Some buildings are simply too large. When you drive about 35 km southward from Berlin in the direction of Dresden, you suddenly see a building rising above(!) the forest. This is Tropical Islands, a swim paradise which is housed in a huge hall at former airport Brand. With a size of 360 by 210 meters and height of 107 meter it is one of the world’s largest self-supporting halls. The Eiffeltower would even fit inside the building (lying down).
It was 1938 just before the war when the open field of a military flightschool turned into Flugplatz Brand, which was used during the war by fight aircrafts and for transportation of goods. In the GDR era the military airport was owned by the Soviets. It got its concrete runway in 1950, after which the airport also held the official state visits from the Soviet Union.
After the fall of the wall when the Soviets had left, the site was cleared from hazardous waste such as jet fuel and munition. The 60 shelters which used to be hangars are still there, just like the ruines of the barracks of the Soviet soldiers.
In 1998 the site was bought by a company in the futuristic lighter-than-air technology, Cargolifter, who built this hall of extraordinary dimensions. It contains 14000 tons of steel and the roof measures 70000 m2. However, the lighter-than-air technology was technically and financially not feasible and Cargolifter went bankrupt in 2002. Since 2004 the hall houses Tropical Islands.
Tropical Islands in Brand is unique in its sort. It is a swim paradise, but has some characteristics of a luna park and the setting of The Truman Show as well. You can have a swim in the sea or lagoon, or lay down under the palm treas at South Beach. Or have a walk through the rainforest, see flamingos and experience real bird sound effects. And there are more attractions, such as diving, a sauna, mini golf, a shopping boulevard, and more. You can spend here all day, or even stay the night in a tropical tent or tropical hut inside the dome, or you can camp outside. If that’s too long or too pricey, you can get reduced morning or evening tickets. Don’t forget to bring your flipflops, as the tropical pathways are not that barefoot-friendly.
If swimming is not your cup of tea or you can’t stand the tropical heat, just a walk over the former airport and its runway is amazing. Although both being former airports, the atmosphere is completely different compared to the Tempelhofer Freiheit.
Tropical-Islands-Allee 1, 15910 Krausnick
Reached from Berlin by RE2 or RB19, station Brand. From there you can take a free shuttle bus towards Tropical Islands