They are places of peace and relaxation, the perfect places to cool off and exercise: at these eight Hessian bathing lakes you will definitely forget your everyday life for a few hours.
It is a warm spring day. Despite the good weather, it is still quiet in the morning at Lake Edersee, one of the largest reservoirs in Germany. For Johannes Peil and his colleagues from the Edership boat rental company, it's time to catch their breath before things get busy again at noon. But they can still take their time for their first two guests, who are just arriving. Both are wearing linen blouses, sunglasses and sun hats bobbing on their heads - with their summery outfits, Graziella and her friend Kinga would also fit in perfectly on the Côte d'Azur or the Italian Riviera. Johannes, whose sun-brown skin reveals that it's not his first season on the Edersee leads her across the dock to the cabin yacht Deltic, a motorboat that waits for her rocking in the water. While Graziella climbs behind the wheel and familiarizes herself with the few levers and buttons, Kinga slips off her sandals and makes herself comfortable with her legs stretched out on the cushioned back seat.
Lake Edersee is located behind the 48-meter-high dam wall of the Eder reservoir southwest of Kassel. It is especially known for its wide range of water sports: sailing, surfing, water skiing, diving, renting a pedal boat or sailing across the lake on an electric raft. By the way, boats with diesel engines are prohibited on the lake, because it is part of the Kellerwald-Edersee Nature Park and borders directly on the national park of the same name. So you can do a lot not only on and in the water, but also in the surrounding area. For example, how about a hike on the Edersee primeval forest trail, on which you can explore the rustic forests of the national park? Of course, with a refreshing dive into the Edersee as a reward.
Also on and around the about 50 kilometers away Diemelsee you can try a lot of sports: Beach volleyball, stand-up paddling, boating, fishing, hiking or biking are just some of the activities you can do here. Lake Diemelsee is also known for its diverse flora and fauna on its shore and also underwater. Therefore, the lake is very popular with divers. There are several diving schools. Of course you can also swim in the lake. There are three lidos in Diemelsee-Heringhausen and Marsberg-Helminghausen. All of them are free of charge, have toilets, barbecue areas, playgrounds and slides for children. Here you can also rent pedal boats and electric boats and explore the lake on your own.
Graziella and Kinga are now ready to go. They don't need a driver's license for their boat trip. So they can get started right away. Full speed ahead - Graziella pushes the gearshift lever far forward and immediately feels the fresh breeze in her face. Graziella's maneuver can do nothing to disturb the morning silence, because the boats on Lake Edersee run on electric motors. The indicator light shows a full charge. With that, the two can be underway all day. Graziella steers to starboard, or right, leaving the dam wall behind. "Today, the lake looks like it's about to overflow." Graziella knows the peculiarities of Lake Edersee, which changes its waterscape depending on the amount of water in the dam. When the water level is low, small islands and crooked trees open up in the water. Graziella's great love was actually the sea. That's where she wanted to move to someday. But then everything turned out differently. Graziella has been living near the reservoir for almost four years now. Graziella has even made a profession out of her passion for Lake Edersee and the surrounding area: as social media manager for Edersee Touristic, she makes sure that as many people as possible know about the beauty of the reservoir. She has already convinced her friend Kinga.
The water landscapes at Lake Twiste and Lake Aartal also change regularly, as these two blue oases are also reservoirs. The Twistesee lies in the midst of forests in the North Hessian mountains near Bad Arolsen. It was created in 1972 by the construction of the Twistetalsperre. Today it is one of the cleanest lakes in Germany. The lake is best known for its water skiing center, the 9-hole golf course directly on its shore and the extensive forests surrounding the lake. The Aartalsee in the very west of Hesse, in the middle of the Lahn-Dill-Bergland Nature Park is ideal for swimming. The Aartalsee is the second largest lake in the state and on its shore is one of the largest sandy beaches in Hesse.
Gradually it becomes more bustling on the Edersee. Midday brings wind. It drives bands of clouds across the lake and lets sailboats set course, making their generous laps diagonally in the water. In an area marked with yellow buoys, water-skiers can be pulled across the lake. And near the shore, canoeists and kayakers paddle through the water. Bathers are still few and far between at this time of year. It will probably take a few more weeks before the water temperature climbs to over 20 degrees and makes the Edersee a popular swimming spot.
In the south of Hesse there are also very popular bathing lakes, three of them in the Rhine-Main area. The Pinta Beach, formerly known as Raunheimer Waldsee, is an eight-hectare swimming lake in Raunheim. You can relax and enjoy the sun on the 2.5-hectare sunbathing area and the sunbathing platform in the water. But the highlight on the lake is Germany's largest aquafun park. It consists of two floating islands in the water, made up of various air-filled elements and obstacles. With 72,000 square meters of water surface, the Langen forest lake the largest leisure and recreation center of the Rhine-Main area. The quarry pond is relatively strictly divided: In the north you will find the bathing and recreation area, the south of the lake is left to nature. The centerpiece of the bath is the 900-meter-long sandy beach. In summer, however, it can get very crowded at the Waldsee and the journey to the lake by car then becomes an ordeal. If you want to avoid these traffic jams, you can take the Waldsee bus from the Dreieich-Buchschlag S-Bahn station directly to the entrance of the bathing lake. Also well visited is the Great Woog in the middle of the science city of Darmstadt. Here you will find a diving tower, swimming lanes for competitions and some pontoons where you can sunbathe extensively. With an average water depth of two meters, the lake is not particularly deep and therefore usually pleasantly warm. However, there are also cool spots, because the lake is constantly fed by the water of the Darmbach. Ideal for cooling off on hot days. Especially students, families and after-work enthusiasts take advantage of the offer for a short vacation in the middle of the city.
Perfect for a short vacation is also the Spessartblick lido at the Großkrotzenburger lake. A 300-meter-long sandy beach and a large lawn for relaxing, three bathing islands, an adventure playground, a miniature golf course, a beach volleyball court and plenty of stand-up paddle boards: On a water surface of 150,000 square meters, Strandbad Spessartblick offers fun and variety for every visitor. It is located directly on the Großkrotzenburger See lake on the state border with Bavaria. And you can even swim there, because the border runs right through the lake. On the 100,000-square-meter sunbathing lawn there are numerous trees, some of them hundreds of years old, so that everyone can find their ideal spot here, whether in the sun or in the shade.
For Graziella and Kinga, it's time to head back. Accompanied by the quiet hum of the electric motor, they follow the rocky, forest-covered slopes and set course for Hemfurth-Edersee, the starting point of their boat tour. The light of the afternoon sun falls on the dam wall, the sight of which impresses them mightily. And then the two have solid ground under their feet again. "For now," says Johannes, who helps them tie up the boat. I wonder if he suspects that this will not be the last visit of the two ladies?
Cover photo: Quiet morning: Before boats, sailing ships, stand-up paddlers and wake-boarders are on the move on Lake Edersee, it is very quiet and peaceful here © Udo Bernhart
Hiking through quiet low mountain ranges, old beech forests or orchards, paddling on the Lahn, looking at the most beautiful medieval half-timbered houses and soaking up the atmosphere of historic spas - Hessen makes romantic souls happy all around. But gourmets also get their money's worth on wine hikes, in Hessian butcher shops and with "Handkäs mit Musik", a pickled cheese. Reasons for a Vacation in Hesse there are enough!
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