(2 MINUTE READ)
February. Even though the days theoretically get longer and we know that spring is somewhere ahead we find ourselves in the middle of a typical Berlin winter: grey, dark, miserable. Yet despair not, to lift your spirits- go swimming.
Under the water amidst the calming effect of muted underwater sounds you brush it all off, stroke by stroke. Now imagine this in a setting that looks like from a movie.
Berlin’s multitude of indoor pools includes many Victorian and early 20th century pools that survived the onset of WWII and have been restored to their former glory. From Art Nouveau to modernist, here is our small guide of architectural highlights from Berlin’s Schwimmbäder.
Stadtbad Charlottenburg, Alte Halle, (1898)
This Volksbad (public bath) is the oldest of Berlin, and even listed since 1989. It is a quiet, small, yet utterly beautiful place. The Art Nouveau Old Hall (Alte Halle) sits behind a brick façade embellished with marine gargoyles. Located next to the New Hall where you might head for a more active swim, it has only four short lanes, yet the view and sightseeing experience totally make up for that.
- CHARLOTTENBURG ALTE HALLE STADTBAD
- Krumme Str. 9, 10585 Berlin
Stadtbad Oderberger Straße (1899-1902, reopened 2016)
Having served as a vital provision for public health at a time when most homes did not have bathrooms, the listed Neo-renaissance structure was closed for swimming in 1986. Luckily it reopened in 2016 after 30 years as part of the Oderberger Hotel, and today is partly hotel spa and partly event space, yet it is open to the public. Renovated with attention to detail, it’s an impressive pool with a church-like vibe, reminiscent to places in the old Rome.
- ODERBERGER STADTBAD
- Oderberger Str. 57, 10435 Berlin
Stadtbad Neukölln (1914)
Surely one of the most dramatic public pools in Berlin. Behind a rather modest façade a Roman-inspired hall is hidden. When it was designed in 1914 the architects drew inspiration from antique thermal baths so you’ll find mosaics, gargoyles and decorated ionic columns. With two swimming pools, two saunas, several steam baths and specials as nudist times it remains a family and sauna favorite until today.
- NEUKOLLN STADTBAD
- Ganghoferstraße 3, 12043 Berlin
Stadtbad Mitte James Simon (1930)
‘Light, air and sun’ were the guiding principles in the design of this Bauhaus-influenced Stadtbad. With Spectacular mullioned ceiling windows the pool hall is almost totally glassed-in and swimming with a view of the winter sky is quite an experience. The classic interior design with brass and frosted glass lamps made it one of the most modern public baths in Europe back then. After renovation in 2009 it became a modernist gem from inside and outside once again.
- STADTBAD MITTE JAMES SIMON
- Gartenstraße 5, 10115 Berlin
Schwimmhalle Finckensteinallee, Lichterfelde (1938)
A witness of Berlin’s past and one of the few pieces of Nazi architecture left standing in the city. Completed in 1938, the powerful brick exterior and floor-to-ceiling windows was considered one of the most modern sports facilities in the world and used exclusively to train elite soldiers. In 2006 it was renovated in line with the precepts of monument protection and in 2014 opened to the public for the first time in history. Today it’s a modern public pool and an architectural mark of the period between the wars at the same time.
- FINCKENSTEINALLE STADTBAD
- Finckensteinallee 73, 12205 Berlin