Wannsee is the second largest lake in Berlin after Müggelsee and is a very popular day trip destination for Berliners. What Müggelsee is for East Berliners, Wannsee is for West Berliners. Fortunately, since the fall of the Berlin Wall, all Berliners can visit both lakes.
Wannsee in Berlin
Wannsee is several kilometres long and just under 2 kilometres wide. It is directly connected to the Havel River and is actually just a wide bulge of the river. Bathing and swimming is very popular in Wannsee in summer. There are even large lidos and the like. Perhaps even more popular are boat trips on large ships on Wannsee and the Havel. An important pier is not far from the Wannsee S-Bahn station (see picture below).
Great boat tour for tourists Berlin (1 hour)
Every day in the season thousands of tourists take a trip on an excursion boat in the center of Berlin. By far the most popular tour starts in the center of Berlin and passes many sights such as government district with Reichstag and Chancellery, Museum Island and Berlin Cathedral. The excursion by ship lasts about 1 hour and costs 18 euros. You should definitely book online, with a guarantee of a seat:
>>> More information and booking
Wannsee ferry pier
Among Berlin’s upper class, it is considered chic to own a yacht or larger boat on the Wannsee. Many less wealthy Berliners have a small round boat, sailboat or motorboat on the lake. Hundreds of boats ply the Wannsee and the Havel in summer. There is also a lot going on gastronomically around Wannsee. There is everything from a luxury restaurant to a typical Berlin curry sausage stand.
In addition to the Wannsee proper (Großer Wannsee), there is also the Kleiner Wannsee. This is actually much smaller than the big lake. The two Wannsee lakes are connected to each other. A road bridge runs across the water connection, a few hundred metres south of Wannsee station.
One of the most beautiful inhabitants of Wannsee is a new duck species from Asia, the mandarin duck. Probably the most colourful bird to be found in Berlin.
Getting to Wannsee: Two S-Bahn lines run from the centre of Berlin to Wannsee. The S7 runs via Ostbahnhof, Hauptbahnhof and Bahnhof Zoo via Wannsee to Potsdam. The S1 runs from Friedrichstraße station and Potsdamer Platz to the lake. From Wannsee it is not too far to Potsdam. This makes it easy to combine Wannsee and Potsdam in a day trip. If you want to get to the lake from Berlin’s main station or Zoo station, you can also take a Deutsche Bahn regional express. These stop less often and are somewhat faster than the S-Bahn.
The car-free island of Pfaueninsel is only a few kilometres from Wannsee. There is a bus that goes to Pfaueninsel opposite Wannsee S-Bahn station. Wannsee can also be easily combined with a trip to Potsdam. It’s the same direction – the two popular day trip destinations are south-west of Berlin.
Other lakes with articles in this online travel guide are Schlachtensee and Lake Krumme Lanke.