Best Day Trips From Berlin: Dresden, Leipzig, Potsdam and Beyond

Are you planning a German holiday and looking for the best day trips from Berlin?

Our “day trips from Berlin,” guide features the best destinations in Germany for a quick getaway.

We suggest spending 3-4 days in Berlin so you can see all of the city’s top attractions. Have a few additional days on your German holiday? Plan to visit one of our favourite day trips from Berlin, exploring nearby Leipzig, Dresden, Spreewald, Potsdam and beyond!

Learn about the best day trips from Berlin by using an Eyewitness Travel Germany Guide.
Learn about the best day trips from Berlin by using an Eyewitness Travel Germany Guide.

Day Trips From Berlin with Eyewitness Travel Germany

Whether you’ve travelled through Germany extensively or are keen to plan your first visit, it’s important to research the best day trips from Berlin in advance.

We suggest using the newest edition of Eyewitness Travel Germany. If you’re a first time visitor you’ll want to take notes on the “Reasons to Love” section, which sums up all of the top sights and experiences in and around Berlin.

Eyewitness Travel Germany features handy itineraries for those visiting Berlin:

  • 2 Weeks in Germany
  • 2 Days in Berlin
  • Berlin Beyond the Centre
  • 2 Days in Brandenburg
  • Amazing Beaches of Meck-Pom

Eyewitness Travel Germany also includes detailed itineraries and “don’t miss” destination highlights at a glance. You’ll also find illustrated cutaway 3-D drawings of important sights, floor plans for major museums, area maps marked with popular sights, and top hotel and restaurant listings. The guide also features a slew of info on niche interests such as Germany for adventurers, foodies and hidden gems.

We suggest reading Eyewitness Travel Germany from cover to cover. Take notes on the destinations and experiences that most excite you and plan a series of exciting day tips from Berlin.

You’ll find the informative guidebook acts as an excellent companion while zooming across Germany by train. Once home, DK Eyewitness Travel Germany is a perfect memento to showcase on your bookshelf.

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Best Day Trips From Berlin

We believe a day trip on holiday shouldn’t be rushed, so our suggestions are no more than 4 hours drive from downtown Berlin. While you can easily spend 2-3 days visiting each of these German destinations, you can experience the highlights on a day trip from Berlin.

We’ve calculated the total distance and average driving time to each destination from Alexanderplatz in downtown Berlin. If you wake up at the crack of dawn and hop on the autobahn you’ll do a great job at maximizing your time. Try and get on the highway in the early morning and you’ll avoid rush-hour traffic.

Once you’ve selected your Berlin day trip destination, plan to enjoy dinner at a local restaurant before heading back to the city. Driving back to Berlin at night means you’ll avoid traffic and be back at your hotel in time for a relaxing sleep.

While we suggest renting a car to explore Germany on holiday, many of the destinations in our day trips from Berlin guide are easily accessible via train. If you’re keen to use public transit, visit Deutsche Bahn to organize your itinerary. We’ve also included a list of our favourite local tours, perfect for those who are more hands off on holiday.

If you're organizing several day trips from Berlin book a room at centrally located Hotel Oderberger Berlin.
If you’re organizing several day trips from Berlin book a room at centrally located Hotel Oderberger Berlin.

Book a Hotel Before Planning Day Trips From Berlin

Before confirming your day trips from Berlin we suggest booking a central hotel in the city. If you’re going to be hiring a car to explore nearby attractions inquire to ensure your hotel offers complimentary parking.

If you’re opting to hop on the train, it’s helpful to book a hotel in Berlin near one of the city’s main train stations. This way you can hop on a direct train to most destination without having to transfer on the subway.

Leipzig is Germany's fastest growing city.
Leipzig is Germany’s fastest growing city.

Leipzig

Drive 190km in approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Germany’s fastest growing city is attributed to the start of the Peaceful Revolution in 1989. The protests in Leipzig led to the fall of communism in East Germany.

Leipzig has been an important trade hub since the time of the Roman Empire. It was known as a major centre of learning and culture in East Germany thanks to its history as host of the world’s most famous trade fare.

Ranked as one of the most popular day trips from Berlin, Leipzig offers awesome architecture, trendy art galleries, inspiring museums and a world-renowned zoo.

Arts and culture fans should start on a walking tour of the city’s Old Town with stops at St. Nicholas Church, Madler Passage, the Museum of Fine Arts, Grassi Museum of Applied Arts, Leipzig Opera and its neighbour Gewandhaus.

Contemporary art lovers should head to Leipzig’s west end and spend an afternoon exploring Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei and nearby Kunstkraftwerk.

Food lovers on a day trip to Leipzig can guarantee a good meal at Cafe Kleinert, Cafe Riquet, Auerbachs Keller, Restaurant Weinstock and Bayerischer Bahnhof.

Dresden is a perfect day trip from Berlin for history buffs and museum lovers.
Dresden is a perfect day trip from Berlin for history buffs and museum lovers.

Dresden

Drive 195km in approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Dresden is an ancient German city that was once the capital and royal residence for the Kings of Saxony.

While the majority of the city centre was demolished during WWII, decades of restoration work have helped the city return to her regal roots. Today, Dresden offers a dichotomy of treasures, from its opulent castle in the Old Town, to the inspiring graffiti murals of the New Town.

Neustadt, also known as New Town, is the beating heart of Dresden’s creative and alternative scenes. It’s here, just north of the River Elbe that you’ll find a clutch of hipster art galleries, cafes, pubs and Dresden’s gay bars. Enjoy a walking tour of Neustadt by visiting Kulturzentrum Scheune, Kunsthofpassage and the wildly entertaining Carte Blanche Drag Cabaret.

Most tourists in Dresden spend the majority of their time exploring Altstadt, also known as Old Town. The historic buildings in Altstadt have spent years undergoing renovations to bring them back to their former pre-WWII glory. Today, you’ll find awesome architecture from the Renaissance, Baroque and 19th-century.

Must-see attractions in Dresden’s Old Town include Bruhl’s Terrace, Albertinum, Frauenkirche, Furstenzug Mural, the Porcelain Collection, Old Masters Picture Gallery, Semperoper, Katholische Hofkirche and the jaw-dropping Residenzschloss.

Food lovers on a day trip to Dresden can guarantee a good meal at Coselpalais Grand Cafe, Horst Vier Vogel, Lila Soße Restaurant, Karl May Bar and Sophienkeller.

  • Dresden City Tour: Explore Dresden without the stress of planning on a half-day tour with round-trip transport from your accommodation.
  • Dresden Private Tour: See Dresden Castle, Dresden Frauenkirche, and Brühl’s Terrace, the “Balcony of Europe.”
  • Dresden Bike Tour: Rent a bike and discover Dresden, from the historic old town to the Baroque quarter, through the New Town and the suburbs.
Spreewald is one of the best day trips from Berlin for nature and exercise fans.
Spreewald is one of the best day trips from Berlin for nature and exercise fans.

Spreewald

Drive 117km in approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Sreewald is a UNESCO protected nature lovers paradise. Ranked as one of the best day trips from Berlin, a visit to Spreewald allows visitors to relax while exploring Germany’s scenic countryside.

Originally settled by the Sorbs and Wends in the 6th-century, Spreewald was a farming region featuring a vast array of canals connected to the River Spree.

Today, nature lovers and spa enthusiasts visit Spreewald to enjoy a wellness retreat paired with local culinary delicacies such as plump pickles and spicy horseradish.

The perfect Spreewald getaway should start with a walking tour of the region’s famous folk village, Freilandmuseum Lehde. Then drive to the tiny town of Burg and spend the afternoon relaxing at one of Germany’s best spa resorts, Spreewald Therme.


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Potsdam is one of the easiest day trips from Berlin by train.
Potsdam is one of the easiest day trips from Berlin by train.

Potsdam

Drive 35km in approximately 40 minutes.

Tourists arrive to Potsdam in droves year-round to tip toe through posh palaces, ancient cathedrals, fine arts museums and the city’s unique Russian and Dutch Quarters. Since Potsdam is less than a 30 minute subway ride away, it’s one of the most popular day trips from Berlin.

Start your day tour of Potsdam in the city’s famous Dutch Quarter. Built between 1773 and 1740, the neighbourhood’s 134 red brick, two-storey houses makes up the largest exclusively Dutch housing development outside the Netherlands.

From the Dutch Quarter take a stroll of the city by making stops at Nauener Tor, St. Nicholas’s Church, Museum Barberini and Alexandrowka. If you’re planning on palace hopping in Potsdam, make sure to visit the city’s cutest castles including Sanssouci, Neues Palais, Belvedere on Pfingsberg and Schloss Cecilienhof.

Food lovers on a day trip to Dresden can guarantee a good meal at Zum Fliegenden Hollander and Kades Restaurant.

Ahrenshoop on the Baltic Sea is one of the best day trips from Berlin for beach lovers.
Ahrenshoop on the Baltic Sea is one of the best day trips from Berlin for beach lovers.

Ahrenshoop

Drive 260km in approximately 3 hours.

The adorable German town of Ahrenshoop sits perched over the Baltic Sea, a 3 hour drive north of Berlin.

The popular Baltic resort is located in northern Germany’s Mecklenburg-Vorpommer region. Plan a holiday in Ahrenshoop and you’ll find sandy beaches, luxurious seaside resorts, art galleries, smoked seafood restaurants and plenty of family-friendly outdoor activities.

Many years ago Ahrenshoop was a small fishing village, but today it’s considered one of the most romantic beaches in Germany. Known as an artist enclave, it was back in 1889 when German painters Paul Muller-Kaempff and Oskar Frenzel first “discovered” the village. So impressed with the landscape, the duo started an artist colony.

You can easily visit Ahreshoop’s top attractions in a day. The ultimate Ahrenshoop itinerary should include visits to Schifferkirche Ahrenshoop, Bunte Stube, Kunstmuseum, a Zeesenboot cruise of the Baltic Sea and sun tanning at Wellenbrecher Beach,

Food lovers on a day trip to Ahrenshoop can guarantee a good meal at Fischkaten, Raucherhaus, and The Grand Ahrenshoop’s panoramic rooftop restaurant.

Hamburg is one of the best day trips from Berlin for architecture aficionado's.
Hamburg is one of the best day trips from Berlin for architecture aficionado’s.

Hamburg

Drive 287km in approximately 3 hours and 10 minutes.

The second largest city in Germany is famous for its huge harbour, the original recipe for the hamburger and its jaw-dropping architectural icons.

A monumental fixture in the Hanseatic League trade alliance between the 13th and 17th-centuries, Hamburg is now best known for as a world commerce capital. The affluent city is a liberal place, welcoming foreigners who connect through Europe’s second largest harbour. More than 30% of locals are immigrants, coming from over 180 different countries.

Start your walking tour of Hamburg at the city’s iconic Kunsthalle, which contains masterpieces by Rembrandt, Rubens, Tiepolo, Goya, Degas, Manet, Monet, Rodin, Munch and Klee.

Spend the afternoon strolling through Hamburg’s historic streets with stops at Alster Fountain, St Peter’s Church, City Hall, St. Nikolai Memorial, Nikolaifleet, City Sporthafen, St. Pauli Landing Bridges, Alter Elbtunnel, Elbphilharmonie, Wasserschloss and Chilehaus,

Food lovers on a day trip to Hamburg can guarantee a good meal at Frau Moller, Groninger Brewery and Kaffeemuseum-Burg.

Tropical Islands Resort

Drive 72 kms in approximately 1 hour.

Located in the former Brand-Briesen Airfield in Halbe, Tropical Islands Resort is one of the best theme parks in Germany. The former airship hangar holds two records as the largest free-sanding hall in the world and world’s largest indoor waterpark.

Inside Tropical Islands Resort, the air temperature is 26 °C and humidity is regulated to around 64%. It’s home to the biggest indoor rainforest in the world, a beautiful beach, a wild selection of tropical plants and a number of swimming pools, bars and restaurants.

Tropical Islands Resort offers a number of themed areas:

  • The Tropical Village: features traditional buildings from Thailand, Borneo, Samoa and Bali.
  • The Rainforest: houses 50,000 plants and 600 different species.
  • The Tropical Sea: a 140 metre pool designed to look like the waters of a coral island and a 200 metres of white sandy beach.
  • The Bali Lagoon: sprawls across 1,200 square metres and features frothing fountains, current canal, whirlpools and water slide duo.
  • The Amazonia: an outdoor area featuring two large pools, sunbathing area and a beach volleyball and beach soccer field.

Tropical Islands Resort is one of the best day trips from Berlin for families. If you’re visiting Germany in the cold of winter it also offers an excellent escape to a tropical paradise.

Day Trips From Berlin: Paddle under Rakotzbrucke Devil’s Bridge.
Day Trips From Berlin: Paddle under Rakotzbrucke Devil’s Bridge.

Rakotzbrucke Devil’s Bridge

Drive 165 km in approximately 2 hours.

One of the best day trips from Berlin for photography fans is Rakotzbrucke, known to locals as the Devil’s Bridge. The awe-inspiring 19th-century bridge uses its reflection to create a perfect circle.

Commissioned in 1860 by a knight in nearby Kromlau, the thin arch stretches across the calm waters of the Rakotzsee. The ancient bridge is known as a “devil’s bridge,” due folklore and fables that said such bridges were so dangerous that they must have been built by Satan. 

Today, the bridge can still be viewed in Kromlauer Park, but crossing the crumbling relic is prohibited in order to preserve it for generations to come.

The best time to visit Rakotzbrucke “Devil’s Bridge” is in the Autumn when the cavalcade of Fall colours offer a surreal view.

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

Drive 35 kms in approximately 45 mins.

World War II history buffs consider a visit to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp to be one of the best day trips from Berlin.

Located a short 45 minute drive from downtown Berlin, Sachsenhausen was a Nazi concentration camp in Oranienburg. It was used primarily for political prisoners from 1936 to the end of the Third Reich in May 1945. 

The administrative centre for all of Hitler’s concentration camps was located in Oranienburg, so Sachsenhausen became a training centre for SS officers who would often be sent to oversee other camps.

Today, the grounds with the remaining buildings are open to the public as a somber memorial museum. After German reunification, Sachsenhausen was overseen by a foundation that opened a museum on the site.

The World War II Holocaust museum at Sachsenhausen features artwork created by inmates, scale models of the camp, pictures, documents and other artifacts illustrating life here during Hitler’s brutal reign.

Enjoy a romantic hike at sunset at Saxon Switzerland National Park.
Enjoy a romantic hike at sunset at Saxon Switzerland National Park.

Saxon Switzerland National Park

Drive 255 kms in approximately 3 hours.

Saxon Switzerland National Park is one of the best day trips from Berlin for outdoor adventure enthusiasts. It’s one of 16 National Parks in Germany, adjoining Bohemian Switzerland National Park in the Czech Republic.

Located in Saxony, in the eastern part of Germany, Saxon Switzerland National Park is located just 30 kms from Dresden. It’s part of a natural area that sprawls across 710 kilometres squared.

The most enjoyable way to get to the national park from Dresden is on a cruise boat, which gives you the opportunity to sit back and enjoy the surrounding nature en route. ‘

Book a Bohemian Saxon Switzerland Day Trip From Dresden

Saxon Switzerland National Park is defined by a rocky canyon landscape. Its highest peak is 556 meters above sea level, but is located near the valley of the Elbe River. Germany’s famous nature park features 400 kms of hiking paths, 50 kms of biking paths and 755 climbing locations.

The most popular attraction at Saxon Switzerland National Park is Bastei Bridge. The famous landmark appears to be built directly into the craggy rocks. Visitors can stroll along the bridge and enjoy jaw-dropping panoramic views.

Wannsee is the quickest and closest day trips from Berlin.
Wannsee is the quickest and closest day trips from Berlin.

Wannsee

Drive 25 kms in approximately 35 mins.

Wannsee is technically Berlin’s southernmost suburb, located just north of Potsdam. It’s named after beautiful Wansee Lake, which is actually a bulge in the Havel River.

During the warmer months of the year Wannsee is one of the most popular day trips from Berlin. Visitors can cruise across the lake, hike in the forest, explore a magical island, tour a Prussian palace and enjoy tanning on the beach at Strandbad Wannsee.

The popular summer getaway for Berliners can host up to 30,000 on a hot day. It also offers a clothes-free nude beach, popular with care-free families.

One of Wannsee’s most popular landmarks is Pfaueninsel, or Peacock Island. The island is located within a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a protected natural area for wild birds. It was in 1793, when Prussian king Frederick William II, acquired the island and had Pfaueninsel Castle built for himself and his mistress Wilhelmine Enke. Today, Peacock Island famously features free-ranging peacocks, and other native and exotic birds. It can only be reached via a small, scenic ferry ride.

Review Our Travel Checklist When Planning Your Next Adventure! 

Find the best flights on Skyscanner

Never travel without insurance! We suggest World Nomads comprehensive coverage as it includes over 250 adventure activities such as scuba diving, bungee jumping and surfing.

If you’re planning a road trip make sure to compare the best local car rental options.

Looking to book a tour or VIP experience on holiday? Book the best local tours on Viator.

Be sure to check your travel destinations electrical plug requirements in advance. If you travel often be sure to purchase a multi-region adaptor.

Whether you’re marching through a city or exploring a rugged rural landscape, it’s important to ensure you’re traveling with comfortable footwear. We suggest these comfortable walking shoes for urban adventures or these waterproof hiking boots when embarking on a hike holiday.

Capture your holiday on a quality camera. We suggest the pocket-sized Canon Powershot G7 or professional SLR we shoot with Canon EOS 6D.

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