Berlin is an amazing city. But I hope you have time to see more of Germany. With 7 days in Germany, you can easily visit a few cities and get a good view of different parts of the country. This itinerary for 1 week in Germany takes you through Berlin as well as some other great cities in the former East Germany.
1 Week Germany Itinerary in Berlin, Leipzig, and Dresden
This travel plan focuses on Berlin for several days and then moves on to a few other cities. Germany has so many great places to explore, but you can’t get to all of them in a week. I’ve created this itinerary for Germany’s eastern cities to give you a feel for a few different areas while still minimizing the amount of time lost to transport.
There is some flexibility in this itinerary. After spending 3 days in Berlin, you will have 4 more days to fill, and you can choose which cities are most appealing to you and how fast or slow you want to travel.
Let’s dive in!
Note: For a more detailed plan for the first 3 days of this trip, please see my itinerary for 3 days in Berlin.
Where to stay in Berlin
Berlin has lots of great neighborhoods for you to stay in and explore. If you’re visiting Berlin for the first time, it might be best for you stay somewhere central. Many of the attractions are in Mitte or easily connected to Mitte by transport, so you should stay somewhere in that region. Here are a few hotels we recommend.
For a more detailed look at the different neighborhoods and our recommendations, check out our guide to where to stay in Berlin.
Day 1: Berlin’s Mitte attractions
Spend your day checking out some of Berlin’s most famous landmarks and attractions. Start at Alexanderplatz and admire the TV Tower. If you go up to the viewing platform, you’ll be rewarded with some of the best views of Berlin.
Wander down Unter den Linden, a gorgeous tree-lined road with many of Berlin’s museums and other attractions. Here you’ll see the Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom), Museum Island, the DDR Museum, the Humboldt Forum, Babelplatz, and more.
A few blocks over, check out Gendarmenmarkt. This is arguably one of Berlin’s prettiest squares where you’ll see the Deutscher Dom and the Französischer Dom (German Cathedral and French Cathedral) and Schinkel’s Konzerthaus (concert hall). Today both cathedrals are museums.
For an important look at Germany’s past, make your way to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews, which honors the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Afterwards, admire Brandenburg Gate, a regal old city gate that has come to represent Germany’s reunification.
Day 2: Berlin Wall
Start day two at the Reichstag Building, the seat of the German government. It’s an impressive building, but you can also take a free tour of the glass dome section at the top. Booking ahead is required.
From here, make your way over to the Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Strasse. The visitors center has two excellent short films about the Wall, and the memorial itself is a long stretch of Bernauer Strasse, a street that was split by the wall, separating a community. You can also go up a tower to see over the remaining section of the Wall.
Take a stroll through Prenzlauer Berg, one of the city’s most trendy neighborhoods. Check out Mauerpark, a huge park that sits where the Wall once stood. If you’re here on a Sunday, browse through the flea market.
Next up, go see the East Side Gallery. This is Berlin’s most well known section of the Wall, and it’s considered the longest outdoor art gallery in the world. It can get crowded, so bring your patience.
Explore the nearby Friedrichshain neighborhood. This funky section of town is a great place for street art and cheap eats. Boxhagener Platz and the surrounding streets aren’t far from the East Side Gallery.
End your day at Tempelhof Field. This impressive park used to be an airport, and it’s now one of the city’s favorite green spaces. The runway is still there, and people use it for cycling, roller blading, running, and much more. There are sections designated for grilling, three fenced-in dog runs, a community garden, bird protection zones, and more.
Day 3: Berlin Tiergarten and Charlottenburg
To start your 3rd day in Berlin, take a stroll through Tiergarten, a large park in the center of the city. Here you’ll see a Soviet War Memorial, the Victory Column (which you can climb for great views of Berlin from above), a variety of other statues and memorials, loads of gorgeous trees and greenery, and a few ponds.
At the far western end of the park, you’ll see the Berlin Zoo. It’s one of the best, so if you’re traveling with kids or you simply love zoos, don’t miss this one. Nearby check out the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. This church was badly damaged during WWII and now stands as a reminder of the destruction of war.
For shopaholics, Kurfürstendamm and the famous KaDeWe (Kaufhof Des Westens) are a must. This is where you’ll find Berlin’s high end shopping and all the big brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Gucci, and more.
Next up, pay a visit to the Charlottenburg Palace. This gorgeous former summer residence now houses a museum and is one of Berlin’s most popular attractions. The gardens surrounding the palace are also quite the sight to see.
Day 4: Potsdam to Leipzig
Potsdam is one of the most popular day trips from Berlin, so start your day by taking the regional train or the Sbahn to Potsdam and exploring the town. Leave your luggage in a locker in the Potsdam train station to retrieve before hopping on the train to Leipzig.
Potsdam is most known for it’s many palaces and gardens, so this is a good way to spend your morning. Sanssouci Palace is the most famous attraction here, but there’s plenty more to see. The Neues Palace, Orangery Palace, Charlottenhof Palace, Cecilienhof Palace, Marmorpalais, and Babelsberg Palace are all worthy sights to see in Potsdam.
Besides the palaces and gardens, stroll through Potsdam’s Dutch Quarter and cobbled streets of the old town. You’ll find plenty of cute shops and restaurants here, as well as a few old city gates.
I recommend eating lunch in Potsdam and then getting on an afternoon train to Leipzig. Alternatively, you can grab food to go and eat on the train to save a little time.
Read more about taking a Potsdam day trip from Berlin with details about how to get to Potsdam and what to see there.
How to get from Potsdam to Leipzig
There are train connections from Potsdam to Berlin Hbf to Leipzig about once an hour. You’ll take a regional train from Potsdam to Berlin Hbf and then an ICE (Intercity Express) train from Berlin Hbf to Leipzig. This will take a little less than two hours.
When I search for options on the Deutsche Bahn site, it shows 11 minutes to switch from the regional train to the ICE. This is tight even if you know exactly where you’re going.
But there are regional trains and Sbahns several times an hour, so you can easily get an earlier one from Potsdam to Berlin Hbf. The Deutsche Bahn website will even let you choose to have more time to switch. But keep in mind you are not bound to a specific regional train, and certainly not to a particular Sbahn. However, when you book an IC or ICE train ticket, you will most likely be bound to that specific train unless you buy a non-binding ticket, which is more expensive.
Another great transport option to consider is FlixBus. You’ll still have to get from Potsdam back to Berlin and then switch to FlixBus or FlixTrain. They have bus and train connections between Berlin and Leipzig that could save you money.
Fast traveler note:
Do you prefer traveling faster? Instead of going from Potsdam to Leipzig, you could stop in Lutherstadt Wittenburg in between and explore for a few hours. Lutherstadt Wittenburg is one of our top picks for day trips from Berlin, but you could easily fit it in here.
This city is famous for its connections to Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformation leader. The town itself is lovely, but you should also visit the Lutherhaus, a monastery-turned-museum, and Castle Church, where Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door.
Then continue on to Leipzig later in the day and explore the city on Day 5.
Leipzig is a wonderful city to include on an itinerary for 1 week in Germany, especially if you’re focusing on the former East. Once you arrive in Leipzig, explore the charming old town. Leipzig Markt is the main square, and it’s a perfect starting point. The square is lined with gorgeous buildings that house shops, restaurants, and museums.
Wander through the alleyways (called arcades) near the Markt and enjoy the old town atmosphere as your day winds down. You’ll find lots of great restaurant choices for some tasty German food in this area.
Where to stay in Leipzig
Day 5: Leipzig
Back in the old town, pay a visit to the St Thomas Church where Martin Luther was a preacher. Bach was also a choirmaster at this church two centuries later.
Also visit Nikolaikirche, another church where Bach served as a choirmaster. Nikolaikirche also played an important role in the nonviolent protests that eventually helped bring an end to the communist rule in East Germany.
Aside from the St Thomas church, Leipzig honors Bach with the Altes Bach-Denkmal and the Neues Bach-Denkmal (Old Bach Memorial and New Bach Memorial) as well as a Bach Museum, all located near the church.
Bach isn’t the only composer honored in Leipzig. You can also admire the Richard Wagner Monument just a few blocks away from the Markt.
In Leipzig, you can see the largest war memorial in Europe, which is Volkerschlachtdenkmal, the Battle of the Nations Monument. It was built to honor the 100th Anniversary of Napoleon’s defeat at the Battle of the Nations in Leipzig in 1813.
For excellent views of Leipzig, visit the Panorama Tower. Here you’ll pay a small fee to take the elevator to the viewing platform and get some wonderful pictures of Leipzig from above.
For visitors interested in the arts, be sure to check out the Museum of Fine Arts. Leipzig also has an impressive museum called the Forum of Contemporary History Leipzig where you can learn about life in Communist-era East Germany & the reunification process. In the Old Rathaus building, visit the Stadtgeschichtliches Museum where you’ll learn about Leipzig history and culture.
How to get from Leipzig to Dresden
You can either take the train from Leipzig late in the day on day #5 or early in the morning on day #6 to make the best use of your time.
There are plenty of trains between Leipzig and Dresden. About once an hour is a IC or ICE (Intercity or Intercity Express) train that takes just a few minutes more than an hour to get from Leipzig to Dresden. There is a regional train option, but it takes about a half hour longer for almost no savings.
Another option is FlixBus, which takes about an hour and a half from the Leipzig Central Station to the Dresden Central Station. FlixBus is a comfortable option if you’re on a tight budget since it is usually cheaper than the train.
Always compare Deutsche Bahn with FlixBus to see which is cheaper since can change depending on how far in advance you are booking.
Where to stay in Dresden
Day 6: Dresden
Dresden isn’t far from Leipzig, and it’s a great city to add to your Germany itinerary next.
When you arrive in Dresden, start your exploration in the old town. The Altmarkt (old market square) is a huge square where Dresden’s famous Christmas market takes place, but it’s impressive all year round. It’s lined with shops and restaurants, and nearby you’ll find the Dresdan Rathaus (city hall) and the Kreuzkirche Dresden (Holy Cross Church).
Keep wandering towards the Elbe River. In the Neumarkt (new market square) you’ll see a Martin Luther statue and the Frauenkirche church. This is another lively area with plenty of restaurants and shops. The area near the Neumarkt and towards the Elbe River is packed with history.
In this area you can admire the Residenzschloss (Dresden Castle), Hausmannsturm (a tower for great views of the city), Fürstenzug (a long mosaic), Stallhof (the the former stable of a royal palace), and the Schlossplatz square. Simply wandering around through the streets in the old town is a great way to soak up the atmosphere and stumble upon gorgeous historical buildings.
Along the river is the Brühl’s Terrace. This is a long terrace along the river where the old city ramparts were. It’s lined with impressive buildings and makes for a nice stroll with views of the river.
For museum lovers, the Dresden Castle houses a state art museum. At the Dresden Transport Museum, learn about 120 years of transport history. The Green Vault is a museum of baroque jewelry and art. Wander through the Kupferstich-Kabinett where you can admire more than 500,000 drawings, etchings, and engravings. And don’t forget the CAMONDAS Chocolate Museum where you can learn all about chocolate, or at least stop for a tasty snack.
Walk along the Augustus Bridge across the river to Dresden’s Neustadt, or New City. This is the more modern section of Dresden and is equally as nice to explore as the Old Town.
Day 7: Dresden to Berlin
This morning before you leave Dresden, check out Zwinger Palace. This is an 18th century Baroque palace that is now home to an extensive art museum. The grounds surrounding the palace feature gardens, fountains, and statues, and it’s an impressive place to visit.
Yesterday was jam-packed so if there was anything you didn’t have time for, you can see it this morning. Admire one of the old buildings, climb the Hausmannsturm, or take a stroll through the Neustadt. In fact, there’s a major train station on the Neustadt side of the river so you can start your journey back to Berlin from there if that’s more convenient for you.
Depending on what time you get back to Berlin, you will probably have time for a little more sightseeing if there’s anything else you didn’t get to do at the beginning of your week in Germany. And there are plenty of fantastic things to do in Berlin!
How to get from Dresden to Berlin
Deutsche Bahn has several different options ranging from about 1 hour 45 minute to about 2 hours 15 minutes depending on which one you choose and which train station you’re leaving from, either Dresden Hbf or Dresden Neustadt. The IC, ICE, and EC trains are all fast trains, whereas the regional train options will take longer to get from Dresden to Berlin.
I always recommend picking a direct route, as opposed to one where you have to change trains, whenever possible. This will be easier for you and less stressful.
As an alternative to the train, you could take FlixBus from Dresden to Berlin. The buses leave from both the Dresden Hbf and Dresden Neustadt and end at various points in Berlin. The bus takes anywhere from 2 to 3 hours. This option could save you money if you’re on a tight budget, and the buses are comfortable.
Book a tour for your trip to Berlin
Berlin Travel Resources
I want you to have the best trip to Berlin, and hopefully this 1 week in Germany itinerary helps. But there are lots more tips on the site!
Here’s what you should know before coming to Berlin. From practical tips to quirky facts about the city, it’s all in there.
Read this helpful packing list for Berlin so you know what to bring and what to wear.
You’re probably going to be using public transport to get around Berlin. Read this handy guide to Berlin’s public transport system and how to get around Berlin.
Visiting Germany? Don’t forget travel insurance!
It’s always a good idea to travel to Germany with a valid travel insurance policy. Travel here is reasonably safe, but you never know when something could happen. You need to be covered in case you have an accident or become a victim to theft.
We recommend World Nomads insurance for travel. Travel insurance helps you recover your expenses and continue to enjoy your trip.