The first thing you’ll notice when stepping off the X69 bus is the warm, sweet scent of pine wrapping you in its olfactory embrace. Between the hundreds of lakes, canals, rivers and waterways, Berlin has no shortage of choice when it comes to outdoor swimming. What makes Kleiner Müggelsee special amongst this glut of options is its location in a pristine pine forest, not to mention its beach of powdery white sand. High up on the dunes under the shade of the fragrant trees, directly on the beach for optimal tanning, or in a private, wooded nook further along the shoreline, everyone can find their perfect spot for whiling away an entire summer’s afternoon.
Nestled away in the southeast corner of the city, close to where Berlin ends and Brandenburg begins, Kleiner Müggelsee is nonetheless easy to get to with public transit–bikes not needed. I prefer lakes that take a bit of a trek to get to, anyway–it makes the outing feel more like an outing and you get to discover new parts of the city, at the very least glimpsing them from the windows of the S-Bahn train along the way.
Another Kleiner Müggelsee highlight: the Imbiss raft, from which a bikini-clad lady serves out ice cream, Wurst, and drinks. The raft divides its time between staying anchored at shore and puttering around the lake, where it serves boaters and adventurous swimmers who paddle out to sit on its edges, dangling their feet in the water while they lick their Eis.
Getting there: Take the S3 to Köpenick station, then the X69 bus to the end of the line, Odernheimer Str. Turn left, follow Hinter der Düne for a few hundred meters, cut right onto one of the paths through the woods, and keep walking until you feel the blanket of pine needles beneath your feet gradually turn to soft sand.