Julie Germany, Poland 14 Comments

Germany is a country that appears on many travelers’ bucket lists. And why not? It has fairytale castles, beautiful Bavaria, Oktoberfest, and amazing cities to visit. But have you ever heard of Görlitz?

We hadn’t. At least not until we planned a trip to Berlin.

I “discovered” Görlitz when I was searching for unique day trip ideas from Berlin. Colorful photos of this town, slightly resembling the Polish cities of Wroclaw and Krakow, caught my eye. And just like that, Görlitz was added to our German road trip adventure.

About Görlitz, Germany

Görlitz is a small town in Saxony, Germany. It is the easternmost city in Germany. Görlitz sits on the bank of the Lusatian Neisse River and just on the other side of the river is Zgorzelec, Poland. Zgorzelec was part of Görlitz until 1945.

As you can see on a map, Görlitz is not really near anything, which is why it makes such a great travel destination. If you are the sort of person who likes to get away from the crowds and explore hidden gems, then Görlitz is your kind of place.

But Görlitz does have a claim to fame. If you watched “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “The Book Thief,” or Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorious Bastards,” then you have seen Görlitz. This town was a filming location for all of these movies. For “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” a vacant department store was redecorated and used as the filming location for the hotel.

Görlitz in Photos

If you are wondering if Görlitz is worth it, check out these 17 photos that show just how beautiful this town (and Zgorzelec) is.

Upper Market Square (Obermarkt)

Market Square


Looking down Hainwald Street.

Gorlitz Germany Day Trip


A street cafe near Lower Market Square.

Gorlitz Cafe


Lower Market Square (Untermarkt)



Rathausturm and Lower Market Square

Gorlitz Clock Tower


We saw beautiful doors like these throughout the town.

Gorlitz Doors


We also saw many streets like these, lined with colorful buildings.

Gorlitz Day Trip

Narrow Street

Visiting Gorlitz

Gorlitz Street


This is the Fat Tower (Dicker Turm). You can climb this tower for views over the city.

Fat Tower


For another view over the city, you can climb Reichenbach Tower

Reichenbach Tower


Looking across the Lusatian Neisse River to Zgorzelec, Poland

Gazing at Poland


Walking across the bridge into Poland.

Bridge to Poland


A view of the Lusatian Neisse River and Zgorzelec from the bridge.

Zgorzelec Poland


Zgorzelec also has rows of colorful buildings.

Colorful Buildings Poland


From Zgorzelec, this is the view towards Görlitz and St. Peter and Paul Church.

Peter and Paul Church


Getting Here

From Berlin

By car: 3 hours, 280 km
By bus: Flixbus offers direct service between Berlin and Görlitz
By train: 2h 40min with a transfer in Cottbus, visit bahn.de

From Dresden

By car: 1h 15min, 110 km
By bus: 1h 30 min with Flixbus
Train: 1h 30min, visit bahn.de

It can be a little tricky driving through Görlitz, with its maze of narrow one-way streets. I recommend parking in the parking garage on An der Frauenkirche (labeled Parkhaus Citycenter Frauentor on Google Maps).

Görlitz is small, so you can wander through it in just a half a day, perfect for a day trip from Dresden or Berlin.

About Our Experience

Tim and I visited Görlitz as part of a full day road trip from Berlin. We rented a car and drove first to Rakotzbrücke, a very unique bridge just one hour from Görlitz. We ate lunch in Görlitz, spent some time wandering the city streets, and then drove west to the Bastei. This is another awesome bridge with a spectacular location. From the Bastei, we drove back to Berlin, arriving around 9 pm.

More Information for Your Trip to Germany:

Read all of our articles about Germany in our Germany Travel Guide.

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Gorlitz Germany Day Trip Travel


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Comments 14

  1. Hi All,

    Loving the website and the photos. My mum was born in Goerlitz and grew up there until she went to West Germany in the 1950s. She passed away last year but I had a chance to visit her hometown for the first time whilst on a lads weekend from the UK in Wrocław, Poland (which is a beautiful city as well!). I managed to track down her old house through an old photograph from 70 years ago. It was quite something to stand at the same spot. The house looks beautiful as does most of the old city centre. Anyway, my friends from England and I (from Germany, now UK) loved Goerlitz! Definitely worth a visit. If you go, plan in the Kartoffelhaus (near the Fat Tower) for some nice German food. Happy days ;-).

  2. I went to Gorlitz with my friend Werner about 30 years ago. We joint a city tour for school children and the guide told the group that the locals stayed away from the river since Polish border snipers enjoyed shooting. In fact locals never saw the river ( after the end of the war and before the fall of the wall). Since the houses were so badly damaged and full with bullit holes locals only looked down.
    During our 2 day visit pedestrians walked over the bridge with cigarettes one way and washing machines the other way. Young unemployed were drinking beer in the park during the day to kill the time . Some houses were restored others not.
    It was an unforgettable visit. A beautiful city with a lot of history and clear reminders of what people can do to each other. The visit changed me.

    1. Post
    2. Please don’t believe everything u hear or read. I grew up in Görlitz after the war. Of course did we see the River Neiße. We even went swimming in the public „Neißebad“. Until the 80s you were also able to cross over the river to get to Poland and later you could take the train through Poland and over the Neiße to get to Ostritz or Zittau, south of Görlitz. I have also never ever heard of or seen snipers during DDR times shooting at houses along the border and my grandparents lived right at the „Stadtpark“ where you crossed over and still do if you travel to Poland. Please do your research before you post anything because some people might believe your „fairy tales“.

  3. I was born in Geibsdorf. A small village not far from Gorlitz. My early years were filled with stories about
    Gorlitz. We left Geibsdorf in 1945 (May) when the Russians invaded and walked to West Germany. I was almost five but remember much. I now live in Northern California, USA. I wish I could touch base with anyone from Geibsdorf who was there when I was.

    1. My mother and grandmother lived in East Gorlitz which is now Poland but left when the Russians invaded. My mom was 12 in 1945.
      They lost everything except what they could carry. My mother and older brother went to my mothers home about 15 years ago but everyone spoke Russian except one German neighbor. Lots of stories about Gorlitz. My mom and dad are both with Jesus and would love to hear mother and Omi talk about Gorlitz again.

  4. The photos would be better if the perspective from use of wide angle lenses was corrected. Easy fix in Lightroom or similar program.

  5. I love your blog and I often read it. Just like a book before sleeping 🙂 since two years
    You were almost everywhere in Europe but not in Poland 🙁
    I always wanted to write you that Poland is beautiful too!
    today I open your blog and ….
    I cannot believe that you were in my hometown last days!!
    I live near Zgorzelec and I work there…
    Poland is really worth to see !
    kind regards
    Gabriela from Poland

    1. Post

      Hi Gabriela. Yes, we were in Poland, just for a little bit (enough time to relax in a cafe and have espresso). Tim had to be in Berlin for work. I looked into taking a day trip to Wroclaw but it seemed far to go for just one day. Instead, we picked Gorlitz and had the chance to cross the border into Poland. We really want to visit Poland someday…it looks amazing. Cheers! Julie

      1. I’m an American living in Wrocław (formerly Breslau) & I get to Gorlitz 1-2 times a year & I truly love it there. If you’re interested into going to Wrocław there used to be a direct train from Berlin but I’m not sure now.There are daily buses though. From Gorlitz there are 4 trains a day to & from both places.

        If you get the chance, check out Gorlitz’ Weinachtsmarkt in December. It’s rather small but it is very friendly & personal & just a wonderful Christmassy feeling.

        Enjoy your stay in Germany! Greg O

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