Palaces, gardens, charming Russian and Dutch areas, a film museum… Potsdam is packed with things to do, and is conveniently located just 25 minutes from Berlin’s main station.
Getting there couldn’t be easier: just hop on the S-bahn line 7 (the purple one on the maps) in the direction of Potsdam, and get off at the last stop. Potsdam is in Berlin’s transport zone C, so a single ticket will cost €3.10 (€7 day ticket), or if you have a Welcome Card for zones A, B, and C, it’s included.
Where to stay
There are plenty of hotels and even a few hostels in Potsdam, but — unless you’re after a quiet weekend — I’d look for accommodation in Berlin, use the train to get there and just spend the day sightseeing.
We walked and used the local buses to get to the main points of interest, but there were several tour options to choose from if that’s your thing, including a hop-on, hop-off bus tour. If it’s a nice day, though, hiring a bike would be an excellent option.
This enormous park is just one of the many parks and gardens in Berlin and Potsdam that, together, form a World Heritage Site. You can easily spend two or three hours exploring the park, more if you visit one or all of the many palaces and other buildings dotted around. The largest and most striking is the New Palace, but the palace for which the gardens are named, Schloss Sansoucci, is definitely worth seeing.
We didn’t have time to go into any of the palaces, but there are a variety of prices depending on which, and how many, palaces you want to see — it’s €19 for a day pass for all 30 of those in Potsdam, Berlin, and Brandenburg.
The Russian and Dutch Quarters
The Russian area, Alexandrowka, is a picturesque neighbourhood with dark-wood chalets arranged along a street called “Russian Colony Street”. There’s a museum too, which was inexplicably closed when we arrived.
The Dutch Quarter is more integrated into the town, and the ground floor of many of the distinctive narrow buildings house shops or art galleries.
The film museum
€9 will gain you entry to the museum attached to the film studio where masterpieces like Metropolis were created. You can also watch movies in the on-site cinema for around €4.
If you’re heading to Berlin soon, make sure to budget time for a day in Potsdam — it’s easy to get there, and worth the trip.