Leipzig isn’t too far from Berlin, and it’s a really interesting city to visit. While you could easily spend several days there, I think you can see the highlights in Leipzig in one day. You can take a day trip by train since there are many direct connections. In this post, I’ll show you how to get from Berlin to Leipzig, and what to do on a Leipzig day trip from Berlin.
Why should you take a day trip from Berlin to Leipzig
If you’re spending more than 3 days in Berlin, it’s a good idea to plan a day trip so you can see a little more of Germany. Leipzig is a great choice for a day trip since it’s not too far from Berlin and the main attractions and the city center are compact and easy to explore.
Leipzig was in East Germany during the Cold War when the country was split into two sections. But Leipzig has its own unique story to tell about that era, and the city played an important role in ending communist rule.
This city is also rich in culture and arts. Many famous musicians, composers, playwrights, and writers called Leipzig their home at one point or another. Martin Luther, an important religious figure who began the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, also had strong ties to Leipzig.
The old town is really gorgeous, and it’s well worth a day trip simply to see a different city with interesting architecture and to soak up the atmosphere.
I’ve also included Leipzig on my one week Germany itinerary for Berlin and eastern Germany.
Where to stay in Leipzig
Leipzig is such a great city, you might decide you’d rather spend a night or two there. The city certainly has enough things to do to fill more than one day. Here are some hotels we recommend for an overnight trip to Leipzig.
Hotels in Leipzig
How to Get from Berlin to Leipzig by Train
From Berlin to Leipzig, there are good connections by train, which makes it an easy way to get there. The ICE train from Berlin Hauptbahnhof to Leipzig Hauptbahnhof takes about an hour and 15 minutes. Some trains also stop in Gesundbrunnen or Spandau, and they all stop in Südkreuz, so check which is the right train station to use depending on where you’re staying in Berlin.
There are regional trains from Berlin to Leipzig, but they will take a lot longer, involve one or two switches, and they won’t necessarily even save you any money. Some routes I saw were actually more expensive than the ICE route even when only looking a few days ahead of time.
How to Get to Leipzig from Berlin by Bus
If you’re on a tight budget, there is an option to get to Leipzig from Berlin using FlixBus instead of the train. The bus can save you a lot of money. But know that it takes longer, a bit over two hours for the shortest option.
Always compare FlixBus vs Deutsche Bahn to see which one fits your schedule and budget.
What to do in Leipzig in One Day
Leipzig has plenty of museums, monuments, and other great attractions to fill your day. Check out this list of things to do in Leipzig in one day and decide which ones fit your interests. You can’t do everything here, but you can certainly get a good view of the city and see a lot of Leipzig in a day.
Gaze upon the Nikolaikirche
Known in English as St Nicholas Church, this Leipzig landmark is the place to start your journey in the city. With roots that date back to 1165, the church as it is seen today is the same as it was in 1797. Aside from the eye-catching design, the church is also famous for being a key point of protest that saw the downfall of the East German Communist government. Further back in history, Bach served as a choir master at this church.
Visit St Thomas Church
Another church with history that you should visit on your Leipzig day trip fro Berlin, St Thomas church has lots of history and ties to several important figures. Martin Luther was a preacher here, and two centuries later, Bach served here as a choir master. It’s also visually stunning.
Learn about history at the Museen im Grassi
One of the largest museum complexes in Germany, the Museen im Grassi houses three museums: one dedicated to ethnography, one to art, and another to musical instruments. The building was constructed in the 1920s in the famed Bauhaus style.
Dine at Auerbachs Keller
For a classic dining experience head to Auerbachs Keller (“cellar” in English). This historic tavern is the place to go for time-honored Saxon cuisine, cocktails and live music. It has the accolade of being the oldest restaurant in the city; it’s even mentioned in Goethe’s 1770s play Faustus as a must-do thing to do in Leipzig!
People-watch at Augustusplatz
The city’s largest square – and one of the largest in Europe – Augustusplatz is the place to go to soak up some local atmosphere. It was once a beautiful plaza, but sadly many of its buildings were destroyed during World War II. Today it’s more of a modern marvel, and a good place to take a breather.
Stop by the Old City Hall
Leipzig’s Old City Hall sits right in the center of the city and stands as a testament to the German Renaissance. Built in 1556, it remained the seat of Leipzig City Council until the 20th century, when in 1909 it became the Museum of City History. So as well as admiring the building’s exterior, you can head inside and learn all about the long history of Leipzig.
Stroll through the Marktplatz
While you’re admiring the city hall building, you might notice the huge square you’re standing in. This is Leipzig’s central square, simply called Marktplatz. This large square hosts a weekly market as well as events throughout the year. Leipzig’s biggest Christmas market is held here, so if you’re visiting during the Christmas season, you should definitely check it out.
Marvel at the Krochhochaus
Krochhochaus was Leipzig’s first skyscraper. Hochhaus actually means skyscraper in German. Built in 1928, at 11-storeys high it was a controversial addition to the city at the time. Today it’s a neat slice of history that makes for a striking landmark on Augustusplatz.
Admire the masterpieces at Museum der Bildenden Künste
Art lovers should make a beeline to the Museum der Bildenden Künste. This giant glass and concrete cube is where you’ll find an array of fine art from throughout the ages. Stroll through its wide passages and courtyards and enjoy the outlook onto the urban city – all while taking in everything from Franz Hals to Claude Monet.
Learn about Leipzig’s recent history
Like Berlin, Leipzig has a interesting history from the Cold War era. To learn about life during this time, check out the Gedenkstätte Museum in der “Runden Ecke”, a museum with displays on the Stasi (secret policy) and what life was like in East Germany. This museum is located in a former secret police building.
Go crazy for Bach at the Bach Museum
This museum celebrates the life and legacy of Johann Sebastien Bach, who lived, worked and died in Leipzig. Featuring interactive exhibitions and packed full with interesting memorabilia from the Baroque composer, here you’ll be able to see original manuscripts and instruments. This is a must for music lovers.
Sip beer at Kaiserbad
Situated next to a converted power plant, Kaiserbad is part of the regeneration of Plagwitz, a former industrial area of the city. At this restaurant you can dine on diverse dishes and sip on 20 different kinds of beer on tap.
Tour the City Harbor
Leipzig City Harbor is a scenic waterside setting that can be explored either on the water itself, or by pedal power. If you feel like getting on the water, then there are a number of options. Canoes are available to rent, or you could take a guided tour via dragonboat. It’s particularly beautiful in the summer months when the harbor is alive with locals and visitors chilling out.
Admire the view from the Panorama Tower
Leipzig’s highest landmark, Panorama Tower is a 36-story skyscraper that looks out over the Augustusplatz and beyond. It’s the tallest skyscraper in the city and was actually designed to look like an open book. Visitors can travel to the top and soak up the vista from its observation deck on the 31st floor for a small fee. This is a great activity to include on your day trip to Leipzig.
Stroll along Madler Passage
Right in the center of the city, the Madler Passage is an exquisite shopping promenade that runs for almost a mile. Originating as a place for people to shop for porcelain and other ceramics, today it’s an elegant place to browse, boasting exclusive shops and charming eateries.
Visit the Monument to the Battle of the Nations
One of the best known landmarks in Leipzig, the Monument to the Battle of Nations is an icon. It was completed in 1913 to commemorate the Battle of Leipzig in 1813 during the Napoleonic Wars – the biggest battle of the 19th century. In the front, there’s a reflection pool called the Lake of Tears. Steps up to the monument allow great views of the city.
This renovated 500-year-old fortress is the only remaining part of the city’s historic defenses. But far from being a museum, today it’s a venue for cultural and creative events and gatherings throughout the year. It’s a popular hangout for visitors and students who come to enjoy the unique atmosphere.
See a show at Leipzig Opera
Boasting more than 325 years of history – making it the third-oldest municipal operatic venue in Europe (after Venice and Hamburg) – the Leipzig Opera has long been the flagship venue for classical music in the city. The focus here is mainly Wagner as Leipzig is his birthplace.
Swing by Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei
For some industrial history, head to Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei. Spread across 10 hectares on the outskirts of the city, this former cotton mill was the biggest cotton mill in Europe during its heyday in 1907. It was a town in itself, complete with workers’ homes, allotments and a kindergarten. Now revitalized, it’s a creative hub boasting studios and galleries. You can take a guided tour to learn more.
Have a cup of coffee at Zum Arabischen Coffee Baum
Coffee has been served at this venerable establishment since 1711, making it Germany’s oldest coffee house. Numerous notable figures have passed through its timeworn interiors and sipped on coffee, including Robert Schumann and Franz Liszt, as well as world leaders from Napoleon to Bill Clinton!
Admire the many statues
Several important historical figures had ties to Leipzig, and today they are honored with statues throughout the city. Here’s a list of a few of them.
Behind the Old City Hall, admire the statue of Goethe. Goethe is considered to be one of Germany’s most important literary figures.
Near the St Thomas Church and the Bach Museum, you’ll find the New Bach Memorial Statue and the Old Bach Memorial Statue. He was so important, they honored him with two statues!
Not far from the Bach Museum also sits the Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Memorial Statue. He was another famous German composer.
A little ways north of the Marktplatz is a statue honoring Richard Wagner, a famous composer.
Book a tour for your trip to Berlin
Berlin Travel Resources
I want you to have the best trip to Berlin, and hopefully this guide for a day trip to Leipzig from Berlin is helpful. 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 Berlin? Don’t forget travel insurance!
It’s always a good idea to travel to Berlin 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.