Berlin is the capital and biggest city in Germany and is one of the most renowned European cities, and for good reason. The German capital has an immensely rich history and culture and is home to some iconic attractions and landmarks. Additionally, Berlin is a thriving metropolis that boasts a bustling nightlife and festival scene as well as a sports and commercial hub.
With so much to see and do in Berlin, you can easily spend a couple of days trying to cover all that the city has to offer. Tourists can keep themselves busy trying to explore the numerous attractions found within the city – from historic landmarks to exclusive night clubs. However, if you are looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of the big city, there are also some incredible day trip destinations from Berlin that are worth checking out. If you've been spending your days working in coffee shops on your laptop, it's time for a break from the norm!
Berlin has an impressive public transport network that makes it extremely easy for travelers to get in and out of the city to visit nearby attractions. Numerous tour operators offer guided tours for those who want to take away the hassle of planning. If you’re looking to go beyond the city center, check out our list of best day trips to take from Berlin. Don’t forget to look for a luggage locker where you can safely store your bags before going on your journey.
As an alternative, in case the weather hinders you from making your way out of the city, you may want to check out the best museums in Berlin to keep you busy during the unpleasant weather. After all, the German capital is home to some world-class museums and cultural institutions that are worth visiting and exploring. We've got a guide to the best rainy day activities here, so be sure to bring it along.
How to Get Out of Berlin
Berlin is the perfect jump off point to several attractions in the region and most of the day trip destinations on this list can easily be reached within a few hours. What’s more, Berlin boasts an incredibly efficient public transport system, including a network of trains and buses. Our guide, How to Get Around Berlin will give you more details about the transportation services of Berlin. Berlin Central Bus Station will take you anywhere long distance you want to go. And Berlin Hauptbahnhof is the train station to seek out.
However, if you want more flexibility with your schedule, you may want to consider renting a car for the duration of your trip. Alternatively, you can book a guided tour from a reputable tour company and they will handle all the arrangements for you. From wineries for wine tastings to national parks for hiking, Berlin has a lot to offer the explorer.
From Berlin to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp
One of the most important and eye-opening attractions to visit from Berlin, the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp memorial is a must-visit. Founded in 1933, the historic site functioned as one of the first concentration camps established and used by the Nazis until the end of World War II in 1945.
However, its dark history does not end here; after operating as a Nazi concentration camp, it was controlled by the Soviet authorities and used as a “special camp” from 1945 to 1950. During this period, an estimated 12,000 prisoners met their death. Today, it serves as a national memorial for the victims of this tragic period, and daily guided tours are conducted where guests can learn about the history of the place.
How to get to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp
For commuters, take the S1 line to Oranienburg Bahnhof and then ride the 821 bus, which will drop you off at the Sachsenhausen stop; from there, it’s about a 5-minute walk to the memorial. The total journey from Berlin to the camp takes about an hour. Private cars can reach the memorial from Berlin's city center in less than an hour.
From Berlin to Potsdam
Potsdam is one of the most popular day trips from Berlin and it’s easy to see why; this small but charming town is easily accessible (located just 22 miles outside of the city center) and is home to some of the loveliest parks and palaces in the region.
In fact, the entire town of Potsdam has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in order to preserve the natural wonders found within it. Some of the must-visit attractions in Potsdam include the historic Brandenburg Gate, the Sanssouci Palace and Park, Neuer Garten, the Dutch Quarter, and the renowned Glienicke Bridge (also known as the “Bridge of Spies”).
How to get to Potsdam
To get to Potsdam from Berlin, take the S1 or S7 line which will take you directly to the town area; the train journey takes just around 30 minutes. Another alternative is to book a day trip tour to Potsdam, which includes transportation as well as the services of a local guide.
From Berlin to Peacock Island
Peacock Island (or local name Pfaueninsel) is a UNESCO-protected nature reserve and one of the most famous day trips from Berlin. Situated on a small isle in the heart of the Havel River, the location was commissioned by King Frederick William II, where he had a summer residence built for him and his mistress, Wilhelmine Encke.
As its name suggests, it is famous for the wild peacocks living in the area; the creatures were brought to the island by William to keep him company and they continue to exist here long after the royals were gone. The main attraction is the Peacock Island Castle, a fairytale-like palace that has become a popular picnic spot enjoyed by Berlin locals and tourists alike. You can also find a German beer garden and some eateries within Peacock Island where you can grab a drink or meal before heading back to the city.
How to get to Peacock Island
To get to Peacock Island, take the S-Bahn S7 line to Wannsee and then ride a 218 bus, which will take you to Havel River. Then, take a ferry transfer to the island, which leaves every 10 to 20 minutes. If you want a more convenient option, book a day tour to the island.
From Berlin to Saxon Switzerland National Park
Widely regarded as one of Europe’s best national parks, the Saxon Switzerland National Park is an excellent day trip option from Berlin. Situated by the banks of the River Elbe and near the Czech border, the park boasts beautiful nature, picturesque views, endless hiking trails, cycling paths and even rock climbing spots.
If you’re looking for something less strenuous, you can relax at the Toskana Therme spa or cruise on a paddle steamer. Some of the must-see landmarks within the Saxon Switzerland National Park include the Königstein Fortress and the postcard-worthy Bastei Bridge.
How to get to Saxon Switzerland National Park
To get from Berlin to the Saxon Switzerland National Park, ride a train from the Berlin Hauptbahnhof to Dresden, which takes about three hours. Once you get to Dresden, take the S1 to the Sebnitz bus station and ride the 241 bus, which will take you to the park. The most convenient option, however, would be to directly drive to the park, which will take about three hours.
From Berlin to Dresden
Located in eastern Germany, the historic city of Dresden is one of the most popular day trips from Berlin for a variety of reasons. Situated approximately two hours south of the Berlin city center, Dresden is one of the most impressive Baroque cities in Europe and is home to some historic buildings. The Old Town is home to incredible landmarks and sites, such as the Semper Opera House, Zwinger Palace, the Dresden Royal Palace, the Dresden State Art Collection and the Frauenkirche.
How to get to Dresden
Dresden can be reached from Berlin via a two-hour train ride to the Dresden Hauptbahnhof or ride the FlixBus from Alexanderplatz, which will take anywhere from two to three hours. Other alternatives would be to drive a rental car from the city to Dresden (which can take approximately two to three hours) or book an organized tour to Dresden.
From Berlin to Tropical Islands Resort
Tropical Islands Resort is located about two hours from Berlin and is the world’s biggest indoor water park. Built upon a former airship hangar, this thrilling water park is the perfect destination for families and adults that want to get in touch with their younger selves. The resort has amazing attractions such as giant water slides, lagoons, waterfalls and more. There is also a spa, kid-friendly activities and their own indoor rainforest.
How to get to Tropical Islands Resort
Take the RE2 train to Brand Tropical Islands then take the free shuttle to the resort.
From Berlin to Spreewald
Sitting just a little over 60 miles outside of Berlin and reachable within an hour is the majestic Spreewald forest, a UNESCO-listed biosphere reserve rich in flora and fauna and made up of more than 200 canals and rivers flowing through the forest.
This lush greenery is a sight to behold; the area is home to traditional log houses, vegetable fields, orchid gardens, meadows of wildflowers and a stunning labyrinth of springs. Spreewald is the ultimate escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and one of the must-visit day trip destinations from Berlin.
How to get to Spreewald
Drive your own car or take the RE2 train to the town of Lubben. One of the best ways to truly take in the natural beauty of the reserve is to take a boat tour onboard a traditional Kahn boat, which will take you through the waterways and give you a unique perspective of the area.
From Berlin to Spandau Citadel
Berlin has no shortage of places to see for history buffs but if you want a truly unique experience, take a quick day trip to the Spandau Citadel. Located just 30 minutes from central Berlin via public transport, the town of Spandau is home to some beautiful palaces, parks and settlements.
However, the crowning glory of the region is undoubtedly the Spandau Citadel, one of Germany’s most well-preserved historic sites and dates back to the 16th century. One of the highlights of the tour around the fortress is the Prince’s Room and the Julius Tower, where you can climb up over 1,300 steps to the top and be rewarded with unparalleled views of East Germany.
How to get to Spandau Citadel
The citadel can be reached via a 30-minute drive from Berlin. You can also take the U7 line and alight at the U Zitadelle stop or ride the X33 bus to Spandau.
From Berlin to Leipzig
Another gem that tells the fascinating history of former East Germany, Leipzig is one of the most amazing day trips from Berlin. Sometimes regarded as Berlin’s “little brother”, this small but lovely town is located about 100 miles outside of the city and is home to impressive buildings and historic landmarks.
Right in the heart of the city is Market Square, where you can find several points of interest such as the Old Town Hall, the St. Thomas Church and the Leipzig Museum of City History. Leipzig is also renowned as a center for music; famous musicians such as Johann Sebastian Bach lived and created music in the city.
How to get to Leipzig
Take the Deutsche Bahn to Leipzig, which takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Another option is to take the Fernbus from Berlin ZOB, which will take you directly to the town of Leipzig.
Berlin Day Trips
Berlin is an incredibly beautiful city and offers plenty of fun things to do for locals and visitors. However, if you run out of things to do in the German capital or simply want a change of scenery, you can explore further and take the chance to visit other nearby attractions. With the efficient transport system in the city, you can head out of Berlin for the majority of the day and head back before dinner!