Travel tips Potsdam
Prussian pomp in Potsdam: City of palaces and parks
Potsdam, with its unique cultural assets is certainly one of the most beautiful cities in Germany: Schloss Sanssouci (Sanssouci Palace) is one of the highlights of Brandenburg's capital: The fairy tale palace of Frederick the Great conveys a attitude to life "without worries". In the spacious palace gardens, you stroll under old trees to historic sights such as the Chinesisches Haus (Chinese House) and the Neue Palais (New Palace). In addition, Potsdam is home to Charlottenhof Palace, the Orangerie, Cecilienhof Palace, Babelsberg Palace, Belvedere… The entire Potsdam cultural landscape was elevated to the status of UNESCO world cultural heritage site in 1990.
But Potsdam has a lot more to offer than impressive palaces: the beautiful old city, a vibrating cultural scene, the legendary film industry in the UFA Studios Babelsberg, three universities and last but not least the proximity to Berlin. What makes Potsdam so attractive is the mixture of historical buildings, the lively flair of the university city and the extensive parks which offer relaxing green oases everywhere. Although Potsdam is rather small and cosy, the city has the infrastructure and cultural offering of a big city.
And Potsdam is a city that you can discover wonderfully on a stroll. On a stroll through the Holländisches Viertel (Dutch quarter) with its red brick buildings, you can discover exclusive shops, cafés and restaurants. On to the Alter Markt (Old Market) with its Stadtschloss (City Palace), the Rathaus (city hall) and Nikolaikirche – flair like a Piazza in Rome. And those who are looking for recreation and nature takes themselves off to the Lustgarten (Pleasance), just a stone's throw from the market. Fairs, city festivals and arts and crafts markets take place regularly in the beautiful park.
A real highlight for visitors to Potsdam are the boat tours around the city: The Potsdam palace tour, the seven lake tour and a romantic evening trip are particularly popular. A trip to Potsdam is the perfect destination, especially for families: The capital of Brandenburg and the beautiful surrounding area with its clear lakes for swimming and boat trips, the Biosphäre Potsdam (natural adventure world) and a tour behind the scenes of favourite films at Filmpark Babelsberg are attractions for young and old.
Please click the button below for hotels in Potsdam.
Cultural tips in Potsdam: Potsdam for music fans, performers and event lovers
The Brandenburg capital has a high-quality cultural offering in addition to the historical attractions. The international open air art exhibition Kunstallee Potsdam, the legendary Hans-Otto-Theater or concerts in the Nikolaikirche ensure unforgettable experiences.
In the midst of Potsdam city centre, the programme of the Nikolaisaal Potsdam provides exciting concerts and event experiences. The modern concert house combines classical music, jazz, pop and film music under one roof. In the Filmmuseum Potsdam next door the permanent exhibition "Babelsberg - Faces of a film city" lets you get up close to Marlene Dietrich and Kate Winslet. And in the Haus der Brandenburgischen Geschichte (House of Brandenburg History) in the former royal coach house at Neuer Markt (New Market), you can learn a wealth of information about the Kings of Prussia and their history.
Potsdam's newest and most popular cultural location is the Schiffbauergasse. Potsdam's cultural scene meets here on the idyllic banks of Lake Templin and against the amazing backdrop of the Prussian palaces and gardens. Those interested in art and culture experience a lively mixture of art and night life right by the water: Concerts, theatre, performances, films and exhibitions enrich Potsdam's night life here. The most well-known venues are Waschhaus Potsdam and T-Werk.
Potsdam is a real Eldorado for festival fans. Numerous events and festivals take place against this unique historic backdrop all year round: e.g. the Musikfestspiele Potsdam Sanssouci (Potsdam Sanssouci Music Festival), Potsdamer Schlössernacht (Night of the Potsdam Palaces) and Theaterfestival UNIDRAM. And also the area around Potsdam offers a wealth of culture: the romantic Pfaueninsel (Peacock Island), Caputh, where Albert Einstein lived and Sacrower Heilandskirche are absolute highlights of the region around Potsdam.
Leisure and excursion tips around Potsdam:
- A visit to the Sanssouci Palace Gardens with Sanssouci Park, the Chinesisches Teehaus (Chinese Tea House), Römisches Bad (Roman baths), Drachenhaus (Dragon House) and Orangerie
- Historical and listed casino Spielbank Potsdam
- Visit to Pfaueninsel (Peacock Island) with a romantic ferry ride
- Trip to Caputh with a visit to the Einstein house
- Impressive seven lakes boat trip
- Hikes and bike rides in the Havelland nature reservation
- Tour of the Dutch quarter with its 130 brick houses
- Look behind the scenes of favourite films at Filmpark Babelsberg
- Unique nature experiences in the Biosphäre Potsdam with 20,000 tropical plants, mangrove swamp and palm grove
Sightseeing tips in Potsdam: Potsdam for Europeans, palace visitors and nature lovers
Walking through Potsdam has the impression of hiking through Europe: The famous rococo palace Sanssouci is reminiscent of its predecessor in Versailles, the Neue Palais (New Palace) at the other end of the Sanssouci Park is considered the last major palace complex of the Prussian baroque. And the Orangerie in the style of the Italian renaissance was based on the Uffizi in Florence.
If you walk through Potsdam city centre you will quickly notice: Potsdam is a European city through and through. The beautiful flair of the Holländisches Viertel (Dutch quarter) with its brick houses and charming shops and restaurants, the Russian colony Alexandrowa and the weavers' district Nowawes are attractive sights. On the Alter Markt (Old Market square) you feel like you are on a Roman Piazza and at Neuer Markt the Haus der Brandenburg-Preußischen Geschichte (House of Brandenburg Prussian History) lets you get close to the Prussian kings.
The beautiful Havelland in Potssdam's green surroundings also offers more than pear trees: The nature reserve around Potsdam provides picturesque landscapes, water sport opportunities and impressive hiking routes. The far-reaching forest and lake landscape has wonderful bathing beaches and lots of greenery, Strandbad Babelsberg with its beach, is embedded in one of the most beautiful park complexes in Potsdam and in Waldbad Templin woodland baths you can relax surrounded by unspoiled nature. If you would like to combine culture with nature and lust for life, take the ferry to Potsdam's cultural landscape such as Pfaueninsel (Peacock Island), Caputh with its Einsteinhaus and the Baumblütenfest (Tree Blossom Festival) in Werder.
Restaurant tips in Potsdam: Potsdam for connoisseurs and gourmets
Potsdam has a wealth of excellent restaurants, cosy cafés and exclusive hotels. The diversity of Brandenburg's capital is reflected in Potsdam's gastronomy scene: atmospheric brunch trips on the Weiße Flotte, beer gardens directly by the water and excellent gourmet restaurants are all situated in a small area.
In the middle of Sanssouci Park you can find the Restaurant & Café Drachenhaus in a unique historical environment. In the Am Wildpark restaurant at the Best Western Grand City Parkhotel Potsdam you can enjoy regional cuisine on the summer terrace close to the palace gardens. And in the Mövenpick Restaurant Zur Historischen Mühle Potsdam you can dine regally in the Palmengarten or under old trees in the beer garden with a view of Sanssouci Palace. If you prefer it a little more rustic, stop at the historical inn Meierei im Neuen Garten for a cool glass of own-brewed beer. The cosy pub is right next to Jungfernsee lake and has a view of Glienicker Volkspark.
Film freaks tantalise their palate in the theme restaurant Prinz Eisenherz in Filmpark Babelsberg in between original film sets. Relaxed gourmet cuisine awaits hungry guests in Restaurant Juliette. The Alte Forsterei tavern is traditional and hearty: Guests here dine on fine goulash or grilled chicken. Guests in the traditional inn Zum Fliegenden Holländer enjoy young herring and blueberry cake.
The Holländisches Viertel (Dutch Quarter) in Potsdam city centre is home to stylish restaurants with a pleasant atmosphere. For example Ma cuisine – a love affair with French cuisine serves authentic French dishes among antiques in the lovingly decorated restaurant. The Maison du chocolat is a paradise for the sweet tooth: During the day you can snack on the finest tartes and gateaus in the home-made confectioner's, in the evening you can enjoy French country cuisine in the adjoining restaurant Ce soir. Extra restaurant tip for visitors to Potsdam: Particularly hospitable locations can be recognised by their "Potsdamer Gastlichkeit" (Potsdam hospitality) logo.
Shopping tips in Potsdam: Potsdam for strollers and market-goers
Shopping is seldom as atmospheric as in Potsdam: You stroll past historical buildings, through modern arcades, discover old courtyards and let yourself be inspired by the studios and galleries of the Holländisches Viertel (Dutch Quarter). Potsdam's pedestrian precinct Brandenburgische Straße is full of large stores, souvenir shops and small stores to browse through. The large palace garden oases invite you to take a regal break from shopping. Or you sit in one of the cafés at the Stadttor (city gate) and watch the hustle and bustle pass you by.
Sweet cherries from Werder, fresh Havelland fish and Beelitz asparagus – the market traders on Bassinplatz and Weberplatz peddle regional specialities. The market at Nauener Tor is a popular meeting place for connoisseurs and art lovers. The best place to watch the colourful bustle of the market is from the cafés around the atmospheric marketplace.
Potsdam is particularly beautiful at Christmas: Five different Christmas markets with different flair await their visitors: The Bohemian Christmas market and the Dutch Sinterklaasmarkt, the Polish market with its arts and crafts and the Romantische Weihnachtsmarkt (Romantic Christmas Market) in Gut Bornstedt as well as the Blauer Lichterglanz Christmas market in Potsdam city centre spread a magical charm against a historical backdrop.
Going out in Potsdam: Potsdam for party people and night owls
Maybe it is because it is close to Berlin, with which Brandenburg's otherwise so relaxed and cosy capital is trying to compete, maybe it is due to the many artists and students that Potsdam offers such a range of evening activities. Potsdam's old city is a popular meeting place for Potsdam residents and visitors; cosy cafés, trendy bars and elegant restaurants are located close together.
Life around Filmstadt Babelsberg is dominated by students and those working in the film industry, there are also lots of party locations here, e.g. the traditional pub Funzel with live music and the annual ska festival. One of the most legendary clubs in Potsdam is Nachtleben. In Gutenberg100 you can sing karaoke, play table football and dance to live music until the early hours of the morning. And the most popular clubs in Potsdam are Art Speicher Potsdam and Palmenzelt.
The art, culture and music scene of Brandenburg's capital is booming and can easily hold its own against its largest neighbour Berlin. An interesting theatre, cabaret, music and cinema programme is offered on the disused barge Theaterschiff Potsdamm (theatre ship). The Inselkino on Freundschaftsinsel (Friendship Island) Potsdam is the site of an open air cinema showing the latest films against a unique backdrop. And Potsdam's art and cultural scene meets in the Schiffbauergasse (Shipbuilders' Lane) district. The Waschhaus offers an international programme for an interesting musical evening with high-quality live music.