15 Best Day Trips From Berlin by Train and Bus

Nadia Nadia

Written by Nadia

Germany
Best Day Trips from Berlin

Home to historical and modern tourist attractions, there is no doubt that Berlin can keep you busy for weeks. The grey city (most of the buildings are made of granite) is unexpectedly diverse, cool, and entertaining. 

However, if you want to venture beyond the commotion of the big city, get ready for a world of palaces, mountains, open-air museums, and parks. All of this beauty is sitting a couple of hours (or less!) away from Germany’s capital.

Today, I am sharing the 15 best day trips from Berlin by train and bus that you should add to your must-go list. Let’s jump in!

The Best Day Trips from Berlin I Would Do First

  • Peacock Island
  • Potsdam
  • Lehnitz Sea
  • Dresden
  • Saxon Switzerland National Park
  • Spandau Citadel
  • Harz Mountains
  • Beelitz
  • Wannsee

Peacock Island

Peacock Island, otherwise called Pfaueninsel, is a favorite day trip destination from Berlin for anyone big on exploration.

Walking around Peacock Island, you will see various exciting buildings that date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Examples include the south castle of King Friedrich Wilhelm II and the Queen Luise memorial temple.

You will also see the mock ruin Dairy Farm, the goth-inspired Kavaliershaus, the Frigate Harbor, and the Swiss Cottage (Schweizerhaus).

Whatever you do, do not leave without visiting the island’s gem, the Peacock Island Castle. Its romantic, tragic vibes will simply transfer you to older times.

The island’s garden is also home to beautiful greenery and rare plants. You will also come across free-roaming peacocks that are just a delight to observe!

How to Get To Peacock Island From Berlin:

Train

  • Departs: Berlin Hauptbahnhof station
  • Arrives: S Südkreuz Bhf
  • Shortest travel time: 50 minutes
  • Tickets: 4€

Bus

  • Departs:Schlachtensee station
  • Arrives: Laubenheimer Straße station
  • Shortest travel time: 49 minutes
  • Tickets: 3€

See on the map.

Potsdam

An elegant, historic town located about 25 miles southwest of Berlin, Potsdam is widely famous for being an imperial city back in the day. For your information, it is Brandenburg’s capital.

The trip to Potsdam is relatively short and hassle-free, and the city is so rich with attractions that you’ll want to come back several times.

For starters, there’s the infamous Sanssouci Palace which dates back to the late 18th century. Put together from designs by Frederick the Great, this palace shares multiple similarities with France’s Versailles Palace, minus the suffocating crowdedness.

Additionally, the Sanssouci sits inside the Sanssouci Park, which also features many extravagant gardens, galleries, fountains, walking trails, and more — all of which you can explore. On top of this list are the Picture Gallery, the Great Fountain, and Neptune’s Grotto.

How to Get to Potsdam From Berlin:

Train

  • Departs: Berlin Hauptbahnhof station
  • Arrives: Potsdam, Charlottenhof Bhf
  • Shortest travel time: 51 minutes
  • Tickets: 7€

Bus

  • Departs: S Messe Nord/ICC station
  • Arrives: Ruinenbergstraße. station
  • Shortest travel time: 1 hour 58 minutes
  • Tickets: 4€

See on the map.

Lehnitzsee

If you are looking to spend some time on the water, you should set your mind on a day trip from Berlin to the Lehnitzsee.

After you arrive at S Oranienburg Bhf station, whether by bus or train, you can take a taxi to get you to your destination. Alternatively, you can walk through the lively streets for about half an hour.

Once there, you can hop onto a boat and enjoy a day riding through the Lehnitzsee and exploring canals and waterways. Your route will take you across the Tegel Lake, the Lehnitz Lock, the Oder-Havel Canal, Malz, and Friedrichsthal.

This day trip is a fantastic way to wind down and bask in some serenity.

How to Get To Lehnitzsee From Berlin:

Train

  • Departs: Berlin Hauptbahnhof station
  • Arrives: S Oranienburg Bhf station
  • Shortest travel time: 25 minutes
  • Tickets: 7€

Then, walk the rest of the way for about 35 minutes.

Bus

  • Departs: Hennigsdorf Alsdorfer Straße station
  • Arrives: S Oranienburg Bhf station
  • Shortest travel time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • Tickets: 4€

Then, walk the rest of the way for about 35 minutes.

See on the map.

Saxon Switzerland National Park

Saxon Switzerland National Park, Germany
Photo by Sangga Rima Roman Selia on Unsplash

If you are a nature enthusiast like me, a day trip from Berlin to Saxon Switzerland National Park will give you everything you have been searching for!

Granted, this is one of the longest rides on today’s list of destinations, averaging about 5 hours, but it is well worth the wait.

Located around 140 miles southeast of Berlin, this stunning park overlooks the imposing Basteibrücke (Bastion Bridge), where you are free to stroll along and enjoy the surreal scenery.

Venturing through Saxon Switzerland, you can participate in a ton of activities to please your inner adventurer. From biking and hiking to swimming, climbing, and exploring the ancient Königstein Fortress, this park promises a good time for the whole family.

If you are interested in landscape photography, this place will be your new haven.

How to Get to Saxon Switzerland National Park From Berlin:

Train

  • Departs: Berlin Hauptbahnhof station
  • Arrives: Bad Schandau station
  • Shortest travel time: 4 hours and 27 minutes
  • Tickets: 55€

After that, take a bus to Kirnitzschtal Neumannmühle (around 30 minutes)

Bus

  • Departs: Berlin ZOB [Fernbus]
  • Arrives: Kirnitzschtal Neumannmühle station
  • Shortest travel time: 5 hours and 20 minutes
  • Tickets: 16€

See on the map.

Dresden

Schlossplatz in Dresden
Schlossplatz in Dresden. Photo by Vasily Malygin

Dubbed Europe’s Baroque City, Dresden is the second most populous city in Saxony (after Leipzig) and the state’s capital. This riverside town is both beautiful and entertaining, offering a wide range of castles, theaters, artifacts, streets, and buildings for your exploration pleasure.

Restored from devastation during World War II and many years of wear, you wouldn’t believe what this city has been through. Fair warning, though – Dresden is highly walkable, so do not forget to put on comfy shoes before heading down there.

Some must-see spots in Dresden include the Dresden Royal Palace (including the Dresden State Art Collection), Semper Opera House (Semperoper), Old Town, Zwinger Palace, and Frauenkirche Church.

Oh, and do not miss out on crossing the Augustus Bridge. The view along the river is simply spectacular!

How to Get to Dresden From Berlin:

Train

  • Departs: Berlin Hauptbahnhof station
  • Arrives: Dresden Hauptbahnhof station
  • Shortest travel time: 2 hours and 8 minutes
  • Tickets: 40€

Bus

  • Departs: Berlin ZOB [Fernbus] station
  • Arrives: Dresden Bahnhof Neustadt station
  • Shortest travel time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
  • Tickets: 9€

See on the map.

Spandau Citadel

Spandau Citadel is located in the old fortress city known as Spandau, which sits where the two rivers Havel and Spree meet. The ride to Spandau is probably one of the shortest you’ll have to take for a day trip from Berlin, so you’re welcome!

Spandau Citadel will surely live up to your expectations if you are a fan of historic sites and grand architecture. Its dramatic high-walled design has stayed pretty much the same since its construction in the second half of the 1500s.

Surrounded by water, you can enter this castle and make your way to the Gatehouse by crossing a narrow bridge. You can also explore the 14th-century Palas, the Prince’s room, and the Julius Tower.

How to Get To Spandau Citadel From Berlin:

Train

  • Departs: Berlin Hauptbahnhof station
  • Arrives: Berlin-Spandau
  • Shortest travel time: 14 minutes
  • Tickets: 1€

Bus

  • Departs: Messedamm/ZOB station
  • Arrives: Berlin, Wröhmännerpark station
  • Shortest travel time: 44 minutes
  • Tickets: 5€

See on the map.

Harz Mountains

Harz Mountains is an absolute hidden treasure sitting about 140 miles west of Berlin in northern Germany.

You may be thinking, “Wow, that is a lot of time to ride a train or bus to a place I have never heard of!” You’d be right; 5 or so hours is a lot. But trust me, this will be the best decision you make if you love nature and the simplicity of life that goes with it.

Within the marvelous forest area of the Harz Mountains, you can experience hiking, cycling, climbing, meditating, and camping. You can also taste traditional German cuisine and explore medieval towns and unique half-timbered houses (Fachwerkhäuser).

Not many tourists know about Hanz Mountains, so if you are looking for a place with an extra dose of authenticity, you now know where to find one. 

How to Get To Harz Mountains From Berlin:

Train

  • Departs: Berlin Hauptbahnhof station
  • Arrives: Wernigerode Hbf
  • Shortest travel time: 4 hours and 14 minutes
  • Tickets: 30€

After that, you can take a bus to Schierke, Parkhaus Winterbergtor (around 50 minutes).

Bus

  • Departs: Berlin ZOB [Fernbus]
  • Arrives: Schierke, Parkhaus Winterbergtor station
  • Shortest travel time: 5 hours
  • Tickets: 17€

See on the map.

Beelitz

Beelitz is another “not so well-known but awesome nonetheless” spot you can visit for a day trip from Berlin. Located about 35 miles from Germany’s capital Brandenburg, this historic town is an excellent site for urban exploration.

The ride takes an hour and a half before you can start your one-of-a-kind experience exploring Beelitz.

The town is associated with dark tourism thanks to the sanatorium in Beelitz-Heilstätten back during World War I and II. Back then, Nazi and Soviet soldiers were treated on its grounds.

Nowadays, the site is more like a ghost town for you to wander around some of its parts. You can catch a glimpse of Beelitz in scenes of the movie ‘The Pianist’ and Rammstein’s ‘Mein Herz brennt’ music video.

How to Get To Beelitz From Berlin:

Train

  • Departs: Berlin Hauptbahnhof station
  • Arrives: Beelitz Stadt
  • Shortest travel time: 1 hour and 28 minutes
  • Tickets: 15€

Bus

  • Departs: Berlin ZOB [Fernbus]
  • Arrives: Beelitz, Zum Bahnhof
  • Shortest travel time: 1 hour and 20 minutes
  • Tickets: 3€

See on the map.

Wannsee

Old steamboat on lake Wannsee, Germany
Old steamboat on lake Wannsee

This would not be a list of the best day trips from Berlin if I omitted Wannsee. Why?

Well, let me start by saying that it houses the biggest inland beach in Europe. It is such a popular destination among locals and tourists that finding somewhere to lay your towel can be challenging on certain days.

Still, it is a great spot to sit back and relax, maybe bask in the sunlight or go for a dip in the refreshing lake.

However, what you may not know about Wannsee is its dark history. The Wannsee Villa was where Nazi officials met for the Wannsee Conference and decided upon the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question.” Nowadays, this site is a free exhibition that you can explore.

How to Get To Wannsee From Berlin:

Train

  • Departs: Berlin Hauptbahnhof station
  • Arrives: S Wannsee Bhf.
  • Shortest travel time: 18 minutes
  • Tickets: 10€

Bus

  • Departs: Messegelände/ZOB station
  • Arrives: Werner Straße station
  • Shortest travel time: 42 minutes
  • Tickets: 3€

See on the map.

Rüdersdorf Museumspark

If you are into industrial tourism and culture, plan your upcoming day trip from Berlin to a site known as Rüdersdorf Museumspark in northern Germany. 

There, you will explore various memorable buildings and factories over 17 hectares. Rüdersdorf Museumspark houses the largest limestone quarry in the region. 

Limestone from Rüdersdorf is an integral part of Germany’s past as it was used in constructing almost all of the historic structures in Berlin and Brandenburg, the Berlin Olympic Stadium and the Sanssouci Palace.

You can also explore Friedrichshagen and Köpenick, walk through forest trails, and discover the area’s waterways. You can even go hiking and stand-up paddleboarding!

How to Get To Rüdersdorf Museumpark From Berlin:

Train

  • Departs: S+U Alexanderplatz Bhf station
  • Arrives: Rüdersdorf, Rathaus
  • Shortest travel time: 58 minutes
  • Tickets: 8€

Bus

  • Departs: S+U Alexanderplatz Bhf/Memhardstr. station
  • Arrives: Rüdersdorf, Marktplatz station
  • Shortest travel time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Tickets: 6€

See on the map.

Spreewald

Spreewald Boat tours, Germany
Photo by Philippe Oursel on Unsplash

Another must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts is the gorgeous Spreewald. Sitting in Brandenburg, about 60 miles outside of Berlin, this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is a charming forest with more than 200 canals running through it.

You can take your time exploring Spreewald’s waterways and enjoying the calmness it has to offer.

From canoes and kayaks to traditional Spreewaldkahn (punting boats), just pick whatever you feel like trying and set off to the Sorbian village, Leipr fishing village, or Lehde lagoon village.

If you prefer walking or cycling, Spreewald has dozens of trails exactly for these purposes. This nature reserve is beautiful any time of the year, but fall and winter are particularly glorious.

How to Get To Spreewald From Berlin:

Train

  • Departs: S+U Alexanderplatz Bhf
  • Arrives: Lübben, Bahnhof
  • Shortest travel time: 51 minutes
  • Tickets: 11€

Bus

After arriving at Lübben, Bahnhof by train, you can take a bus as follows:

  • Departs: Line 502 bus
  • Arrives: Laubenheimer Straße station
  • Shortest travel time: 2 hours and 9 minutes
  • Tickets: 5€

See on the map.

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

It is no secret that a considerable chunk of Germany’s history is heavy and sobering. One site that attests to this is the Sachsenhausen Memorial, which provides a horrific history lesson and a reality check many people appreciate.

It was one of the first concentration camps established by the Third Reich. Built by prisoners in the 1930s, more than 200,000 people were held in this camp. Eventually, the center was shut down in 1950.

Today, you can go on tours inside the camp and learn about its history and some true stories of survivors.

How to Get To Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp From Berlin:

Train

  • Departs: Berlin Hauptbahnhof station
  • Arrives: Sachsenhausen, Bahnhof station
  • Shortest travel time: 50 minutes
  • Tickets: 8€

Bus

After taking the train from Berlin Hauptbahnhof and arriving at S Oranienburg Bhf, you can take a bus as follows:

  • Departs: Bus #804 or #821
  • Arrives: Sachsenhausen Gedenkstätte
  • Shortest travel time: 5 minutes
  • Tickets: 1€

See on the map.

The Museum Village of Düppel

On a much lighter note, a day trip from Berlin to the Museum Village of Düppel can be loads of fun for the entire family! It offers various tours and festivals that people of different ages can enjoy while learning about Medieval history of Berlin.

For example, you can explore many old houses, blacksmith shops, barns, potteries, and cobbler shops. You even get to interact with the “villagers” and “tradespeople” and witness how they worked their skills back in the day.

The Museum Village of Düppel is located in Zehlendorf southwest of Berlin. It will take you less than an hour to get there.

How to Get To Düppel From Berlin:

Train (Subway)

  • Departs: U Breitenbachplatz station
  • Arrives: U Krumme Lanke station
  • Shortest travel time: 30 minutes
  • Tickets: 6€

Then, walk the rest of the way for about 30 minutes.

Bus

  • Departs: U Breitenbachplatz station
  • Arrives: Ludwigsfelder Straße station
  • Shortest travel time: 40 minutes
  • Tickets: 3€

See on the map.

Britzer Garten

Out of the many gardens around Berlin, Britzer Garten is probably my favorite. This garden has a working windmill, a lake, and a vast park featuring all sorts of blooms, including cherry blossom trees, tulips, azaleas, roses, dahlias, and rhododendrons.

Besides the lovely flower shows lasting from spring to fall, Britzer Garten also houses the Love Island (Liebesinsel)!

If you are searching for some peace and quiet with a refreshing view, Britzer Garten is here to make that happen. You can enjoy a nice picnic without worrying about dogs or cyclists – they are not allowed in.

How to Get To Britzer Garten From Berlin:

Train (Subway)

  • Departs: S+U Alexanderplatz Bhf
  • Arrives: U Johannisthaler Chaussee
  • Shortest travel time: 44 minutes
  • Tickets: 5€

Bus

After taking the subway train from S+U Alexanderplatz Bhf and arriving at U Hermannstraße, you can take a bus as follows:

  • Departs: S+U Alexanderplatz Bhf
  • Arrives: Laubenheimer Straße station
  • Shortest travel time: 29 minutes
  • Tickets: 4€

See on the map.

Kromlauer Park

Last but not least, Kromlauer Park makes for a unique and laid-back day trip from Berlin. You will find this 200-acre landscaped park in Gablenz. This relatively small town does not usually get foreign tourists, giving you the chance to explore what the locals like to visit.

Walking through this enormous park, you will come across the Devil’s Bridge (Rakotzbrücke), which looks like something straight out of a fairytale or fantasy novel. Legend has it that the devil helped build it but took the soul of the first living person as a price.

Additionally, Kromlauer Park is home to many breathtaking flowers, trees, and ponds. Make sure you visit around spring to catch sight of the colorful nature. However, fall and winter are not bad for a day trip to Gablenz.

How to Get To Kromlauer Park From Berlin:

Train

  • Departs: S+U Alexanderplatz Bhf
  • Arrives: Weißwasser
  • Shortest travel time: 3 hours
  • Tickets: 40€

Bus

  • Departs: Berlin Am Nußbaum station
  • Arrives: Deutsches Haus station
  • Shortest travel time: 5 hours and 20 minutes
  • Tickets: 70€

See on the map.

The map of day trips from Berlin

What Is the Main Train Station in Berlin?

Berlin Hauptbahnhof Central Station
Photo by Anastasia Nelen on Unsplash

Berlin Hauptbahnhof, also known as Berlin Central Station, is the main train station in Berlin. It started operating in full capacity on the 28th of May in 2006, two days after its ceremonial opening.

Operated by DB Station&Service, Berlin Hauptbahnhof is located in the Mitte constituency, particularly in the Moabit district. It sits on the spot where the historic Lehrter Bahnhof once stood.

Classified as a Category 1 railway station, Berlin Hauptbahnhof sends and receives trains all over Germany and neighboring countries. Destinations from this station include Hamburg, Frankfurt, Dresden, Leipzig, Vienna, Warsaw, and Amsterdam.

What is the Main Bus Station in Berlin?

Zentraler Omnibusbahnhof, Berlin

The main bus station in Berlin is Zentraler Omnibusbahnhof Berlin (ZOB), also referred to as the Berlin Central Bus Station.

It was founded in 1966 and lies in the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf district in western Berlin, close to the Expo-Center City. The Funkturm (the Berlin Radio Tower) and the ICC (International Congress Center) are on the opposite side of the station. 

Final Thoughts

There you have it, my selection of the 15 best day trips from Berlin by train and bus. 

If I only had time for a couple of these day trips, I would not miss out on Potsdam/Sanssouci Palace and Peacock island.

Saxon Switzerland National Park is a must-visit destination if you do not mind a longer ride. 

Spandau Citadel and Wannsee are solid options if you are after something shorter.

But of course, the choice is ultimately yours. As long as you are out and about, I am happy!

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