Potsdam

For other places with the same name, see Potsdam (disambiguation).
Schloss Sanssouci

Potsdam is the capital of Brandenburg and borders Berlin. The town has population of approx. 159,400. It is widely known for its castles and landscape as a World Heritage Site. Potsdam is more than 1000 years old. Many historic buildings are under re-construction after World War II and the period of the GDR.

Understand

Potsdam was the capital of Brandeburg and later Prussia, until it was replaced by Berlin. It was still used as a residence for the kings of Prussia when they wanted to get away from the big-city trouble (and potential rabble-rousers) in Berlin, and in a way it still has a similar function, as many well-to-do people from Berlin have either moved here or have bought a second residence here since reunification in 1990. Potsdam also serves as the capital of the Bundesland of Brandenburg, after an attempt to reunite Berlin and Brandenburg in a single Bundesland failed in the early 90s.

For most of its recent history Potsdam has not been accessible from the former West Berlin. The last station before the former GDR was Wannsee. Many of the buildings that are visible today have been reconstructed after the bombings of the Second World War and after the lax care of the East German Government. The city as we see it today is the work of five architects (After the Great Elector said: "Das ganze Eyland muß ein Paradies werden" [The whole island must become a paradise]): Peter Joseph Lenné, Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff, Carl Phillipp Christian von Gontard, Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Friedrich Ludwig Persius, and of course King Frederick the Great and Emperor Wilhelm II.

Most of attractions in the city are UNESCO World Heritage sites:

Get in

By suburban rail

Potsdam is in the Berlin metropolitan area and served by both inner and outer suburban trains, called S-Bahn and Regionalexpress respectively. Several lines serve Potsdam, but not the same parts. Almost all trains that go from Berlin to Potsdam can be used with an ABC or BC zone card for Berlin, so if you are staying in Berlin and buy a day card ask yourself whether you want to go to Potsdam (than buy ABC, valid for all of Berlin and many towns in the surroundings, most notably Potsdam) or not (than buy AB, valid for all of Berlin).

For central Potsdam, you should travel to Potsdam Hauptbahnhof, which is the terminus for S-Bahn S7 and also served by Regionalexpress RE1 towards Brandenburg or Magdeburg. From the most centrally located station, Friedrichstrasse, it takes 47 min to Potsdam Hbf by S1 (40 min: S7+S1) and 28 min by RE1, the latter making limited stops in inner areas.

For the Schloss Sanssouci, Park Sanssouci and Krongut Bornstedt, you should take an RE1 train direction Brandenburg (not Magdeburg) and get off at Charlottenhof, the station following Potsdam Hbf. From there the mentioned attractions are 10 minutes away on foot.

For Babelsberg, you should take the S-Bahn S7 to Babelsberg, the station preceding Potsdam Hbf.

For the Medienstadt (film studios), you should take an RE7 train direction Bad Belzig or Dessau and get off at Medienstadt Babelsberg.

Your ticket must be valid for at least Berlin zones BC in order to travel to Potsdam; however, tickets and travelcards valid for the entire metropolitan area are of course also valid. For more information on this, visit the local transport website of the Berlin metropolitan area.

By coach

You can reach Potsdam with AutobahnExpress/ from Leipzig (Airport). Or you can take several lines from the ZOB Berlin, which can easily reach with S7 and changing in Westkreuz to S42 - its juts one stop until station "Messe/Nord ICC".

By car

By plane

Berlin has two airports which are not far away from Potsdam. From Tegel bus X9 connects to Jungfernheide S-Bahn station, from where you can take S42 to Westkreuz and then S7 and S1 to Potsdam (for passengers to Charlottendorf or Medienstadt RE trains connect to the S7 at Wannsee).

From Schönefeld, suburban train line RB22 connects to Potsdam Hbf via Charlottendorf (passengers for Medienstadt should change to RE7 or MR33 at Michendorf, while passengers for Babelsberg should change to S-Bahn S7 at Potsdam Hbf)

Get around

The tram and bus system in Potsdam is very modern and overall excellent though confusing. Potsdam is, together with Berlin and parts of Brandenburg, part of the VBB transportation network. That enables you to change trams and buses pretty much at will, as long as your ticket is valid for the zone you're in. The inner city of Potsdam is in Zone A, the outer parts are in Zone B, and the hinterland is Zone C. Be aware though, as Potsdam itself lies in Berlin's Zone C - Berlin's outer parts are Berlin Zone B and so on. Tickets can be bought at ticket machines in every tram and bus. Unfortunately they're of no big help when it comes to choosing the right ticket, and furthermore they only accept coins and rechargeable "Geldkarten", but no bills. It's best to get detailed information about prices and zones at Potsdam's central station or on the VBB website. The transport, although confusing at first, is pretty logically laid out - each tourist attraction has its own bus / tram stop (with the appropriate name) and the staff of the VBB are extremely helpful, although language barriers can exist.

For tourists there are five main lines in and around Potsdam:

Bus No 695 from Potsdam Hauptbahnhof - Bahnhof Pirschheide
With stops for: The Historic Steam Engine House, Sanssouci Palace and Park, The Orangery, the Dragon House, the Belvedere, The New Palace and a path to the Charlottenhof Park

Tram No 92 from Potsdam Hauptbahnhof - Bornstedt Kirschallee
With stops for: The Dutch Quarter, The Russian Colony (Alexandrowka), the Pfingstberg, the Potsdam Biosphere and the Volkspark

From Potsdam Haupbahnhof - Viereckremise
With stops for: The Historic City Centre, the Russian Colony (Alexandrowka),the Pfingstberg, the Potsdam Biosphere and the Volkspark

From Potsdam Haupbahanhof take Tram Nos 90/92 to Reiterweg / Alleestraße, then Bus No 692 - Höhenstraße
With stops for: The Russian colony (Alexandrowka), the New Garden, the Marble Palace, Celcilienhof Palace and the Pfingstberg

From Potsdam Hauptbahnhof - Stern-Center / Gerlachstraße
With stops for: Babelsberg palace and park, Flatow Tower, the Arcaded Court House, the Neubabelsberg Villa Colony, Babelsberg Media City and the Film Park.

See

Schloss Cecilienhof
Schloss Babelsberg

Potsdam has several interesting museums to offer:

Film museum

Near Potsdam:

Do

Buy

Drink

Potsdams Nightlife is a bit dominated by the near Berlin. But there are some good clubs and Pubs worth visiting. Interesting pubs you find in the Holländer Viertel around Mittelstrasse or in the city.

Budget

Pubs

Clubs

Mid-range

Pubs/Cafes

Clubs

Sleep

Downtown

Waldstadt and surround

Babelsberg

Holländerviertel

Potsdam-North

Stern (suburban)

Stay safe

Potsdam is a safe city for tourists. During daylight the city is full of tourists that visit the amazing castles and gardens.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, December 15, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.