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Potsdam is filled with heritage, history and traditional charm. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city is bursting with architectural wonders, making it a popular tourist destination in Germany. It’s the perfect day trip, or stopover from Berlin, located just 40 kilometres southwest of the city. The capital of Brandenburg is brimming with Prussian influence and opulent charm. Here’s how to spend 24 hours in Potsdam.
The easiest way to get to Potsdam is via the S-Bahn from Berlin. The half-hour journey brings you to Potsdam’s main train station, the Hauptbahnhof, in the southern part of the city and a short walk from most of the main attractions. From here you can easily walk to Hotel am Großen Waisenhaus, an ideally located boutique hotel, close to the hustle and bustle of Brandenburgerstraße. The hotel has traditional charm, as it was originally built in 1820, when it served as an orphanage. Now, the converted space has modern rooms and a cosy, quaint atmosphere.
Once you’ve settled in, it’s time for some sightseeing. Start off with Potsdam’s Brandenburg Gate, which is a short walk from the hotel. Located on Brandenberger Straße, the gate was built in 1770 to celebrate the triumphant win of the Seven Years’ War. It stands as a crowning glory of Potsdam’s residential area and is surrounded by baroque houses that date back to the 18th century. An impressive structure, it’s the perfect place to start off a trip to Potsdam and puts you close to Sanssouci Castle.
Potsdam is famed for its impressive architecture, and the numerous castles in the lush green area of Park Sanssouci reflect the city’s opulent beauty. A short walk from Brandenburger Gate, this 500-acre UNESCO World Heritage Site, houses the Sanssouci Palace, Sanssouci Park gardens and Neues Palais. Both palaces reflect a Prussian grandeur and have a parade of sandstone figures and intricate architectural trimmings that reflect this era. This sprawling space is filled with stunning sites and lavish buildings; spending an afternoon wandering the grounds transports visitors back to 17th-century Prussia.
After an afternoon of walking, its time to refuel and rest your feet in on of Potsdam’s charming restaurants. Wiener, located just outside Park Sanssouci, is fitted with a spiral staircase at its centre and a heavy wooden bar. It breathes a cosy and traditional atmosphere and has a diverse menu, starting with an impressive brunch range and moving into light meals and regional classics. It’s the perfect place for a beer and some lunch after exploring the Potsdam’s castle park.
In the 18th century, Potsdam attracted an array of foreigners, and some made a strong impression on the city. The Dutch Quarter, with its settlement of 134 red brick houses, fixed with shuttered windows, gables and white trim, reflects this influence. The area is the largest number of Dutch-style homes outside of the Netherlands and was built between 1737 and 1742. Stretching over four city blocks, the area is graced by tourists and locals, who come here to delight in its many boutique shops, cosy cafés and amazing local restaurants. Amongst them is Zum Fliegenden Hollander, serving traditional German food with some Dutch influences, they pair the meal with traditional beers and wine. After a day of walking and exploring, you can end your 24 hours in Potsdam with a hearty meal and a cosy atmosphere in this Dutch Quarter gem.
Heading back towards the hotel, you can drop into Bar Gelb for a nightcap. This cocktail bar is a trendy local hotspot, known for their regional craft beer, impressive cocktail menu and ambience. They have a weekly pub quiz, which you might catch if you’re lucky and is usually packed with young locals. It’s a great place to end a day of exploring Potsdam.