The Best Day Trips from Berlin
Berlin, Germany's capital, dates to the 13th century. Reminders of the city's turbulent 20th-century history include its Holocaust memorial and the Berlin Wall's graffitied remains. The city's also known for its art scene and modern landmarks like the gold-colored, swoop-roofed Berliner Philharmonie, built in 1963. Berlin's combo of glamour and grit is bound to mesmerize anyone keen to explore its vibrant culture, cutting-edge architecture, fabulous food, intense parties and tangible history. Berlin's richly textured history stares you in the face at every turn. This is a city that staged a revolution, was headquartered by Nazis, bombed to bits, divided in two and finally reunited - and that was just in the 20th century! Walk along remnants of the Berlin Wall, marvel at the splendor of a Prussian palace, visit Checkpoint Charlie or stand in the very room where the Holocaust was planned. Berlin is like an endlessly fascinating 3D textbook where the past is very much present wherever you go. And on top of its rich history and culture, it is a party capital. Forget about New York - Berlin is the city that truly never sleeps. The city's vast party spectrum caters for every taste, budget and age group. From tiny basement clubs to industrial techno temples, chestnut-canopied beer gardens to fancy cocktail caverns, saucy cabarets to ear-pleasing symphonies - Berlin delivers hot-stepping odysseys. With so much to see and do, Berlin is a great place to experience, and there are several options for budget friendly activities and tours in or near the city.
Get a taste for the city of Dresden, a historic German center of culture during the 19th and early 20th century, on this 10-hour day trip from Berlin. It's a great opportunity to get a taste for historic Germany as you admire the incredible architectural gems and scenic parks of this elegant town. Start your day in the morning by meeting your guide at Berlin's Zoologischer Garten underground or S-Bahn station, continuing by comfortable coach bus on the 2-hour drive south to Dresden. This architectural gem of a city, often referred to as the "Jewel Box" because of its wealth of rococo and baroque buildings, offers a range of beautiful sights to explore. Follow your guide on a walking tour of Dresden's center, learning about its history between 1806 and 1918, when it served as a key hub of culture for the reigning Saxon Kings. You'll hear stories about the calamitous events of World War II, including the notorious 1945 bombing which leveled Dresden's city center. Following a period of reconstruction and the reunification of Germany in 1990, Dresden once again returned to a position of prominence in German cultural life, today boasting more than 50 art galleries, 40 museums and 30 theaters. You'll follow your guide to many landmarks while learning the history of each. Then feel free to check out any of the sights from your walking tour in more detail, wander down to the Elbe River to stroll the banks, relax in one of Dresden's beautiful parks or down an icy-cold beer at the Biergarten (beer garden) with a view of the Dresden skyline.
Meet and greet the tour guide and group near the entrance of the TV Tower in Alexanderplatz, a large public square and transport hub in the center of Berlin. After getting fitted for a Beach Cruiser bike and helmet, hop on a train for the brief trip to Potsdam. There will be a brief introduction to Potsdam before beginning the approximately 4.5-hour ride around and through this capital city of the German federal state of Brandenburg. Pedal through the historical city center, the Russian colony Alexandrowka and the Dutch Quarter. Admire the majestic royal residences that were built during the reign of Frederick the Great. There's Sansoucci Palace, one of the largest UNESCO World Heritage sites in Germany; New Palace, the largest and most impressive palace ensemble in Sanssouci; the small, neo-classical Charlottenhof Palace, also in Sanssouci Park; and Orangery Palace, built in the style of the High Renaissance and commissioned by King Frederick William IV. Explore a variety of historical sites and learn the deeper meaning behind each. See, in part, the fabulous Marble Palace and visit the Cecilienhof Palace (entry and audio guide included), where Churchill, Truman and Stalin wrote world history when discussing how to partition Germany. Coast along between the former East and West Berlin, over the Glienicke Bridge connecting Potsdam to Berlin, where Cold War spy exchanges routinely took place, and much more. There will be time for lunch at a beer garden that used to be the old royal dairy. The tour concludes with a return trip to Berlin.
The Spreewald Forest is characterized by innumerable waterways and tributaries of the River Spree. Even today, these water arms are mostly the only connecting routes between neighboring towns and villages. The Sorbs and Wends, who have been living in the Spreewald Forest since the Slavic settlement in the 6th century, have preserved their language and cultural identity until today. Upon arrival in the village of Burg at the port Waldschloesschen you will be served pickles, bread and lard. Afterwards the Brandenburg Venice, as the Spreewald often is called, is ready to be discovered on a traditional punt tour. A Spreewald Forest ferryman punts you gently across the water and you will be able to enjoy the peace and quiet of this unique biosphere reserve. Of course, you will also have the opportunity to taste the delicacies of the Spreewald Forest cuisine at your own expense.
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