In a valiant attempt to make for the lack of lakes, rivers and water in general, Bielefeld has a lot of open-air swimming pools to choose from in the warmer months. Here are the two that I have frequently visited:

Naturbad Brackwede

Popular with families, this lido has only been open a few years and is the only non-chlorinated swimming pool in Bielefeld. It is not only the natural filtering system that gives it its name but also the design. In fact, as you wiggle your toes in the sandy beach or sit lazily on the woody jetty, you may think you were at a real lake, rather than at a municipal pool, if it wasn’t for the blue 45-metre slide.

I would describe the water as a beautiful emerald green, though my kids described it as ‘murky’. They preferred the clear, chlorinated waters of the Wiesenbad, and noticed that the water is slightly colder, 24 degrees compared to Wiesenbad’s 27 degrees. I found it much easier to supervise children of varying ages here, as they all enjoyed playing on the beach and could play by or in the same lake together.

In addition to the beach area, there is also a water play and playground area for kids as well as a beach volleyball court and diving tower and a café. Most important of all, you can buy a swim nappy for a Euro for the little ones.

We don’t have a car, but you can get to this pool on the Tram 1, direction Senne.  Get off at Brackwede Bahnhof, and it is about a 10 – 15 minute walk from there via the railway station underpass. It is not signposted, so look it up first.

Wiesenbad

A teenagers’ paradise, and centrally located, it has the most visitors of all the lidos in Bielefeld. As its German name suggests, it is set in a large meadow and also has a football pitch and a beach volley-ball court. The daring attempts of kamikazi divers jumping off the 10m tower becomes a real spectator sport, which you can watch from the comfort of the Jacuzzi, if you don’t mind sharing your bubbles with ten strangers. My nieces loved the 110 metre slide, surprise sprinklers, and being swept along in the artificial current corridor.

The toddler water play area is set back from the main pool, surrounded by deck chairs and a hedge, and is a safe area for the little ones to play. If you have children of varying ages, though, it makes it a bit difficult to keep an eye on them all. There is a tribune area overlooking the swimming pool giving the baths a feeling of long lost glory, the seating area scattered with bodies, presumably trying to get nearer to the sun.

The restaurant area is much nicer in Naturbad Brackwede, but here you can also get some chips, hotdogs and ice creams from two stands in the grounds of the lido.

Be prepared for long waits for the sinks in the bathrooms, though, as you have to contend with packs of young teenagers preening themselves in the mirror.

Prices:

Adults 4 Euros

Children/Students/unemployed card holders 2 Euro

Family Card 8.50 plus 1.50 additional children

children under 4 go free

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The beach and lake, Naturbad Brackwede

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Emerald green or “murky”. You decide! Adult/Swimmers pool Naturbad Brackwede

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