• Germany's news in English

Tropical island warmth - in icy Germany

Hannah Cleaver · 18 Jan 2012, 07:51

Published: 18 Jan 2012 07:51 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Scarf, a woolly hat and gloves, a sarong, swimming costume and sandals; remembering what not to forget when preparing for a day at the Tropical Islands can be somewhat confusing.

The cold weather clothing has to be worn for the trip into the Brandenburg countryside, only to be shed as fast as possible once inside a giant dome, where it is a steady 26 degrees Centigrade.

The enormous building, created as a hanger for cargo airships which were never built, is said to be one of the largest domes in the world by volume. While the idea for airships was soon punctured, the holiday alternative has proved to be a surprisingly enduring draw for the area around Krausnick.

Inside there is a little hill in the middle, covered in tropical trees and bushes, with waterfalls and swimming pools dotted around – and a beach stretching along one side.

The beach is made of real sand and slopes down into two large swimming pools where the water is a suitably tropical temperature. The back wall is even painted with sky, but the illusion it creates is only momentary.

After a couple of months of rotten north European weather, those in need of a warmth and light fix can certainly find it here, and a wander down the pathways that snake through the tropical foliage can be surprisingly relaxing.

Click here to see pictures

The birds which root around in the undergrowth and the turtles in a pond are a nice touch, and kids sick of being wrapped up in layers of winter clothing can strip off and race around in swim suits.

Looking up through palm fronds the brain cannot quite comprehend how high the eyes can gaze before hitting the roof, the huge curves of geometric-patterned surface creating a strange sky.

Frighteningly high water slides provide high-speed splashy action entertainment, while there is also a huge range of spa facilities, an adventure playground for children and even rides in a helium balloon.

Licking a melting ice cream while wearing just the necessaries and sitting under a palm tree – in mid-winter, within easy reach of home – does have a certain something.

There is even a camping site where one can stay the night in neatly pitched cream-coloured canvas tents, as well as a range of evening entertainment shows.

Story continues below…

One has to hunt around to find a gap in the Truman Show type facade – but near the toilets we found a window through which we, in our swimming costumes and sandals, could look at the chilly conditions and dark skies outside. The surprise was quickly replaced by delight at the contrast.

The only trick the creators have missed is that dreams of running away to a tropical island usually involves the word “deserted” – and this construct is of course full of people.

And once the warmth had soaked through to the bones, and the water slides had been whizzed down so many times that the water up the nose outbalanced the adrenaline rush, the smells of spaghetti and schnitzel from the restaurants and the fake tropical carvings started to weigh heavily.

After changing back into outdoor clothes and rushing out the door in order to avoid overheating, the chill of the air and the desolation of the former airfield on which Tropical Islands is sited, reminded all concerned that we had never left Brandenburg.

Related links:

Hannah Cleaver (hannah.cleaver@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

14:04 January 18, 2012 by hh922
A couple of years ago I took two kids from a friends family here... one was 13 and one 6. The 13 y/o spoke English, the younger one didn't. What a wonderful time we all had playing in the water... and the younger one learned his first English words here... "throw me Henry" ... when I would lift him up by his butt and toss him high in the air and he would splash down in the warm water - a fun time ! We stayed at a local hotel instead of driving back to Berlin BUT if you're in need of a trip to Barbados or Jamaica and the budget doesn't allow it - this is the place for a wonderful tropical treat !
19:12 January 18, 2012 by carlm
Sounds like fun to me. Bet the ever ignorant and intolerant kommies will complain about carbon footprints and other damages to our ultra fragile earth, which I'm sure is on the verge of destruction or something terrible.
18:44 January 22, 2012 by raandy
IT is fun when it is not crowded ,if, then you will wait outside as they only let so many in at a time, when your in it is hard to find a spot.

If you go when it is not full then it is great. Check to see when Poland has school vacation, as that adds a lot of people during the week. Weekends during the cold months be there early NLT 10 AM.
Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd