Beach + Island

Bizarre Beaches of the World

by Matthew Link

Tropical Islands Resort, Krausnick, Germany

While it's assumed Germans like to travel far and wide to tropical hot spots, this wacky indoor world brings the beach vacation to them. Housed in a former airship hangar that covers the area of about eight football fields, Tropical Islands claims to be the world's largest indoor water park and the largest freestanding hall in the world (at 32 stories high, the Statue of Liberty could stand upright in it). Even in the dead of winter, you can build sand castles under palm trees on the 650-foot-long beach, take a dip in the "sea," or suntan on a lounge chair—the south-side roof is made of transparent foil. Tropical Islands also features the world's largest indoor rain forest (50,000 plants) and Germany's highest waterslide (82 feet). Oh, and did we mention the fitness center, 18-hole mini golf course, and evening magic shows?

Beyond the beach: Located about 37 miles south of Berlin and 62 miles north of Dresden, Tropical Islands is convenient to Germany's well-trodden tourist path. If you don't want to trek back to Berlin after a day at the beach, check into the 28-room Landhotel Krausnick, a simple, clean, and efficient chalet-style inn just a five-minute drive from Tropical Islands.

Next: A shoreline for dragon slayers in China >

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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