Potsdam, Germany is just a short 30 minutes train ride from Berlin, making it the perfect day trip for everyone. The train runs from early in the morning until after midnight, giving you a complete day in Potsdam.
Potsdam was the historic residence of the Prussian kings and is now home to many UNESCO World Sites due to its diverse culture and architecture.
Read on to see how you can enjoy all that Potsdam has to offer in our 14km walking travel guide. If you would like to visit the many museums of the city, we suggest giving yourself two days in the city.
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How to get from Berlin to Potsdam?
Take the S-Bahn S7 train to Potsdam Hauptbahnhof from Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Central Station). The train ride is about 30 minutes and arrives in 10 to 30-minute intervals. Another option is to take the Regionalexpress RE1 train towards Brendenburg / Magdeburg, but keep in mind that it only arrives every 30 minutes.
What to see in Potsdam walking map:
Potsdam Day Trip from Berlin Ultimate Guide: The best things to do in Potsdam in one day
The Sanssouci one day pass cost €19 and grants you entry to most palaces and gardens in the Sanssouci area. The tickets are sold online or at the information center at the Potsdam Hauptbahnhof Station.
➳ Tip: If you have a Berlin WelcomeCard you are eligible for a discounted rates for the Sanssouci pass (€15.20).
The attractions are quite scattered. We made a walking guide because we love walking but you could also rent a bike if this is too much walking for you. Bicycles can be rented straight from Potsdam Hauptbahnhof Station. The rentals go from €1 per hour to €5 for the whole day. There are 20 other designated drop-off points where you can return them to. Parking for the bikes is free at the designated racks.
Potsdam one day trip itinerary:
1. Nikolai Kirche
Our first stop after getting off the train from Berlin was the Nikolai Church, a grand church with large green dome. It was badly damaged at the end of WWII, but has since been restored to its full glory.
In front of the church is the Old Market Square, with a large marble obelisk in its center.
2. Potsdam Museum
Just to the right of the church is the Potsdam Museum. The museum displays the cultural history and day-to-day life of Potsdam throughout its last 1000 years of history.
3. Steam Engine Building (Mosque)
Our next stop was small and beautiful mosque looking building by the Havel River. While it looks like a mosque, it never served as a house of prayer, rather it was built as a home for a steam engine.
4. Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate Potsdam)
We then walked to the Brandenburger Gate, the grand entrance gate to Potsdam from the west. Make sure to see both sides of the gate, as they are designed totally differently.
Passing through the gate leads to a beautiful square. It is also the start of the pedestrian Brandenburger Street, full of many stores and cafes.
This gate is similar to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, in fact it was built 20 years before.
5. Park Sanssouci
We then walked west to the main highlight of Potsdam, the massive Park Sanssouci. The garden is 300 hectares! It is so big! It is a beautiful legacy of the historic Prussian empire.
While entry into the park itself is free, you do need to purchase tickets to enter the different palaces and buildings. We suggest getting the one day combined ticket for €19. This gives you general entrance to most of the buildings as well as a set entry time at Sanssouci Palace. It is best to order your tickets online to get your desired ticket time.
The buildings are generally open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10AM to 6PM, with last entry 30 minutes before closing. However, you should verify the exact hours for each building you want to visit online.
The first place we went to in the park is Sanssouci Palace, the most visited attraction in Potsdam. This classic Rococo-style castle is full of art to enjoy as well as the final resting place of Frederick the Great.
Just down the walk is the Historic Mill of Sanssouci. This beautiful mill is a reconstruction of the 200 year old mill which was destroyed at the end of WWII.
We then walked up a long hill to the Orangery Palace. This grand palace consists of the main central building and a long plant hall, with floor to ceiling windows.
In front of the building there is a beautiful fountain, with a great view of much of the park below.
Our next stop was behind the Orangery and beyond the park, the Bornstedt Crown Estate. This spectacular former royal estate is home to many events and fairs throughout the year.
Belvedere on the Klausberg
Walking back into Sanssouci Park, our next stop was the Belvedere. This small round building stands out with its twenty ionic columns around the building and twenty sandstone figures on top. The building provides the best view of all Sanssouci Park!
Entrance to the Belvedere is not included in the daily combined ticket.
At the far end of the Park Sanssouci is the New Palace, the last great Prussian baroque palace. Built to show off, through its history it has gone often unused due to its pretentious nature.
Leave plenty of time to tour this vast building with its many halls and galleries to enjoy as well as an 18th century theatre!
We then walked through the park to Charlottenhof Palace. This small palaces is surrounded by beautiful gardens and flowers, worth visiting alone.
Chinesisches Haus (Chinese House)
Our last stop in the park is the beautifully ornate Chinese House with its many gold adornments. It was built in the 1750s at the height of Chinoiserie in this area. This small elegant building is fantastic to photograph both inside and out.
Alexander Newski Church
Walking half an hour north, we arrived at the Alexander Newski Church. This UNESCO site is a nice little Russian Orthodox church and the oldest in Germany.
Nauenre Tor and the Dutch Quarter
Heading back down south to the downtown area, we passed through the Nauener Gate into the Dutch quarter. This is the second of three standing gates to the historic city walls. The area around the gate has a high number of cafes, restaurants and bars, the perfect place to stop for a meal.
An interesting fact about the Dutch Quarter is that it is the largest Dutch-only neighbourhood outside of the Netherlands.
St Peter and Paul Church
The last stop of our day in Potsdam was St Peter and Paul Church. This towering yellow brick church stands over the eastern end of Brandenburger Street. Make sure to head inside the church to see some of Antoine Pesne paintings, one of the fathers of rococo in painting.
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