Germany’s central location in the middle of the continent makes it an excellent base for exploring Europe. In fact, it shares its borders with nine other countries, giving you a seemingly endless number of fun cities, villages, and natural landmarks to visit on your trip.
And thankfully, Germany’s well-connected railway system makes it easy to travel to other countries. Long-distance trains and buses are efficient and relatively affordable, allowing you to enjoy your Eurotrip to the fullest.
What is the Best Day Trip from Germany to Other Countries?
Which country you visit primarily depends on where in Germany you’re currently located. For example, those based in southern Germany will be able to reach Italy, Austria, and Switzerland in just a few short hours. On the other hand, visitors staying near Hamburg or Cologne will be close to Denmark, the Netherlands, Brussels, and France.
And, of course, Poland and the Czech Republic are also close to cities in Eastern Germany (Berlin, Dresden, etc.).
While it is entirely possible to visit another country on a day trip, you might feel rushed to see everything in just a few short hours. If you have more time, it’s recommended to stay for a few days or at least overnight to soak in the culture and enjoy your travels at a more leisurely pace.
Prague, the Czech Republic
As the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague is an old-world European city chock full of history and culture.
Its city center is a mazed labyrinth of cobblestone streets, where cozy cafes, local beer pubs, and century-old chapels await you on every corner.
While you could easily spend all day wandering through the central part of town (the neighborhoods of Prague 2 and Prague 3), make sure to cross the iconic Charles Bridge to visit the Prague 1 district on the other side of the Danube River.
It’s here where you’ll find the medieval part of the city, along with the awe-inspiring Roman and Gothic-style Prague Castle.
How to Get to Prague
- Munich to Prague: 5.5 hours by train (direct)
- Berlin to Prague: 4 hours by train (direct)
- Dresden to Prague: 2 by bus (direct)
While most people flock to Vienna for a dose of Austrian culture, Salzburg (which sits just 5 miles from the border of Germany) also has a lot to offer in terms of history and culture. After all, this is where Mozart was born and raised! In addition to visiting his house and gravesite, it’s also worth booking tickets to one of the many concerts, operas, or live musical performances here.
Austria’s fourth-largest city is also a preserved museum of Baroque architecture, with the entire old town having UNESCO World Heritage designation.
The 1965 hit The Sound of Music was also set and filmed here, and there are numerous tours where you can explore the different film locations in and around town.
How to Get to Salzburg
- Munich to Salzburg: 1.5 hours by train (direct)
- Nuremberg to Salzberg: 3 hours by train (transfer)
Brussels is a multicultural melting pot that has a little bit of something for every type of traveler.
Architecture buffs will enjoy the mix mash of Art Deco buildings and Gothic cathedrals, while foodies can indulge in traditional Belgium cuisine (which includes all the guilty pleasure foods like fries, waffles, beer, and chocolate).
Art aficionados will also find a smattering of galleries and museums in the city center, focusing on everything from fine art to illustrated comics.
This is also considered the de facto capital of the European Union and the seat of the European Parliament.
Visit the European Quarter neighborhood and tour the Parlamentarium, House of European History, or the Hemicycle to learn more about its significance in Brussels.
How to Get to Brussels
- Cologne to Brussels: 2 hours by train (direct)
- Düsseldorf to Brussels: 2.5 hours by train (direct)
- Frankfurt to Brussels: 3.5 hours by train (transfer)
As the economic hub of Switzerland, Zurich may not be one of the most visited cities in terms of tourism.
But this vibrant destination has so much more to offer besides banks, offices, and financial centers. This ultra-stylish city has hip boutiques, mouthwatering restaurants, and over 50 museums and 100 art galleries.
Most of the action happens in the old town, although those interested in the outdoors can also escape to the nearby mountains or lakes to spend the day in nature. However, these activities don’t come cheap.
Zurich is considered to be the wealthiest and most expensive city in Switzerland and, arguably, in all of Europe.
How to Get to Zurich
- Munich to Zurich: 3.5 hours by train (direct)
- Stuttgart to Zurich: 3 hours by train (direct)
- Frankfurt to Zurich: 4 hours by train (transfer)
Take a short hop across the border to Strasbourg, the capital of France’s Alsace region. The old city center is a designed UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with half-timbered houses, medieval churches, and charming public squares.
First time visitors will adore crossing the canals and admiring the views of the old fisherman and tanner’s houses in the Petite France quarter (the most picturesque part of Strasbourg).
The Parc de l’Orangerie is another highlight in town. This urban oasis is a beautiful green park with a lake, a greenhouse, and even a mini zoo.
It’s also located nearby the sleek and modern European Parliament building (Strasbourg is one of the three unofficial EU capital cities), which you can also tour if you’re interested.
How to Get to Strasbourg
- Frankfurt to Strasbourg: 2.5 hours by train (transfer)
- Stuttgart to Strasbourg: 2 hours by train (transfer)
- Munich to Strasbourg: 3.5 hours by train (transfer)
Although it’s not the largest or most visited city in Poland, Wrocław is a buzzing metropolis with over 1,000 years of history to explore.
Popular historical landmarks include the Wrocław Opera, the National Museum, and the Main Market Square (a great spot for coffee or lunch).
It’s also a lively university city with a student population of more than 130,000 people, so you’ll also find a lot of great bars, lounges, and nightclubs.
Another must-see spot in Wrocław is Cathedral Island, which is the oldest part of the city.
Despite its name, this area on the opposite side of the Odra River isn’t actually an island but instead an area with brick churches, green botanical gardens, and stunning Gothic architecture.
How to Get to Wrocław
- Berlin to Wrocław: 4 hours by train (transfer)
- Dresden to Wrocław: 4 hours by train (transfer)
- Munich to Strasbourg: 3.5 hours by train (transfer)
Maastricht, the Netherlands
This relatively undiscovered Dutch city near the German, Belgium, and Luxemburg borders has a wealth of fascinating sites to discover.
It’s second to Amsterdam in terms of historical sites, with over 1,677 national heritage buildings to discover. You’ll find city fortresses, Romanesque churches, lively market squares, and medieval towers dotted around this compact and walkable city.
The community in Maastricht is a diverse population of students, expats, and international immigrants.
Throughout the year, there are tons of festivals and events that celebrate the city’s multicultural heritage, including Carnival, the Pilgrimage of the Relics, and the European Fine Art Fair.
How to Get to Maastricht
- Cologne to Maastricht: 2 hours by train (transfer)
- Düsseldorf to Maastricht: 1.5 hours by train (transfer)
- Frankfurt to Maastricht: 3.5 hours by train (transfer)
Bolzano is unlike any other place in Italy as it’s a unique mix of Italian and German-Austrian culture (both languages are widely spoken in and around the city).
The old city, while small, contains a vast number of historical sites and monuments, including the multi-colored Bolzano Cathedral and the 13th-century Maretsch Castle.
And because it’s located so close to the Alps, Bolzano is also a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
Hiking, skiing, and cycling are just a few popular activities you can do here. The surrounding villages around Bolzano are also famous for their vineyards (there are more than 200 wineries in the region), many producing blends that can’t be found anywhere else in Italy.
How to Get to Bolzano
- Munich to Bolzano: 4 hours by train (direct)
As one of Poland’s largest seaport towns, Szczecin is one of the closest international cities to eastern Germany. As such, it’s a popular day trip for German citizens or visitors looking for a quick cultural getaway across the border.
Much of the city center was destroyed during WWII, and while parts of the old town were restored to their former glory, there are still many sites that have yet to be rebuilt.
But despite its complex history, Szczecin still has quite a few must-see attractions, including the Old Town Hall, the Szczecin Philharmonic building, and the Pomeranian Ducal Castle and Tower of Seven Mantles.
Visitors can also take a boat ride through the Szczecin Harbor to learn more about the city’s maritime heritage.
How to Get to Szczecin
- Berlin to Szczecin: 2.5 hours by train (transfer)
- Hamburg to Szczecin: 4 hours by train (transfer)
- Leipzig to Szczecin: 4 hours by train (transfer)
Ribe has a history that dates back to the 8th century, making it the oldest town in Denmark and all of Scandinavia.
It’s far from being a large city (there are only around 8,000 people that live here), but its charming city center and historical sites make it one of the most fascinating places to visit in Europe.
Start with a visit to the Ribe Cathedral, which was founded in 860 during the Viking era. You can also learn more about the Vikings at the Ribe Viking Museum or the Ribe Viking Center.
The town is also the main jumping-off point for exploring Wadden Sea National Park – the largest National Park in Denmark.
It’s one of the best places in the world for birdwatching, as over 10 million migratory birds stop here while passing through the Wadden Sea.
How to Get to Ribe
- Hamburg to Odense: 3.5 hours by train (transfer)
- Flensburg to Odense: 2 hours by train (transfer)
From the Italian Alps or the Medieval villages of Denmark, there are so many interesting places you can visit outside of Germany. So, the next time you plan to visit Europe, make sure you give yourself a few extra days to see something else.
You never know what fascinating sites are waiting for you just across the border!