Potsdam acquired some importance when the Great Elector of Brandenburg, Frederick William (1620-88) established his residence there. Potsdam housed a small garrison from 1640 onwards; the site's military function was strengthened by the young Prussian monarchy. Potsdam changed under the power of Frederick II the Great (1712-86) who wanted to establish a 'Prussian Versailles', next to the garrison town, which was to be his main residence. Landscape architect Peter Joseph Lenné united the various palaces and parks of Potsdam into a unique park landscape and it was designated as a "world cultural heritage site" by UNESCO in 1990.
Sanssouci Park is the most popular attraction in Potsdam. It is the result of many influences from Italy, England, Flanders, Paris and Dresden. The 290 hectare park was laid out around several buildings including the Sanssouci Palace, the Orangery palace, the New Palace, the Charlottenhof Palace and the Roman Baths. One of the most noteworthy rooms in Sanssouci palace is the Konzertsaal (concert hall) - dripping in rococo glory. Make sure to get to Sanssouci Palace, early, to explore without the crowds.
The park hosts a magnificent botanical garden, which was created in 1950. Some 4,600 different species of plants from tropical and subtropical regions of the world are cultivated in over 10 greenhouses: palm trees, ferns, pineapples and arum plants, orchids, tropical aquatic specimens, and more. Around 4,000 different types of plants grow in the outdoor facilities along both sides of the Maulbeerallee street.
Make sure to visit the New Palace, which celebrated the end of the Seven Years' War, in which Prussia ousted Austria from its centuries-long role as the dominant power in German affairs. It is a much larger and grander palace than Sanssouci, with over 200 rooms and 400 statues as decoration.
Tours & Tickets
When you’ve got a trip planned to Berlin, discover the city and its gorgeous surroundings on this Super Saver that includes a city bike tour and a Potsdam day ... Read more
Duration: 2 days (approx.)
Discover Potsdam's royal gardens and palaces on this 7.5-hour small-group walking tour through Potsdam from Berlin. Walk through the city's old town, see its ... Read more
Duration: 7 hours 30 minutes (approx.)