Weekend Getaways Guide
Sylt is an island in the North Sea, about 420 km (290 mi) away from Berlin and an extremely popular summer resort.
Nude beaches are common, the most popular being Buhne 16 (133A Listlandstrasse, Kampen). If you’re feeling modest, Am Roten Kliff will be more your speed, as well as much less populated, as Germans are accustomed to sunbathing in the nude. Fun-Beach Brandenburg has many organized and informal sports activities. Hörnum beach features a lighthouse if you want to include some (appointment only) sight-seeing into your day. Wenningstedt has a great play area for small children.
There are also beach saunas available all year-round, many organized beach fitness activities (schedules available at the tourist office), outdoor concerts and late-night beach parties.
Sylt is reachable by train directly from Berlin; it’s about a five-hour ride. If you drive, you can take the Autobahn to Niebüll, then you must load your car onto a train that takes you the last 30 minutes of the way to the island over the 11 km-long Hindenburgdamm, as there are no autoroutes there. There are also flights available from Sylt Air, Lufthansa and Air Berlin, all seasonally.
Leipzig is a little over an hour from Berlin, and easily accessible by car or train (InterCityExpress). The city is well over a thousand years old, and was not as damaged by bombing in World War II as other German cities; subsequently, some of Germany’s finest architectural treasures can be found here.
Christmas time can be a great time to make a weekend trip to Leipzig, as it has a famous Christmas market with carolers, food and of course, shopping. Also, the zoo is a great place in the warmer months for the kids. It’s the largest zoo in Germany. While we’re on superlatives, the oldest botanical garden is in Leipzig and is a part of Leipzig University.
There are also several music festivals during the summer, ranging from punk to jazz to a Capella offerings. Music is a part of Leipzig, going back to when it was home to Bach, Wagner, Schumann and Felix Mendelssohn. Try if you can to catch a performance of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra or the choir of St. Thomas Church.
Dresden, located 100km (60 mi) south of Berlin, offers some of Germany’s best art museums and historical buildings. Despite begin destroyed twice, once in 1685 due to fire and the second time as a result of the massive bombings during WWII, the restored city retained class and history.
The main attraction for art lovers is the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister with its outstanding collection of works from the old masters. Come Christmas time, Dresden is home to Germany’s oldest Christmas Market – Striezelmarkt, which was founded in 1434.
Dresden can be reached by road or train and will take about two hours.