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Potsdam Sightseeing

From: Potsdam Travel Guide

Sans Souci Palace

ABOVE: Schloss Sanssouci (the name means "without worry") was the summer residence of Frederick the Great.

What to see

The tourist office's free English-language Potsdam City Map & Information brochure provides a handy overview of the city and its sights. The colorful map is well-marked with major street names, icons representing monuments and tourist attractions, sightseeing-bus lines, and numbers that are keyed to descriptions on the back of the map.

Dutch QuarterI'd suggest starting your explorations in the historic city center, where you'll find such attractions as the Dutch Quarter (134 Dutch-style brick houses built to attract Dutch immigrants), the Old and New Market Squares, the colony of Alexandrowka with its 13 Russian-style wooden houses, and the usual downtown amenities.

Glienicker BridgeJust up the road is the Glienicker Bridge, which connects Potsdam to Berlin and was used for spy exchanges during the Cold War. On the eastern side of the Havel River is the Weavers' Quarter, with its romantic cottages and weekend farmers' market.

To the west of the city center, Sanssouci Park is home to Sanssouci Palace (built in 1747 by Frederick II), an orangery called the New Chambers Palace,  the New Palace (1763-1769), an Historic Windmill, and the Chinese House tea pavilion.

Schloss CecilienhofThe New Garden and Babelsberg Park offer more palaces, villas, and other attractions, including the English-style Schloss Cecilienhof, which houses a comfortable four-star hotel and a museum devoted to the Potsdam Conference of 1945.

Pfingstberg BelvedereA bit farther outside the center, the Belvedere on the Pfingstberg offers panoramic views from an Italian-style structure that was commissioned in 1847 by Frederick William IV. (The Belvedere was closed to the public during the GDR era, when a Soviet KGB base and prison were located at the base of the hill.)

The sights mentioned here are just a sampling of the many things you can see in Potsdam; for more suggestions, see the Potsdam tourist office's English-language Sights pages.

Walking tours

The tourist office offers a number of tours, including an Inner City Walking Tour (2 hours), a Potsdam Cecilienhof Tour (3.5 hours), a Potsdam Sanssouci tour (3.5 hours), and--during Advent--an Imperial Splendor tour (3 hours) that focuses on Christmas traditions in the New Palace.

Private companies offer tours on horseback, on Segway scooters, by tram, and on vintage buses.

For a list of tours in German, see the tourist office's Potsdam A-Z: Stadtrundfahrten pages, or read Google Translate versions in English. (The translated pages will open in a new browser window.)

Boat trips

Schiffahrt in Potsdam offers boat excursions and day trips on the Havel River and its lakes.The normal schedule runs from April through September, with special Christmas cruises in December.

Next page: Museums, attractions


Potsdam travel guide:
Potsdam - Introduction Hotels, restaurants
Sightseeing Transportation
Museums, attractions Tourist information

Related Potsdam articles:
Lindenstrasse 54/55 Memorial Site
Pfingstberg Belvedere
Schloss Cecilienhof - Hotel and Museum

Also see:
Berlin
GDR Tourism

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Top photo copyright © Andreas Bauer.
1st inset photo copyright © Andrée Feurich.
 2nd inset photo copyright © Christina Hanck.
 

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