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Our Four Favourite Bodies of Water Near Hamburg

We reveal a shortlist of our all-time favourite lakes and bodies of water around Hamburg—one for each cardinal direction.

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Hamburg city centre 68 km
Car <60 min
PT <60 min

takemetothelakes Hamburg Edition Seen Guide Klüthsee 8

Imagine leaving the city and experiencing the sensation of being entirely alone in the world—and with a little bit of luck, this dream might just become a reality. Klüthsee is located north of Hamburg close to Großer Segeberger See. As you walk towards the bathing spot on the lake’s northern shore, listen for summer as she softly whispers in your ear. The melody of the wind as it gently sweeps through the surrounding fields causing wheat stalks to rustle and little twigs to crack accompanies chirpy birdsong. Just a ten-minute walk under the canopy of giant oak trees will bring you to a large, sloped lawn that looks out over the lake. A wooden diving tower rounds off the idyllic, postcard-worthy view that greets you upon arrival.

Hamburg Edition
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Directions Klüthsee Parking Lot



Hamburg city centre 57 km
Car <60 min
PT -

takemetothelakes Hamburg Edition Seen Guide Krebssee 2

Krebssee is located east of Hamburg in a district called Hellbachtal. The closer you get to Lehmrade, the clearer it’ll become that this is an insider’s tip. Even your navigation device might struggle to guide you in the right direction. Hence, we recommend typing the exact coordinates for the parking lot in Hellbachtal (53.585880, 10.733828) into your app from the start. After parking your car, you’ll need to enter the nature reserve to reach the bathing spot on the lake’s eastern shore. Whether by bike or on foot, a series of forest paths will lead you to your destination. Here, a sandy beach leading into the water at a slight incline awaits your arrival. Krebssee’s crystal clear waters beckon you in, and you can even swim to the shore on the opposite side of the lake. If you decide to take a walk around the circumference of the lake, be sure to take your swimsuit with you. You’ll come across a series of more hidden bathing spots that might tempt you to take a dip along the way.

Hamburg Edition
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Directions Parking Hellbachtal (close to Krebssee)



Hamburg city centre 24 km
Car <30 min
PT <30 min

takemetothelakes Hamburg Edition Guide Seen Doveelbe 4

Nothing beats a refreshing dip in cool waters on a hot summer’s day. In addition to our deep-rooted passion for lakes, we also have a soft spot for the rivers that flow through Germany’s landscapes. Historically, Dove Elbe—a branch of Elbe River—was utilised by farmers for the transportation of goods. Today, sun-seekers and paddlers frequent this 18-kilometre waterway that passes through Vierlande. Toward Die Reit Nature Reserve, Dove Elbe transforms into a lake-like extension of the river, making it a popular destination for bathing enthusiasts. But visitors are not only attracted to this section of the river by its numerous sandy beaches. Spectators also come to experience the rowing racecourse, characterised by a series of piers. On a separate note, please keep in mind that it is forbidden to swim in Eichbaumsee, a nearby lake separated only from Elbe River’s waters by a narrow stretch of land. Head westward from here to enjoy breathtaking views of the island. Or, with a bit of luck, as an eastward-bound visitor, you’ll get to enjoy a small bay entirely to yourself.

Hamburg Edition
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Directions Dove-Elbe Parking Lot


The North Sea - St. Peter-Ording

Hamburg city centre 145 km
Car <120 min
PT <180 min

takemetothelakes Hamburg Edition Guide Seen Nordsee Sanktpeterording 11

St. Peter-Ording? Really? We’re well-aware that some Hamburg natives were surprised when we chose to include this beach in our book. But St. Peter Ording is undoubtedly one of our favourite places in the region, and we confidently recommend it to anyone looking to experience a true taste of Northern Germany’s flair. We admit that our sense of nostalgia might have something to do with “Gegen den Wind”, a TV series that aired when we were children and shot was in St. Peter Ording. Today, this 10-kilometre-long beach in Schleswig Holstein remains one of the most popular destinations along the North Sea’s coastline. 

As you step out from the shade of the surrounding dunes, salt marshes, and pine forests, the seemingly endless horizon that greets you on this 400-metre-wide stretch of sand evokes a unique sense of freedom. Admire the view, take a deep breath, and make your way towards the soft, lapping waves. If you travel with your dog, we recommend parking your car in Norddeich and stopping by the designated dog beach. For a bit of FKK-flair, you’ll also find a nudist beach not far from here. The kitesurfers along the coastline put on a show for passers-by. Equally impressive is the series of seven-metre-high steel constructs that line the landscape. It’s been over one hundred years since the first wooden hut was erected on stilts on this coastline. Today, these impressive constructs have been transformed into restaurants and are considered part of the region’s cultural heritage. The little district Böhl is a great place to seek out rest and relaxation over a long weekend. Dorf, on the other hand, offers vacationers a bit more entertainment with its weekly farmer’s market.

Hamburg Edition
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Directions Norddeich Parking Lot

North, East, South and West of Hamburg:
Our Favourites:

When we first set out from Berlin and headed towards Hamburg, we only had a vague feel for the region. Having spoken to a number of friends who call home to Northern Germany, we received tons of tips for vacations in Schleswig Holstein at the North Sea and Baltic Sea’s beaches. When asked about their favourite lakes, however, people were only able to provide us with a handful of tips. This ignited our curiosity and longing to discover the region’s lakes and rivers even further. Nevertheless, in our hearts, we always knew that we would inevitably include a small selection of beaches from the North Sea and Baltic Sea’s shorelines in this publication. Today, we’re well-equipped with a wide collection of tips and recommendations for lakeside excursions outside the city. Starting out from the centre of Hamburg, we’ve selected four of our all-time favourite bodies of water in the region—one for each cardinal direction.

You’re based in Hamburg and looking for bathing spots near you? Head over to our Take Me to The Lakes – Hamburg Edition to discover our top 100 bathing spots and 50 lakes in the region. In this guide, not only do we zoom in on our favourite bodies of water, but we also show you where to find the best piers, beaches, and rope swings. Our selection features a mix of popular bodies of water, such as Boberger See, Plöner See and Elbe River’s beaches, alongside a list of lesser-known lakes that lend themselves to secluded day-trips. If you’re interested in spending an entire weekend at the water’s edge, take a look at our Take Me to the Lakes – Weekender Edition Hamburg. This unique hotel guide features 50 stunning, handpicked accommodations alongside an extended list of nearby lakes and bathing spots. All across Schleswig Holstein, Lower Saxony, and Mecklenburg Vorpommern, our welcoming hosts can provide more tips for regional excursions and day-trips.

Please note that our Hamburg Edition and Weekender Edition Hamburg are currently only available in German.


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