12 UNMISSABLE Day Trips from Berlin

Planning to visit Berlin? The city offers a lot to see and do, but we also highly recommend planning some day trips from Berlin – to nearby towns like Hamburg or Dresden, nature day trips to the lakes, or even day trips from Berlin to Poland.

After visiting the German capital over 10 times, here are our 12 favourite, unmissable day trips from Berlin!

As German author Karl Scheffler wrote in 1910, Berlin is “a city condemned forever to becoming and never to being”. This quote can still be applied today to describe this unique city in constant development. A city that, despite the never-ending construction sites, proves to be alive, dynamic and revolutionary.

Many people like to describe Berlin as one of those cities that either you love or you hate – you know we love Berlin, right?

We love the vibe of alternative Berlin, its crazy street art and quirky museums, and all the different neighbourhoods – we never get bored, even when we visit Berlin in winter and the weather is just horrible. 

It is very different from other European capital cities and in order to really appreciate it, you must forget all expectations and be prepared to find non-conformist city, definitely out of the ordinary.

From monuments and museums, to shops, breweries, restaurants and night clubs, Berlin is full of things to do and see during your stay, but, as it often happens, after some time in a big city, there are times when you feel like escaping the chaos and embarking on a little adventure.

So, if you have an extra day to fill or you want to get out of the city, there are many day trips from Berlin that you can do.

karl marx allee berlin
One of my fave places in Berlin – Karl Marx Allee

Where to Stay in Berlin

Here are some options for cool design and boutique hotels to choose as your Berlin base!

  • SO/Berlin Das Stue – with interiors by celebrity designer Patricia Urquiola and a great restaurant!
  • nhow Berlin – Europe’s first music hotel with themed decor!
  • Provocateur Berlin – quirky, whimsical interiors with lots of red velvet and playful details, perfect for a couple getaway
  • Henri Hotel – around the corner from the Ku’damm, this hotel screams #AccidentallyWesAnderson!
  • Hotel Zoo Berlin – with a mix of industrial and classic style, and a speakeasy style bar
  • 25Hours Hotel Bikini Berlin – funky, colourful hotel with a fun rooftop bar 

Day Trips from Berlin to Nearby Cities

1) Berlin to Dresden Day Trip

elbe cycle path dresden
Cycling along the Elbe in summer

Dresden is the perfect day trip from Berlin if you like strolling around and admiring Baroque architecture – the reconstructed Altstadt (Old Town) is the perfect place to do that.

This city is often called the ‘Florence on the Elbe’ thanks to its beautiful location on the banks of the river, its elegant architecture, interesting museums and – naturally –  lots of biergartens (beer gardens).

Among the best things to do in Dresden to enjoy on a day trip, we recommend:

– a visit at the Zwinger Palace, inspired by Versailles and now home to museums such as the Old Masters Picture Gallery, the Dresden Porcelain Collection and the Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments;

– the ascent to the dome at the Frauenkirche, the reconstructed Lutheran church

– attend a show at the Semperoper

– wandering around Neustadt, to discover street art and quirky bars

Just outside of the city you can also visit Moritzburg Castle, which is situated on a small artificial island, or take a hike through the nearby Saxon Switzerland National Park.

Getting to Dresden: by train from Berlin Hauptbahnhof. Travel time 2 hours each way.

Best Dresden Tours from Berlin

2) Berlin to Leipzig Day Trip

day trips from berlin leipzig
Modern architecture in Leipzig

Despite not being as well known as other German cities, Leipzig has become one of the most liveable cities in the region, and a cheaper alternative to the capital.

This upcoming city attracts young artists, design-lovers and businesspeople from all over the world.

The perfect itinerary for a day trip to Leipzig from Berlin begins with a walk around Altstadt, the old town with its rich architectural heritage dating back to the 19th and 20th centuries, and around the Market Square (Markt).

Afterwards, music and art lovers pick a museum to visit – some options are the Leipzig Museum of Fine Arts, the three-in-one Grassi Museum (home to the Etnography Museum, the Musical Instruments and Applied Arts Museum), or to the Bach Museum.

For a complete culinary experience, before heading back to Berlin make your way south of the centre along Karl-Liebknecht-Straße and explore the Zentrum-Süd and Südvorstadt districts, admiring the colourful street art and choosing your meal between numerous bars and restaurants.

Getting to Leipzig: by train from Berlin Hauptbahnhof. Travel time 1 hour 15 hours each way.

Best Leipzig Tours

3) Berlin to Hamburg Day Trip

Hamburg River Elbe Paddle Steamer
Cranes on the River Elbe and a paddle steamer

Hamburg is one of Germany’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities. It is also the main German port even though the city does not directly face the sea, but it develops along the Elbe river and its estuary.

Severely bombed during the Second World War, you will not find many monuments to visit or historical architecture to admire, therefore it is often described as a city that needs to be experienced to be appreciated – spend one night enjoying nightlife in St.Pauli and the Reeperbahn to know what I mean.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t many things to do and see in Hamburg – actually, quite the opposite. 

If you only have one day to explore the city, you can choose between wandering through the Speicherstadt, taking a river cruise, touring the new Elbphilharmonie, or indulging your inner child at Miniatur Wunderland.

Getting to Hamburg: by train from Berlin Hauptbahnhof. Travel time 1 hour 40 hours each way.

Best Hamburg Tours

4) Berlin to Potsdam Day Trip

potsdam river winter
What to do in Potsdam? Visit Sans Souci Palace, of course!

Potsdam is one of the most popular destinations for a day trip from Berlin. Only 30 minutes away from the city, this is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a complete change of scenery.

In contrast with gritty Berlin, Potsdam is known for its beautiful gardens and palaces, its picturesque centre with its historic architecture and one of the best cheesecakes you’ll ever taste – just head to Café Guam to know what I mean!

We also recommend visiting the Old Dutch Quarter with its unique red-bricked Dutch-style architecture, and the city’s gates as the medieval Nauener Tor, Brandenburg Gate and Hunters’ Gate.

Naturally, you can’t return to Berlin without visiting Sanssouci Palace and its park, dreamed up by Frederick the Great as a place where he could spend his time ‘sans souci’ (without cares).

Getting to Potsdam: by S-Bahn from Alexanderplatz or any other station along the S7. Travel time approx 30 minutes each way.

Best Potsdam Tours

5) Bremen

day trips from berlin bremen
Cute alleyway in Bremen

With its two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the impressive Market Square and its whimsical statues, Bremen is worth visiting during your time in Berlin, even though it’s 400 kilometres away.

If you can, plan Bremen as an overnight trip from Berlin, to explore this fascinating town after dark!

Bremen is a 1200 year old city filled with historical treasures and fun things to do. Head to the Old Town and take a stroll in the old Market Square with its Cathedral and, in December, its popular Christmas Market, admire the old Town Hall and the five-and-a-half-meter-tall statue of Roland, Germany’s most famous knight, erected in 1404.

To experience a quirkier side of the city, head to the Viertel quarter to admire the street art and experience its laid back cafés and late-night entertainment.

Getting to Bremen: by train from Berlin Gesundbrunnen. Travel time about 3 hours each way.

Best Bremen Tours

6) Braunschweig 

Check out colourful Rizzi House!

Braunschweig, founded in 1895 by the Duke of Saxony, Henry the Lion, is the largest city between Berlin and Hanover.

A major trading hub in the Middle Ages and severely bombed during the Second World War, Braunschweig is filled with tourist attractions that combine the traditional and the modern: from buildings that go back to the days of the city’s foundation, up to the contemporary Happy RIZZI House, a collection of buildings covered in colourful cartoon-inspired street art.

When visiting Braunschweig don’t miss the Burgplatz and its Dom (Cathedral), the Burg (Castle) and the Landesmuseum.

Getting to Braunschweig: by train from Berlin Gesundbrunnen. Travel time about 3 hours each way.

Day Trips from Berlin to Poland

7) Poznan

48 hours in poznan old market square
Beautiful Poznan, great day trip from Berlin!

Berlin is also a great starting point for a day trip to Poland – Poznan is a great option, a town known for its laid-back attitude and its many sights, as well as its incredible food scene.

Among the best things to see and do in Poznan we can mention visiting the Old Town, watching the mechanical billy goats appear at noon on the clock on top of Town Hall, visiting the Croissant Museum, and walking the halls of the former Imperial Castle.

You can also have a stroll around the Citadel Park, Poznan’s largest urban park, or enjoy the street art and choose between the many traditional Polish restaurants and hip cafes.

Getting to Poznan: by train from Berlin Lichtenberg. Travel time about 2 hours 20 hours each way. Alternatively, you can reach Poznan more cheaply by Flixbus, but travel time is 4 hours each way. 

Best Poznan Tours

8) Szczecin

If you want to visit Poland on a day trip from Berlin but don’t want to make it all the way to Poznan, then Szczecin is a great option, being only two hours away from Berlin.

The city is filled with historical sites, interesting architecture, museums, trendy bars and traditional restaurants.

Among the best things to see in Szczecin, we recommend visiting the Pomeranian Ducal Castle and Tower of Seven Mantles, admiring the architecture at Wały Chrobrego (the city’s most representative embankment) and strolling around the Old Town and Solidarity Square.

Szczecin is also the best place to try the famous Polish pierogies and beers and to watch a performance at the Philharmonic.

Getting to Szczecin: by Flixbus from Alexanderplatz. Travel time approx 2 hours each way. 

Nature Trips from Berlin

9) Wannsee

day trips from berlin wannsee sunset
Sunset over Wannsee

Did you know Berlin is surrounded by spectacular lakes? One of the best known is  Wannsee, also is home to one of Europe’s largest inland outdoor beaches.

Wannsee is one of the most popular destinations for a day trip from Berlin during the summer, so it might not be the best option if you’re looking for a day of peace and relaxation along the shores of the lake.

Despite the crowds, Wannsee, once a small village where the king rested and changed horses en route his palace in Potsdam, is now one of the most exclusive residential areas for the rich and famous.

The Strandbad is the perfect place for sunbathing and swimming and, on the opposite side of the lake, you can take a walk along Am Großen Wannsee to look at some of the most impressive historical homes of the area.

Last but not least, Wannsee and Potsdam are only three stops away on the S7 from one another, so you can easily combine both in one – long – day trip from Berlin!

Getting to Wannsee: by S-Bahn from Alexanderplatz or any other station along the S7. Travel time about 20 minutes each way.

Best Wannsee Tours

10) Spreewald

Only one hour away from the city, Spreewald is the perfect getaway for a day trip to escape bustling Berlin, and immerse yourself in the quiet atmosphere of the small towns scattered around the region.

Spreewald is a swampy area extending about 100 km southwest of Berlin, famous for its intricate network of waterways. As a result, the best known activity to enjoy in Spreewald are definitely boat tours around the protected UNESCO biosphere.

There are many kinds of boat tours available – you can paddle yourself on a kayak or jump on one of the traditional Spreewald punts, where you can sit on wooden benches sipping (copious amounts of) beer, while a boatman manoeuvres the boat with a long stick. 

These tours are really good fun and a great way to spend your day trip. If you prefer hiking to boating, you can also hike along a trail in the forest that leads to Lehde, one of the oldest traditional villages.

We also recommend spending some time checking out Lübbenau, one of the prettiest town in Spreewald – don’t miss a stroll in the historic Town Center, and if you have time also check out the unique Gurkenmuseum, dedicated to the most famous Spreewald product – the legendary gherkins!

Getting to Spreewald: by train from Berlin Lichtenberg. Travel time about 1 hour each way.

11) Kromlau (Rakotzbrücke)

day trips from berlin rakotzbrucke
The one and only Rakotzbrucke

Kromlau is one of the most sought-after picture-perfect destinations you can reach with a day trip from Berlin.

The main feature of Kromlau is its Rakotzbrücke (Devil’s Bridge), located in the middle of Kromlauer Park, and the perfect circle that forms in combination with its reflection on the water. 

Its name comes the legend behind its construction, which is exactly the same as the many ‘Devil’s Bridges’ all over Europe – the bridge was so challenging to build that the Devil was asked for help, and he accepted in exchange for the first soul to cross it.

However, cunning locals managed to get a cat, or goat, or pig (some kind of animal basically) to cross first, preventing eternal damnation for another human being. 

This legend dates back to Medieval times, but the Rakotzbrücke was commissioned by a local knight back only in 1860.

The bridge is another Instagram eye-candy favourite, and countless ‘influencers’ have posed on it in recent years, damaging the ancient stonework and potentially endangering themselves, since the bridge has no railings or parapet.

This doesn’t stop people from trespassing, even though there are many Verboten signs – please don’t do it!

Kromlauer Park is also a great place to relax and explore the area’s attractions such as Kromlau Castle.

This place is perfect for a day trip also combined with a visit in Spreewald, Bad Muskau or Lubbenau.

**2019 UPDATE** 

Renovation of the bridge is currently ongoing and the lake bed is filled with machinery, meaning you’ll miss out on those Insta-perfect mirror images – it is uncertain when works will end, so if you want to plan a day trip from Berlin, make sure get some updated info!

Getting to Rakotzbrücke: if you can, we highly recommend hiring a car – driving time is approximately 2 hours from Berlin. 

If you’re set on travelling by public transport from Berlin, the best way is getting a train to Cottbus and another to Weißwasser, where you can hop on bus 257 to Kromlau. Travel time is about 3 and a half hours each way.

12) Sachsenhausen

sachsenhausen berlin day trip winter
Sachsenhausen in Winter

Even though it’s not what you would call a fun day out from Berlin, a visit at Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp it is without a doubt one of the most touching experiences you can make in your life.

Sachsenhausen was one of the largest concentration camps in Germany. It served as both a concentration camp and for the training of commanders and personnel that was then being sent to the other camps.

Between 1939 and 1945 about 200,000 people were deported to the camp of Sachsenhausen and many of these lost their lives due to starvation, exhaustion, medical experimentation or execution.

After the war, it fell into Soviet hands  – making Sachsenhausen the only concentration camp that to be used both by the Nazi and by the NKVD, the Soviet secret service, who imprisoned over 60,000 inmates over a five-year period. Over 12,000 ended up losing their lives. 

A visit at Sachsenhausen camp includes several museums and information sites, so be prepared for a lot of walking – or book a tour to get the historical background of the site. 

Getting to Sachsenhausen: by train from Berlin Gesundbrunnen to Oranienburg, travel time 35 minutes. From there, you can either walk for 20 minutes to Sachsenhausen, or take bus number 804.

Best Sachsenhausen Tours