15 must-do things to do in Potsdam

Visit Potsdam: the 15 best things to do and see in Potsdam, a princely and historic city in Germany!

Summary

  • 1. The Old Town
  • 2. The Dutch Quarter
  • 3. The Brandenburg Gate
  • 4. Sanssouci Palace
  • 5. Sans-Souci Park
  • 6. Neues Palace
  • 7. Cecilienhof Palace
  • 8. New Garden
  • 9. Belvédère Pfingstberg
  • 10. The Barberini Museum
  • 11. Potsdam Film Museum
  • 12. The Russian Quarter
  • 13. Park Babelsberg
  • 14. Filmpark Babelsberg
  • 15. The Glienicker Bridge

A neighbor of Berlin , Potsdam was in the past an important city for the Prussian and then German monarchy. Although Berlin was once the official capital of Prussia and later of the German Empire, the Court nevertheless remained in Potsdam.

From this golden era, the city thus retains an impressive historical and cultural heritage. It is therefore worth the detour!

Visiting Potsdam can be done in parallel with a trip to the German capital, a few kilometers away. But the city can be discovered in itself during a charming romantic weekend. Discover the 15 best things to do in Potsdam during your stay.

1. The Old Town

The old town of Potsdam

The first stop on a visit to Potsdam, the old town is obviously at the heart of the city. If you arrive by train, it will certainly be the first place you discover. You will then cross the two arms of the rivers, be able to admire the parks of the island located in the middle before reaching the Innenstadt .

This bustling city center is famous for its cobbled streets, authentic restaurants, quaint cafes and stalls.

Take a walk around the beautiful Place du Vieux Marché and admire the magnificent Saint-Nicolas church. Lose yourself in the narrow streets and enjoy the superb historic buildings that populate this old center.

2. The Dutch Quarter

The Nauen Gate - visit Potsdam

To the north of the old town is the Dutch Quarter. Here you’ll see houses inspired by Amsterdam mansions, with front gardens and pretty painted shutters.

Nearby you can observe the impressive Nauen Gate, testimony to the ancient ramparts. Then stroll through the alleys and take the opportunity to discover some charming shops.

3. The Brandenburg Gate

The Brandenburg Gate - visit Potsdam

The Brandenburg Gate is located west of the Dutch Quarter and just north of the Old Town. It is an emblematic monument of Potsdam. Built in 1770 at the request of Frederick II of Prussia, it is located at the western end of the Rue de Brandebourg . It faces opposite the Catholic Church of Saint-Pierre-et-Paul, another monument to admire.

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Brandenburger Straße is also Potsdam ‘s liveliest and busiest shopping street during the day and at weekends.

Start in this way from the church and go up it to the Gate. Enjoy the pretty buildings and shops along the way. After the Gate are other must-see monuments to visit in Potsdam.

4. Sanssouci Palace

Sanssouci Palace - visit Potsdam

Sans-Souci Palace is the former summer palace of King Frederick the Great of Prussia. This monument is one of the most beautiful and emblematic of the city. If you come to visit Potsdam, you must therefore not fail to discover it.

Built between 1745 and 1747 by the architect Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff in the Frederician Rococo style, it is located in the heart of a sublime park. Its name comes from its purpose: this palace was the destination of King Frederick II to relax and escape his royal obligations in Berlin.

The palace sits atop a terraced vineyard where the king’s simple mausoleum is also located. Its interior, designed for comfort and conviviality, is all stucco, sculpted marble and gilding typical of the Rococo style. If you can, visit its beautiful rooms in addition to admiring its facades and exterior architecture.

5. Sans-Souci Park

Sanssouci Park - visit Potsdam

Adjoining the palace of the same name, Sans-Souci Park is another must-see in Potsdam. The palace and its terraced garden are thus in the center of the park. The latter extends over nearly 300 hectares and has been developed over the decades.

In the park, you can discover the Bildergalerie which houses a collection of the king’s art. You can also contemplate the Neptungrotte , a Chinese tea house, with its vegetable garden and flower garden, or the magnificent Château de l’Orangerie.

The latter is located north of Sans-Souci Park. Imposing by its size, it astonishes by its singular architecture and its sumptuous rooms. He was thus inspired by Rome , and more particularly by the Villa Medici.

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6. Neues Palace

Neues Palace in Potsdam

Located on the western side of the Sans-Souci Royal Park, the Neues Palais was built under Frederick the Great and after the end of the Seven Years’ War, to celebrate Prussia’s successes. It is considered the last great Prussian Baroque palace.

Place of reception rather than residence, it is impressive by its marblings, its stones and its gildings. If you come to visit Potsdam, you must absolutely contemplate it and even discover its sublime interior rooms.

7. Cecilienhof Palace

Cecilienhof Palace - visit Potsdam

Located in the Neuer Garten , Cecilienhof Castle is the last Prussian castle built during the reign of the House of Hohenzollern. Built in the style of an English Tudor palace, it presents an atypical and quite charming architecture.

But this palace is best known for having hosted the Potsdam Conference from July 17 to August 2, 1945. The latter aimed to fix the fate of enemy nations, defeated by the Allies after the Second World War.

8. New Garden

New garden

The Neuer Garten is a park located north of Potsdam, on the banks of the Jungfernsee and Heiliger See lakes . In English style, it is thus very different from Sans-Souci Park where straight paths and flowerbeds dominate.

Large of a hundred hectares , nature is left more in the free state. It is a pleasant space for beautiful walks, with some charming and surprising buildings scattered here and there.

9. Belvédère Pfingstberg

Belvédère Pfingstberg - visiter Potsdam

To the west of Cecilienhof and the Neuer Garten , you can climb to the top of the lookout on the Pfingstberg . Erected under Frederick William IV of Prussia, it features neo-renaissance architecture. This sublime monument, in addition to its beauty and elegance, offers visitors a superb view of the surroundings and the city.

10. The Barberini Museum

The Barberini Museum - visit Potsdam

In the heart of the old town is the charming Barberini Museum. Opened in 2017, this art museum presents works dating from the former German Democratic Republic. The permanent collection comes from the private contributions of Hasso Plattner.

But the museum also presents three exhibitions a year in collaboration with museums around the world. They are devoted to painting and sculpture and are generally worth the visit!

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11. Potsdam Film Museum

The Potsdam Film Museum

Thanks to the Babelsberg Studios , once one of the world’s centers of film production, Potsdam has become a city of cinema.

You can also visit the Potsdam Film Museum in its center. You will then discover and immerse yourself in the history of German cinema. If you have some time, don’t forget to go there!

12. The Russian Quarter

St. Alexander Nevsky Church - visit Potsdam

Between the old town and the Pfingstberg belvedere stretches Alexandrowka , also called the Russian quarter. If you come to visit Potsdam, don’t miss getting lost there. Here you can admire the magnificent St. Alexander Nevsky Church in Potsdam.

You will also discover an amazing part of the city’s history. Alexandrowka was indeed a Russian colony, the fruit of a friendship between the Hohenzollern and Romanov houses.

13. Park Babelsberg

Park Babelsberg - visiter Potsdam

Potsdam is rich in palaces and parks. Among them, we also recommend that you discover the beautiful Park Babelsberg . This beautiful forest park overlooks the lake and the Havel River. There is also a beautiful castle and above all superb viewpoints. It is therefore the ideal place for a romantic and refreshing walk in nature!

14. Filmpark Babelsberg

Filmpark Babelsberg

The Filmpark Babelsberg is held in the same location as the studios of the same name. This is a must-see attraction in Potsdam, which will especially delight cinema lovers and families! This theme park will allow you to discover German cinema and a part of the history of Babelsberg Studios .

15. The Glienicker Bridge

The Glienicker Bridge

Known as the “Bridge of Spies” , the Glienicker Bridge once marked the border between Potsdam and Berlin. From August 13, 1961 to November 9, 1989, this bridge was thus one of the border points between West Berlin and the GDR. Several exchanges of prisoners and agents have taken place there. He thus appears in a film by Steven Spielberg, The Bridge of Spies .

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Mohamed SAKHRI
Mohamed SAKHRI

I am Mohamed SAKHRI, the creator and editor-in-chief of this blog, 'Discover the World – The Blog for Curious Travelers.' Join me as we embark on a journey around the world, uncovering beautiful places, diverse cultures, and captivating stories. Additionally, we will delve into mysterious and, at times, even bizarre destinations.

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