The holiday apartment is located in Potsdam’s Dutch Quarter and therefore at the very heart of the city. Within walking distance you will find all your daily requirements – from grocery shopping to going out in the evening, parks, palaces, museums, theatres, cinemas, and concerts.
Choosing a mode of transport
In Potsdam, we recommend getting around on foot, by bike or using public transport. The tram stop (Nauener Tor) served by two lines (92, 96) is five minutes away on foot, Platz der Einheit, serving all tram lines and the busses towards Sanssouci can be reached on foot in just ten minutes. Rental bikes (a station in Mittelstraße, five minutes away) and rental scooters are available. Driving in Potsdam – and I say this as a passionate driver – is generally not an enjoyable experience. There are regular traffic jams, and the limited parking spaces available are all subject to charge.
Potsdam has five palace gardens and parks:
- Park Sanssouci (twenty minutes away on foot) with Sanssouci Palace (Schloß Sanssouci), New Palace (Neues Palais), Charlottenhof Manor (Schloß Charlottenhof), Orangery Palace (Orangerieschloß), New Chambers (Neue Kammern), Picture Gallery (Bildergalerie), Chinese House (Chinesisches Teehaus), Dragon House (Drachenhaus), Roman Baths (Römische Bäder), Belvedere on the Klausberg, the Mount of Ruins (Ruinenberg) with the Norman Tower, Neptune’s Grotto (Neptungrotte), Church of Peace (Friedenskirche), botanic gardens
- The New Garden (Neuer Garten) (ten minutes away on foot) with Marble Palace (Marmorpalais), Cecilienhof Palace (Schloß Cecilienhof), dairy (Meierei), Gothic library (Gotische Bibliothek), hermitage (Einsiedelei), orangery (Orangerie), shell grotto (Muschelgrotte)
- Park Babelsberg (with tram 94, 20 minutes away) with Babelsberg Palace (Schloß Babelsberg), Little Palace (Kleines Schloß), steam-powered pump house (Dampfmaschinenhaus), Flatow Tower (Flatowturm), Court Arbour (Gerichtslaube), Sailors’ House (Matrosenhaus)
- The landscape park Klein-Glienicke (with tram 93, 20 minutes away) with Glienicke Palace (Schloß Glienicke), Glienicke Hunting Lodge (Jagdschloß Glienicke), casino, the pavilions Große and Kleine Neugierde (Large and Small Curiosity) and the neighbouring Glienicke Bridge
- Park Sacrow (on the other side of the lake, can be reached in 45 minutes by water taxi or bus) with Sacrow Palace (Schloß Sacrow) and the Church of the Saviour (Heilandskirche)
Most of the museums are located in the city centre and are therefore only 15 to 20 minutes away on foot. The Museum Barberini at Alter Markt (Old Market Square) runs temporary exhibitions of world-class paintings; works from Monet and Van Gogh have been on display here. Not far from there, the Film Museum shows the rich Babelsberg heritage with the world’s oldest film studios still in existence. The Potsdam Museum at Alter Markt is devoted to history and art; in the coach house (Kutschstall) at the Neuer Markt (New Market Square) is the House of Brandenburg-Prussian History. There is also a natural history museum (Naturkundemuseum), and the Extavium invites children to playfully discover the wonders of science. The more recent history of repression is remembered in the memorial sites Lindenstraße (GDR) and Leistikowstraße (Soviet secret service NKVD). To the north of the city, right beside the Volkspark, is the Biosphäre (tram line 96, 15 minutes) where tropical plants and animals can be marvelled at. The Filmpark Babelsberg (by tram and bus via the main railway station, 30 minutes) is a leisure park and is located directly beside the Babelsberg Studio.
For people with an eye for interesting architecture, Potsdam has a whole lot to offer, quite apart from palaces and museums.
The variety is enormous: Baroque architecture in the city centre, Classicism in the northern suburbs (Jägervorstadt, Nauener and Berliner Vorstadt), Wilhelminian style in the Brandenburger Vorstadt and in Babelsberg Süd, the Neubabelsberg villa colony at Lake Griebnitz, the weaver’s quarter (Weberviertel) in Babelsberg Nord, the housing areas from the 20s in the south-west, the Russian colony Alexandrowka … keep your eyes open as you move around the city.
You can meet your grocery needs from regional sources (Q-Regio shop, 100 m away) and in the supermarket (Edeka, 250 m away), as well as at the butcher’s, baker’s and wine merchant’s (all around 150 m away) or at the farmer’s markets (Bassinplatz daily except Sunday, or the particularly attractive market at Nauen Gate on Saturdays and Wednesdays).
Shopping for fun
On Brandenburger Straße, the pedestrianised area between St. Peter and Paul Church on Bassinplatz and the Brandenburg Gate on Luisenplatz and, above all, in the side streets, you will find lots of small, owner-run shops with interesting ranges, in addition to the well-known shops and a Karstadt department store. The Royal Porcelain Factory (Königliche Porzellanmanufaktur, KPM) also has a store here. Have a look around.
Right in the Dutch Quarter, around two minutes away on foot, you will find a range of different restaurants and cafés: Maison du Chocolat or Lieblingscafé (‘favourite cafe’) with wonderful gateaux, Fliegender Holländer (‘Flying Dutchman’) with local cuisine, Maison Charlotte with French dishes, the steakhouse 800°, Cancello in Nauen Gate with Italian dishes, or the tradition-steeped Café Heider, where you can also dine in the evening, are just named as examples – there are lots more.
Adjacent to the Dutch Quarter lies the second Baroque extension of the city with its yellow houses featuring gable rooms. Here you will find a large range of restaurants and bars, guaranteed to have something for every taste. In Lindenstraße and Dortustraße, you can sit out under the trees in summer. Those who would like to enjoy the creations of celebrity chefs will find a number of options in Potsdam: Kochzimmer on Neuer Markt, Restaurant Juliette in Jägerstraße, Villa Kellermann in the Berliner Vorstadt, Kabinett F. W. outside the city in Wildpark on the road to Werder.
Going out in the evenings
At the edge of the city centre, located on Tiefer See lake, lies the Schiffbauergasse cultural quarter (Erlebnisquartier Schiffbauergasse) with the Hans Otto Theatre and a number of small stages (T-Werk, Fabrik, Reithalle, Waschhaus). It is just 15 minutes away on foot.
Aficionados of classical or jazz music will find a large range of concerts in the Nikolaisaal (ten minutes away on foot).
The Kabarett Obelisk in Charlottenstraße holds a mirror up to society (ten minutes on foot).
Potsdam offers cineastes no fewer than three cinemas: Thalia in Babelsberg (tram, 20 minutes door to door) is one of many excellent arthouse cinemas. The Kino im Filmmuseum (15 minutes away on foot) shows treasures of film history and thought-provoking repertory cinema. In the Bahnhofspassagen (tram, six minutes), the huge UCI multiplex awaits with international film hits and popcorn by the bucketful.
Anyone who wants to go out for a drink will find not only beer gardens (e.g. Hafthorn) in summer but also lots of bars, among them Unscheinbar (15 minutes away on foot) where the special cocktails can be recommended.
And if that is still not enough …
… take an excursion into the surrounding area, for example to Werder (15 km away to the south-west) with its lovely old town on an island in the middle of the Havel river and its vineyards and orchards. A very attractive cycle path along the Havel lakes will also take you there.
Or enjoy a round trip with the ships of the Weiße Flotte (the White Fleet). If tourist commentaries are of no great interest to you, I would recommend taking the Potsdamer Wassertaxi from Hauptbahnhof/Hafen (at the Lange Brücke bridge) heading northwards – simply enjoy the sun, wind and water and the view of the lovely palaces and parks.
Or travel to Berlin; in just half an hour you can be at Friedrichstraße station with the S-Bahn (S7).
Text and photographs © 2020 Ernst Eimer. Reproduction not permitted.
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