The city of castles: 20 fantastic things to do in and around Potsdam
Welcome to the city of castles
The Brandenburg city of Potsdam, located on the Havel River, is one of the most beautiful cities around. Located right next to Berlin, the former residence city of the Prussian kings offers its visitors a whole lot of exciting destinations that are worth visiting. The most beautiful sights in Potsdam include historic buildings, cultural attractions as well as parks and green spaces. Especially fans of historically significant buildings will enjoy their time here. The city's cultural landscapes received an award from UNESCO in 1990 as the largest ensemble of German World Heritage Sites. We present a profile of the best things to do in Potsdam.
Attractions in downtown Potsdam
If you want to explore Potsdam on foot, the city centre is ideal for this, as here you will find a whole range of places to go that are nearby and easily accessible on foot.
Sanssouci Palace is one of the most famous attractions in Potsdam and is a must-see, especially for those visiting for the first time. Also known as the "Prussian Versailles", the building was built as a summer palace in rococo style. It impresses with its magnificent interior design. It's worth taking the time to visit and exploring the park of the same name, which covers an area of 290 hectares in front of the palace.
The counterpart to the gate of the same name in Berlin is also one of the top 10 sights in Potsdam and is even older than its namesake in the capital. Situated between the Luisenplatz with its beautiful fountains and the pedestrian zone in the old town, the Brandenburg Gate in Potsdam offers great opportunities to relax, perhaps at one of the many surrounding cafés.
With its red brick buildings with white joints and curved gables, the Dutch Quarter provides a bit of Dutch flair in the middle of Brandenburg. Sights in the Dutch Quarter in Potsdam include cafes and restaurants, as well as the cosy boutiques, in addition to the impressive architecture.
St. Nicholas Church
One of the most distinctive buildings in the city is St. Nicholas Church, which stands in the Old Town on the Old Market Square. The blue dome can be seen from afar. You can reach it on foot and climb up to the viewing platform, which is 42 meters high. The climb is rewarded with a magnificent view of the entire Old Town and the Havel River.
Art lovers and enthusiasts should plan a side trip to the Barberini Museum, located in the Barberini Palace on the Old Market Square. It is modelled after a building located in Rome. Artists from different eras and a variety of styles, ranging from impressionism to modernism, bring art history to life. A special highlight are rare works of art from the former DDR.
Experience Potsdam with kids
The capital of Brandenburg is a great destination for any age and is ideal for a visit with the whole family. To explore the city properly with your kids, you don't have to search long for things to do in Potsdam, as there are also a lot of exciting offers for children.
Very close to the Old Market Square and the City Palace is the Friendship Island, where small rose festivals used to be held. Visitors can explore more than 100 different species of perennials on a garden landscape and admire the water garden with its more than 250 varieties of irises. In addition, there is a large playground, a sun café, as well as an exhibition pavilion and an open-air stage.
Both sporting activity and rest and relaxation are possible in the Volkspark. Fields for soccer, volleyball and basketball as well as a bouldering wall, several trampolines and a climbing playground invite you to let off steam. On hot days, you can cool off in the water playground, and the nearby sunbathing lawn has enough space for a cosy picnic.
Potsdam Climbing Park
The climbing park is considered one of the largest and most versatile climbing forests in all of Germany. With a total length of 1.7 kilometers and 170 different elements, it is a great destination for young and old. The highlight is the rope slide with its length of over 200 meters. The courses have different levels of difficulty, so that both beginners and professionals get a chance to climb.
Film Museum Potsdam
Even those visiting Potsdam in the rain don't have to think twice to find suitable leisure activities. Fans of films cannot miss a visit to the Film Museum, which is the oldest of its kind in Germany and is dedicated to the more than 100-year history of the European Media Center in Babelsberg.
Babelsberg Film Park
The rather quiet district of Babelsberg is home to an attraction that is known all over the world. The Filmpark is one of the largest European film studios. Both German and international productions are shot there. At the film park, children can become heroes themselves and take part in the stuntman workshop, for example. In addition, there are demonstrations by animal trainers and pyrotechnicians that will thrill the whole family.
Potsdam sights in winter
The city is not only worth a visit in spring and summer. There are numerous destinations around Potsdam that are worthwhile at any time of the year and also provide great and unforgettable experiences in winter.
THE MINSK Art House
The Minsk Art House was built just a few minutes from Potsdam's main train station. Here pictures and objects of different well-known personalities from the art, which were active in the former DDR, are presented. The café with a view over the city, the terrace and the foyer are open to all guests.
blu sports and leisure pool
Sports fans and families will find extensive opportunities to let off steam in the water here. The pool was opened in 2017 and features a 114-meter tire slide, a wide slide, a sauna complex with three indoor and two outdoor saunas, and outdoor pools on the roof terrace. A special feature is the three-meter-high climbing wall, from which you can drop directly into the water.
The palace in Sanssouci Park is a real highlight worth discovering. Among others, the Villa Medici in Rome, the Sala Regia in the Vatican and the Uffizi in Florence served as models for the magnificent building. Inside, there is a painting hall, former guest apartments, and a tower gallery with a great all-round view.
Of course, your physical well-being is also taken care of during excursions around Potsdam. In the centrally located Café Rosenberg you can enjoy vegan hearty meals as well as cakes, pies and shakes and, if desired, an extended breakfast.
The glass candy factory
The Katjes factory in Potsdam offers the first and so far only glass candy factory in Europe. Here, visitors can experience live how the popular sweet delicacies are created and follow the entire manufacturing process on the large glass front.
Sights around Potsdam and the surrounding area
Looking to explore the surrounding area as well? There are plenty of attractions worth seeing in Potsdam and the surrounding area, and if you travel by train or car, you can discover a lot.
The bridge connects Potsdam with the Berlin district of Wannsee. It became famous because prisoner exchanges of agents between the USSR and the USA took place here. In addition, the bridge offers a great view over the Havel River and Glienicke Castle.
Located in the middle of Brandenburg's Königswald nature reserve, this lowland lake is a popular destination for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Cycling or walking are possible here, as well as fishing, but only with a special permit. A visual highlight is the Sacrow Castle.
The memorial, which was built in 1994, is located on a site that once housed a pre-trial detention center. It conveys a realistic and authentic picture of prison conditions in the days of the DDR. Former prisoners guide visitors through the old prison, reporting on the conditions of detention and interrogation methods. There is also a permanent exhibition that provides information about the system of political persecution in the former DDR.
The jungle landscape in the Biosphäre includes more than 20,000 tropical plants and about 140 animal species. The tropical garden is designed as a nature experience and event venue with changing themes around nature and offers guided tours, workshops and a rich brunch buffet.
The former summer palace of King Frederick William II of Prussia was built in early classicist style in the 18th century. Situated on a terrace directly on the lakeside of the New Garden, it is a visual gem both inside and out, always worth a visit. Each room is decorated with differently designed, ornate arches.
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