With the school holidays just around the corner, you might have started to think about what do with the kids over the summer. The same thoughts are going through every parent’s head in Germany with only a couple of weeks to go until schools break up for the summer. For many parents, this means looking for ways of spending some fun time with their kids on a budget. For those with more than one child, it can be a very expensive time.
If you are going to Germany for a holiday, or you live in Germany, I’d like to introduce you to a budget-friendly way of entertaining the children over the summer holidays. Germany’s public swimming pools all come with a high fun factor too.
A family day out at a public swimming pool
A popular summertime activity in Germany
In Germany, it’s a very common for families to go to an outdoor swimming pool or a lake to cool down during the long hot summer holidays. Many are well looked after, child-friendly, supervised and have plenty of green areas to relax and enjoy a picnic. The entrance fee is usually very reasonable, with prices being around 12€ for a family ticket. This means it won’t hurt your wallet too badly, and the children get a whole day of fun. Taking a picnic will also mean that you don’t end up spending money on buying lunch or snacks from the kiosks.
Many public swimming pools have a toddler pool with shallower water, toys and a shaded area. For older children, there’s usually a pool with waterslides, towers and other equipment, and a quieter pool for those who just like to swim a few lengths. If you’re going to a lake, you’ll find opportunities to learn how to water ski, canoe or surf as well as trying out some paddle boating or stand up paddling.
Pools are at risk of closing down
High maintenance costs make it difficult for them to remain open
Unfortunately, many of the outdoor swimming pools in Germany are struggling financially, with some towns seeing their swimming pool closing down due to high maintenance costs. Most of the pools were initially built in the early sixties to provide an opportunity for members of the local community to learn how to swim. Local schools and swimming clubs would use them as a space for children to swim, or as training and competition centres.
Nowadays, we’ve come to expect more from our local leisure centres. We want to see adventure and wellness facilities at our local pool. We are more aware of the health benefits of water, and so demand for activities like aqua aerobics and swimming lessons have also increased. Unfortunately, councils simply don’t have the money to refurbish the swimming pools to meet demands, and they are being sold off to investors who then change them into water parks – meaning higher entrance fees.
Swimming comes with lots of health benefits
Have a dip in the water
Some of the health benefits of swimming:
Being active in water improves overall wellbeing and maintains good health.
Water supports your weight: If you have weight to lose, swimming is an ideal sport because your body weight is supported in water, putting less pressure on the joints.
Swimming is an endurance sport. It conditions the body, strengthens the immune system and makes you more resilient against illness.
In addition to physiotherapeutic exercises, swimming is often recommended as part of rehabilitation therapy.
Fortunately, there are still plenty of public outdoor swimming pools to find across Germany, and some have undergone extensive refurbishment and improvements.
We often visit a public swimming pool in Germany
Fun for our son
I’ve been going to De Bütt public swimming pool in Willich (close to Düsseldorf) since I was a child, and I still go there now whenever I’m visiting friends and family – this time with my son. It’s well-maintained, and has both indoor and outdoor pools and a nice toddler area. There’s also plenty of green spaces that are surrounded by trees – providing much needed shade from the hot midday sun. There are two slides and a pool for playing ball games – making it popular with children of any age. Sun loungers can also be hired. The indoor area has a sauna, which needs to be paid for separately.
Day ticket for the outdoor pool: Adults 6€, children (3-17 years) 4€, free parking.
Blaue Lagune in Wachtendonk is situated close to the Dutch border (15 minutes from Venlo) and about a 30-minute drive from Krefeld. The lake has a shallow part for toddlers, and has various entertainment facilities. It’s perfect for anyone who enjoys water sports like water skiing, wakeboarding, etc. The beach area has a nice holiday feel to it, and the café overlooking the lake provides the perfect place to relax. Facilities include beach volleyball, a football field and a playground. For anyone wanting to stay just a few days, there’s a campsite close by. Alternatively, you can rent a lodge or holiday home.
Day ticket per person: 6.50€, free parking.
Kaarster See in Kaarst is another lake situated close to Düsseldorf. It is divided up into a swimming zone and a water sports zone, where visitors can go diving, surfing, fishing and sailing. It also has a shallow part – making it ideal and safer for families with small children. A playground, three table tennis tables and beach volleyball will keep the children entertained. Sun loungers can be hired and there’s also a café to purchase snacks and ice cream.
Day ticket person: Adults 4.00€, children (5-17 years) 2.50€, free parking.
Open from 1st May – 31st August (depending on the weather conditions).
Löricker Strandbad in Düsseldorf is situated on the banks of the Rhine, with plenty of green areas surrounded by trees. The new 50m pool is perfect for those who enjoy swimming lengths, and there are two pools for toddlers that have a water fountain and adequate sun protection. The multipurpose pool (0.90m – 1.50m) is ideal for children who want to play with a ball, etc. There’s also a playground, beach volleyball and table tennis available. The café sells snacks and ice cream.
Day ticket person: Adults 4.60€, children 4.00€, free parking.
Other public swimming pools/lakes worth checking out:
Albert-Schwarz-Bad in 01809 Heidenau (approximately 20km from Dresden)
Unterbacher See (lake) in 40627 Düsseldorf
Freibad Erlbad in Hamm in 48317 Drensteinfurt (approximately 32km from Münster)
Freibad Hoffnungsthal in 51508 Rösrath (approximately 24km from Cologne)
Elsebad in 58239 Schwerte (approximately 20km from Dortmund)
Mineralfreibad Oberes Bottwartal in 71720 Oberstenfeld (approximately 18km from Heilbronn)
Waldfreibad Eningen unter Achalm in 72800 Eningen unter Achalm (approximately 13km from Reutlingen)
Warmbad Irsching in 85088 Vohburg an der Donau (approximately 15km from Ingolstadt)
Naturgartenbad in 90491 Nuremberg (approximately 8km from Nuremberg)
Schlossbad Heroldsberg in 90562 Heroldsberg (approximately 14km from Nuremberg and 20km from Erlangen)
Geisbergbad in 97209 Veitshöchheim (approximately 10km from Würzburg)