If you’re like me and love the culture and many activities that cosmopolitan cities offer, but still like to spend a few days on the beach on a sunny summer day, you might sometimes find yourself torn between going to a small beach town or a large bustling city. The great news is that you actually can have both at the same time, if you just go to the right cities. Here are some capital cities in Europe that offer beaches and swimming spots in the city…
Berlin – Strandbad am Weissensee
Some parts of Berlin feel like a concrete jungle, but there are many large parks and green areas to escape to during sunny summer days.
Not many tourists know about the lake in Weissensee, but it’s really not far from the city of Berlin and if you rent a bike you can easily get there (about 6km from Rosenthaler Platz).
The lake is great for swimming and there is even a small beach! Many apartments in Berlin are close to this lake so if you stay there you will have it all to yourself in the early morning before the rest get there.
Copenhagen – Havnebadet
Located right by the ocean, Copenhagen has realized its potential and recently spent millions on creating 4 swimming spots in the middle of the city and improving the water quality.
Today the water in these urban swimming spots is just as clean as by the beaches outside of the city and a perfect place to cool down on a hot summer day – the most popular is Islands Brygge with an awesome carnival atmosphere in summer.
Stockholm – Långholmen & Kristineberg
Built on 14 islands and the gateway to an expansive archipelago, it’s not surprising that Stockholm offers dozens of beautiful beaches and swimming areas in the middle of the city.
One of the more popular go-to places is Långholmen, but Kristineberg Beach (an unofficial swimming spot) is also a favorite among locals. Here is a list of 5 of the most popular urban swimming spots.
Geneva – Bains des Pâquis
My favorite part about Geneva was the lake, it’s one of the largest lakes in western Europe and among the prettiest I’ve seen – little did I know when I was there that it was possible to actually swim in the middle of the city!
At Bains des Pâquis you can swim with a view overlooking the famous Jet d’Eau fountain, dive into the water from diving platforms and waterslides or eat at the restaurant.
Paris – Paris Plages
This huge city located miles from the coast and far from any lakes, Paris is certainly not the first capital city that comes to mind when planning a beach holiday.
But there really is a beach in Paris – well at least during summer – every year there is a summer event called Paris Plages (Paris Beach) where they transform several spots into full-fledged beaches.
Some of these beaches even have swimming pools suspended over the river Seine, and the evenings are just as popular with many concerts and live shows.
So if you’re planning a city break to Paris, its beaches are a must-see, if nothing else than just for the crazy and cool idea alone!
Other swimming spots in capital cities:
- Amsterdam – Blijburg Beach
- Zagreb – Jarun Lake
- Helsinki – Hietaniemi Beach
- Lisbon – Costa da Caparica
- Athens – Alimos
Have you been to any of these urban beaches and swimming spots?