One-Day Itinerary for Potsdam: Sanssouci Palace, New Palace, Dutch Quarter, and Brandenburg Gate

Potsdam | Introduction

Potsdam is a small town full of history, located southwest of Berlin, Germany, approximately a 40-minute drive away. Potsdam was the former capital of the Kingdom of Prussia and the German Empire. Although the city is not large, it boasts magnificent palaces and beautiful gardens, making it an ideal day trip destination. The itinerary can include half a day to visit Sanssouci Palace, the New Palace, and Charlottenhof Palace, followed by a stroll through the old town and the Dutch Quarter.

Find a stay in Potsdam

Potsdam | Transportation

Transportation from Berlin to Potsdam is very convenient, and taking Berlin's public transport, the S-Bahn, is one of the most accessible ways. From Berlin Central Station (Berlin Hauptbahnhof), it takes only about 30 minutes on the S7 line to reach Potsdam Central Station (Potsdam Hauptbahnhof). The train service is also very frequent, with trains running every 10-20 minutes, making it perfect for a day trip itinerary.

If you have a rental car, driving from Berlin to Potsdam is very straightforward. Follow the A115 highway, and it takes approximately 30-40 minutes. There are several parking areas within the city of Potsdam, such as near Sanssouci Palace and the city center, and parking is relatively convenient.

Potsdam | Attractions

Schloss Sansoucci

The main highlight of the Potsdam area, the famous Schloss Sansoucci, is absolutely not to be missed. It is the largest World Heritage site in Germany, attracting a continuous stream of visitors. The Sanssouci Park is quite extensive, containing numerous palaces and garden attractions. The garden areas are open to the public for free, but entrance to the two most important palaces, Sanssouci Palace and the New Palace, requires a ticket.

Ticket information can be found at the official websiteFor enquiries, there are several types of tickets, I think the easiest way is to buy the Scholoss+ ticket, which not only allows you to visit the key attractions of Scholoss and Shingu, but also includes other attractions in the park. If you buy the tickets for these two important attractions alone, it is actually only a little bit cheaper than buying the package ticket, so it is a simple and cost-effective choice. The visit to the palaces is by prior reservation, and there is some distance between the two palaces, so you need to pay attention to the time schedule.

Day Trip from Berlin to Sanssouci Palace

Sanssouci Palace

Sanssouci Palace is often referred to as the Versailles of Prussia. It was designed and built as a summer palace by Frederick II, who had a great love for the arts. Later, Frederick IV expanded the palace. The interior is in the Rococo style, featuring a significant amount of gilded decorations and romantic pink-themed decor, making it quite luxurious. The entrance ticket includes an audio guide, allowing visitors to easily follow along and carefully appreciate the exquisite decorations and the splendid interiors.

Apart from the architecture of the Sanssouci Palace itself, the gardens outside of Sanssouci Palace are also quite renowned. Don't forget to take a stroll through the gardens of Sanssouci Palace, where you can admire various statues and fountains, as well as the famous vineyard terraces. The Sanssouci Palace is situated on Grape Mountain, with a terraced vineyard below that is built according to the slope of the mountain, which is quite unique.

Standing on the terrace of Sanssouci Palace, you can see the fountain below. It is said that Frederick II himself actually never used this fountain, because the technology at that time was not advanced enough to operate it.

Next to Sanssouci Palace, there is also a very conspicuous windmill. This windmill has a special legend: it is said that Frederick the Great, considering the landscape, wanted to forcibly demolish this windmill. However, the mill owner firmly refused to sell it and took the emperor to court. Surprisingly, the court ruled against the emperor. Later generations, in order to commemorate Prussia's fair judiciary, kept this windmill in place. However, although the story is delightful, it is not historically accurate. No one knows who invented the story, but later generations simply used it for promotion.

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New Palace

The New Palace is located at the western end of the Sanssouci Park, which is somewhat distant from the Sanssouci Palace. Although it is possible to walk there, it is more convenient to drive if you have the means to do so.

Unlike the Rococo style of Sanssouci Palace, the New Palace is a Baroque-style palace. The New Palace was built by Frederick the Great to celebrate the victory of the Seven Years' War. Although both palaces were created by the same patron, their styles are completely different. The New Palace is grander in scale and its interior decorations are even more lavish, showcasing the luxurious lifestyle of the Prussian royal family. Upon entering the New Palace, the first thing you see is a grand hall adorned with shells. Compared to Sanssouci Palace's gentle and elegant style, the decor of the New Palace feels particularly majestic and somewhat more serious.

The corridor opposite the new palace is also very majestic.

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Charlottenhof Palace

The Charlottenhof Palace is located on the west side of the Sanssouci Park. This palace was commissioned by Crown Prince Frederick William IV of Prussia and serves as a summer palace. The palace is built in a neoclassical style, exuding elegance and refinement. Its exterior is primarily white, with a row of graceful columns on the front, giving it a fresh and sophisticated appearance. The palace is also surrounded by beautiful gardens.

Old Town of Potsdam

After visiting Sanssouci Palace, the afternoon is a perfect time to go to the old town of Potsdam for lunch and a break. You can stroll between Potsdam's well-preserved historic buildings, lively streets, and rich cultural heritage in the city center.

Brandenburg Gate

The Brandenburg Gate in Potsdam shares the same name as the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, and it is also a triumphal arch built to commemorate a military victory, but with a distinct style. Built in 1770 to celebrate the victory in the Seven Years' War, it combines elements of Classicism and Baroque architecture. The Brandenburg Gate is one of the key landmarks in the old town area and a popular spot for tourists to take photos.

Nauener Tor

Nauener Tor is an important historical landmark in Potsdam and one of Germany's earliest Gothic Revival structures. This magnificent city gate, located in the center of Potsdam, links the old town with the new town, serving as an entrance to the historical core of the city. Inside the gate, there is a bustling market, making it a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll after a meal.

The Dutch Quarter

The Dutch Quarter in Potsdam is a unique neighborhood with approximately 150 red brick Dutch-style buildings constructed in the 18th century. It is also one of Potsdam's distinctive features. Within the Dutch Quarter, there are many cafes, restaurants, and boutique shops, making it a great place to experience local culture and cuisine.

Potsdam | Gourmet Food | Restaurant Dreimäderlhaus

We had lunch at Restaurant Dreimäderlhaus in the city center of Potsdam. This restaurant is tucked away on a quieter street in the bustling area. The storefront is small, but the owner is very friendly and serves traditional German home-cooked meals. They have an English menu. We tried the fish soup and pork knuckle. The fish soup here has a white broth and tastes great; it's quite light. The pork knuckle is also delicious, stewed until particularly tender, somewhat resembling braised pork knuckle. The side dishes include sauerkraut and potatoes.

Further reading

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