Sitting southwest of Berlin, just on the border, is the enchanting city of Potsdam. The largest city in the state of Brandenburg, this picturesque place is filled with majestic palaces, royal parks and pretty aristocratic houses from the 18th and 19th centuries. Its rich cultural heritage has earned Potsdam the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit some of the many world-famous palaces here, like the summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia: Sanssouci, or Babelsberg Castle and Park, which resembles a little piece of England within the German countryside. Stroll around the characterful Dutch Quarter of the city, made up of 134 18th-century red-brick houses. Designed in the typical Dutch style, they had been intended for settlers from the Netherlands but ended up being used for soldiers. These days, visitors will find them converted into quaint cafes and boutiques to browse in. From Berlin Hbf, hop on the train to Potsdam Hbf and be there in as little as 25 minutes.
Tropical Islands Resort, Krausnick
Admittedly, this may not be the most culturally refined of day trips, but it certainly rates amongst the most fun and is perfect for families, or just the young at heart. This tropical theme park sits around 60 km from Berlin in a former airfield in Krausnick. You can leave the capital and arrive into Brand (Niederlausitz) in just 50 minutes. This attraction boasts the title of being Europe’s largest tropical holiday resort, where visitors will find Germany’s highest water slide, a network of outdoor pools and a whitewater river, a tropical lagoon and waterfall, indoor rainforest and a whole host of activities and attractions to keep you entertained for hours!
Berlin Dahlem Botanical Gardens
Potentially some of the most beautiful gardens in the whole world lie just south of Berlin centre and take around 30 minutes to get to by train. The nearest station – Botanischer Garten – is around a ten-minute walk away. Founded in the 17th century as a royal garden, Berlin Dahlem Botanical Gardens is now also a world-class botanical research centre and home to a botanical museum. This green haven provides, quite literally, a breath of fresh air from busy city life. Travellers can transport themselves into tropical rainforests, sheltered fragrant woods and colourful rolling meadows in bloom. Covering 43 hectares and home to over 22,000 different species of flora, this botanical paradise will have you lost in another world.
Taking a pleasant 25-minute train journey that passes through the enchanting Grunewald forests along the way, you’ll reach the lakeside retreat of Wannsee. For over 100 years, it’s been the place to be for bathing in Berlin. On warmer days, it makes for the ideal escape from the city heat to enjoy some beach time by the lido. In fact, the beach here is Europe’s largest outdoor swimming area on an inland body of water. As well as sunbathing and splashing around, there’s also a promenade, playground and popular recreational park with beach volleyball, football and boating amongst the favourite activities on offer. Get the train here by buying a ticket to Berlin Wannsee station.
With Berlin and the surrounding area all conveniently connected by a regular network of trains, enjoying day trips from the city couldn’t be simpler!