Situated just 24km from central Berlin, Potsdam offers the perfect combination of art and nature.
Founded around the seventh century by the Polabian Slavs, Potsdam was chosen as the hunting headquarters in 1660 by Frederick William I.
Subsequently, it became the residence of Prussia’s Royal Family. During this period numerous splendid buildings and palaces were built in the area, most of which still stand today.
Potsdam's magnificent palaces and elegant gardens made it an essential UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990. It is now one of the most-visited cities in Germany.
What to do in Potsdam?
Potsdam is relatively small, but it has numerous architectural gems that are worth discovering. Some of the most interesting places to see in Potsdam are:
- Sanssouci Palace: Frequently compared to the Palace of Versailles, Sanssouci Palace is one of the most popular landmarks in Potsdam. Its magnificent gardens are worth exploring.
- Dutch Quarter: Also called “Little Amsterdam”, the Dutch Quarter is a small neighbourhood with red-brick houses where the Dutch lived during the eighteenth century after moving from Holland to Potsdam.
- Babelsberg Palace: The Gothic styled Babelsberg Palace was constructed between 1833 and 1835 as a summer residence for the German Emperor William I. Sitting on the banks of Havel river, this mansion and its gardens are extremely romantic. Sometimes the palace is closed due to renovation works.
- Neues Palais: The enormous Baroque palace is crowned by an impressive green-coloured dome and has a red-brick façade.
- Glienicke Bridge (Glienicker Brücke): Built in 1907, Glienicke Bridge crosses the Havel river connecting Berlin and Potsdam. Also known as Bridge of Spies, it was where the Soviet Union and the U.S. exchanged captive spies during the Cold War.
- Cecilienhof Palace: The elegant palace is designed as a typical Tudor manor house. It is currently used as a hotel and museum but has an important history since it was where the Potsdam Conference of 1945 took place.
- Brandenburg Gate: Although the most famous Brandenburg Gate is in Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate of Potsdam was built prior to Berlin’s landmark. It is in the Old Town, next to Luisenplatz.
- Charlottenhof Palace: This beautiful neoclassical mansion looks a bit like a Roman villa. It was built on the ruins of a farmhouse.
How long should you stay in Potsdam?
Potsdam is a city packed with iconic landmarks and things to do, but it is quite small, so one full day is enough time to explore this charming city.
How to get to Potsdam?
- Booking a guided tour: the easiest way if you're looking to visit without complication. If you book an excursion to Potsdam you'll get transport from Berlin, as well as a specialist guide who'll fill you in on all the points of interest in the city.
- Trains: Visitors can either take the S-Bahn which takes approximately 40 minutes or the regional express train that takes 20 minutes. If you prefer the S-Bahn option, you must purchase a Berlin ABC ticket (single ticket: € 3.80 (US$ 3.90) or day ticket: € 10 (US$ 10.30)). If you have a travel card for areas A and B, you only need to purchase a ticket for zone C which costs € 1.60 (US$ 1.60).