Discover magnificent Baroque architecture, stately gardens and cobblestone lanes lined with boutiques and cafés on a trip to this one-time royal garrison town.
Resplendent palaces, perfectly groomed parks, UNESCO World Heritage sites and a quaint historic center welcome visitors to Potsdam. This riverside city started life as a garrison town and later became the lavish residence of the kings of Prussia. Potsdam suffered severe damage during World War II and was then left neglected when it became part of post-war East Germany. Today, it’s back to its former glory and is a wonderful place to explore on foot, by tram and by boat on the Havel River.
For many, Potsdam’s greatest touristic appeal is Sanssouci Park. This vast green lung with art galleries, ornamental gardens, palaces and vineyards is often labelled as Germany’s answer to Versailles, France. Visit the Rococo-style Sanssouci Palace, built as a retreat for Frederick the Great, King of Prussia. Browse art displays at the Bildergalerie and Orangery Palace. Admire remarkable monuments such as the Chinese Tea House, New Chambers (Neue Kammern) and New Palace (Neues Palais).
Spend time exploring the city’s other gardens, including the riverfront Park Babelsberg. Join a river cruise for impressive views of Glienicke Bridge and Glienicke Park. Take a tour of Cecilienhof Palace, the site of the 1945 Potsdam Conference, in the beautiful New Garden.
Potsdam’s old town is a warren of lanes set back from the City Canal. Marvel at the Church of St. Nicholas, Old Town Hall and Potsdam City Palace, which frame Altes Markt square. Find boisterous bars, cozy cafés and handicraft shops tucked into the corners of the Dutch Quarter.
While here, get a feel for the city’s student lifestyle by wandering amid the campuses of the University of Potsdam. Learn about local and international cinematography at the Film Museum Potsdam, housed in a former royal stables. Attend film shootings, watch stunt displays and walk on movie sets at Filmpark Babelsberg.
Reach Potsdam by catching trains from Berlin, Dresden and Hamburg, among various major German cities. Popular as a daytrip from Berlin, you’ll also find a selection of guesthouses and hotels that allow you to linger a while amid the city’s royal elegance.