Potsdam is the capital of the German federal state of Brandenburg and directly borders with Berlin. Due to its vicinity to the German capital and the fact that several Prussian Palaces are located in Potsdam I would say Potsdam is the Versailles of Germany.
The first reason tourist visit this city is Park Sanssouci (translated in French this means Park with no worries), an immense park that belongs to the UNESCO world heritage sights where Sanssouci Castle and the New Palace among with several buildings the Prussian kings built are located. The best way to explore this park is by bike as you would need to cover minimum 6 kilometers in order to visit the most important sights.
The most important of all the Palaces in this park is Sanssouci Castle (Schloss Sanssouci in German), the summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, built in 1747 in Rococo style, on a terraced hill. The most impressive part of the interior of Sanssouci is its gardens and vineyards, created panoramically on the slope of the hill.
The Orangery Palace, east of Sanssouci Palace was built in the style of the Italian Renaissance and is home to several greenhouses. The gardens around the Orangerie, decorated with fountains statues and containing numerous kinds of flowers and plants are really worth a visit during springtime.
The Belvedere auf dem Klausberg was an attempt to reconstruct the Imperial Palace on the Palatine Hill of ancient Rome.
On the west side of Sanssouci Park you will find the New Palace, the last Prussian baroque Palace. This Palace was not used as a residence but its 200 rooms, including a theatre as well, hosted balls and events for state occasions. Opposite to the Palace are the Communs, the two buildings that housed the royal kitchens as well as the gardeners, servants, and guards. Between them stretches a curved collonade that was the state entrance.
The Chinese House was the last building I had to chance to see in Sanssouci Park, it is a garden pavilion, built mainly for decorative purposes.
There are many tickets, combined ones as well, for visitors of Sanssouci Park. The entrance to the park is free. The two main Palaces, Sanssouci and New Palace interiors are worth a visit but personally, I am not a fan of Palace interiors, and as all the buildings of the park were really impressive but it took me half a day to get to see all the main ones I believe visiting the interiors may prevent you from visiting all these beautiful sights.
Back to the city of Potsdam, do visit the Old Market Square, the historical center of Potsdam where many prestigious buildings are located, among them St. Nicholas Church and the Old Town Hall.
Another famous part of the city is the Dutch Quarter (Holländisches Viertel in German), which is a picturesque neighb, urhood consisting of Dutch style, red brick buildings. In this side of the city you will find many cute shops and cafes. it is said that King Frederick William I needed craftsmen for the extension of the city and as he found Dutchmen he built those 130 red brick houses to make them feel like home. The Dutch Quarter in Potsdam is the largest Dutch housing development outside the Netherlands.
Potsdam is just a 40 minute trip from Berlin by train and you just need a Berlin ABC ticket to reach its main station, that costs 3.40 EUR. If you are visiting Berlin you should really consider one more day for a visit to Potsdam, mainly because of its impressive palaces. Probably spring is the best time to head there because of the parks but also during Christmas time you will have the chance to stroll through its huge Christmas Market starting from the Brandenburg Gate and try some traditional German sweets and savory snacks.
Have you been to this low profile German city? What were your impressions?