Brandenburg

Looking for some day trips from Berlin to leave the big city? Then you are right here! Completely surrounded by the federal state of Brandenburg, Berlin is its own city state and the largest city in Germany both by area and population. Of course when you are visiting the city the first time there is so much to see and explore. But when you’re living in Berlin or you’ve been there several times you might want to see something different, or just escape the big-city-life to enjoy some nature or charming little towns. The most popular day trips from Berlin is to Potsdam or Spreewald, but there are other cities near Berlin to explore as well. Here we show you some top sights in Brandenburg and how you easily can reach these places by public transportation.

Potsdam – most popular of day trips from Berlin

A day trip from Berlin to Potsdam is very popular, and rightfully so. It is one of our favorite cities when we want a short day trip from Berlin. We have been several times and still we haven’t seen it all. We even stayed there for one night but we could’t manage to see everything. Potsdam just has it all; Countless palaces and royal buildings, huge parks, lakes, rivers, a world-class art museum which regulary change exhibitions (e.g. Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet), a Dutch quarter, cozy cafes and restaurants. It is definitely worth a visit, or two and more.

How to get to Potsdam from Berlin

The best way for day trips from Berlin to Potsdam is by train. There are several regional trains leaving from Berlin central station but also the S-Bahn will take you to Potsdam from Alexanderplatz and the central station. The journey itself takes around 30min. You can buy a ticket on every station at the ticket machines. Buy a day-ticket for zones A,B and C. This ticket is of course also valid for your return to Berlin.

Neuzelle

We had never heard about this Cisterian Monastery until we went to ITB (a travel fair in Berlin) and got loads informations about Brandenburg and day trips from Berlin. Just watching photos of this complex made us even more curious to go. We finally went to Neuzelle and it was simply breathtaking. It is regarded as one of the most significant Baroque monuments in the North of Germany. The complex consists of several churches, a cloister, cloister garden and a brewery.

Neuzelle Monastery is great for day trips from Berlin
Neuzelle
History

In 1268 Neuzelle Monastery was endowed by Margrave Heinrich von Meissen. During the 15th century the abbey was partially destroyed by the Hussites serveral times. Lower Lusatia first belonged to the Kingdom of Bohemia. From 1635 it belonged to Saxony which prompted monks from Bohemia to settle in Neuzelle. They were resposible for the redesign of the complex into Baroque style in the 17th and 18th centuries. You still can find architecture from the late Gothic in the conclave rooms and the cloisters. Since 1820 the monastery building is in use for educative purposes.

Today you can join guided tours through the complex and get all details and historical facts of the monastery. They hava rebuilt a Baroque Garden where you can have coffee and enjoy the view of the Oder river meadows. The “Heavenly Theatre” Museum shows the depiction of the Passion from the Holy Sepulchre. It is one of the most impressive and unique artworks about the presentation of the Passion of Jesus in Europe. The Neuzelle Monastery is definitely a Baroque masterpiece in Brandenburg and worth trips from Berlin.

Highlights
  • Abbey Church
  • Cloister
  • Orangery and Baroque Garden
  • Protestant Parish Church
  • Heavenly Theatre Museum
How to get there & infos

You can easily get to Neuzelle by train R1 from Berlin central station. You need to change in Frankfurt (Oder) and from there take train RB11 to Neuzelle. When you leave the train station in Neuzelle, it is only a 15min walk to the monastery complex.

Deutsche Bahn has always a great offer with the Berlin-Brandenburg-Ticket. Up to 5 persons can use this ticket for a whole day in Berlin (tram, bus, S- and U-Bahn) and Brandenburg (regional trains, no ICE) from 9am (mon – fri) and from midnight on weekends and public holidays. With this convinient ticket don’t have to stress about certain train times or to buy several tickets. It only costs 33€. Check bahn.de for mor info and details.

Just outside the monastery you can find some nice restaurants which serve local cuisine and a brewery where you can buy beer from the abbey brewery.

Rheinsberg

Probably you already know that we are totally fascinated (obsessed?) about castles, palaces and stately homes. Our day trips from Berlin often involves a castle. You can find a lot of them in Germany and of course also in Berlin and Brandenburg. Schloss Rheinsberg was on our bucket list for a while now and finally we visited this place on a warm day in spring. Rheinsberg is a small town in the municipality in the Ostprignitz-Ruppin district in Brandenburg, just 75km north-west of Berlin. The most famous sight is, for several reasons, the magnificent Rheinsberg Palace. This was also the reason why we travelled there. Rheinsberg is a cute, little town with old charming houses in the centre, delicious local cuisine, a cute lake and of course the impressive palace.

History

Crown Prince Frederick, later King Frederick the Great, got this castle from his father Frederick Wilhelm as a present for his loyalty. He moved in with his wife Princess Elisabeth Christine in 1736. In the following years until 1740 he extended and improved the castle by Johann Gottfried Kemmeter and Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff. It was the first building of the so-called Frederician Rococo style.

Frederick himself described his time in Rheinsberg as “the happiest time of his life”. With his accession to the throne in 1740 his time in Rheinsberg ended. He gave the palace to his brother Henry four years later. In 1752 Henry moved in with his wife but they mostly lived seperatly because Henry paid more attention to his male friends than to her. The prince also extended and embellished the castle and the park. You can find his tomb in the park which is in form of a truncated pyramide. Henry was buried there after his death in 1802.

During East German times the palace was in use as a diabetes clinic. After a long renovation of the palace and the park, it now belongs to the Berlin-Brandenburg Foundation for Prussian Palaces and Gardens. You can visit the palace with an audio-guide and enjoy magnificent rooms and beautiful artwork. The park is free of charge.

Highlights
  • Rheinsberg Palace
  • A walk in the Schlosspark
  • Obelisk
  • Tomb of Prince Henry
  • Charming houses along Deutsche Alleenstraße in the centre of Rheinsberg
How to get there & infos

You can reach Rheinsberg by train from Berlin. There are several trains daily to Rheinsberg and the ride takes around 1-2 hours. During the train ride you can enjoy the beautiful landscape of Brandenburg. When you enter Rheinsberg, it is only a 15min walk to the palace and centre of the town.

Deutsche Bahn has always a great offer with the Berlin-Brandenburg-Ticket. Up to 5 persons can use this ticket for a whole day in Berlin (tram, bus, S- and U-Bahn) and Brandenburg (regional trains, no ICE) from 9am (mon – fri) and from midnight on weekends and public holidays. With this convinient ticket don’t have to stress about certain train times or to buy several tickets. It only costs 33€. Check bahn.de for mor info and details.

On the way to the palace you can also find restarants where you can enjoy lunch or dinner.

Spreewald – popular for day trips from Berlin

Spreewald (=spree forest) is a biosphere reserve around 100km south-east of Berlin. This 484m² large area has over 200 small canals and it’s famous for boat rides, althoug it’s not a typical boat ride as you probably would think of. They are called “Kahn” which you could compare with a punt boat and is steered by ferry men or women. Electrical boats are not allowed in the shallow waters. The water is not very deep, so that is why the ferry men/ women steer the punt boat with a long pole. While taking a boat ride through the canal hemmed in by forest you might be witness of one of the 18000 species of the flora and fauna of Spreewald. This very unique network of waterways, grasslands and fields, which was shaped during the last Ice Age, is a UNESCO World Heritge Site since 1991.

Boat tours in Spreewald

The best way to take a boat ride is from Lübben or Lübbenau. You can easily get there by train from Berlin and then walk to the boat rental station in the centre of each place. There you will find ticket offices to buy tickets for your boat ride. A journey takes around 2 hours, but of course you can book from different tour providers and choose other routes which are longer as well. Spreewald is a tourist destination (popular on day trips from Berlin) and the numbers of visitors is getting higher from year to year. In 2018 it was more than 750.000 persons who visited the biosphere reserve. But no wonder why it is so popular. A boat ride is very relaxed and you can truly appreciate Spreewald’s charm almost without any noise.

The Spreewald is also famous for the ethnic minority of the Sorbs who have their homes there. You can visit an open-air museum called “Freilandmusuem Lehde”. There you can see how the Sorbs lived a century ago. Wander around the village with reed-covered buildings and look for hay stacks on the fields. Check out the webpage for special events or parades on the canals. And of course do not forget to try the famous Spreewald gherkin (=pickled cucumber). Over 40.000 tonnes are produced every year in Spreewald.

Highlights
  • Punt boat tour in Spreewald
  • Visit the village Lehde
  • Try ghurkins from Spreewald in different flavors (eg. dill, mustard seeds, chilli, garlic)
How to get there & infos

You can reach Spreewald by train from Berlin. There are hourly trains to Lübben and Lübbenau en route to Cottbus from Berlin central station. The train ride takes around one hour. When you arrive at one of the train stations, it is only a short walk to the centre ot the town and to the boat rentals.

Deutsche Bahn has always a great offer with the Berlin-Brandenburg-Ticket. Up to 5 persons can use this ticket for a whole day in Berlin (tram, bus, S- and U-Bahn) and Brandenburg (regional trains, no ICE) from 9am (mon – fri) and from midnight on weekends and public holidays. With this convinient ticket don’t have to stress about certain train times or to buy several tickets. It only costs 33€. Check bahn.de for mor info and details.

In both towns you can find restarants or pubs to grab lunch or dinner or just enjoy coffee and cake. Of course you have also the chance to sleep over in Spreewald.

Spreeald is one of the most popular daytrips from Berlin

Oranienburg & Sachsenhausen

Another of the popular day trips from Berlin is the small town of Oranienburg, located 35km north of Berlin. This is town of opposites. They have a beautiful Baroque palace next to the river Havel, Schloss Oranienburg. But also a very cruel place where lots of people died and got murdered in WWII, the Concentration Camp Sachsenhausen.

Anyhow, Oranienburg it is a very interesting place to learn abouth the past and the history. If you leave early in the morning you can combine both sights. It will take time in Sachsenhausen to go through the memorial site because you will be emotionally affected by the horrible facts. Because of this we recommend to start the day at the consentration camp, and then maybe it’s good to walk around at the palace grounds after that to get some other thought in mind.

Concentration Camp Sachsenhausen

The concentration camp in Sachsenhausen was in use from 1935 to the end of WWII in 1945. It was a camp with a gas chamber, medical experimentation area and several subcamps. Many of the people who were imprisoned, were political opponents, gypsies, jews or homosexuals. They were treated harshly and sometimes also killed openly. During the time alround 200.000 persons were kept in prison and far from all came out alive. They were forced to work hard under terrible conditions. Tousands of them died of hunger, exhaustion, illness or medical experiments. During a tour with an audio-guide you will get lots of information about the life in a concentration camp. At the entrance you’ll see the well-known gate with “Arbeit macht frei”. You can visit baracks, prison rooms and even an execution trench. This tour will definitely not leave you untouched.

Since 1993 it is a memorial site and you can learn there about the path of Germany in the Third Reich. This visit of the concentration camp in Sachsenhausen will hopefully leave a big and important impression for you. Every human should be respected in their own beliefs, skin colour, cultural or preferences of sex, religion or lifestyle. What happend in this time should never happen again.

Tips for the visit of Concentration Camp Sachsenhausen
  • Check opening times on their webpage of Sachsenhausen
  • The visit of the memorial and museums are free of charge
  • Audio-guide 3€
  • Wear appropriate clothing
  • Show respectful behaviour
Schloss Oranienburg

Schloss Oranienburg is the oldest Baroque Palace in Brandenburg and was built as a country estate in 1655 for Louise Henrietta of Orange (born 1667 in The Hague, Netherlands as Princess of Orange-Nassau), the first wife of the Great Elector. The town was first called Bötzow but it got changed into Oranienburg because Louise Henrietta was Dutch and the landscape reminded her about her home. Therefor the name of the town was changed and the palace was built in Dutch style too. Frederick I enlarged the palace and decoratd it very sumptuously. Today the palace shows a collection of unique artworks, paintings, seating furnitures, procelain and silver. There is also an adjacent park where you can go for a stroll.

Schloss Oranienburg for Christmas

In case you visit Oranienburg in December, check out the dates for the Christmas market “Weihnachtsgans-Auguste-Markt”. Normally it is the third advent-weekend of each year. It is named after a Christmas story about a goose called Auguste. The market is not as crowded as in Berlin, the prices for food and glühwein are also lower and the atmosphere in front of the palace is very romantic and perfect for Christmas. For us, this Christmas market feels very authentic and not touristy compared to the markets in Berlin. Try some delicious waffles, drink hot glühwein, listen to a choir and maybe you will be lucky and meet Santa Claus.

Majestic Oranienburg Palace is easy to visit on a day trip from Berlin
How to get there & infos

The best way for day trips from Berlin to Oranienburg is by train. There are several regional trains. R5 and R12 leaves from Berlin central station, but also the S-Bahn S1 will get you to Oranienburg from Berlin Friedrichstraße. The ride itself is around 25min – 45min. You can buy a ticket on every station at the ticket machines. Buy a day-ticket for zones A,B and C. This ticket is of course also valid for your return to Berlin.

Deutsche Bahn has always a great offer with the Berlin-Brandenburg-Ticket. Up to 5 persons can use this ticket for a whole day in Berlin (tram, bus, S- and U-Bahn) and Brandenburg (regional trains, no ICE) from 9am (mon – fri) and from midnight on weekends and public holidays. With this convinient ticket don’t have to stress about certain train times or to buy several tickets. It only costs 33€. Check bahn.de for mor info and details.

The camp in Sachsenhause is around 2km from the train station in Oranienburg. It is a nice way to walk there. From the train station turn right into Stralsunder Straße, right on Bernauer Straße, left on Straße der Einheit and right on Straße der Nationen. You could also take the bus 804 which makes hourly trips.

To get to Schloss Oranienburg, turn left after Stralsunder Straße into Bernauer Straße and follow the street until you have to cross a bridge over river Havel. Then you will see the beautiful Baroque Palace.

On the way from the train station to the palace you will have several options for restaurants, pubs and cafes. But do not be surprised about the calmness in the town. We always experienced Oranienburg as a very quiet and calm town and not very lively (maybe we were there too late or in off-season).

More inspiration

After a spending some time in Brandenburg you might want to explore more of Berlin. Here you can find great beer gardens and also delicious coffee places. Also, read our post about off the beaten track in Berlin to visit some of the unusual highlights of Berlin. In case you wanna go more north to the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Schwerin is a great city with a marvellous palace. A bit more south of Berlin and Brandenburg you find the state of Saxony with historical cities and stunning nature. If you wanna visit the second largest city in Brandenburg, check out our article about Cottbus!

2 COMMENTS

    • Hey Sonja,
      thank you so much for checking out our blog and the nice feedback 🙂

      All the best from Berlin to Frankfurt
      Matthias & Kent

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