Looking to escape the urban jungle for a day? Check out these cool places easily accessible from Berlin.
A favorite destination during the Berlin summer, Wannsee is located in the western area of Berlin. Two lakes: Großer Wannsee (Greater Wannsee) and the Kleiner Wannsee (Little Wannsee), are located on the River Havel, separated by the Wansee Bridge.
The beach region is a well-known sunbathing, swimming and recreation spot. It is also home to many of Berlin’s wealthy resident’s summer homes and sailing yachts. The Strandbad Wannsee has one of the longest inland beaches in Europe and is a popular nudist area.
Other attractions include the Leibermann Villa museum, Peacock Island and the infamous Wansee Villa. Now a museum, it was the location of the Wansee Conference in which the Nazi officials met to “plan the Final Solution to the “Jewish Question”.
A cheap day-trip, Kladow is the perfect spot to relax on a warm summer day with woods, parks and lakes with sandy shores. It’s a little farther than Wansee, and therefore a bit quieter. To get there, take the S-Bahn to Wansee. From there, head to the ferry port and board the BVG-Fähre ferry to Kladow, which leaves each hour.
Sachsenhausen was one of the primary concentration camps of the Third Reich. As it was so close to Berlin, officers were commonly trained there before being sent further on. It was liberated in 1945, but used by the Soviets to hold political prisoners until 1950.
Camp facilities have been reconstructed to give visitors an idea of what life was like for not only Jewish prisoners, but also resistance fighters. Many of the buildings still remain, which includes the harrowing gas chamber and prison cells.
In 2012, the camp was opened as a museum and memorial with guided tours. The notorious “Arbeit macht frei” (Work sets you free) slogan is still on the entrance gate.
In a stroke of luck for those in Berlin looking for a scenic day trip, the UNESCO biosphere reserve “Spreewald” is located just an hour from Berlin city center. Lakes and canals from the Spree River create a network of exploration. You can take a guided tour or row your own canoe. Many of the areas are uninhabited, serving as a protected home to many species of plants and animals.
Try some local foods like dill, mustard and herb-flavored gherkins with fish sandwiches or a glass of Lübbenauer Babbenbier. Additionally, along with the beautiful nature, there are also many traditional farmhouses dotting the waterways.
Less than an hour from Berlin by train, Potsdam is a popular day trip destination. Until 1918, it was home to the Kaiser and Prussian Kings. Today, you can visit a plethora of heritage sights, such as the Schloss Sanssouci (once the summer home to the King of Prussia, Frederick the Great), the mini “Brandenburg Gate”, the Dutch Quarter and the Babelsberg castle and park.
Slightly cheesy, albeit ridiculously cool, Europe’s largest tropical indoor pool is located just 60 km from Berlin inside of an aircraft hanger. Equipped with a spa, sauna, cabaret, water slides, “Bali lagoon” and various waterfalls, it’s an easily accessible day trip on the train from Alexanderplatz.