “Cossi” for short) is another happy outcome of the decline of Germany’s mining industry. Activities abound for water sports enthusiasts, and there are plenty of spots for sunbathing on the lake’s beach and adjacent lawns.
Beaches in southern Germany
South Germany may be a long way from the seashore, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t beaches galore!
Starnberger See, Bavaria
Affectionately known as “Munich’s bathtub”, Lake Starnberg is the second-largest lake in Bavaria, after Chiemsee. Its shore is lined by numerous beautiful swimming spots, many of them with their own sandy beaches. Alternatively, pull up a deckchair on one of the many nearby sunbathing lawns and soak up some rays.
This former glacial lake is the largest in the Black Forest. Either seek out a secluded spot on one of the many sandy beaches dotting its perimeter or head to the beach club Aqua Fun for an adventure pool with a giant slide, massage jets, bubble cushions and - most importantly - ice-cold beer.
Surrounded by a panorama of beautiful forests and Alpine foothills, Chiemsee is located about 60 kilometres southeast of Munich. As well as offering a range of water sports, including surfing, kitesurfing, sailing and rafting, the lake boasts a beautiful sandy beach at Strandbad Übersee.
Ready to hit the beach?
Now you know where to go for your hit of sun and sand, time to start planning your trip - just don’t forget your sunscreen! Did we miss any beach hot spots in Germany? Let us know in the comments below!