List of the 10 Best German Cities & Towns Near Berlin Germany

When one thinks of Germany, the vibrant and culturally rich city of Berlin often comes to mind.

However, just beyond the capital city lies a treasure trove of small towns near Berlin waiting to be explored.

While living abroad in Berlin, I got to visit some of these beautiful towns near Berlin. If you too are looking to take a day trip from Berlin you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I will share my favourite:
–medieval towns near Berlin
–cities near to Berlin
And, everything you need to know about getting there and the destination highlights.

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Summary: Berlin Nearby Cities and Towns

half timbered buildings in blue, yellow with flowers in small towns near berlin germany

At a glance, here are the 10 destinations near Berlin that I recommend visiting. They are listed in order of distance from Berlin and the fastest mode of transportation by either car or train.

List of Best Towns near Berlin

  1. Spandau (16km) 🚄
  2. Wittenberg (100 km) 🚄
  3. Quedlinburg (214 km) 🚗
  4. Wismar (246 km) 🚗
  5. Goslar (272 km) 🚗

List of Cities Near Berlin Germany

  1. Potsdam (36 km) 🚄
  2. Leipzig (183 km) 🚄
  3. Dresden (191 km) 🚄
  4. Lubeck (284 km) 🚗
  5. Hamburg (289 km) 🚄

Now are you ready to learn more? Choose the town or city you’re interested in. Look for the ‘Learn More’ callout within the bordered box. Click on the box to access an article with additional information.

5 Small Towns Near Berlin Germany

1. Spandau: Old Charm by the Havel River

water reflection of fortress with trees in towns near berlin germany

Though technically a neighbourhood on the western edge of Berlin, Spandau feels more like a small town, and it indeed used to be one.

Dating back to the 12th century and situated along the Havel River, Spandau is absolutely charming with its well-preserved architecture. So much so, that I often find myself forgetting I’m in Berlin while exploring its quaint streets.

It became part of Berlin in the 1920s when the city boundary expanded, but the historical vibe makes it feel like a separate world altogether.

Top Attractions in Spandau

1. Medieval Spandau Citadel: a formidable fortress that played a crucial role in protecting Berlin for centuries.
2. Spandau’s Old Town: quaint charm with its cobblestone streets and traditional buildings and a daily Spandau Old Town Market.
3. The St. Nikolai Church: a prominent Gothic building in Old Town.

How to Get to Spandau from Berlin:

  • 🚄Take the S9 Spandau Bahnhoff for less than 30 minutes
  • Spandau can be experienced in a couple of hours or up to half a day

2. Wittenberg: Where Quaint Historical Charm Unfolds

colourful buildings with statue of martin luther in towns near berlin germany

The historic German town of Wittenberg played a crucial in history. It’s where the Protestant Reformation began, and for that, earning it a UNESCO Heritage designation.

Founded in the 12th century, Wittenberg is a must-visit for history buffs like me, featuring cobbled streets and well-preserved medieval buildings that reflect its ancient roots.

What makes it especially charming is seeing a stream running through the Old Town.

How to Get to Wittenberg from Berlin:

  • 🚄 Take the high-speed ICE train from Berlin’s Berlin’s Hauptbahnhof (central train station) to Lutherstadt (Wittenberg) for about 40-45 minutes
  • Walk from the train station to Old Town in less than 15 minutes, or you can hop on the city bus
  • Wittenberg can easily be experienced in less than a day

3. Quedlinburg: The Prettiest Old Town in Germany

cobblestone street with half timbered houses with flowers in cute towns near berlin germany

Quedlinburg, a cute German town, traces its roots back over a thousand years.

I find absolute delight in strolling along its cobblestone streets, surrounded by more than 1,300 half-timbered houses from different centuries. It simply is one of the most beautiful towns in Germany.

The enchanting atmosphere of the timbered framed buildings has earned it a UNESCO designation.

How to get to Quedlinburg from Berlin:

  • 🚗Rent a car and take the A2 Autobahn towards Magdeburg, then B6 to Quedlinburg, for about 2.5 hours
  • Quedlinburg needs a full day to explore it thoroughly

4. Wismar: Laid-back Charm of Maritime History

boats in harbour with buildings with red rooftops in cute towns near berlin germany

Wismar is a town with a history dating back to the 13th century, and I absolutely fell in love with its maritime charms and relaxing atmosphere.

The town, situated on the Baltic Sea in northern Germany, was once a vital trading port of the Hanseatic League, so much so it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

How to get to Wismar from Berlin:

  • 🚗Rent a car and take the A24 Autobahn and exit Wismar and Schwerin-West Quedlinburg, for about 2.5 hours
  • Wismar needs 4 to 6 hours to experience it

5. Goslar: Fairytale German Town with Royal Palace

The history of the town of Goslar dates back to the 10th century.

Nestled in the Harz Mountains of Germany, I find myself swooning over the medieval charm as I explore the well-preserved Old Town chock-full of half-timbered buildings.

This UNESCO-listed German town is extra special because of the Imperial Palace (Kaiserpfalz) which was once the residence of German royalty.

Top Attractions in Goslar

1. Goslar Market Square: gaze upon the colourful half-timbered houses surrounding the square and enjoy its lively flurry of activity.
2. The Old Town: stroll the charming cobbled streets admiring the architecture of its historical buildings like St. Peter and Paul Church.
3. Mines of Rammelsberg: visit this historic mine that is now a museum offering a glimpse into Goslar’s rich mining history.

How to get to Goslar from Berlin:

  • 🚗Rent a car and take the A2 Autobahn to the A36 for just under 3 hours
  • Goslar needs a full day to explore

5 Best German Cities Near Berlin

1. Potsdam: Royal Elegance and Serene Parks

pond with reflection of yellow palace in cities near berlin germany

Potsdam is a destination of grand palaces and beautiful gardens.

As I explore this German city, I’m transported back to the time of Prussian royalty. Established in the 10th century, Potsdam became a royal residence under Frederick the Great in the 18th century.

Adding to the UNESCO list is the historic significance of the Cecilienhof Palace, where the Potsdam Conference took place after World War II.

How to get to Potsdam from Berlin:

  • 🚄 Take the S-Bahn (S7) for 35 minutes to Potsdam
  • A full day is needed to explore Sanssouci Palace and Park, and at a faster pace to squeeze in the Old Town in Potsdam

2. Leipzig: A Cultured City for Lovers of History, Music & Books

market square with grand building and clock tower in cities near berlin germany

Leipzig is a city steeped in culture and history.

Founded over a thousand years ago, Leipzig played a big role in trade during the medieval period. Followed by its musical legacy where many great German composers played here like Bach.

As I explore, I instantly see the beautiful blend of historic and modern architecture, including the beautiful Art Nouveau buildings. This is a city made for cultural enthusiasts.

How to get to Leipzig from Berlin:

  • 🚄 Take the high-speed ICE train for 75 minutes to Leipzig
  • Leipzig can be easily be explored in a day, or more to take in even more of what this city has to offer

3. Dresden: Stunning architecture along the Elbe River

dome on church with stone building in cities near berlin germany

Dresden is one of the most beautiful cities that mesmerizes me with its stunning architecture every time I visit here.

Originally founded around the 12th century, Dresden evolved into a cultural hub during the Renaissance.

You would never know it, but after the devastation of WWII, Dresden decided to rebuild the city to its former glory. Every building, although new, looks centuries old.

Top Attractions in Dresden

1. Frauenkirche: the iconic church, in the heart of Old Town is often seen as the symbol of the city.
2. Zwinger Palace: admire the grandness of this Baroque palace.
3. Dresden Old Town: stroll through the historic heart of the city, where charming streets and squares reveal some incredible architectural buildings, including Dresden Castle.

How to get to Dresden from Berlin:

  • 🚄 Take the high-speed ICE train for 2 hours to Dresden
  • Dresden could be experienced in a day at a fast pace or spend 1 to 2 days at a leisurely pace

4. Lübeck: Medieval Charm Along the Riverbanks

gate with cylinder towers leaning toward each other in cities near berlin germany

Founded in the 12th century as a powerful trading hub, Lübeck is most recognized for its important trading history, and as such is a UNESCO Heritage city. The Hanseatic Museum offers great insights into Lübeck’s role in the Hanseatic League.

I found the city’s symbol, the Holstentor gate, absolutely charming with its cylinder towers ever so slightly leaning toward each other.

Another sweet reason to visit Lübeck is it is home to marzipan, a highlight was visiting the Niederegger Café and museum.

How to get to Lubeck from Berlin:

  • 🚗Rent a car and take the A10-A24 Autobahn to Lubeck for 2 hours and 45 minutes
  • Lubeck can be experienced within a day

5. Hamburg: Posh Elegance Meets Hipster Cool

tall red brick buildings on canal in cities near berlin germany

If you are looking to visit one of the coolest German cities, head to Hamburg!

Established over a thousand years ago, Hamburg has evolved into a major European port and is known for its upscale shopping and restaurants.

It’s a city I would call home in a heartbeat. With picturesque canals, from the scenic Alster Lake and impressive architecture found around every corner. Even though this is Germany’s second-largest city, its diverse neighbourhoods make you feel like it’s a small town.

How to get to Hamburg from Berlin:

  • 🚄 Take the high-speed ICE train for under 2 hours to Hamburg
  • Hamburg makes for a great weekend destination, but if you only have a day you can see its top attractions

As a Holidaymaker

I hope this list of idyllic small towns has inspired some future day trips from Berlin. Almost all of these destinations are declared World Heritage sites making it an even bigger reason to visit them.

If you’re interested in transforming these destinations into a UNESCO German road trip that begins and ends in Berlin, feel free to explore my guide.

Additionally, each of these charming towns and cities along the route offers a delightful Christmas market. Travel to Germany in late November into December to experience the bucket list festive atmosphere they each provide.

To help with your planning, be sure to check out my Travel to Germany page where I share my go-to resources, plus a full list of my articles.