Near Berlin, a former zeppelin hangar has been transformed into Europe’s largest covered leisure resort (five million cubic metres).
Tropical Islands offers 850 sun-loungers on its two beaches, waterfalls tumbling into tranquil lagoons, a rainforest, sunrise projected on to a 450ft long screen, speakers disguised as boulders broadcasting bird song and insect noises appropriate to the time of year and day … and best of all, workers trained to “use smiles to enthuse stressed and winter-wearied Europeans”.
Price is €20 for four hours, plus €1 for every hour over that. It is hoped that Tropical Islands will boost the local economy in the former communist east, where unemployment is around 20 per cent.
Could this sun-kissed leisure at home be the future of tourism?