8 Unique Beaches in Germany: Plan Your Summer Escape
People don’t typically associate Germany with sunshine and sand. I for one only started finding out about beautiful beaches in Germany well into my 3rd year here.
But it actually shouldn’t come as a surprise that a country with over 2000 km of coastline can hold its own when it comes to waterfront destinations. And that’s if you don’t take the lakes into account! So in this blog post, let me introduce you to 8 of the best beaches in Germany. You really should put these on your bucket list!
Best Beaches in Germany Along the Coast
Many of the best beaches in Germany hug the shores of the Baltic Sea. In this little round-up, you’ll discover 4 of my top picks. These beaches are either on the mainland or the island of Rügen. Keeping with the spirit of this blog, I’ve added a mix of insider tips and local-approved top spots.
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Dranske’s Sea Beach (Rügen)
It’s funny how we sometimes make the best discoveries entirely by accident. Last summer, my partner and I spontaneously decided to join his family on the island of Rügen for the weekend. Our campsite, picked totally at random, happened to be bordering the sea beach in Dranske.
This lovely, quiet beach is well removed from the hustle and bustle of Binz and the famous white chalk cliffs. As such, it is a great spot to unwind off the beaten path. Beyond the location, Dranske’s sea beach has several other things going for it: the grassy area just beyond the beach is covered in wildflowers, the calm waters are ideal for swimming and you get to see some fabulous sunsets!
A sandy path connected our campsite to the water’s edge, so this was perfect for jumping out of bed and going for those very early morning strolls.
There was just one caveat. As soon as the sun set, some very large insects started flying at us, forcing our group to take refuge back at the campsite. While I wouldn’t recommend lingering much after sundown, I still absolutely consider Dranske to have one of the most photogenic beaches in Germany!
Seebrücke Dranske (Rügen)
Let me backtrack for a second. Dranske is located on a very thin strip of land, jetting out into the sea at the northernmost tip of the island. This part of Rügen curves inwards, creating an almost enclosed lake, on the shores of which you’ll find Seebrücke Beach. (In German, “Seebrücke” literally means sea bridge.)
One of this beach’s defining features is the pier that jets out into the water. This is another great spot for families, with plenty of green space around for picnics and shallow, calm water around the pier. Seebrücke offers more infrastructure than Dranske’s sea beach, with a waterfront cafe and paddleboat rental facilities.
While you’re here, keep your eyes peeled for jellyfish (don’t worry – they don’t sting!).
Kap Arkona (Rügen)
Although not a spot for swimming, Kap Arkona also boasts one of the most beautiful – and unique – beaches in Germany. You’ll get the distinct sensation of stepping back in time, perhaps even to prehistoric days, as you make your way along the rocky shore. Or maybe it will feel like being on the set of Lost? Sandstone cliffs encase this small but impressive beach, creating the perfect backdrop for a photoshoot.
Kap Arkona offers more than just one of the best beaches in Germany. Walking through town on your way to the cape, you’ll see plenty of “Friesenhäuser”, or traditional northern German thatched-roof homes. Researching this post, I found out that this means the rooftops are actually made of dry vegetation. This age-old roofing technique is one of the most eco-friendly and sustainable in the world.
I couldn’t write about the best beaches in Germany without mentioning Warnemünde. The seaside town is ideal for a day trip from Berlin, a weekend getaway or even a longer vacation. What makes this Baltic Sea enclave so attractive? Well, Warnemünde is a gateway to a 15 kilometre-long, white sandy beach, for starters!
On top of endless strolls on the sand, visitors can sunbathe in the dunes, relax in a traditional German “Strandkorb” and snack on fresh “Fischbrötchen”.
Warnemünde is quite a well-known destination amongst locals and harbours an international ferry terminal, so things can get busy in the height of summer. Therefore, I recommend visiting off-peak or during the week to truly enjoy the beach and village. This being said, with such a long beach, you’ll be sure to always find a nice spot to set down your towel – even if you have to walk a bit.
Beautiful Lakeside Beaches in Germany
For the first part of this blog post, we focused on coastal beaches in Germany. As we continue with our summery theme, we’ll explore Germany’s lakeside offerings. Indeed, in many parts of the country, it might be quicker and simpler to go to a lake than to drive to the sea.
Fortunately, Germany is home to many, many lakes. I hardly claim to be an expert on lake beaches in Germany, as I’m sure there are literally thousands I haven’t heard of (yet!). The following selection includes my personal recommendations.
Sacrower See (Brandenburg)
Sacrower See has an impressive claim to fame, securing its place as one of the best beaches in Germany. Although quite deep, this body of water is the clearest in the Berlin area. All the same, Sacrower See remains relatively unknown by city folk and one of the best beaches in Germany away from the crowds.
When I visited, I was struck by just how blue the water was. I remember posting an Instagram poll, something along the lines of “where do you think this is, Germany or Italy?” At least 50% of participants voted for Italy, so that’s saying something!
Pro tip: You can easily combine a beach day at Sacrower See with a quick stop at some of Potsdam’s most instagrammable palaces.
Without a doubt, Wannsee boasts one of the most famous beaches in Germany away from the coast. The Wannsee Strandbad is a Berlin classic, stretching on for over a kilometre at the edge of the Grunewald Forest.
Indeed, locals have been spending their free time on the now heritage-listed beach for close to 120 years. There are many trails all around Wannsee, so visitors can swim, walk, or just sit back and enjoy nature. What’s more, you can catch some pretty fabulous sunsets over the lake.
If you’re ready for a change of scenery, you can bike from Wannsee to Pfaueninsel, or Peacock Island, in about 20 minutes (ferry time included). Yes, there really are peacocks on the island!
Müggelsee is East Berlin’s answer to Wannsee. This is the largest lake in the Berlin area, slightly bigger than Wannsee, with 3 distinct swimming areas. Strandbad Müggelsee provides a very wide beach with plenty of space to stretch out. Like Wannsee, Müggelsee is a popular destination for water sports of all kinds, from canoeing to sailing.
Tutzing Strandbad Süd (Starnberger See, Munich)
Let’s change atmospheres and locations entirely and head south to Starnberger See. The upscale district of Starnberg lies in the outskirts of Munich, which I got to visit on a business trip a little while back.
Loved by locals, Starnberger See has 10 different beaches on its shores. Of these, Tutzing Strandbad Süd is a total insider tip, definitely deserving a mention as one of the best beaches in Germany.
This family-friendly stretch of sand is a favourite not just because of the surprisingly tropical atmosphere, but also due to the scenery. Imagine swimming in clear water with a view of the Alps across the lake! On its own, this unique feature is well worth the trip if you are in the Munich area.
Hey Skeptics, Yes There Are Beautiful Beaches in Germany
I hope this post has managed to convince the skeptics that there are some stunning German beaches. I for one am loving this surprising aspect of Germany. Indeed, I enjoyed my time in Warnemünde so much that I wrote a whole blog post about it.
Do you know of another place that counts as one of the best beaches in Germany? Let me know in the comments!