Free Walking Tour Berlin

When: Every day 10am & 12pm every day
Where: The meeting point is in front of the ehemaliges Kaiserliches Postfuhramt Berlin, Oranienburger Straße, 10117 Berlin, Germany, next to the entrance.
Price: Free

The Historic Großer Wannsee: Berlin’s Lakeside Retreat

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Original Berlin

Welcome to Berlin, Germany, where history, culture, and natural beauty come together. Among the city’s many attractions is the widely known Großer Wannsee. Situated southwest of Berlin, this picturesque lake offers a serene escape from the bustling city life. Join us as we explore the beauty, history, and activities that make Großer Wannsee a must-visit destination.

1. A Brief Introduction to Großer Wannsee

Großer Wannsee, which directly translates to “Greater Wannsee,” is a 2.7 square kilometer lake located in the southwestern part of Berlin. It is the largest lake within the city limits, offering locals and tourists a refreshing retreat among nature’s bounty.

The lake’s name, Wannsee, comes from the Wendish language, spoken by the Slavic tribe that once resided in this region. Today, it’s a popular recreational spot with sandy beaches, beautiful hiking trails, and an assortment of water sports activities.

2. Historical Significance

Beyond its natural beauty, Großer Wannsee holds historical significance. One notable event associated with this idyllic lake is the Wannsee Conference, which took place on January 20, 1942.

2.1 The Wannsee Conference

The Wannsee Conference was a meeting convened by high-ranking Nazi officials to discuss the implementation of the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question.” During the conference, the details of the plan to exterminate millions of Jews across Europe were laid out.

Today, the villa where the conference took place has been converted into a memorial and education center, reminding visitors of the atrocities committed during the Holocaust.

3. Exploring Activities at Großer Wannsee

Now that we’ve covered the historical significance of Großer Wannsee, let’s dive into the exciting activities and attractions you can enjoy while visiting this beautiful lake.

3.1 Relaxation and Swimming

If you’re seeking relaxation, the sandy beaches of Großer Wannsee are perfect for sunbathing and swimming. The lake’s calm waters provide a safe swimming environment, making it an ideal spot for families.

During the summer months, you can rent beach chairs and umbrellas and indulge in a leisurely day of sun-soaked tranquility. There are also designated areas where you can barbecue and picnic, enjoying delicious food while surrounded by nature.

3.2 Water Sports

For adventure seekers, Großer Wannsee offers a wide range of water sports. Kayaking and paddleboarding are popular activities, allowing you to explore the lake at your own pace. You can rent equipment from various rental shops nearby and receive instruction if you’re a beginner.

Additionally, sailing enthusiasts can take advantage of the lake’s open waters. Sailboat rentals and sailing schools are available for those interested in discovering the joy of navigating the lake using nothing but the power of the wind.

3.3 Hiking and Cycling

The area surrounding Großer Wannsee is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. There are numerous hiking and cycling trails that wind through the surrounding forests and offer breathtaking views of the lake.

Whether you’re an avid hiker or prefer a leisurely stroll, there’s a trail for every skill level. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the stunning landscapes and wildlife you may encounter along the way.

3.4 Boat Tours

If you want a different perspective of Großer Wannsee, hop on a boat and embark on a guided tour. These tours provide fascinating insights into the lake’s history, landmarks, and natural wonders.

The knowledgeable tour guides will share captivating stories about the area, enriching your visit and making it a truly memorable experience. Boat tours are available in different languages, ensuring everyone can fully engage with the information presented.

4. Nearby Attractions

While Großer Wannsee offers a multitude of activities, there are also several nearby attractions worth exploring during your visit to this part of Berlin.

4.1 Pfaueninsel

Just a short ferry ride away from Großer Wannsee lies Pfaueninsel, also known as Peacock Island. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a tranquil retreat where you can immerse yourself in nature while admiring the peacocks that gave the island its name.

4.2 Glienicke Bridge

If you’re a history enthusiast, a visit to the Glienicke Bridge is a must. This iconic bridge, commonly referred to as the “Bridge of Spies,” played a significant role during the Cold War. It connected East and West Germany and witnessed several high-profile spy exchanges.

4.3 Babelsberg Park and Palace

Babelsberg Park and Palace, located nearby, is a splendid example of German Romanticism. With its stunning architecture and picturesque gardens, this magnificent palace is a true gem waiting to be discovered.

5. How to Get There

Großer Wannsee is easily accessible by public transportation. You can take the S-Bahn line S1 to the Wannsee station, and from there, it’s a short walk to the lake.


Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor activities, or simply seeking a peaceful sanctuary to escape the city’s hustle and bustle, Großer Wannsee has something for everyone. With its rich history, natural landscapes, and a wide array of activities, this Berlin gem is a destination that you won’t want to miss. Embrace the beauty of Großer Wannsee, let its history resonate, and create lasting memories in this captivating lakeside retreat.

Thank you for reading. If you're inspired by the stories of Berlin and want to delve deeper, why not join us on our Free Berlin Walking Tour? It's a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the city's rich history and vibrant culture. We look forward to welcoming you soon.


  • 3.5 hours walking tour
  • Berlin’s major highlights
  • Brandenburg Gate
  • Reichstag and Berlin Wall
  • Historical sites

Free Walking Tour Berlin

When: Every day 10am & 12pm every day
Where: The meeting point is in front of the ehemaliges Kaiserliches Postfuhramt Berlin, Oranienburger Straße, 10117 Berlin, Germany, next to the entrance.
Price: Free