The capital of its country, one of the most historic, advanced, and well known countries in the world, Berlin is a very important city. There’s tons to see throughout Berlin, from the beautiful Brandenburg Gate to marvellous Museum Island, making it a very popular tourist destination. Berlin is the perfect home base for travellers looking to explore the rest of its country, with many huge metropolises and hidden gems of towns located around the city. So in this post, I’ll be going back to my Berlin series – specifically writing about three of the best day trip destinations from the city, including cultural Dresden, growing Leipzig, and humble Dessau!
Once a royal city, Dresden was almost completely destroyed during the bombing of the city in World War II. Since then however, it was been mostly rebuilt and today stands as one of the top architecturally impressive German cities. It is the capital of its state, Saxony, and is located near the border of Germany and the Czech Republic. With its Frauenkirche, Dresden Castle, and Zwinger, it’s easy to see why millions of people visit the city annually.
I visited Dresden for barely two hours on the way from Prague to Berlin, and since then I’ve wanted to go back and spend more time there! During our short time there, my family and I just walked around the Old Town and explored the beautiful streets of the city. The holiday season was just wrapping up at the time of our visit, yet we were lucky enough to come across a charming little Christmas market in a random square. For some reason this Christmas market has to be one of my top favourite ones I saw throughout that entire trip… maybe because of the adorable dog I found at one of the stalls! We also came across a tiny shop selling hundreds of different German Christmas decorations, including beautiful handmade pyramids and ornaments, which I loved exploring.
Obviously since we were there for barely a quarter of a day, we didn’t get to see much of the city at all. Therefore, I’d recommend staying there throughout the day for as long as possible, if not even overnight. Dresden is only about a two hour train or car ride from Berlin, so travel time won’t take too long at all!
Also located in Saxony, Leipzig is the largest city in the state (though not the capital). Leipzig has recently been labelled as the fastest growing city in Germany, as well as the “New Berlin” and “Hypezig”, despite criticism from locals. It is home to many interesting sites, including the well known Leipzig Orchestra, possibly Europe’s best Zoo, and the incredibly historic St. Nicholas’ Church. The burial place of Baroque composer Bach, Leipzig is also nicknamed the city of Music with its other ties to famous composers like Wagner, Mendelssohn, and Schumann.
My visit to Leipzig was quite similar to my one to Dresden – my family and I made a quick stop in Leipzig on our way from Berlin to Munich. Again we only had about two hours to spend in the city, which we used to wander around and explore on foot. While walking through the city I noticed that it was very clean, green, and much less touristy than both nearby Dresden and Berlin.
A train ride from Berlin to Leipzig is just over an hour, while the drive between the two is about two and a half hours. I’d really suggest visiting Leipzig if you have the time, as I found it very welcoming and overall a really nice city. I’ll definitely be back in the future!
Dessau, a modest town almost midway between Berlin and Leipzig, is probably a place you’ve yet to have heard of. This city is surely the least touristy of the three, as most visitors are there to see the Bauhaus, a building by the well known Bauhaus School of Design built in the 20s. Between Weimar, where the school was originally founded, and Dessau, Dessau is more associated with the school since Bauhaus was most successful during its time in Dessau. The school’s buildings in Dessau are considered very important towards the evolution of architecture of the 1900s, earning them a spot as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Since I’m not much into architecture, I hadn’t heard of Bauhaus until I actually visited, as my dad was originally the one who wanted to visited Dessau. Once we explored the building though I got to learn more about the school and its history, which I found really interesting. I didn’t know this when I visited but on the Bauhaus website I actually read that next year they’re opening an entire museum on Bauhaus in Dessau, which is sure to draw many more visitors to the town. Maybe I’ll have to go back someday then and visit the museum!
If you’re into art, design, architecture, and all that Bauhaus is about, I’d definitely suggest visiting Dessau as it’s only an hour and a half drive from Berlin and is a pretty significant place. If you’re not exactly into all that however, I probably wouldn’t say to visit, just because you’d probably find Dessau a bit underwhelming without knowing much about Bauhaus.
That’s brings us to the end of this post, I hope you enjoyed! Have you ever visited any of these cities? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading 🙂