27 Apr Potsdam: pretty, peaceful and picturesque
In my previous blog post I briefly touched on some of the great things to be discovered if you just venture out “beyond Berlin’s border”. Within that post I mentioned the increasing number of visitors to Potsdam, the capital of the federal state of Brandenburg, and having visited the city last weekend for the first time in a few years, I was reminded of just how strikingly beautiful it is. I therefore wanted to expand on my previous post and share more with you about some of the wonderful things there are to see and do in what I believe to be one of the most beautiful cities in Germany. With a number of elaborate Prussian castles, beautiful parks and gardens, a network of lakes and a quaint town center, there are so many reasons to fall in love with Potsdam.
One of the best things about Potsdam if you are travelling to and from Berlin is that it is so easily accessible via public transport. It takes 33 minutes from Alexanderplatz and just 19 minutes from Zoologischer Garten via train. This means that if you are commuting into Berlin city centre daily, or simply wanting to escape the ‘big city’ for just the day, Potsdam is very easy to reach. It is also part of Berlin’s ‘C’ tariff zone, meaning tickets are unlikely to break your bank.
Having visited Potsdam most recently on a beautifully sunny Sunday in Spring, I was surprised by how serene and peaceful it felt, even in the historic city centre. As I walked the cobbled streets lined with restaurants serving authentic German cuisine, boutiques, cafes, bars and other unique and quaint shops, I came across the Dutch Quarter ‘Holländisches Viertel’ for the first time, something I had missed in my previous visits. Here you really can experience Holland in Germany. 134 red brick Dutch-style houses, all of which were built in the 18th century, make for an incredibly picturesque area (which is unfortunately not reflected in the picture I took but nonetheless I promise you that it is well worth a visit).
Another spectacular place to visit is Park Sanssouci. Most certainly no ordinary park, this vast area is home to Sanssouci Palace, the New Palace and Charlottenhof Palace, as well as many other grand historical buildings. I could have easily spent hours exploring the immaculate gardens and wandering along the riverside. It also costs nothing to enter into the park and therefore makes for a carefree afternoon spent picnicking amongst both nature and history.
Another area which is well worth your time is the ‘Neuer Garten’ which lies along the west of the Heiliger See, a 1.33km long lake to the northeast of the city centre. Due to its picturesque location the lake and neighbouring park is very popular for running, leisurely walks, sunbathing and other recreational activities- I even caught a glimpse of some brave (or crazy?) people jumping in the lake for a swim just last weekend!
Every corner you turn in Potsdam will bring you more quaint and pretty scenes which are sure to provide you with a memorable day out. It is also however, as mentioned in the last post, not just a destination for tourists and short holidays. As an increasingly popular residential area, Potsdam would equally provide an amazing place to reside more permanently.