Germany’s highlight: Langener Waldsee

Germany’s highlight: Langener Waldsee

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Europe

Germany in the summer is as beautiful as it is warm. Long, lazy days filled with sunshine and gentle breezes stretch out for weeks on end. It’s the perfect time to get outside (especially with a lack of air conditioning) and soak up some much-needed vitamin D. As a child, summertime Saturdays were some of my favorites. We’d load up the back of the car with fluffy towels, packed ice chests with sodas and food, inflatable inner tubes and hit the road to the nearest lake. With plenty of natural, glacier-fed lakes and man-made swimming holes, there is no shortage of fantastic spots to cool off. In the heart of Hesse is one of the largest lakes in the region, Langener Waldsee.

Where is it?

A mere 15 kilometers south of Frankfurt’s city center and two kilometers from the Frankfurt am Main International Airport, it’s hard to imagine the busy metroplex nearby. Surrounded by acres of dense forest, the noise of the autobahn drifts away. From the early 1920s, Langener Waldsee was a bustling quartz quarry. Although a private company still uses part of the acreage to mine the in-demand mineral, in 1972, a large gravel area was filled with natural groundwater and was designated a recreational lake area.

Things to do

With more than 900 meters of golden sand beaches along the shoreline, visitors have plenty of room to bask in the warm weather. Little ones can splash and cool off in the shallow depths of the lake, while teens and adults can perfect their cannonballs from one of the four wooden platforms floating in the deeper water. Watch sailboats glide along the lake, or dust off the fishing rod (and obtain the proper permits, of course) and see what kind of fish are hiding beneath the surface.

If water sports aren’t your cup of tea, explore the vast network of hiking trails surrounding the water. With varying degrees of difficulty and lengths, there is something for all athletic abilities. The lush canopy of trees provides shade on warm days, as well as serene and peaceful views. Quench your thirst or satiate your appetite with a pit stop at the cafe near the water’s edge. The kids can burn off any excess energy at the large pirate ship playground.

Know before you go

Langener Waldsee is open mid-May through mid-September. Its prime location provides the perfect spot for the Ironman European Championship in late June. During hot weather spells, the lake can see upward of 20,000 visitors, so plan accordingly. There is a small fee for admission; 4 euros for adults and 3 euros for children. The beach is open daily during the season from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. If you claim your spot on the north shore, just be aware nudity is allowed in that section.

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