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Day trips from Berlin

We will spend a week in Berlin in May. I plan to take a day trip to Potsdam. Am considering Sachsenhausen.

What other good day trip options are there from Berlin. We will have the ABC weekly pass

Posted by
909 posts

Spandau, which is now part of Berlin, makes for a pleasant excursion with its historic half-timbered old town, and its 16th-century citadel. Although much of Spandau was destroyed by fires and war, reconstruction preserved the centuries-old street layout that you can enjoy as it’s reserved for pedestrians. Sections of its 14th-century town walls survive intact. Spandau is about a 30-minute train ride from central Berlin.
Potsdam, the home of Prussian Kings and the Kaiser until 1918, has five palaces including Sans Souci and Charlottenhof. Designed originally to be a beautiful setting fit for royalty, Potsdam has a lot of lakes and parks to complement the palaces. It’s a 40-minute ride on Berlin’s S-Bahn to Potsdam.
If you want to get an idea of what Berlin looked like before 1940, take the U-Bahn to the Prenzlauer Berg
neighborhood of Berlin. Prenzlauer Berg was one of the areas of Berlin that suffered the least amount of damage from WW2. After the war, the district became part of East Berlin and it fell behind the infamous Berlin Wall when it began going up in the 1960’s. As a part of East Germany, Prenzlauer Berg was neglected and became run down. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, many of its three-story buildings have been restored, but the street plan and the residential character of stylish homes and apartments mixed among parks and churches remains as it did going back a century. Prenzlauer Berg—which was a working class neighborhood a century ago—has been transformed into a hip, gentrified neighborhood of young people and professionals raising their families in a very cool corner of Berlin. As a poignant reminder of its past, today Prenzlauer Berg has small sections of the Berlin Wall running through it with markers and signs explaining its history and the 1989 fall of the Wall—which was quickly followed by the fall of the Iron Curtain.

Posted by
266 posts

Dresden. The Green Vault is a wonderment, and the Art Museum and Salon of Scientific Instruments is also terrific. You've seen Raphael's painting a million times in pop culture (or at least the angels) but it is gorgeous in person.

Posted by
3540 posts

We have been to Potsdam several times over the years starting with a visit to San Souci Palace and gardens, one of my favorites of all time, then a walk through the Dutch Quarter. On another trip to Potsdam we visited Cecilienhof, some villas or palaces nearby, the famous Glienicke Bridge and the historic brauerei, Meirei Brauerei, along the Havel River. On another visit during a very hot July we went to Potsdam for a river/lakes cruise. And last summer a friend took us to the new Barberini Museum, which features a great collection of Impressionist painters, the renovated Nicholaikirche and the new waterfront area. I know you plan to visit Potsdam on this trip but you might consider 2 day trips out to Potsdam if you have interest.

Posted by
3428 posts

Depending on when you are in Berlin in May, you may be interested in Tulipan, the time when tulips grow in Britzer Garten. The tulips usually are in bloom from mid/late April to early/mid May. The rhododendrons are also usually in bloom around that time.
The garden is huge and has lots to see if you have some time. It is also a nice escape from urban landscape.

I think it's fun to pick a U line, take it to its terminus, and then wander around (perhaps with a little help from Google Maps to find things of interest). The last time I did that, I ended up in Pankow and had some nice serendipitous finds.

Way off the US tourist radar is Bad Belzig. A small town with half-timbered houses, a castle, and a church where Martin Luther once preached. I enjoyed a half day there wandering around.

Leipzig makes a good day trip

  • Nikolaikirche, the church where Monday Prayers for Peace evolved into Monday Demonstration, which contributed to the fall of East Germany
  • The Monument to the Battle of the Nations, which memorializes the 1813 Battle of Leipzig. It's pretty amazing
  • A really cool, old, big train station
  • Many other interesting things
Posted by
7183 posts

thanks -- these are all helpful except the ones in or close in -- we are probably not doing two hours day trips these days.

Although a couple of these sounds very interesting.

Posted by
6184 posts

It also depends on your hotel. We often stay a short walk from the Zoologische Garten rail station, so for trains that call there, a daytrip does not require U-Bahn or bus. I understand that you'd like to keep daytrips to an hour or so. But Dresden and Leipzig really are superb destinations.

I guess it's nearly two hours too, but because your trip is in May, if it's a good warm growing season and you like public gardens, you might consider the Gartenreich Dessau-Worlitz, which is a UNESCO WHS all by itself. Nice street of (German ... ) touristy half-outdoor restaurants for lunch nearby. VERY large outdoor attraction.

Posted by
79 posts

Hi, Janet.

If church history, Martin Luther, and the beginnings of Protestantism are of interest, Wittenberg (Lutherstadt Wittenberg) on the Elbe river may be an easy day trip from Berlin with an InterCity Express train or an Regional Express train.

Just short of Potsdam is Wannsee, where I spent some time wandering through the streets with many beautiful villas. Of key interest was the villa at Am Großen Wannsee 56–58 where the infamous Wannsee Conference took place in January 1942. Wannsee is accessible with S-Bahn Berlin S1 or S7.

Posted by
104 posts

There are a lot of good options within Berlin. May will be a pleasant time for outdoors.

Visit Berlin has created a lot of guides about Berlin neighbourhoods.

I find Hohenschönhausen very 'interesting'. A stark contrast between the interrogation centre of the former Eastern German state apparatus and the transquil and high end neighbourhood a few blocks away. - they offer guided tour in English. Some guides are ex political prisoners.

Southwestern Berlin - around Free University of Berlin, presents very different characters.