But outside of Berlin are dozens of amazing sights and small towns. With easy access to transportation, Berlin is the perfect central place to take a day trip. Within an hour’s journey, you can see much more of Germany!
Read on to learn about the best day trips from Berlin.
What We Cover
- Day Trips from Berlin, Germany
- 1. Harz Mountains
- 2. Potsdam
- 3. Leipzig
- 4. Peacock Island
- 5. Bad Muskau
- 6. Dresden
- 7. Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp
- 8. Saxon Switzerland National Park
- 9. Spandau Citadel
- 10. River Havel
- 11. Devil’s Bridge
- 12. Wannsee
- 13. Hamburg
- 14. Kopenick
- 15. Spreewald
- 16. Prague
- Is Berlin Worth Visiting?
- Is Potsdam worth visiting in winter?
- Is Spandau worth visiting?
- Where can you travel by train from Berlin?
- Where can you drive from Berlin?
- Which cities are close to Berlin?
- How long do you need to be in Berlin?
- Where should I go for a weekend in Berlin?
- What countries are close to Berlin, Germany?
Day Trips from Berlin, Germany
1. Harz Mountains
The Harz Mountains is a land of fairytales with little cobblestone streets, thick green forests, and old houses that look like something out of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.”
The area was once known for its silver mines, where the dwarves worked in the fairytale made famous by Walt Disney. The region is about 2.5 to 3 hours west of Berlin if you travel by car or a few hours longer if you choose the bus or train.
If you’re a foreigner, one of the interesting facets of visiting the region is that tourists only visit the area occasionally. It’s an excellent place to experience beautiful rustic Germany and engage in the stereotypical yet accurate German obsession of hiking.
If you can reach Leipzig, you might consider a Harz Mountains day trip with a tour guide, which will take you to popular sites like Bad Lauchstädt Castle and the Walkenried Monastery Ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Potsdam is a small city located only a short ride away, making it the number one spot for those looking for a day trip from Berlin. This city is the capital of Brandenburg and is famous for its historical palaces and Dutch Quarter.
Accessible by buses and trains, visiting Potsdam can conveniently be one of your easy and quick trips from Berlin. The city isn’t short of beautiful lakes and parks, but most importantly, the Prussian Rocco Palaces give Potsdam the status of a World Heritage site.
While here, you must see the Dutch Quarter. Of course, other nearby attractions are great, too. You can take a City and Castles tour to explore the city in Potsdam.
Potsdam is easily reached in 45 minutes via S-Bahn from Berlin. Take train S-7 from Berlin center to Potsdam main station. You may even choose regional trains, which are a bit quicker.
One of the most beautiful palaces is the Sanssouci Palace. Its exquisite Chinese teahouse and vast gardens will make you love this place. Moreover, the beautiful palace fountain will leave you spellbound.
The Great Fountain uniquely represents mythological figures and the four elements. Something that you won’t find anywhere else. Sanssouci Palace can easily give the Palace of Versailles very tough competition.
Moving on, the famous Sanssouci Park surrounds the Palace. The park has artwork, impressive buildings, and beautiful walking trails. The Picture Gallary and Neptune’s Grotto are other highlights of this city. If you are a history-lover, you will find it hard to leave within one day.
See Related: Best Car Museums in Germany
Leipzig is a must for any vacation in Germany, but you can use Berlin as your home base and treat Leipzig as one of your day trips from Berlin. Interestingly, you can actually reach Leipzig faster by train from Berlin than you can with a car, so it’s an excellent place to visit when you don’t have a rental car.
Leipzig is a beautiful city with diverse architecture that spans the medieval era to today, and it’s also an excellent place to buy a hop on hop off bus ticket, which will help you reach all the sites around town like the “Little Venice” of Leipzig and the zoo.
A Leipzig sightseeing tour on a motorboat is another excellent way to experience the town. If you’re a music lover, Leipzig is the ideal place to get in touch with Germany’s incredible classical music history.
Richard Wagner was born in Leipzig, and composers like Bach, Mendelssohn, and Mahler composed some of their most influential works in this beautiful city.
4. Peacock Island
Peacock Island is a must for all nature lovers in our list of best day trips from Berlin. Just west of central Berlin, Peacock Island is an easily accessible day trip!
There are many fun things to do here. The island is a UNESCO-protected nature reserve filled with rare plants and beautiful trees. It is also home to many different peacocks. Yes, real live peacocks!
A popular landmark on the island is the Peacock Island Castle. The tall white walls with peacocks wandering around give the castle a fairytale feel.
The entire island will give you an impression of an English landscape park. Besides the beautiful nature, you will find many historical buildings like the Memorial Temple of Queen Luise. Built-in 1829, this temple deserves a definite visit.
Further north from the temple is the famous Dairy Farm, complete with roaming cows. It is a delightful place for people of all ages. The Swiss Cottage, Frigate Harbor, and Russian Slide are other places to visit on the island.
You can easily visit this island by bus from Berlin or by joining a Berlin River Cruise Round-Trip to Peacock Island. But note that no bicycles or dogs are allowed on the island.
See Related: What’s the Meaning Behind the German Flag
5. Bad Muskau
Bad Muskau is located southeast of Berlin and is about two hours by car. It’ll take a few extra hours to reach the town should you choose the bus or train, but the tiny town (it only has something like 3,000 residents) does have a handful of historic sites, cafes, and peaceful vistas.
The main attraction in this charming city is Muskauer Park, with its gorgeously landscaped pastures and forest. The park was originally built in the early 1800s by a prince for whom the park is named. The park was one of Germany’s first purposefully landscaped areas that used local plants to create a relaxing and romantic feel.
Bad Muskau is the ideal Berlin day trip for relaxing under the sun, enjoying winding footpaths, little streams, and some quiet time. Berlin is so busy and cosmopolitan that day trips to small, peaceful towns are necessary for relaxation and harmony.
Just under two hours away from Berlin sits the stunning city of Dresden. It’s a riverside city with many theatres (including the famous Semper Opera House), historic buildings, and lavish castles.
Dresden is easily walkable, making it the perfect day trip. The city has two main squares, Theaterplatz and Schlossplatz. You can visit the Dresden Royal Palace, the Semper Opera House, The Great Garden, and many fascinating museums from here.
While most places are open to the public, don’t forget to book museums, theatres, and opera shows in advance. You can always book online or through a local professional guide.
If you visit Dresden, you must take a self-guided walking tour of the Bruhl’s Terrace, also known as the “Balcony of Europe.” You can enjoy beautiful sculptures and fountains while walking along the Elbe River.
While you enjoy this modern historical city, don’t forget to visit the old town. The old market square will take you to another era, and you will never want to leave.
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7. Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp
A sad but important Berlin day trip is to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp from the last World War. This concentration camp is an easy half-day trip north of the German capital.
Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp was one of the first concentration camps, established in 1936. The camp prisoners themselves painstakingly built this camp. Between 1936 and 1945, over 200,000 people spent their lives as prisoners, including some famous political prisoners.
A visit to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp is difficult but important to remember the horrible things that happened in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II.
The best way to visit Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp is by a guided tour. Book the best Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp tour here. The guided tour covers transportation, admission, and information during your visit.
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8. Saxon Switzerland National Park
The Saxon Switzerland National Park is just outside Dresden, making it an easy stopover on a day trip from Berlin. Saxon Switzerland National Park is remarkable.
The region is situated between Pirna and the Czech border. There are over 700 summits for rock climbers to explore. Locals consider this one of the most beautiful places in Europe.
About three hours South by car, Saxon Switzerland National Park is a great day trip from Berlin. You can hike, take breathtaking photos, and sit in cafes to enjoy the scenery. Book a Saxon Switzerland National Park day trip here.
See Related: Best Parks in Germany
9. Spandau Citadel
The town of Spandau is a quick day trip from Berlin. It is only 30 minutes on public transport from the main city center of Berlin, making it an excellent spot for Berlin locals and tourists alike.
Spandau is an independent city with an economy focused on trading. Being in East Germany, it is also home to beautiful settlements, parks, and palaces.
The highlight of this town is the Spandau Citadel. One of the famous historic sites in Germany, the Citadel has remained the same since its construction in the 16th century.
Surrounded by a river, the square-shaped fortress has bastions in each corner. A short bridge connects the fortress to a local museum that covers the history of this enchanting Citadel.
While in the Citadel, don’t forget to see the residential quarters, the Prince’s Room, and the old-style courtyard. At the end of the tour, spare some time to climb the 1345 steps of the Julius Tower. The breathtaking views of Eastern Germany will inspire you to take another day trip!
See related: Public Transportation in Germany
10. River Havel
Looking for one of the best short and budget-friendly Berlin day trips? The way to go is to take a boat tour through River Havel to Potsdam.
The Havel River flows 30 km within Berlin before joining the River Elbe. The most beautiful stretches of the Elbe River are around areas like Lindwerder, Schildhornand, and Pfaueninsel. The stretch just outside Berlin’s city center is a world heritage site.
The best time to take a romantic Havel boat tour is early spring and autumn. Since the river is located on Berlin’s outskirts, Potsdam is the nearest city to visit on a day trip from Berlin.
To enjoy the lovely fresh air, blue water, and long stretches of greenery, you can ride bicycles and enjoy a little picnic. You can also plan to drive along the river in your car or a bus.
However, one of the best and most convenient ways to enjoy Havel’s vastness is through a riverboat. You can either choose private excursions or sit on a large ship. Either way, you will have a romantic and worth-remembering experience.
The quickest route is to take a boat tour from Spandau and pass through areas like Grunewald Tower, Breitehorn, and Lindwerder. On your way back, sit on a ship to Potsdam and take a bus to Berlin’s city center. This route will cost less than you may plan.
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11. Devil’s Bridge
The Devil’s Bridge, nestled in Kromlauer Park near Gablenz, eastern Germany, is a captivating sight for the wandering soul. Just a day trip from Berlin, it promises an enchanting encounter.
The bridge’s architectural brilliance is reflected in its perfect arch, a testament to the craftsmanship of yesteryears. When viewed from a distance, the arch, mirrored immaculately in the tranquil waters below, forms a stunning circle, a spectacle that leaves spectators in awe.
The bridge is enveloped by lush greenery and serene landscapes, adding to its mystical allure. This hidden gem, far removed from the city’s hustle and bustle, provides a peaceful retreat, an opportunity to connect with nature in its purest form.
Wannsee often makes it to various lists of fun day trips from the Berlin area, and there is no doubt about every spot it earns. For Berliners, Wannesse stands for luxurious villas and large inland beaches. The beaches are part of the two lakes, Kleiner and Grosser.
These lakes provide opportunities for sailing and rowing for both locals and foreigners. Returning to beaches, Wannesse has some of the busiest inland beaches in Europe. If you’re planning a visit, the best time to visit the beaches is in the summer. However, Wannsee is so crowded you may not even find a place to put your towel.
You can do much more here if you aren’t a beach person. If you like driving, pass through Am Grossen Wannsee to enjoy the pleasant breeze and the scenic beauty along the road.
Besides, you can take a tourist boat from Wannesse to visit Potsdam and Spandau. If you don’t like the hustle and bustle of Wannesse, hop on a bus and visit the much quieter town of Kladow.
You can book a private day tour of Wannsee and Potsdam from Berlin to explore the city.
Regarding trips you can do in one day from Berlin, Hamburg is one of the first cities that comes to mind. Hamburg is a busy port city with much more to offer than the capital.
The town has UNESCO World Heritage status and has been declared Germany’s second-most famous and largest city. When in Hamburg, there is nothing like getting bored.
The continuous lines of tall red brick buildings will take you back to the 18th century. You will love the old architecture with a modern-day twist.
The best way to enjoy the harbor is through a pre-booked boat ride. Another of Hamburg’s most visited attractions is the Miniatur Wunderland. It’s a model train dreamland.
If you are traveling with kids, prepare to spend a lot of time. With long tracks and more than a thousand trains, this wonderland holds the world’s railway industry secrets.
Hamburg is not short of museums. From the International Maritime Museum to the Museum of Art and Design, Hamburg is a city for various adventures.
Check out these best hotels in Hamburg if you plan on staying the night.
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Visiting the historic city of Kopenick is again one of the best day trips from Berlin. This city is quite similar to Spandau but rich in lakes and woodlands.
While in Kopenick, you will come across acres of pine, lime, and oak trees. Moreover, the city has enormous lakes perfect for rowing and boating in summer.
On sunny days, sports enthusiasts often head to the city to enjoy water sports. Other than the abundance of nature, Kopenick also has some eye-catching palaces.
The Kopenick Palace is a 17th-century mansion with fantastic architecture. It stands tall on the Dhame River and is now used as the most famous Museum of Decorative Arts.
If you have an eye for old architectural designs, a stroll around the Old Town of Kopenick will fascinate you. The Old Town Hall is the most beautiful building you will ever come across.
To end a fantastic day in Kopenick, walk on Long Bridge and enjoy the jaw-dropping river and moat views. Get your entrance ticket now and skip long lines on your visit to the palace.
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For some of you, the best day trips from Berlin will take you closer to nature, like a boat tour in a national park. Spreewald is a nature heaven. There is more than one way to experience this land of trees and flowers. You can either walk and cycle or take a boat to sail through the lakes.
You can also hire kayaks to take a break from constant cycling and walking. Spreewald is a very calm and quiet place. Unlike Berlin, you may not find it very populated, which is good for those who want to escape the city’s crowds.
Quite near to Spreewald is a small village, Lehde. It has some cafes, shops, and places to buy German pickles. The town area also gives an insight into traditional German village life, and you will love to meet the friendly locals.
However, as a precaution, always prefer traveling with a friend or your family. You may find some areas too isolated and even haunted. Consider visiting Spreewald in the off-season. That’s when the water is clean, and few tourists are around.
During World War II, much of Berlin was destroyed by bombs. Still, the historic city of Prague survived the war mostly intact, allowing some of the continent’s most incredible and historic architecture to survive into the present day.
If you choose Prague as one of your day trips, it’ll take about four hours to reach the city from Berlin, but it’s a straight shot on the train, so you can relax and chill. Technically, you could spend a few days in Prague, but if you’re limited on time, the sights you’ll want to see include the Old Town Hall, Prague Castle, and the Charles Bridge.
If you want to dive into the history of any of these sights, you’ll find several guided tours operating throughout the city. For example, you can tour Prague Castle with a local guide and skip the lines into the castle when you book a tour.
Is Berlin Worth Visiting?
Berlin has some of the best places around. Large tranquil parks and picturesque forests surround the region. It has the finest museums and galleries of European history, three opera houses, and the largest variety of theatres.
A little-known secret about Berlin is how deep its culture is. There are so many nationalities and cultures here you will surely learn something new. And its neighborhood streets are lined with cafes.
Is Potsdam worth visiting in winter?
Yes, the snow-covered streets and Christmas-light-filled Old Town make Potsdam a wonderful place to visit in winter. Whether you enjoy an idyllic winter walk in a park looking at artwork or in museums.
Is Spandau worth visiting?
Yes! Spandau is known for its historic old town and half-timbered homes. Hop aboard a fast train and enjoy a full-day tour of historic buildings and homes.
Where can you travel by train from Berlin?
You can travel to so many places by public transport from Berlin. Within two hours, you can visit dozens of amazing cities. From Potsdam to Hamburg to Dresden. The options are endless. If you are open to a long train, you can make it to Prague in about 6 hours.
Where can you drive from Berlin?
Within one hour from Berlin, you can drive to Sachsenhausen, Oranienburg, Strausberg, Grünheide, Niederlehme, Konigs Wusterhausen, Zossen, Potsdam, Sanssouci Palace, Sanssouci Bildergalerie, Park Sanssouci, Botanischer Garten, Ketzin. You drive to many cities outside of that, and there are many nearby towns with half-timbered houses to visit.
Which cities are close to Berlin?
Major towns near Berlin include Magdeburg, Halle, Dresden, and Chemnitz.
How long do you need to be in Berlin?
If you have the time, stay in Berlin for a week. There are many things to see, even remnants of the Cold War, and many nearby towns to visit. If you only have a weekend, read this itinerary to get the most out of your stay.
Where should I go for a weekend in Berlin?
Well, we have the perfect 72-hour itinerary here for you! If you are visiting Berlin for a weekend, the most accessible day trip from Berlin to take is to Peacock Island and Potsdam.
While you are in Berlin, stop at the Third Reich National Memorial and nearby attractions. Fun fact: Berlin has the best food scene in Germany. You can try nearly every nationality within the main squares!
What countries are close to Berlin, Germany?
Germany is located in Central Europe, bordered by Denmark in the north, Poland and the Czech Republic in the east, Austria and Switzerland in the south, France and Luxembourg in the southeast, and Belgium and Holland in the northern part.
As you can see, just by Germany’s location alone, you will find a day trip from Berlin that you will enjoy.