Outdoor swimming in Germany

by Heather Ann Cosimo
Stripes Europe

The opening of outdoor pools in Germany is a telltale sign that summer is starting. From May through September, the public has little trouble finding a cool retreat.

Found in almost every city, even small villages and towns possess at least one Schwimmbad or Waschmühle. A Friebad signifies cold water. Whereas Warmbad suggests the water is heated, although nowhere near hot tub temps.

The settings may vary, but usually consist of a sports pool with lap lanes, a separate non-swimmer pool, diving platform, water slide and baby pool. Some facilities boast saunas and salt water pools. There are playgrounds, jungle gyms, table tennis and volleyball.

On average, admission tickets cost €2 or €3 for adults and €1 for students and children 6 to 15 years old. Season passes are available for approximately €60, definitely worth it if you plan on frequenting the same pool throughout the summer.

The process is similar at each pool. Pay at the cashier’s window, and in return you may receive a ticket or stub as a receipt. Once inside the gated area, you can use the changing rooms, showers and lockers. A euro is usually needed to lock up any belongings and is refundable.

Next step is to stake out a spot. The manicured lawns beckon sunbathers to unroll their towels and set up lounge chairs. Families and friends congregate on blankets and sheets. Coolers filled with drinks and sandwiches are strewn about. Visitors that come without food or beverages can visit the snack bar on site if hunger strikes.

One of the largest one-basin outdoor swimming pools in Europe is the Kaiserslautern Waschmühle, located on Morlauterer Strasse 100. Water from deep wells fills up the 10,000 square meter swimming sanctuary. The courageous can be seen plummeting off the 10-meter high diving platform. Consider this a forewarning, the water is frigid perhaps tepid at best. Sun worshippers have 25,000 square meters of space to relax.

In Heidelberg, the Thermalbad (Vangerowstraße 4) and Freizeit-Bad Tiergartenstraße (Tiergartenstraße 13) are both fully equipped for people with disabilities. The open-air facilities offer a pool for swimmers and non-swimmers, solariums, heated rooms, a water chute and a cafeteria.

Grafenwoehr’s outdoor pool appeals to all types of swim fans featuring three diving platforms, water slide, non-swimmer and toddler area.  Water is heated at a comfortable 75°F. The Terrace Café dishes out food and beverages. For more information, call the swimming pool staff: 0 96 41 / 2006.

If you are near Trier, the Freibad Trier-Nord (Zurmaiener Strasse 122) has one combined swimmer and non-swimmer pool, diving board, water slide and children’s wading pool. Activity seekers on land can play beach volleyball, field hockey or visit the workout room.

Ready to suit up? Here are some things to bring: swimsuit, flip flops, towel, sunscreen, goggles, snacks, reading material.

For more tips about living and traveling in Europe, check out our digital edition of Welcome to Europe on Stripes.com

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