Do you have an extra day in your Berlin itinerary? Taking a day trip from Berlin to Magdeburg is a great way to see another part of Germany that’s a little off the beaten path. It’s a lovely city, and you can see lots of the highlights of Magdeburg in one day. In this post, I’ll show you how to get from Berlin to Magdeburg, and what to do on a Magdeburg day trip from Berlin.
Why should you take a day trip from Berlin to Magdeburg
Magdeburg isn’t as well known to travelers coming from outside of Germany, so you’ll get to see a less touristy side of Germany. Visiting a city that’s a little off the beaten path can be a refreshing change of pace.
During World War II, Magdeburg suffered quite a bit of damage, including the near destruction of the Magdeburg Cathedral. But the bell towers remain, and today you can still climb them for an interesting perspective.
Magdeburg’s old town is charming, and you could spend a lot of time wandering around and admiring the old buildings. Though much of it was destroyed and lost, other sections were restored and rebuilt.
You’ll find interesting museums in Magdeburg where you can learn about the history of the city going back for centuries. Check out the largest navigable aqueduct in Germany, admire the wacky Hundertwasser Building, and learn about the city’s dark past.
Magdeburg is a great choice for a day trip from Berlin, especially if you’re looking for someplace a bit different.
Where to stay in Magdeburg
Magdeburg 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 Magdeburg.
Hotels in Magdeburg
How to Get from Berlin to Magdeburg by Train
To get from Berlin Hauptbahnhof to Magdeburg Hauptbahnhof, you can easily take the train. There are direct trains once or twice an hour, and the journey takes 1 hour 25 minutes to 1 hour 40 minutes.
The IC/ICE trains go a little faster and have fewer stops, while the RE trains, which are regional trains, make more stops and go a little slower. But since it’s not a huge difference, a slightly longer journey on the RE might be worth the cost savings, so be sure to compare.
Most trains going to Magdeburg also stop in several other stations within Berlin, such as Ostbahnhof or Zoo station. Check which station is closest to where you’re staying in Berlin to see which one makes the most sense.
How to Get from Berlin to Magdeburg by Bus
If you’re on a tight budget and you don’t mind spending a little extra time on transport, the bus might be a good option for you. FlixBus has one or two options that are just under 3 hours to Magdeburg from Berlin, and it could be cheaper than Deutsche Bahn.
Things to do in Magdeburg in One Day
Magdeburg has lots of culture and history to explore, and there are plenty of museums, monuments, and other great attractions to fill your day. Here’s a list of things to do in Magdeburg in one day. You probably can’t do everything in one day, but you can certainly get a good view of the city and see a lot of Magdeburg in a day.
Take a Tour of Magdeburg Cathedral
One of the crowning glories of Magdeburg is its huge cathedral. Opening its doors back in 1363, it’s the oldest Gothic-style cathedral in Germany and one of the largest church buildings in the entire country.
Sadly it was almost completely obliterated during World War II; all that remained were the two bell towers. You can climb those to this day, which makes for a particularly interesting glimpse into the past.
Walk across Magdeburg Water Bridge
Everyone knows about regular bridges, right? But this bridge in Magdeburg is a spectacle of water crossing water. It’s the largest navigable aqueduct in Germany, linking two canals (the Elbe-Havel to the Mittelland Canal) as it crosses the Elbe River. This epic construction started back in the 1930s, and was finally completed in 2003.
Visiting here is not only impressive for the boats that pass along it, but it’s also an excellent place for a spot of bird watching too. And, complete with trails and bike paths, it’s a great place to stop for a breather (bring a picnic).
See some art in a medieval building at Kloster unser lieben Frauen
Kloster unser lieben Frauen – translating to Monastery of Our Dear Women – is a medieval monastery situated in Magdeburg’s Old Town. It’s an elegant Romanesque structure, which is impressive as a sight in itself. But cooler still is the art that this now decommissioned monastery is home to.
Works on display here include regional sculpture and eye-catching contemporary art from Germany and beyond. It’s a great way to experience the history of the building, with an awesome contrast from the cutting-edge art. Alternatively, you can visit the cloister (no art) free of charge.
Take a break in The Elbauenpark
The Elbauenpark opened up in 1999 for a garden exhibition, and remains a popular green space in the city to this day. No wonder: it was originally a barracks and shooting range in the 1930s, and rubbish dump after WWII, filled with unexploded ordnance amongst other things. The park today covers around 100 hectares of variously sculpted gardens, each inspired by different themes and styles.
There’s a butterfly house, a rose garden, and many other elements that make strolling here pretty lovely indeed. The main landmark, however, is the Millennium Tower. Standing at nearly 200 feet tall, it’s said to be one of the tallest wooden towers anywhere in the world. This strange conical structure is definitely worth a look.
Be inspired by the the Hundertwasser Building
Also known as Hundertwasser’s Green Citadel of Magdeburg, this bonkers building is a must-see for all architecture lovers and Instagram fiends alike – an idealistic pink apartment block half-hidden by greenery.
The brainchild of artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, this complex of shops, apartments, daycare center and other amenities was completed in 2005. It’s an eccentric structure that takes Baroque, Art Deco, postmodernism, a dash of Dali, a glimmer of Gaudi, and combines them all together in a colorful burst of city living. Go for the guided tour for the best insight.
Take a stroll around Magdeburg Old Town
Though much of Magdeburg was destroyed during World War II, some parts of the Old Town remained, and others were lost forever. A portion of it was painstakingly repaired to its former glory. After all, this is the hometown of Holy Roman Emperor Otto the Great, and served as the base of operations during his reign.
As you might expect, it’s a lively part of the city with numerous historic buildings to stumble upon. One of these is the Buttergasse, a former medieval guildhouse. It’s a sizeable Romanesque building. Also here is the Rathaus – the old city hall – that dates from 1250. You’ll also find the Magdeburg Reiter, the first large statue of someone on a horse (Emperor Otto) since antiquity, apparently – though it is a replica for obvious reasons.
Learn at the Magdeburg Cultural History Museum
For more context to the history, head to the Magdeburg Cultural History Museum. Opening its doors in 1906, this Neo-Gothic style museum tells the story of the city from millennia past to the modern day.
On display in these fine halls you’ll see furniture, art and textiles from throughout the ages. It’s interestingly curated, so expect to be meandering here for a while.
Visit the Moritzplatz Magdeburg Memorial
This is the site of the former Magdeburg-Neustadt Pre-trial Detention Center. Though built in 1876, from 1945 to 1989, the prison was used by the Stasi – the infamous Ministry of State Security of communist East Germany – to hold people without trial.
The entire complex, from cell block to prison yard, has been maintained and presented as a memorial to all those who were held here for political reasons. You can take a guided tour to learn more about the history of the building. There’s also a permanent exhibition with relics from the former detention center.
Get a city view from the Albinmüller-Turm
Nothing beats a good vista of a cityscape from up high, and that’s exactly what you’ll get at the 200-foot-tall Albinmüller-Turm. Though the view is awesome, the tower itself is an impressive spectacle of optimistic 1920s skyscraper design.
Located in the large Rotterhornpark, the recently renovated tower was specifically built for the views – and at just two euros, who could resist the elevator ride to the top? Accordingly it’s crowned by a glass, blocky spire (originally a restaurant; now illuminated in the evenings) where you’ll find the observation deck.
Shop for food at the Weekly Market Alter Markt Magdeburg
Also situated in Magdeburg’s Old Town – in front of the newly restored Rathaus – is the Alter Markt, or “Old Market.” This colorful, local affair takes place throughout the week from Tuesday through Saturday. Produce on offer here includes local farmers’ products, specialty pastries and dairy products, flowers, fruit and vegetables, and other interesting souvenirs.
It’s classic market fodder and an interesting place to wander. Even better if you’re hungry: there are food vendors here, so you can enjoy a snack as you people-watch from seated tables.
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Berlin Travel Resources
I want you to have the best trip to Berlin, and hopefully this guide for a day trip to Magdeburg 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.