If the spectacle had not been so embarrassing in retrospect, a tenth anniversary could be celebrated this July at Klausensee, three kilometers south of Schwandorf in the Upper Palatinate. Because in 2012 a supposed crocodile was sighted there.
It soon turned out to be a lizard, a bearded dragon, which probably someone had abandoned. But until then, the sighting of the “crocodile” had been taken seriously: helicopters and police divers were used to capture the animal.
After an exotic animal roamed the shore again in 2015, a turtle, the Klausensee is now free of headlines about exotic animals again. However, its fine white sandy beach and the unusually clear, turquoise-blue water are still reminiscent of distant travel destinations. Algae are hardly present due to the acidic environment.
In the Klausensee natural pool you can really enjoy the holiday feeling. In addition to the flat, family-friendly sandy beach with a separate non-swimmer area, it also offers a lawn with shady trees, a kiosk, a restaurant, changing rooms and sanitary facilities, all for a small price (admission for adults 3.50 euros, children and other concessions half).
Once a gravel pit, the Klausensee has been one of the most beautiful bathing waters in the region since its renaturation – which is also otherwise worth a visit. One would hardly believe that the Oberpfälzer Seenland, to which the Klausensee belongs, lies on the area of a former lignite mining area. After the opencast mines were flooded in 1982, numerous bathing lakes and fish ponds were created. In addition, castles and palaces, nature reserves, lookout towers, historical sites and hiking and biking trails invite you to explore.
Further information: oberpfaelzer-seenland.de; pages.oberpfaelzerwald.de
It is 208 meters long, 65 meters high, 47 meters wide at its base and bears the title Historical Landmark of Civil Engineering in Germany. When the Bleilochtalsperre was completed in 1932 and the Saale gradually accumulated behind it to form Germany’s largest reservoir, the low mountain range became a kind of fjord landscape.
Since then, the village of Saalburg has been on the “Thuringian Sea”, as the body of water is also called. But 120 buildings also sank into the depths. As are the holes from which lead was once mined – the dam and lake are named after them.
The lead hole reservoir is 28 kilometers long and holds around 215,000,000 cubic meters of water, more than any other German reservoir. The range of leisure activities around the lake is as varied as the volume of water: in addition to the obligatory bathing in midsummer, you can fish, surf and sail.
Excursion boats are on their way. There are hiking and mountain biking trails on the mountain ranges around the Bleilochstausee. From the summer toboggan run you have a wonderful view of the lake.
The lake was dammed to regulate the Saale for the purpose of flood protection, but also to generate electricity through hydropower. Today, one of the oldest run-of-river power plants in Germany, which is still in its original condition, is located near the lake; the old Fernmühle power plant can be viewed as part of a visit to the Ziegenrück Museum.
Further information: bleilochstausee.com
Why not even a hematite necklace or a lava ball necklace? If you like, you can buy jewelery made of volcanic rock in the Laacher See souvenir shop. In any case, marketing at merchandise level seems to be secured. A trip to the lake alone is a guarantee for fabulous memories.
You only have to keep the history of the earth in mind when you swim, sail, surf or paddle in the largest lake in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate – with 3.3 square kilometers and a water depth of more than 50 meters. You are in a volcanic crater that gradually filled with water over the millennia after the eruption some 12,900 years ago.
It was the last major eruption in the Vulkaneifel, an area that is also ideal for geologically interesting hikes. Also worth a visit is the German volcano museum Lava-Dome in Mendig, five kilometers away, as well as the Benedictine abbey Maria Laach with a monastery fishery where you can get smoked or freshly caught fish. Bathers will find access to the water on the north shore, where there is also a campsite.
Further information: vulkanregion-laacher-see.de
To be more precise, it is one of the warmest, because it competes with the Abtsdorfer See, the Steinsee (both also in Bavaria) and other waters for the title. One thing is certain: with a water temperature of up to 27 degrees, the 0.3 square kilometer quarry pond not far from Straubing on the Danube reaches almost Caribbean temperature conditions. The water quality is checked monthly.
And the Friedenhainsee has something that the others don’t have, namely – according to the operator – the first and longest water ski cable car in the world; their circulating distance is at least 1.2 kilometers. Water skiers pay six euros for the first attempt, and the equipment is provided at no extra charge.
The three meter wide water slide can also be used free of charge – after paying the regular entrance fee of three euros for the lawn and sandy beach. There is a campsite and sanitary facilities, WiFi and an ice pavilion.
Further information: friedenhainsee.de
Rustic green shores, scattered islands, a wide horizon – the tenth largest lake in Germany at almost 30 square kilometers is said to have a certain Canadian feeling. What could pass with a view of the water landscape of Holstein Switzerland does not stand up to scrutiny in terms of loneliness. Because there is definitely more going on at the Großer Plöner See during the holiday season than in the deserted expanses of northern North America.
Passenger ships cruise around in summer, fishermen pull eels, pike or vendace out of the water that once collected in a glacier tongue basin up to almost 60 meters deep as a remnant of the last ice age. But here, just like in Canada, you can do all kinds of water sports, including water hiking with canoes or kayaks, even over long distances. If you like, you can paddle over the adjoining waterways to the Baltic Sea.
The lake is also interesting as a sailing area, because there are many narrow passages to negotiate – where islands divide the water. What calms things down again: motor boats are prohibited outside of passenger shipping.
There are 15 official bathing spots. If you want to change the scene, take the hop-on hop-off bus that circles the lake and also takes bikes. A network of cycling and hiking trails, which is also suitable for tours lasting several days, surrounds the lake. Its landmark is the Plön Castle, a Rococo building from the 17th century, which can be visited as part of a guided tour.
Further information: holsteinischeschweiz.de/grosserploenersee
At Christmas 2001, minus 45.9 degrees Celsius were measured at Funtensee in the Berchtesgaden National Park. According to the national park administration, this is the lowest temperature ever recorded in Germany. The fact that it can get so bitterly cold there at 1,633 meters above sea level on the Steinernes Meer high plateau between Königssee and the Hochkönig mountain range is due to a special geological location in a valley basin.
The small Funtensee itself is likely to be frozen through at a maximum depth of 5.3 meters in winter, but in summer there is no sign of the meteorological peculiarity, according to a research report. You can even swim in it. However, it can be assumed that the water will only briefly warm above 14 degrees. Anyone who is currently googling will find out in the region’s lake report that the summer water temperature can also be as low as 8 degrees. Brrr ice water!
So it is a good thing that there is a gentian distillery nearby. The gentian that grows by the lake is distilled here – from roots dug by hand and processed on site. The Kärlingerhaus mountain hut with service until late summer has a glass to warm you up.
The fastest way to the Funtensee is via the so-called Saugasse from Sankt Bartholomä am Königssee, a 9.8 km long, demanding hike over 1000 meters in altitude, for which you should plan five to six hours. After the probably sweaty solitude on the high plateau, a swim in the cold lake, which is picturesquely surrounded by mountains, awaits you for consistent refreshment.
Further information: berchtesgaden.de/funtensee
Once it carried passengers, now it has been lying at a depth of almost 20 meters on the bottom of Lake Kulkwitz for more than two decades: a Piper Seneca, gutted and without wings. But the small plane is an attraction in the 1.5 square kilometer lake near Leipzig.
The plane even makes the clear waters a destination for wreck divers. With visibility of around ten meters, it is already popular in the Central German diving scene.
Because in the depths of the lake, in addition to waving meadows of algae and fish, including large mirror carp and catfish, there is a spooky underwater forest to discover – remains of trees that once grew here and now serve as shelter for fish. Because the lake was created on a former lignite area. From 1963 to 1973, two pits were flooded, and the “Kulki”, which was up to 34 meters deep, became one of the first opencast mining lakes in the Leipzig Neuseenland. Today two diving schools are located here.
Action-packed main attraction above the water is a water ski facility on the north bank with an 800 meter long tow lift and water course with obstacles.
It is more contemplative in the saddle on a bicycle on an eight-kilometer circular route around Leipzig’s bathtub. From the last tram station in Lausen it is only a five-minute walk to the water. At a holiday resort on the eastern shore you can stay in Swedish-style wooden houses right by the water.
Further information: leipzigerseen.de/die-seen/kulkwitzer-see