Sunday, July 14, 2013

Potsdam has More to Offer than Just Sanssouci

Sanssouci Palace
There are so many things to do in Berlin that tourists often see only the "top" attractions. That's unfortunate since Berlin has so much more to offer than just museums. To understand Berlin, one needs to explore the surrounding towns and countryside. 

My first recommendation is to rent a bicycle. I often suggest a visit to Potsdam. Although 
Potsdam's Brandenburger Gate
Potsdam has its share of tourists, one doesn't feel as overwhelmed as in Berlin. Potsdam is the capital of the German state of Brandenburg and lies about 24 kilometers (15 miles) southwest from Berlin. It's an easy subway ride from central Berlin and will cost 3.10€ for a one-way ticket (tack on another 2.20€ if you bring a bicycle).

Potsdam's major attraction is Sanssouci Palace, Germany's answer to Versailles. It gets very very crowded, so be prepared! Sanssouci was the former residence of Frederick the Great, and its vast gardens and Rocco architecture make it one of Brandenburg's top attractions.

The Cecilienhof
Potsdam's other major attraction is the Cecilienhof, the site of the Potsdam conference where the allied leaders met to finalize the fate of Germany, Austria, Poland, and Vietnam following WWII. The Cecilienhof is situated in the Neuer Garten (New Garden), and is one of my favorite places in Potsdam. The Neuer Garten borders the lakes Heiliger See and Jungfernsee, and makes for a wonderful day visit. One can picnic, swim, walk, bicycle, or just experience solitude. It's never crowded. And for film buffs, Potsdam has a great film museum (currently closed for renovations) and is also near the famed Babelsberg film studios.

The Neuer Garten

The Marmorpalais (Marble Palace)
located on the shore of the Heiliger See
and overlooking the Neuer Park

The Dutch Quarter in Potsdam

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