While doing day trips from Berlin may not be the top thing on your mind if you’re visiting this unique, ‘alternative’ city in Germany, a vibrant, urban capital that is significant to the country’s history, if you have more than 4 days in the area, it’s a great idea to rent a car and get out to the countryside and experience the diversity of northeastern part of Germany. Berlin itself will keep you busy, being a large city with a lot to offer for everyone including cultural experiences, historical monuments from World War 2 era, and crazy nightlife. Berlin is a melting pot of cultures and a city known for its tolerance and openness. It has a diverse population with people from various backgrounds, contributing to a rich cultural tapestry and a wide array of culinary experiences. One cannot hate Berlin, but if you’ve had enough of the big city life and wish to escape to quieter, greener, or bucolic parts of the region, here are three amazing daytrips from Berlin that you are bound to appreciate.
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Potsdam and Sanssouci Palace (The Versailles of Germany)
This one is the closest and the most popular daytrip from Berlin. Potsdam, capital of the state of Brandenburg, is located about 25 kms southwest of Berlin is known for its beautiful architecture, palaces, and gardens. Potsdam has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its historical significance and well-preserved cultural landmarks. The main attraction here is the Sanssouci Palace, often referred to as the Versailles of Germany. Sanssouci is a stunning Rococo-style palace built in the 18th century under the direction of Frederick the Great, also known as Frederick II of Prussia. The area dedicated to the palace is large and one could spend hours just walking in the gardens or exploring the numerous points of interest strewn across the palace surrounds. From the terraced vineyard at the center of the palace, to the palace interiors that are adorned with opulent furnishings, and the beautifully landscaped gardens, which were designed in the style of an English garden, with fountains, sculptures, and tree-lined pathways, the palace complex has a serene and picturesque environment which one is bound to enjoy, after the busy and chaotic city life in Berlin.
Keep about 3-4 hours to explore this place including the driving time. You can also enjoy a meal in the restaurant located in the tranquil setting, which offers hot wine (gluhwein) even during the balmy autumn months!
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About an hour and a half drive from Berlin, in the Spreewald region, lies this extremely picturesque, tranquil, idyllic town called Lübbenau. It reminded me a lot of the village of Geithoorn in Netherlands, with its canal waterways amidst cute, charming village homes, where one can sail along leisurely on small boats, while the knowledgeable tour guides/ locals explain about the region’s history and ecology. Lübbenau’s historic old town is characterized by its traditional architecture, cobblestone streets, and quaint houses. While one can explore the area on foot as they discover charming cafes, restaurants, and shops offering local products and crafts, I highly recommend taking the 2-hour boat tour through the river that’ll make you feel like you’re in a fairytale and have been transported back in time.
Lübbenau and the surrounding Spreewald region are famous for producing Spreewald pickles (Spreewälder Gurken). These pickles are a traditional specialty and an important part of the local culture. You can find various pickle-related products and shops selling jars of pickles throughout the town. Lübbenau is also home to a beautiful castle known as “Schloss Lübbenau.” The castle, dating back to the 18th century, is surrounded by a large park and is an excellent example of historic architecture in the region. Lübbenau is a perfect destination for nature enthusiasts, romantics & those who love some piece and quiet, away from the hustle & bustle of large cities.
Bad Muskau & Devil’s Bridge in Kromlau
While these destinations are in the same direction as Lübbenau, from Berlin, it may not be a great idea to do them all in the same day due to the time required to enjoy each of these places. If you do club them together, you’re likely to be running from one to another, and spend less time than what will make you feel satisfied in any of the places. If you’re going to Bad Muskau directly from Berlin, it is about 2 hours and 15 min by road.
Devil’s Bridge was in my bucket list after the destination went viral a few years ago on Instagram and I fell in love with it. When I realized how close it is from Berlin, I was super excited to be able to include it in my itinerary. It is that famous bridge over a lake that reflects impeccably in the calm waters on an ideal day, forming a perfect circle. The official name of the bridge is Rakotzbrücke, and it is in the municipality of Gablenz in the Kromlau Park, Saxony. The park itself, to be honest, was quite underwhelming but the bridge, built in the 19th century during the Romantic period, made basalt and limestone that gives it an enchanting appearance, blends harmoniously with the surrounding landscape.
Unfortunately, one cannot really walk over the bridge so if you’ve seen any photos of people standing on the top or the edge of it, they’re likely to be fake. One can only walk around in the park and view the bridge from different angles through the designated viewpoints. The circular shape of the bridge and its reflection in the water creates a unique and mesmerizing visual effect, making it a spot for photo enthusiasts like me.
Keep about 1-2 hours to stroll leisurely in the park. From here, you can head to a charming town located not too far from the Kromlau Park called Bad Muskau. The main attraction of Bad Muskau is the Muskau Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is an exceptional example of English landscape design. It was created by Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau in the 19th century and extends across both sides of the Neisse River, with parts of the park in Poland as well. The park features winding paths, a variety of plant species, picturesque lakes, and stunning architectural elements.
Bad Muskau’s historic town center is another good place to explore, with beautiful buildings, including the Old Watermill, the New Castle (Neues Schloss), and the Market Square (Marktplatz). The town’s architecture reflects various historical styles and offers visitors a glimpse into the region’s rich heritage. Neisse River which flows through the town, provides a picturesque & romantic setting.
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