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Berlin Day Trips

We will be in Berlin for eight days in a couple of weeks and are looking to take some day trips. Our son is studying in Berlin and can show us the sights there, but while he is in class we want to venture out. My wife is interested in seeing some castles and I like the smaller towns with history, architecture and food/beer. We have been to southern Germany before, but this is our first time this far north. Any suggestions?
Thanks, Dan

Posted by
12040 posts

Maybe Martin from Berlin has a better idea, but castles are kind of rare in NE Germany, compared to the central and western areas of the country. Perhaps look into Schwerin, although I'm not certain how feasible it is as a daytrip from Berlin.

Now, if you want palaces, as opposed to castles, go for nearby Potsdam. The city itself is very attractive, but the highlights are the Prussian royal palaces around Sancoussi Park.

Posted by
16877 posts

Travel times (each way) for some likely side trips: Potsdam-30 min, Orianenburg for Sachsenhasuen Concentration Camp-20 min by train or longer by S-Bahn, Wittenberg-40 min, Dresden-2 hours.

Posted by
47 posts

Laura- Dresden is 2 hours by train? Just thought it would be shorter.

Dan

Posted by
12400 posts

Hi,

Two Schlösser I would recommend in Berlin are Schloss Köpenick in the east and Schloss Charlottenburg in the western part of Berlin. The tours in Potsdam take to Sansoucci and also Neues Palais if you want to see Prussian Schlösser.

"...we want to venture out." Obviously, if you have a car for the greater Berlin area, you'll have alot more flexibility and choices in where to go, since you are thinking of getting out to the small towns. Will you have a car? Which aspects of history?

Posted by
868 posts

First of all: you can do more than just one day trip to Potsdam. The city was the summer residence of the Prussian kings for 200 years, there is much more to see than just Sanssouci, for which you already need a full day. There is also the New Garden with the Marble Palace and Cecilienhof, Glienicke Park with a fine neoclassical palace by Schinkel, Babelsberg Park with a wonderful view and a castle, and romantic Peacock Island. Between the parks are several interesting structures, like the Belvedere on Pfingstberg, the Ruinenberg, the famous spy bridge or the Church of the Redeemer. The partly preserved old town of Potsdam, and Babelsberg, are also quite nice. If you are adventurous, print out a Openstreetmap map of the area between Potsdam and Pfaueninsel (Peacock Island), rent a bike and cycle from park to park.

If by castle you mean a fortified medieval structure: there aren't any in this area. But Neuschwanstein isn't a castle either, so how about Schwerin? A 19th century fairytale castle like Neuschwanstein, and 2h away from the city, just like Neuschwanstein from Munich. The beautiful old town of Schwerin is preserved and also deserves a visit.
To the south of Berlin is Wittenberg, the place where the Protestant Reformation started. Many places, like Luthers or Melanchthons home are preserved and museums, and the small old town looks like 500 years ago. For a more medieval looking place you could visit one of the towns of the Altmark (Old March), like Tangermünde, but it takes almost 2h to get there.
A very nice day trip is the Spreewald. Take the train to Lübbenau, a small provincial town, and do a tour on a punted barge or rent a canoe. But NOT ON WEEKENDS!!!

Posted by
47 posts

Thanks to all for the suggestions. We will definitely go to Potsdam for a day. Tangermunde looks like the type of town we would like to go to. We are not ruling out getting a car. Has anybody been to Wolfenbuttel? It looks quite interesting too. Keep the suggestions coming. This trip kind of happened at the last minute. I don't want to be unprepared when I get over there.

Thanks, Dan

Posted by
2943 posts

We enjoyed the Harz area of Germany a couple of years ago, especially Quedlinburg and Wernigerode. There is a special express train that runs between Berlin and the Harz area. The website is only in German http://www.harz-berlin-express.de/ It is part of the regional HEX network and has special priced tickets to move people from Berlin out into this area.

Posted by
868 posts

Has anybody been to Wolfenbuttel?

Wolfenbüttel is cute. It's just one of many beautiful towns in this region (called Harz mountains), but Wolfenbüttel is the only one close to a ICE route and therefore easily accessible by train from Berlin.
Here is a website with 130.000 pics of the Harz mountains:
http://www.raymond-faure.com/indexharzenglish.htm

Keep the suggestions coming.

There isn't that much to see in the area around Berlin, which was called the "Streusandbüchse" (box of sand) of the Holy Roman Empire. Or to quote Stendhal, a French writer: "What could have possessed people to found a city in the middle of all this sand?".
The touristically interesting regions, like the Baltic coast, the Harz mountains or Saxony, are all at least 2h away. Here is a nice map: Highlights of Germany according to Baedeker, Germanys most popular travel guide. As you can see, it's quite empty around Berlin.

Posted by
3181 posts

Potsdam and Leipzig. If you go to Leipzig, you might want to consider staying over one night. There's plenty to see, and it's a bit spread out. Also, if you decide to go there, don't make the mistake of not buying train tickets in advance. We didn't and the price was a lot more than advance purchase.

Posted by
47 posts

We would like to get out to Tangermunde and Quedlinburg. I appears that the HEX only runs on weekends. Is there any other way than renting a car?
Thanks, Dan