Will be in Berlin from States in mid December to visit our daughter. Looking for a day trip into Poland by train one day while she is at work. Anything worth the effort. My wife has never been to Poland and thought this may be a opportunity. Thoughts?
I personally would not do it. Why? Just to say I was in Poland? There is so much to see in Berlin and around. Poland is of course worth visit but not as a day trip from Berlin. If I should name just three gems of Poland they would be Krakow, Gdansk, Warsaw. Everybody knows that Krakow is beautiful but very few knows that about Gdansk (IMHO even more beautiful) and Warsaw is a city with charisma. Old Town looks real, you will not notice that it was rebuilt. Munich was rebuilt too, but somehow I felt that it was somewhat artificial.
What city are you interested in? Poznań, Szczecin, and Wrocław are closer to Berlin than the three cities mentioned above, but even so, it will take around 3-4 hours or more each way to get there (Warsaw would be 5.5 hours using a high-speed train, and Krakow and Gdansk are even further away). If you could stay overnight or two days, then it could be worthwhile but a day trip by train just doesn't make sense, especially during the short, cold days of winter.
Do check the timetable before throwing random numbers out....
Berlin-Poznan takes 2.5 hours by train.
Berlin-Szczecin takes 1 hr. 50 min. by train.
Either of these cities is a do-able day trip from Berlin. Forget about Warsaw/Krakow/Wroclaw; it's too far.
If you are not going to stay too long in Berlin, I would recommend skipping Poland this time and focusing on Berlin. As others say here there is plenty of things to do in Berlin and the most attractive cities of Poland from tourist point of view are relatively far from Berlin. But if you get bored with Berlin or need a change or feel a need to see Poland, I would recommend Poznań. It is not that far from Berlin, it has a rich history, interesting museums, beautiful market square and generally speaking enough attractions for a busy day or two. Szczecin seems like a less fortunate idea.
Logistically you can do the day trip to Poznan or Szczecin returning to Berlin Hbf by 2300 hrs. But if you only want to cross over to Poland, spend a hour or two, there are other ways. One such easier way and quicker way is to take the train from Berlin Hbf to Frankfurt an der Oder , now that's a town to visit if you want to see absolutely no tourists, not set up for tourism, not even German ones, ie, no one goes to Frankfurt an der Oder. That's one reason you go...in this case.
From the train station it's about a 30 mins or so walk to the Oder River, where you can cross over the bridge and be in Poland. I found the town interesting, especially looking at the Oder and the bridge with people (Poles and Germans) walking back and forth, obviously no border checks.
Thanks all.....Fred's path is one we might pursue if we decide to get out for a part of a day,but we certainly won't shortchange Berlin.
Fred, you are right about the absence of tourists in Frankfurt/Oder. I guess the reason is that it just isn't very interesting. We were there about 15 years ago to visit friends who had just moved there. The outdoor market was fun, but apart from that and our friends, little else. Definitely not a tourist destination.
@ Norma...The very first time I saw Frankfurt an der Oder Bahnhof was in 2001 when the day train stopped there on the way to Poland, ie Warsaw, saw it only from the train window. Obviously, one could see the old, grim, worn out station left by the DDR. The next time I saw it was in 2012 as a day trip from Berlin Hbf, ...all modernized, nothing of the spartan, grim looking old station, ie totally different. True, no tourists go there (it was basically destroyed in 1945), but you know it's the city of H. von Kleist, and the city tries to sell that ! Still, it is interesting, I'll be back by June 2016.
You can get to Poznan by train from Berlin within a few hours. You have to take the Berlin-Warsaw Express, and it only has a limited number of times it runs during the day, so be sure to check timetables to see if it would work. Poznan is a beautiful city and worth a trip.
Poland is such a beautiful country and there are so many cities and things to see - Poznan, Gdansk, Warsaw, Krakow - that it really justifies it's own trip. Not sure you would get a huge benefit of trying to coordinate a very long "day trip" just to say you went into Poland.
Berlin - Poznań train takes about 2:45 minutes and so does the return.
Assuming you don't want to stay overnight, you could take early train and come back by the one going late afternoon. Considering the train schedules, you would have more or less 5 hours to spend in Poznań.
Is it worth an effort? I don't know, now that's really up to you. :)
Depending on how much time, on how many days and nights, you have in Berlin, I would personally suggest to just spend all of your time in Berlin, and just take a nearby day trip or a few nearby day trips from Berlin. I was in Berlin a little over three years ago, and on one day I took a day trip out to the nearby Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, and another day I took a day trip out to Potsdam.
And this is just my opinion, personally I would suggest in not taking a day trip from Berlin to a nearby city in Poland, because Poland deserves so much more time. I would suggest visiting Poland, visiting any city or cities in Poland, for another trip. This is just me, and I'm just speaking from my own personal experience, I personally prefer (and I personally enjoy and relish) visiting a specific city, a specific region, a specific country, on one trip. And in terms of day trips, I personally prefer to take day trips that I feel are reasonable, and day trips that would not leave me too tired, too exhausted, or too rushed (or all of those). Once again those are my thoughts and my experiences, and you can decide on whether you'd want to take a day trip from Berlin into Poland or not.