There are so many things to love about Germany. The country has a very rich history and unique culture that should be experienced by everyone at some point during their travels. If you want to have an authentic German experience while also learning about so much history, Potsdam is the perfect day trip to take.
While in Berlin earlier this year, we took a day tour of Potsdam and I couldn’t be happier that we did. The tour was around 17 euros each through GetYourGuide. The price may have gone up, however, due to COVID-19 or the season. I still highly recommend this tour and I promise you won’t be disappointed. In total time, it took about six hours including travel, so it didn’t even take up a full day of our trip.
We met our group in Berlin and took the public transportation to Potsdam. We did almost miss our group because we got lost on the subway trying to get there, but we got pretty lucky that they waited a bit for late people (I’ll admit I’m a repeat offender when it comes to this).
The cost was extremely affordable, however, you do need to purchase the ABC zone public transport card. We had already bought this in order to get around on our own, and I think most other’s did as well. It is only about 41 euros for one whole week!
The trip took about 40 minutes and the tour guide lead us the entire way. We stopped at several historical sights along the route, where she explained the significance in detail and gave us a great appreciation for what we were seeing. She was incredibly knowledgeable and had an excellent way of delivering the information. I only wish I could remember her name to give her some credit!
Taking this tour was the best decision we could have made and I honestly think you’d feel the same. Whether you elect to take the tour or not, here are my personal top five reasons why everyone should visit Potsdam.
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As I mentioned before, Potsdam has a rich history that we were able to learn about as we walked through it. We saw sights like the Spy Swap Bridge, where spies were exchanged during the cold war, palaces that belonged to Prussian Kings, and beautiful gardens.
This is the main reason why I recommend taking an organized tour. While Potsdam is wonderful on its own, learning the history of each spot and important things that have happened there was my absolute favorite part.
I loved to be able to envision what life was like at the time when these historical moments were taking place. Plus, there were so many things we would have missed or walked right past without realizing how important they were.
2. Beautiful palaces
Potsdam was home to many summer residences for Prussian Kings. Each needed his own special palace to be built to his liking and preferred style. These buildings were all equally huge and unique, the King’s way of leaving behind a symbol of his legacy.
None of the palaces are quite like Fredrick the Great’s, called Sanssouci. The name is french, meaning “without concerns” or without worries. Frederick the Great was a huge lover of nature, very opposite of his father, Frederick William I, who was known for his militarization of Prussia and nicknamed the “Soldier King.” Frederick the Great had Sanssouci built so he could be closer to nature. His intentions can be observed through the palace’s massive front garden.
Now, this is a must see spot when visiting Potsdam. I recommend going in the warmer months when the garden is fully bloomed.
3. Unique cultural feel
Potsdam has a charming and unique appeal that not many other places have. Along with many magnificent palaces, the city was also home to many immigrants. During the 1600s, people migrated to Potsdam for many reasons, including religious freedom. Over time there became a large Dutch population there, so the city decided to change some things to make them feel more welcome.
They built a street lined with small Dutch style buildings so the residents would feel more at home and want to stay in Potsdam, where the skills and trades of these immigrants were highly valued.
Now, when walking along this street, it feels like you’ve been teleported to a small Dutch town. These elements mixed with some from Prussia and Germany, make Potsdam an interesting cultural spectacle.
4. Quaint little buildings
Aside from the little Dutch village, Potsdam has many other small German style buildings. Much of the town was destroyed during World War II (information I would not have known without taking the tour) and has since been rebuilt to look similar. Many have criticized the architecture, saying that it looks fake or cookie-cutter.
While this may be true for some of the buildings, there are still many wonderful and authentic things to see. There are lots of little shops and bakeries you can check out while walking through that will fulfill all of your desires.
5. Authentic German food
It is typically said that to get the good, authentic food of any region, you need to go outside the major city. While I do think there’s plenty of authentic food in cities, it’s harder to find and easier to mistake if you’re unfamiliar. You can be fairly certain when visiting a smaller town that the food will be the real deal.
This is a big plus to visiting Potsdam. It’s just a short trip from Berlin, but you get to experience a whole different vibe and try food that you know will be excellent and just what you came for. You get to make the most of your trip and you don’t even have to travel far for a well-rounded German experience.