Swimming in Berlin’s Spree River is not something most people will want to do†. But swimming in a pool that is in the Spree River—now that’s cool!
And that’s exactly the experience the Badeschiff offers.
The German word translates to “bathing ship,” which is as good a short description as any. The Badeschiff was fashioned from an old river barge cargo container filled with 400,000 liters (about 100,00 gallons) of chlorinated fresh water. The whole thing literally floats in the river, tied to a dock in the same way one might moor a houseboat.
The visual effect that the Badeschiff creates is impressive—and very much on purpose. The pool was originally designed as an art project. Today, it is part of a larger exhibition (sponsored by the City Art Project Association) that examines the different connections people have with urban environments.
The entrance fee to the Badeschiff lets you do more than take a scenic swim in a peculiar pool. The comprehensive hang-out area includes an active bar, wooden decks, hanging hammocks and a sand beach (!) complete with beach umbrellas and folding beach chairs. At night, DJs spin tunes and people occasionally take to dancing right there on the “beach.” The little taste of the Caribbean sits right behind the gritty brick buildings of a former east Berlin bus depot, creating a surreal contrast.
Also cool: The fun doesn’t end when the warm weather does. In the winter, the pool and the two adjacent docks are covered (see pic, below) and the water is heated to a comfortable 24°C (75° F).
Since the Badeschiff was originally designed as a temporary art project, there’s no telling how long the pool will be there. But its popularity among Berliners has already caught the attention of other cities—Brooklyn, New York recently opened a floating pool of their own in the East River.
† Some say it’s polluted. Others warn of the strong currents.
Reviews of the Best Hotel Swimming Pools in Las Vegas and Miami
Hide a Swimming Pool In Your House
The Cool Dresden Architecture That Sings in the Rain
5 Cool Berlin Boutique Hotels
The World’s Largest Swimming Pool
Plan your trip
When: The pool is open from 8am until late (usually around midnight) but closes early in bad weather. The pool itself is heated and the lighting at night creates a superb atmosphere; consider showing up around dusk and taking part in the night-time vibe.
If you go: The entrance fee is €4 for adults, €1.50 for children under 14. You are not allowed to bring your own food or drink though both are sold on-site.
Family friendly? Though children are allowed if accompanied by an adult, in general, not many young kids go. Also, note that the pool is almost uniformly around 2 meters (6 feet) deep.
For your bookshelf: Berlin Then and Now