Leipzig offers a large number of opportunities for water sports enthusiasts, including canoeing, rafting, sailing, windsurfing, kite boarding and rowing. Its beautiful lakes are attractive locations for all kind of water sports:
Canoeing and rowing
Step by step Leipzig's rivers, streams and lakes are being made publicly accessible, linked with one another and extended for tourist use and leisure sports. The construction of canals, locks and portage facilities has enabled the creation of interesting boating routes of varying lengths and difficulty levels. This development is being driven forward on the basis of a concept of use for water tourism.
Detailed information is available from specialist equipment shops and boat hire establishments, as well as the water route map issued by the "Pro Leipzig" association. This map displays and describes all the navigablen river and lakes together with their special features and mooring facilities for boats. Among other places it can be obtained from bookshops.
For canoeists Leipzig is already linked - with time restrictions - to the waterway network of the Saale river via the Weiße Elster. Because of the speed of the current, in some sections the tour from Leipzig to Halle is only navigable in the direction of the Saale and requires canoeing experience. The waterway map is very useful here because it describes the portage sections.
From the Döllnitz 2 weir to the Saale, the Weiße Elster leads through the dense growth of the river plains of the Elster-Saale-Aue nature reserve. This nature reserve is subject to a directive (in German, PDF 48 KB) which places restrictions on boating in this area. Among other stipulations, access to the route is prohibited in the months of May, June and September, while during other months approval to travel the route has to be obtained 14 days in advance from the nature conservation authorities of the City of Halle and the Saale District.
White-water canoeing and rafting
The south-eastern bay of the Markkleeberger See is the location of one of the world's most up-to-date white-water facilities. The facility consists of two separate watercourses, which are used among others by competitive white-water canoeists. However, at the facility amateur water-sports enthusiasts can also enjoy a wide range of opportunities to face the challenges of the turbulent water, either in white-water canoes, rubber dinghies or simply lying on special boards.
Leipzig's sailing fans enjoy popular facilities for the sport on the Kulkwitzer and the Cospuden lakes. There are slipways at the local Seglerverein Leipzig Süd-West e. V. sailing club at Zöbiger harbour on the Cospudener See. Yachts are also available for hire there.
Windsurfers from the region are currently using the Cospuden Lake as their headquarters and when the mainly south-westerly wind begins to freshen, up to 100 surfers can be seen enjoying the excellent conditions offered by this 430 ha sized lake. The starting point is the watersports facility to the north-west of the Zöbiger harbour. This is also the location of Surfcenter Leipzig, which sells or rents out equipment and also offers surfing courses.
Waterskiing and wakeboarding
On the Kulkwitz Lake to the west of Leipzig there is a low-noise, electrically operated cable winch facility which is available to both beginners and experts. During fine weather the restaurant located right at the starting point ensures a large audience, which inspires the experts among the wakeboarders to especially spectacular leaps and tricks.
Because of its excellent underwater visibility, the Kulkwitzer See is among Germany's most popular diving waters. The lake's wide variety of fauna and flora is unique for freshwater conditions, with catfish as the special attraction.
In recent years dedicated club members have improved the attractiveness of the underwater landscape further by scuttling an aeroplane and a launch in the lake. The access points in Lausen and Göhrenz are clearly marked and are also the locations for diving schools.
The access point and diving school on the more than 50 m deep Cospuden Lake http://www.leipzigseen.de/are at Zöbiger harbour in Markkleeberg.
Please note: for long distances even experienced swimmers should stay within reach of the shore, so that they can end their swim at any time if they get into difficulties.
During the warm months of the year the Kulkwitzer and Cospuden lakes are the most popular waters with swimmers in the Leipzig region, partly because of their excellent water quality.
Less well-known but also highly popular are the former gravel pits such as the natural pools Pools and LakesNaturbad Nordost in Leipzig-Thekla and Naturbad Kleinzschocher on Dieskaustraße.
With special wetsuits (available from specialist retailers) the outdoor swimming season can also be extended by a number of weeks.