It’s summer in the city – so where are the top urban joy spots? We’ve asked some of our most successful and well-traveled beach volleyball players. This time around: Olympic gold medalists Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann.

Julius and Jonas – there are probably few people in the world who have seen as many city beaches as you. Which city has the best of them all?
Julius: Without a doubt, Manly Beach in Sydney. It’s just gorgeous – definitely my favorite spot.
Jonas: I have two favorites. For one, there’s Cologne’s Beachclub: You’re right on the banks of the Rhine River with a fantastic view of the cathedral. And then there’s Berlin’s Beachmitte – the biggest urban beach volleyball facility in Europe.

Beach volleyball is all about fun and the two of you have experienced the fun side of the world’s most exciting cities. Which one best sums up urban joy for you?
Julius: Definitely Cologne, the city I live in.
Jonas: Absolutely, Cologne is all about urban joy. Rhinelanders are really chill and open-minded – tolerance is not just an empty phrase here. And if you’re just visiting, you won’t stay lonely for long.

Beachclub in Cologne
According to Jonas Reckermann, you can find the best city beach in Cologne.
Photo: TransCam via Flickr

Which city is your personal favorite, all things considered?
Julius: I live in the city with the most joie de vivre I could imagine. Ok, so Cologne is not always a raving beauty, but I just love dear old “Kölle.”
Jonas: I was immediately smitten with Sydney. It really has it all: It’s big, it’s modern, it has amazing architecture. And if you want to escape, you just hop on a ferry – and in half an hour you’re on Manly Beach, one of the world’s most tranquil beauty spots.

Which city boasts the best beach volleyball courts?
Julius: For my money, it’s L.A. Considering all those courts on Hermosa Beach, every beach volleyball fan should go there at least once …
Jonas: Yes, but don’t forget that Berlin has something for pretty much any taste, whether you’re into indoor or outdoor playing. The only thing that’s missing is a real beach.

As beach volleyballers, you do a lot of running. What’s your favorite route?
Julius: Personally, I love the English Garden in Munich. Definitely worth going for a run there!
Jonas: I’m not the best person to ask – I only run rarely and reluctantly. But there’s great cycling in the Land of Berg, near Cologne. It’s a landscape with countless biking trails. Sure, you could run there, too, if you don’t mind the hills. Apart from that, I love coastal routes. The trails along the Baltic Sea really make running a pleasure.

Which city has the best nightlife?
Julius: Ibiza, I guess! I’ve just come back from a bachelor party there. We had lots of fun …
Jonas: In terms of sheer variety, Berlin’s the place – you get every kind of scene, from mainstream to pretty weird. But I personally love going out in the Rhineland: People are always relaxed and easy-going.

The golden boys Jonas Brink and Julius Reckermann at the Olympic games 2012 in London.
The golden boys Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Which city is gourmet central?
Julius: I love the food in France. I’ve just returned from vacation on the Côte d’Azur. The food there is pure perfection.
Jonas: I love fish, but then again I never say no to a well-prepared piece of meat or an Italian dish. That’s why Hamburg is right up there with the best. As a port, it’s a true global metropolis and offers lots of variety – in general and on your plate.

Which city has the best open air movies?
Julius: I’ll have to pass on that – I haven’t been to any.
Jonas: I don’t know which one is the coolest, but the Waldbühne Berlin is probably the biggest open air movie theater in the world – of course, they also host gigs and plays there, too. And guess what: They’ve had some major beach volleyball tournaments as well!

Fans really make all the difference when it comes to creating a buzz. Where do you get the best crowds?
Julius: I would say at the German Championships in Timmendorfer Strand on the Baltic Sea. And in Klagenfurt in Austria.
Jonas: It depends which sport you’re talking about. In terms of beach volleyball, Timmendorfer Strand and Berlin are right up there – but the fans in Klagenfurt are the craziest of them all, that’s for sure. And when it comes to soccer, 1. FC Cologne takes the crown.

Which city are you still dying to see?
Julius: I still want to go to Chile. Not to any particular city, but Chile will definitely be the next country I visit.
Jonas: New York. Hard to believe, but I’ve never been there before. I was booked to fly there twice and had to cancel at the last minute. I really have to go!

Header image: HOCH ZWEI / Michael Kunkel