A haven for art and culture nerds, history buffs and even for those who enjoy clubbing, Berlin pretty much has everything you need that venturing out might not appeal to you. However, this city, with its easily accessible and convenient transport system also provides travelers with an ideal starting point for exploring not just nearby cities and towns; but also the rest of Germany and even extending as far as the border, taking you to a different country in less than four hours.
Outside Berlin, you can visit quaint little towns nestled on hills or along the rivers, pristine parks, colorful castles, a grand film studio, and even a necessary history lesson during a tour of camps and memorials.
Here are fifteen exciting destinations outside cosmopolitan Berlin, all easily accessible and definitely worth your time.
- 15 Day Trips From Berlin
- 2.Rakotzbrücke (Devil’s Bridge)
- 3.Szczecin, Poland
- 4.Döberitzer Heide
- 7.Sachsenhausen Memorial
- 8.Babelsberg Film Studio
- 9.Bad Muskau
15 Day Trips From Berlin
Berlin, with an eclectic mix of new and old, is without question one of Germany’s most vibrant and culturally rich cities. If you want to take a break from its fast-paced energy though, the nearby Potsdam offers a chance to chill and relax even while exploring grand royal residences, historical sights, and fairy-tale gardens, making for an exciting day trip. Accessible through a train ride from Berlin’s Central Station either by S-Bahn or regional trains which are often slightly faster, Potsdam is can be reached in under 50 minutes.
The city has excellent public transport connections, which makes exploring even easier. Potsdam is packed with attractions and must visit locations that a one day trip will not be enough.
However, if you’re pressed for time but want to make the most of your Potsdam day trip from Berlin, it is best to start at the Old Dutch Quarter. Its red-bricked architecture is unique, not only in Germany but in all of Europe. Even in the Netherlands, finding buildings that match Jan Bouman’s 18th-century creations in Potsdam is impossible.
Still in the Old Dutch Quarter, be sure to check out the deliciously-medieval Nauener Tor, with its majestic 18th-century Gothic Revival architecture. Along with the Brandenburg Gate (in Potsdam, not Berlin) and Hunters’ Gate (Jägertor), Nauener Tor makes up the trifecta of Potsdam’s original city gates along the now-defunct city wall.
After Nauener Tor, stroll around the Hegelallee then towards Potsdam’s most iconic attraction – the Sanssouci Park. Spend time wandering through the gardens and palaces of Sanssouci and find out why Potsdam is one of the most loved German destinations among travelers. The three major palaces — Sanssouci Palace (Schloss Sanssouci), Orangery Palace (Orangerieschloss), and New Palace (Neues Palais) are built in different architectural styles and are worth visiting as you explore the park.
Venture inside each of these for a taste of the grandeur that King Frederick the Great of Prussia enjoyed. These grand summer residences have stunning interiors and extensive park grounds complete with large fountains, beautiful terraced gardens, and vineyards.
To book, click here.
Address: Humboldtstraße 1-214467 Potsdam
Phone:+49 (0)331 27 55 88 99
2.Rakotzbrücke (Devil’s Bridge)
One of the most famous and scenic photos you’ll ever come across on the internet is that of a bridge arched in a perfect half circle, that along with its reflection on the still waters below gives the optical illusion of a perfect circle. That stunning piece of architecture is the Devil’s Bridge, or the Rakotzbrücke – one of the most picturesque bridges in all of Germany.
Just over two hours each way if you rent a car or transfer between trains and buses, the Rakotzbrücke is situated in the Azalea and Rhododendron Park about 100 miles southeast of Berlin. There are no convenient buses or trains to the area as there are no major cities nearby, but a visit to the park to see the Devil’s Bridge is still one of the more popular day trips from Berlin.
Commissioned in 1860 by the Knight of Kromlau, the bridge is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week Be there by sunrise or stay until sunset to get the most spectacular views of this architectural masterpiece.
Address: Old Castle 11 02953 Gablenz / OT Kromlau
When planning day trips from Berlin, it is easy to just consider places that are still part of the map of Germany. However, you’ll find that 150 kilometers northeast and only two hours by train, bus, or car from the German capital is the lovely Polish city of Szczecin. This city may not be as big and popular as Krakow, Gdansk or Warsaw, but Szczecin doesn’t disappoint. It has all the things that are so distinctly Polish —from stunning historical architecture to good beer & hearty food.
When in Szczecin, it is best to start your day tour in Stare Miasto, the city’s historic district. Visit the Hay Market Square, the main square of Stare Miasto where Szczecin’s Hanseatic roots are prominently on display.
Make sure you don’t miss out on the most important historical site in Szczecin – the Ducal Castle. Originally built in the mid-14th century and reconstructed after WWII, this towering Gothic and mannerist castle was once home to the dukes of Pomerania. Explore the grounds to see more of the castle’s unique architectural palette before venturing into the Castle Museum. Also within the castle grounds is the Pomeranian Dukes’ crypt and the bell tower (open only from May 1 to Sept 30) for scenic views of the city.
When in Szczecin, be sure to try the tasty perogies at Harnaś, stroll around the Solidarity Square, watch a performance at The Philharmonic, or take in the impressive architecture at Wały Chrobrego.
If you are the active type who enjoys hiking and exploring nature parks while immersing in 300-year military history, then this day tour from Berlin is a must. Located on the west of Berlin, Döberitzer Heide is only twenty minutes by train from the German capital and several more minutes of brisk walking to reach the park.
The Döberitzer Heide is a vast protected area that was used as a military training camp since the 18th Century. Presently, it is covered with heathland and is home to wild horses, bison and other wild animals. The signages throughout the park that were supposed to guide hikers were mostly rundown but it is easy enough to find your way around. In Döberitzer Heide you will see the first military airfield in Germany, where the “Red Baron” Manfred von Richthofen once flew. You’ll also come across the Krampnitz barracks, the remains of the operational-tactical missile systems of the Soviet troops and shooting ranges, where the machine guns of the aircraft were calibrated.
The Döberitzer Heide is divided into several sections. The middle of the park is a nature reserve and blocked off by a series of electric fences, while the military zone has a sign warning visitors that firearms are in use to deter any lost visitors from exploring any further. It is recommended to join a group tour or hire a guide when going to Döberitzer Heide to avoid any inconvenience as the place is still littered with ruins and rubble from its historic past.
To book, click here.
A visit to Hamburg deserves an entire weekend, but if you’re pressed for time, it can also be done as a day trip from Berlin. Known as Germany’s biggest port town, it takes two hours via train northwest of the German capital to reach Hamburg.
Formerly infamous for its seedy, red-light Reeperbahn district, Hamburg has evolved into a more sophisticated city, with structures like the gleaming, new Philharmonic building, to its impressive art museum and gorgeous Alster Lakes. While the seedy area is still there (and worth a peek), you’re here to see more of Hamburg to know why it is presently regarded as one of the best cities to visit from Berlin.
As a port city, Hamburg is very different from the German capital, but there’s still so much to see and do here that makes it a worthwhile visit. Spend your day by wandering through the Speicherstadt, touring the new Elbphilharmonie, taking a quick river cruise, or indulging your inner child at Miniatur Wunderland.
You can also wander among the boats tied up in the harbour, or explore the famous fish market. If you’re into something more thrilling, check out Heide Park and experience the twists and turns of its rollercoasters.
Hamburg was granted a UNESCO World Heritage status in 2015 and as you see more of Germany’s second-largest city, you’ll soon find out that it is so well deserved.
Graced by the presence of River Elbe, and proudly standing as the capital of the Free State of Saxony, Dresden is an underrated baroque paradise that seems to have been taken straight out of picture books. This city was devastated by the second world war in 1945 but has managed to rise from the ruins in a slow but steady process that is still taking place. As one of the more fascinating day tours from Berlin, Dresden promises not just a glimpse into its history but architectural marvels and a taste of its culture as well.
Start with a visit to the Frauenkirche, a Protestant church built in the 18th century, that was destroyed during the 1945 bombings. It was left in ruins for many years until it was successfully restored to its former glory and is once again serving as the city’s most recognizable landmark since 2005. Another must-see is the Procession of Princes, a mural made up of 24.000 tiles located right in the city center. Depicting the history of Saxony rulers, it is also the biggest porcelain artwork in the world.
After walking through the entire mural, you will reach Dresden’s waterfront, — the Bruhl Terrace. It ia also known as the balcony of Europe and offers the best views of River Elba and Old Town. From there you can visit more of Dresden’s architectural and historic treasures, places that were destroyed by the second world war that were rebuilt and restored. It is difficult to miss the Hofkirche or the Dresden Cathedral, that stand side by side with the equally stunning Dresden Royal Palace. There’s also the Zwinger, a rococo palace with pretty courtyard gardens and the Semperhoper (Opera House) which is both an institution and city icon.
Finally, a day trip to Dresden won’t be complete without dropping by the Altmafkt, considered as the best Christmas market in Europe. Also known as the heart of Dresden, it has historically been the place of mass gatherings and markets, with its architecture mirroring the city’s history in the past century.
Free admission, donations are requested.
To book, click here.
Central Church Tour
Usually Monday to Saturday at 12 o’clock and Monday to Wednesday and Friday at 18 o’clock.
Address: Stiftung Frauenkirche Dresden Georg-Treu-Platz 3 01067 Dresden
Phone:+49 (0) 351-656 06 100
To book, click here.
15th March to 14th October: daily 8:30 am – 6:00 pm
15th October to 14th March: daily 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Address: Straße der Nationen 22 D-16515 Oranienburg
Phone:+49 (0) 3301 200-0
George Santayana said “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” and this is what comes to mind when visiting a city as historically rich as Berlin. Exploring in and around the German capital gives you a chance to spend time at the nearby Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, located 35 km North of Berlin.
A visit to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp is far from being ‘fun’, but if you have even a passing interest in 20th-century history, a trip this former Nazi concentration camp is one of the most important and sobering tours you’ll take in and around the German capital.
Sachsenhausen is the closest camp to Berlin, and you can take a tour of its premises to learn more about the horrific reality of life at a Nazi concentration camp, and a grim reminder of the horrors of the WWII era. This concentration camp was under the Nazis and later the Soviets, and is a significant place in 20th Century history. It is presently a museum, where visitors get to see the cells, labour rooms, and gas chambers. The poignant memorial displays are worth a visit, and ‘Arbeit Macht frei’ (work will set you free) still hangs imposingly above the entrance.
There are definitely more enjoyable day trips from Berlin, but it’s important that places like Sachsenhausen are open to the public and that people actually go and visit them. A visit might leave you feeling sad, but this day trip certainly provides a worthwhile history lesson.
8.Babelsberg Film Studio
Founded in 1912, Studio Babelsberg is the oldest large-scale studio complex in the world and is presently one of Europe’s leading service providers for film and TV production. Located in Potsdam-Babelsberg, a day trip from Berlin to this impressive studio complex is a must for film buffs, or for anyone looking for a unique adventure outside the German capital.
Many of Germany’s most famous classic films were shot in Studio Babelsberg, such as Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and Josef von Sternberg’s The Blue Angel, starring Marlene Dietrich. More recent movies that were filmed here are Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer and Roland Emmerich’s Anonymous. The studio complex occupies a 39-acre lot, with 16 sound stages, back lots and exterior sets. It is renowned for its first-class technical capabilities, highly skilled crew, attractive filming locations nearby and its proximity to the cosmopolitan Berlin. The back lots alone are already worth the visit, as they feature stunning permanent sets used in films.
The Berliner Street set is a permanent exterior film set modeled after a typical Berlin street setting. Built im 1998, the set stands on a 1.7acre lot and includes 26 facades, which resemble a typical urban architecture of the late 19th, early 20th century. These sets can be easily dressed to look like European cities such as Paris, Rome or London. Another must-see is the Village of the Middle Ages set, which was built for a movie in 1984.
There is a lot to see in Babelsberg, and you shouldn’t skip a visit to the Props Department, the ateliers of the Art Department, the legendary hall of Marlene Dietrich, or the historical Tonkreuz for a fascinating look at how experienced designers and the world’s best filmmakers work, and enjoy insights into the world of film. While in Babelsberg,
you also get to visit Potsdamer Platz, the venue for the yearly Berlinale film festival and see more of the area that houses over 200 companies involved in the film industry. Explore further and you’ll also find yourself in
Neu-Babelsberg, where you will find magnificent villas owned by celebrities. Many other affluent people from business and politics also live in this exclusive area.
To book, click here.
Address: Studio Babelsberg AG August-Bebel-Str. 26-53 14482 Potsdam, Germany
Phone:+49 331 721 00 00
Situated against the border that separates Germany and Poland, the tiny spa village of Bad Muskau is in itself, one big attraction. The quaint park town was heavily devastated by the last battle of World War II in 1945, and in the same year, the park was divided between Germany and Poland when the Neisse River became the new border.
It is not quite easy to get to this picturesque town by the border, as if involves a train ride from the German capital to Weiβwasser which takes 2 hours and 10 minutes, then a 20-minute cycle to Bad Muskau but it’s one of the most worthwhile day tours from Berlin that you could experience.
The main reason people take time to visit Bad Muskau is because of Muskauer Park, a verdant masterpiece of 19th-century celebrity landscape gardener Prince Hermann von Pückler. ‘Prince Pickle’, as the English used to call him, worked on the park for nearly 30 years but never completed his ‘painting with plants’, because debt forced him to sell the estate in 1844. Nevertheless, his garden project set the bar high for landscapers to follow, that his work even inspired a compilation of meticulous instruction manual on landscaping techniques.
Muskau Park is officially called the Fürst-Pückler-Park Bad Muskau. It is one of Central Europe’s largest and most famous gardens. It was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2004, and at present, you can go to the Museum, walk around the gardens, go to the cafe, and have a picnic. A must see in the park are its luscious English gardens and the Neo-Renaissance pink castle surrounded by a small lake. What makes this park extra special is that its geography extends to both Germany and Poland, which means that a stroll through the entire park is also a visit two countries.
Bad Muskau is also just 10 to 15 minutes away by bike or car from Kromlau Park (where you can find the Devil’s Bridge) so if you’re going to one of these places, it makes sense to combine them for a day trip.
Opening Hours (Muskau Park)
29th May to 4th August 2018, daily 10 am – 6 pm
Address: 02953 Bad Muskau, Germany
Leipzig is often referred to as the cheaper and more laidback alternative to Berlin — a vibrant city packed full of culture, history, culinary delights, interesting nightlife, and a lively art scene. It is one of Germany’s current hot spots for the young, creative class, and also a place with a rich musical tradition, as it was once home to Johann Sebastian Bach.
Start your day in this vibrant city by exploring Leipzig Altstadt, which is about a 10-minute walk from the Hauptbahnhof to the Markt, or Market Square. Along the way, you will find stunning examples of 19th and 20th century Saxon architecture, with styles ranging from Art Nouveau to Post Modernist. If you are into music and art, be sure to check out the three-museums-in-one GRASSI, the Bach Museum and the Leipzig Museum of Fine Arts.
Aside from its Saxon architecture, impressive museums, and fantastic bars and clubs, Leipzig is also an excellent option for vegan travelers. The vegan culinary scene in Leipzig offers hungry vegan visitors loads of options such as vegan currywurst, vegan sushi, vegan pizza, and even vegan brunch.
The city is one of Germany’s top trade fair destinations, regularly attracting businesspeople from all around the world. Leipzig is just an hour and a half away from Berlin by bus and an easy place to explore on foot or by public transportation.
One of the more unique Berlin day trips you can experience and just an hour away from the capital is a visit to Spreewald. Its name translates to ‘spree forest’
and is a UNESCO protected nature reserve that sprouts from the Spree River?
There’s hardly a better place to enjoy nature so close to Berlin than this picturesque forest, which has plenty of trails and tracks ideal for walking, cycling and exploring Spreewald. Make sure you stop at the lagoon village of Lehde, or the cute fishing village of Leipe, for a glimpse of rural German life.
Lübbenau, the Spreewald’s most popular tourist center is another must-visit and a good place to relax. If you’d rather explore Spreewald from the river, rent a kayak or canoe in Lübbenau or Burg and spend your day ambling through the waterways alongside traditional wooden houses, age-old bridges, and thick forests.
Aside from its breathtaking natural scenery, the Spreewald is home to the Sorbs, a Slavic tribe who settled here centuries ago. Spreewald also has old, traditional farmhouses along the waterways that give visitors an insight into its local history.
To book, click here
Address: Dammstraße 72, 03222 Lübbenau/Spreewald, Germany
Phone: +49 0172 7936587
Berlin’s Köpenick district is the site of a very old settlement dating back to the Bronze Age. Today, Köpenick is not only Berlin’s largest district, it’s the richest in terms of woodland and lakes. An estimated 80 percent of the district’s surface is covered by water, woodland, and grassland – making it the main recreation area in eastern Berlin. Köpenick is the best day trip from Berlin if you’re after a quaint small town feel, hiking through a forest and relaxing beach strolls. The district of Altstadt Köpenick and neighboring Friedrichshagen remain mostly unknown to hordes of tourists and you won’t find any international brand stores here. It is a mix of big, open neighborhoods, cobblestoned streets lined with tiny local shops, and the rivers Spree and Müggelsee.
Start the day at Köllnischer Platz, not far from the Spindlersfeld S-Bahn station, with an easy walk to the Schloss Köpenick, a well-preserved Baroque palace. It used to be home to Prussian royalty, and presently houses Berlin’s Museum of Decorative Arts. Afterward, explore the pedestrian-friendly Old Town of Köpenick with its splendid architecture, particularly its Alte Rathaus, make sure to walk over Long Bridge or Lange Brücke – for its splendid views of the old moat and river.
Walk further and you’ll find Möllhausenufer, where you can enjoy a stroll along the shore while having currywurst and ice cream. Hike through the overgrown, ill-marked paths of the Wendenschloß woods to small, quiet beaches along the Müggelsee. In the middle of the forest and up the Kleiner Müggelberg is the Müggelturm, a 29.61m tower, offering one of the highest points from which to view Berlin
From the tower, get back on the trail and to the Am Müggelsee path. This is here the Müggelsee meets the Müggelspree, and you’ll find a quiet beach here before the Spree tunnel. Before crossing, visit the SpreeArche, a floating log cabin restaurant specializing in freshly smoked fish (usually salmon).
Make sure you have some German beer while in Köpenick or sample more local fare and even some international cuisine, head over to nearby Bölschestraße — a street lined with bookstores, bike shops, independent clothing stores and a number of restaurants.
To book, click here.
Going to Rüdersdorf is one of the most scenic boat tours you’d ever find yourself in, as this day trip from Berlin also allows you to stop at picturesque, historic towns of Friedrichshagen and Köpenick en route.
Boat trips and especially this one that’s headed for Rüdersdorf is always a great way to see more of the rural side of Germany. You get a glimpse of each riverside village that you pass by, marvel at the stunning architecture and how the skyline looks so pretty that you won’t stop snapping photos or recording videos.
Once you reach Rüdersdorf, explore the well-known Museum Park. The area in Rüdersdorf is a large open-air industrial museum that showcases the extraction and processing of limestone from the Rüdersdorfer Kalkberg. The Rüdersdorfer Kalkberg is the largest limestone deposit in northern Germany, and these limestones are processed as a stone and as quicklime or cement used as building materials for most structures in Berlin.
The Museum Park features an Exhibition Hall, the Kalkscheune which was a former lime kiln warehouse that’s now used as a wedding venue, Chamber and Rumfordöfen, Canal structures, Sheave posts, and Shaft furnace plant.
There’s also a Crane park, an exhibition of cranes and construction machinery. When in Museum Park Rüdersdorf, be sure to also check out the Museum Zoo, which houses farm animals from the region, as well as a small petting zoo.
April to October
daily 10.00 am – 6.00 pm
November to March
Tue. – Sun. 10.30am – 4.00pm
Children 6 to 16 years 3.00 €
Annual pass 25,00 € / reduced 12,50 €
Annual pass plus 50,00 € / reduced 25,00 €
Incl. entrance to Easter, Walpurgis, mountain festival, Halloween and fairytale magic
20% discount on tickets for selected events (Kulturhaus and Museum Park)
To book, click here.
Address: Heinitzstrasse 9 15562 Rüdersdorf near Berlin
Phone: +49 33638 799797
A quick getaway among Berliners especially during summer is Wannsee, the largest European inland beach that is ever-popular among tourists and locals alike. It is such a go-to getaway for most that sometimes it’s hard to find yourself a spot to lay your towel, but still, there’s more to it than being a summer destination.
Wannsee is the location of many wealthy Berlin residents’ summer homes or sailing yachts. Some of the most visited attractions are the sailing clubs, the Liebermann Villa museum, the beach promenade, peacock island, and the infamous Villa Marlier (now also a museum) which was the home of the many notorious decision made by the Third Reich.
Wannsee’s Strandbad, Europe’s largest inland outdoor beach, maybe notoriously crowded but it’s still among those favorite day trips from Berlin. Strandbad is a mix of vibrant energy and a quaint small town feel and offers more than a place to soak up the sun and swim.
After you’ve spent time at the beach, walk down Am Großen Wannsee to see some of Berlin’s most impressive historical homes. Visit the Liebermann Villa am Wannsee, the summer house of German painter Max Liebermann. You’ll also come across the House of the Wannsee Conference. the haunting location for the infamous Wannsee Conference where the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” was settled during the second world war.
Wroclaw is one of the most exciting places you could visit during a day trip from Berlin, with its impressive architecture, kind people, hearty food, quirky attractions, and grim history, given its location between Russia and Germany. Only under four hours by bus, private car or train form the German capital, you can cover so much of Wroclaw within a day.
A good way to explore the city while making sure you see all the sights is by hunting gnomes.
These gnomes began as an anti-Soviet protest against the communists during the 1980s. It started with Papa Gnome, who stands on a finger, at the meeting place of the rebels. Nowadays they are involved in different kinds of activities such as drinking, offering random passersby a slice if pizza or traveling somewhere holding his suitcase. There are over 300 dwarfs around the city and maps of where they are available in tourist information offices.
Walk around the center Rynek, or the Market Square, with its historic architecture and landscape. See the statue of Roland, a stunning glass fountain, the salt square and the Old Town Hall, which is one of the main landmarks of Wroclaw.
Explore the Old town, with its cobblestone streets and colored houses. Here, you cannot miss the Saint Elisabeth Church across the Market Square. It has a 90-m tall tower you can climb for scenic views of the city. Stroll along the Old Shambles its many galleries and different monuments of animals, if you’re into arts and more history.
See the Cathedral Island, the oldest part of the city of Wroclaw. with its fascinating medieval streets. This is a great place for a picturesque, romantic evening stroll, with street gas lamps still lit by hand by a lamplighter! Your next stop should be the Centennial Hall with the adjacent Multimedia Fountain called Hala Stuleciain Polish. Built in 1913, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2006. The Centennial Hall was designed to be a multi-functional building that hosts various performance arts events but the main attraction is the magnificent Wroclaw Fountain. It is a colorful musical fountain that plays a video on the water, a stunning spectacle, especially in summer evenings. Nearby, you can also check out the Zoo and the Japanese Garden.
Other places worth mentioning are the University of Wroclaw – one of the oldest in Central Europe, and the Church of St. Stanislaw, Dorota, and Waclaw. When taking breaks from exploring the city, make sure you sample some goulash, Polish gnocchi, Pierogies, and Polish ice cream.
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