The vast city of Berlin has something for everybody – historical attractions, art galleries, a diverse dining scene, plenty of cafes, and places where you can party all night. It’s unsurprising that many people who visit Berlin don’t end up leaving the city – but it’s worth venturing out for a day trip if you can!
Berlin sits in the heart of Germany, geographically in the north west but with plenty of surrounding towns, villages, and places of interest. Day trips from Berlin can take in both epic countryside and historic places where the 20th century was shaped.
I’ve teamed up with some other travel bloggers to show you the best places to visit near Berlin. We’ve got a mix of nature, culture and history on this list – there should be something for everybody! I’d strongly recommend putting one or two of these on your Berlin itinerary for when you’re visiting the German capital!
Day Trips from Berlin
Potsdam is an easy day trip from Berlin, perfect for anyone who loves beautiful palaces and parks, museums, and unique historical quarters. In fact, the palaces and gardens of Potsdam are a UNESCO World Heritage Site that spreads over more than 2,000 hectares, which makes it one of the largest in the world.
The first must-see spot in Potsdam is Sanssouci Park. It’s home not only to the iconic 18th-century Sanssouci Palace (Frederick the Great’s favourite summer residence) but also the beautiful New Palace and Orangery Palace, the unique Chinese House and Dragon House, and other stunning buildings. Next, Babelsberg Park is home to the dreamy, fairytale-like Babelsberg Palace and Flatow Tower.
Museum lovers will also enjoy the art and history Potsdam Museum, and the art Museum Barberini, and one of the most fascinating museums in Europe – the Film Museum (which can be followed by a visit to Studio Babelsberg – the world’s oldest studio).
Last but not least, the Dutch Quarter is another unmissable spot in the city. With its architecture, the abundance of shops and cafes, and overall atmosphere, it really does provide a sense of strolling through a charming town in The Netherlands – making it one of the best places to visit near Berlin!
How to get there: To get to Potsdam from Berlin, take the S7 (S-Bahn line) from Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Berlin’s Central Station) gets to Potsdam Hauptbahnhof in about 35 minutes. For a slower-paced exploration of Potsdam, it’s even worth staying the night and spending one more day or half-day in the city.
By Or from My Path in the World
I bet you didn’t know that there is a tropical island right outside Berlin? But in this case, the ‘Tropical Islands’ is a unique theme park located in a large airplane hangar – and it’s one of the best Berlin day trips.
This artificial ‘island’ features a white sand beach complete with waves, lush rainforest with real plants and a maze of little pathways. Also on site are 12 restaurants, bars and lounges and superior wellness care, as well as a sauna.
While most people spend just a day there, it’s also possible to stay overnight. The range of accommodation options is vast – from a simple campsite on the beach to luxurious suites.
Recently, an outdoor part was added to the theme park – here you can go swimming, do watersports activities including surfing, and slide through a white-water river.
The Tropical Islands are incredibly family-friendly. A range of slides, a mini-golf area and the option to go high up to the ceiling in a hot air balloon are only a few of the most fun and adventurous activities that families can engage in.
The theme park is open 24/7, year-round. It’s especially fun in the winter when you can escape the cold and soak up some of the tropical atmosphere.
How to get there: The Tropical Islands are located 60km from Berlin. You can easily get there by train, the ride takes only 50 minutes to the closest train stop called Brand Tropical Islands. Alternatively, if you are driving, you can get there in an hour.
Veronika, Jigsaw Puzzle Queen
Berlin is an incredible city with a rich, turbulent history. Just 45 minutes outside of the Berlin city centre is the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Memorial and Museum, a piercing reminder of the atrocities that occurred during the Holocaust.
Sachsenhausen was one of the 20 main concentration camps run by the Nazis during World War II. The camp was open from July 1936 to the end of the Third Reich in 1945, and was primarily used to hold political prisoners.
Today, there are various exhibits about the camp’s history and horror, including what “everyday life” was like for the prisoners, medical experiments that occurred at the camp, a memorial to the prisoners who were held at the camp, and more.
The day will be sombre; however, you will leave with a greater understanding of the site’s history. The site is especially fascinating for history buffs – visiting historic sites and seeing them in person is one of the best ways to learn, and there is no doubt that this is true when it comes to visiting Sachsenhausen. Remember to be respectful during your visit – Sachsenhausen is not a place to be loud or to take fun photos.
How to get there: Getting to Sachsenhausen from Berlin is easy. Take the S Bahn from Berlin to Oranienburg HBF; from there, you can either take a bus or taxi to the Memorial. The total journey takes about 45 minutes.
By Sydney from A World in Reach
Wannsee is located within Berlin’s borough, at its westmost locality, and it is one of the most popular things to do near Berlin. There are two lakes – Großer Wannsee and Kleiner Wannsee. The Wannsee Bridge separates the lakes at River Havel, which flows through the German states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Berlin city, and Saxony-Anhalt. Also, the beach of Wannsee is a visiting card of the borough.
Strandbad Wannsee is the number one place for bathing culture in Berlin. There is a sandy beach of 1,275 meters long, with sunbeds, volley, and soccer areas. You also can find a park area, FKK zone, and children’s playground spread across a total area of 355,000 square meters. Would you like to discover the beach from the waterside? No problem — you can easily rent a boat and have some adventures with your family or friends!
Besides that, Wannsee is a historically significant place. Notably, this Berlin suburb hosted a Wansee Conference in 1942, a meeting of Nazi officials to discuss the horrific so-called ‘final solution’ for the Jewish population of Nazi territories. The villa Am Großen Wannsee 56–58, where the decision was announced, was declared a memorial and museum on the fiftieth anniversary of the conference in 1992. It commemorates those who lost their lives at the hands of the Nazis during this sadistic regime, to allow visitors to pay their respects.
How to get there: You can reach Wannsee by bus. The price of a coach tickets starts from 6.40 EUR, and it takes a 10-20 minute ride from Berlin’s Central Station.
By Inna from the Executive Thrillseeker
A visit to Leipzig is one of the best day trips from Berlin. It is one of the largest cities in Germany with approximately 600,000 inhabitants, and Liepzig itself has an interesting history.
During the Holy Roman Empire, it was an important city of trade it played a large role in the areas of learning and culture. There are plenty of things to do in Leipzig. After you arrive at the beautiful train station, take a look at some of the museums. Just like the museums in Berlin, Leipzig’s museums are extraordinary.
One of the best of these is the Museum der Bildenden Künste, which is an art museum that is really worth your time. Its collection comprises artworks from Medieval times until today. Another exciting and beautiful sight in Leipzig is the Altes Rathaus, which was made in the architectural style of the Renaissance. The Leipzig City Museum is also in this building.
How to get there: Leipzig is located only 160 kilometres from Berlin, so it is very convenient for a day trip – you can easily get there by train, and the journey takes about 2 hours.
By Dymphe from Dymabroad
One of the best Berlin day trips is undoubtedly Dresden, a city in Saxony that is known for its gorgeous Baroque architecture and Zwinger Palace.
One of the essential things to do in Dresden is to visit the Zwinger Palace, a Baroque palatial complex with gardens that date back to the 1700s. Another top sight in Dresden is the Frauenkirche, a Baroque reconstructed Protestant Church in the old city that is ornate and magnificent.
However, the real charm of Dresden is over in the city’s Neustadt, or ‘New City’. The Neustadt is hip and cool with a variety of unique businesses offering tasty food, delicious coffee, and more to the residents of Dresden. One of the best things to do in Dresden Neustadt is to check out the many parks in that part of the city. Some of the best are Alaunpark and Hecht Park, and you will find them teeming with locals on a sunny day.
If you wish to turn your Dresden day trip into an overnighter, there are plenty of places to stay in the city. Dresden is definitely one of the top day trips from Berlin and a must-visit for architecture lovers and those looking for a lesser-known place to visit in Germany.
How to get there: A trip to Dresden from Berlin is easily done with a bus or one of the regional trains. The journey is around 2 hours by bus or car, and trains tend to take a bit longer (just over three hours), but there are over 30 trains a day, leaving a train the most convenient option.
By Megan from Megan Starr
The Spreewald is a protected nature reserve approximately 100 kilometres south of Berlin and absolutely worth visiting for many reasons.
The most impressive attraction of the Spreewald is its unique river system. This consists of more than 200 small canals with a total length of 1,300 kilometres. This makes it the best region in Germany for
kayaking and canoeing as the canals are building a complex river road network, allowing for endless tour options and amusing canoe trips.
But even if you don’t want to be active, you can enjoy the romantic river system by heading on a guided tour with a traditional barge. Those engine-less boats, manoeuvred by the standing captain with a super-sized paddle, belongs to the history of the Spreewald and should not be missed if you are looking for a relaxed and entertaining tour.
Once you have explored the rivers, you can head to the historic towns and immerse yourself a bit in the traditions of the Spreewald. You can visit museums, such as the House of the Spreewald which is a historic fortress of an old local tribe, and a museum dedicated to Spreewald pickles.
A museum for pickles? Yes, because the Spreewald is also one of the best day trips for Berlin for foodies. The region has many local delicacies, such as fresh and flavorful pickles, several types of mustard as well as linseed oil and horseradish. The pickles so famous and delicious that there are food stalls on the little canals, which sell you the local delicacies right into your canoe. An experience not to be missed!
How to get there: The Spreewald is a perfect day trip from Berlin as you can reach the train stations Lübben and Lübbenau (the most important towns of the area) in around an hour on a direct train from Berlin-Ostkreuz (approx. 1:25h from Berlin main station with changing trains once) or in a bit more than an hour by rental car. If you have more time, it is also worth staying 1-2 nights as there are many things to do.
Chris from Punta Cana Travel Blog
Best Things to do Near Berlin
I won’t blame you if you never want to leave Berlin – I certainly found it hard – but I’m sure you’ll love these Berlin day trips. They’ve got the best mix of history, nature, and modern culture. Enjoy!