Cool off in summer

Enjoy open water swimming in SouthWest Germany

Zwei Kinder rennen in einen See. Das Wasser spritzt. Am Rand steht Schilf und im Hintergrund Bäume.
Bathing in the nature of Baden-Württemberg

BW-Story - Hirsch & Greif

Bathing in the nature of Baden-Württemberg

At last, summer is here! Time to be outdoors. And when the sun is hot, cool off in the water. Whether you call it open water swimming, wild swimming or just swimming outside, SouthWest Germany’s clean, clear lakes are perfect for this natural way to enjoy the water. And the surrounding woods, meadows and greenery are all part of the experience. So, relax and recharge your batteries. Just be sure to watch where you are diving; even better, go in feet first! Just as the hashtag suggests #respectfornature.

☀ Here are 9 of our favourite lakes for open water swimming in SouthWest Germany:

Ehmetsklinge Reservoir.&nbsp;</span><span>Magical!


Ehmetsklinge Reservoir. Magical!

A popular spot for swimming. One hour northwest of Stuttgart.

Blick auf den Stausee Ehmetsklinge im Kraichgau, mit den bewaldeten Hügeln im Hintergrund.
In the Kraichgau, the Ehmetsklinge Reservoir is great for swimming and water sports. | © TMBW
Ein Junge und ein Mädchen springen von einem Holzsteg ins Wasser.

In the Kraichgau, the Ehmetsklinge Reservoir is great for swimming and water sports. | © TMBW

Surrounded by meadows, this is a lovely place to spend a day swimming and sunbathing. Between Stromberg and Heuchelberg, in the heart of the glorious Kraichgau region, Ehmentsklinge Reservoir is all about fun. The water is super clean, with pedal boats offering extra entertainment for families. The spacious lawns provide plenty of room; the café has refreshments. What are you waiting for?

Ehmetsklinge Reservoir

Titisee Lake. What a treat!

2. Black Forest

Titisee Lake. What a treat!

At Titisee Lake, there are also changing rooms and a beach bar.

Blick über den idyllischen Titisee im Schwarzwald mit der Tretbootanlegestelle.
At Titisee Lake, there are also changing rooms and a beach bar. | © TMBW

The path round this lake in the Black Forest is a favourite for hikers. But, on a hot day, everyone wants to go for a swim in the sparkling, clean, clear water. Only electric boats are allowed, and special areas are set aside for swimming. Add in beach bars and cafés, changing rooms and toilets and Titisee Lake ticks all the boxes. It’s what summer is all about.

Swimming at Titisee

A deep lake in the Maulbronn UNESCO World Heritage area

3. Kraichgau - Stromberg

A deep lake in the Maulbronn UNESCO World Heritage area

Open water swimming. One hour northwest of Stuttgart.

Blick auf einen Natursee in dem Menschen baden. Das Ufer ist teils bewaldet.
For visitors to Maulbronn Monastery, Tiefer See Lake is a real insider tip. | © Stadt Maulbronn

Here’s a real insider’s tip. Close to Maulbronn’s historic monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage gem, is Tiefersee. In German, the name means “deep lake” and it is both clean and clear. As well as a beer garden and café, there are modern changing rooms, showers and toilets. On weekdays, it can be very quiet, especially at dusk: just you, the water and surrounding trees. Magic!

"Tiefer See" Lake

Obersee Lake. Fun for all ages.


Obersee Lake. Fun for all ages.

A summer oasis for young and old. Two hours southeast of Stuttgart.

Blick vom See auf das grüne Ufer mit Rasenfläche und Bäumen. Ein Teil des Sees ist abgesteckt - darin planschen Kinder. Vor der Absperrung liegt eine riesige Gummikrake.
Near Kisslegg, Obersee Lake is located in rural Upper Swabia. | © Alexander Savarino
Eine Frau und drei Kinder laufen vom See an das nahe Ufer.
Near Kisslegg, Obersee Lake provides fun for all ages. | © TMBW, Kuhn

There is something for everyone at Obersee Lake, in Kisslegg in the southern part of Upper Swabia. Think beach volleyball, table tennis and a playground. And, of course, swimming. Go for a dip in the lake or do some laps in the heated 25-metre pool, complete with a diving platform. Little ones love to jump and splash in the special mud area. Bigger kids and grown-ups can row, canoe or go stand-up paddle boarding.

The Obersee Lake beach in Kisslegg

Tiroler See Lake&nbsp;</span><span>in Hohenlohe.

5. Hohenlohe

Tiroler See Lake in Hohenlohe.

Great open water swimming in the Hohenlohe region. An hour northeast of Stuttgart.

Panoramablick auf den See inmitten von Wald. Die Ufer sind begrünt.
A bird’s-eye view of Tiroler See Lake near Forchtenberg in Hohenlohe | © Touristikgemeinschaft Hohenlohe, Andi Schmid

Don’t be confused by the name. The Tyrolean Lake, the Tiroler See, is in the southern part of the Hohenlohe region. Even in the height of summer, this unspoiled destination is peaceful. But this natural lake has everything you need for swimming, including a café and beer garden. There’s even a special area set aside for non-swimmers, so youngsters can splash about and play safely in the water.

Tiroler See Lake in Hohenlohe

Windgfällweiher. SouthWest Germany’s highest swimming lake.

6. Black Forest

Windgfällweiher. SouthWest Germany’s highest swimming lake.

Deep in the Black Forest, surrounded by trees. An hour southeast of Freiburg.

Panoramablick auf einen See mit blühendem Ufer im Vordergrund. Auf der anderen Seeseite steht eine Holzhütte am Ufer. Dahinter erstreckt sich ein Nadelbaumwald.
In the Black Forest, Windgfällweiher Lake is surrounded by dense forest. | © Hochschwarzwald Tourismus GmbH

SouthWest Germany’s highest swimming lake is away from it all, set between its bigger and better-known neighbours, Titisee Lake and Schluchsee Lake. Windgfällweiher scores for its beach, but it also offers windsurfing and paddleboarding. Add in the Baywatch Bar and toilets and you can see why this is considered an “insider tip” for back-to-nature wild swimming!

Windgfällweiher Lake

Degersee Lake. A hidden gem.


Degersee Lake. A hidden gem.

A warm lake, ideal for early summer. 90 minutes east of Konstanz.

Blick von oben auf einen See, in den ein Holzsteg führt. Badegäste liegen auf den Grünflächen am Ufer und schwimmen im Wasser. Es ist auch ein kleines Ruderboot zu sehen.
Near Tettnang, Degersee Lake is warm enough for swimming in early summer. | © Felix Kästle

When only the big and brave are swimming in Lake Constance, Degersee Lake is already warming up. This sheltered spot in southern Upper Swabia has one shoreline for swimming, far from the crowds. Locals reckon that the sun shines longest on the terrace of the Degerseestube, the cheerful beer garden and restaurant overlooking the water. On the other shore are marshes that are popular with birdwatchers.

Degersee Lake, near Tettnang

Schömberg Reservoir. One of a kind.


Schömberg Reservoir. One of a kind.

Open water swimming in the Swabian Alb. An hour southwest of Stuttgart.

Blick über einen See mit Strand. Dahinter ist die Häusersiluette einer Siedlung mit Kirchturm zu sehen. Der Himmel ist blau mit kleinen Wölkchen. Bäume rahmen den Blick ein.
In the Swabian Alb, the Schömberg Reservoir is a lovely spot to relax. | © Zollernalb-Touristinfo

Lakes where you can swim are rare on the porous limestone hills of the Swabian Alb. But the building of a dam created a glorious body of water for summer swimming. And there’s much more. From pedal boats on the lake to the nearby miniature railway, petting zoo and adventure park, children are busy and happy. A great day out!

Schömberger Reservoir

Gifizsee Lake. Magnificent!

9. Ortenau

Gifizsee Lake. Magnificent!

Hit the beach in the Rhine valley. 90 minutes southwest of Stuttgart.

Blick über einen See bei Abenddämmerung. Der Himmel ist Wolkenverhangen. Rechts liegen Segelboote vor Anker. Im Hintergrund befinden sich bewaldete Berge.
Near Offenburg, Gifizsee Lake offers a wide variety of fun water sports. | © Ulrich Marx
Ein Mann und ein Mädchen planschen in einem See. Das Mädchen fliegt aus dem Wasser und hällt sich die Nase zu.
On a hot day, young and old alike love to cool down in a natural lake. | © TMBW

Here’s a novel triathlon challenge for this summer. First discipline: jog three kilometres around Gifizsee Lake. Second discipline: jump in the lake and swim. Third discipline: chill out on shore for the rest of the day. Rumour has it that there are locals in Offenburg who do this triathlon every day. But even more activities are on offer. Rent a boat; play outdoor table tennis or beach volleyball; barbecue in the special area. Or kick back and sip a beer at the café. 

Gifizsee Lake, near Offenburg 

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