Although Potsdam and its palaces are equipped with beautiful parks and gardens, it also has quite a bit of nature that is not specifically related to the Prussian dynasty or the successors. Trekking enthusiasts will be happy to know that one of the longest treks in Europe (and in the world) passes through it, you can rent a bike and have a day full of water in Potsdam and Berlin, or just wander for your pleasure in the spacious Babelsberg Park. Here are the things you should know about the (amazing) nature and (spectacular) landscapes in the Phantsdam area.
This is a huge park, located south of the Bridge of Spies, on the border between Berlin and Potsdam. It lies on the shore of the Tiefen See lake (literally – the deep lake), which is actually a point where the Dark River expands. It covers an area of about 500 dunams, and got its name thanks to the impressive castle on its territory, which looks like it was taken out of a Disney cartoon.
The park was built during the middle of the 19th century, and although the names of the landscape architects who designed it won’t tell you much, the work they produced under their hands testifies to their talent as a thousand witnesses. The park is networked with paths winding between trees and small gardens, which will make you feel like you are in a busy city. The palace in the park, built in honor of Frederick IV, was built at a time when the Gothic style came back into fashion, which explains its unique appearance compared to the other palaces of the city. In addition to the palace, you will find in the park the steam-powered pump house, which is designed like a medieval castle and was once located right next to the Berlin Wall, and the small palace (Kleines Schloss), which also contributes to the feeling that you have entered a fantasy movie.
The New Garden (Neuer Garten)
Despite its name, the new garden is not new at all. It is only called that because it was built by Frederick II, the son of Frederick the Great who built the Senssus Gardens. The new garden was built a little north of them, and its style is much less meticulous than the precise one of the Sensoussi gardens. It could be that the more English style of the garden is the one that caused the successor of Frederick II to build his palace (Zezilinehof Palace), designed in a rustic English style, precisely on its grounds.
As in the case of Babelsberg Park, the new garden also combines nature, water and different buildings. Along with the long beach of the park with Lake Heiliger (Heiliger See), you will also find the marble palace (Marmaorpalais), Dutch-style houses that were used by the servants, a house designed as a pyramid that was previously used as the garden’s ice house, and even a Gothic-style library.
The walking tracks E10 and E11
These two routes are among the longest in Europe, with the first crossing it from north to south, from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean Sea (total of 2,880 km), and the second crossing it from east to west, from western Holland to eastern Poland (total of 2,560 km). If you’re a fan of hiking trails and you’re in Potsdam, you’ll be happy to hear that this is the place where the two trails meet (next to Potsdam’s train station, Potsdam Hauptbahnhof).
You can start in Potsdam and walk to your heart’s content until you decide to stop and return, or alternatively start at some distance from the city and walk the way back to it. It is especially recommended to get a little away from the city in order to experience the green fields and traditional villages that are around Potsdam and Berlin, and at the end of the route (or at the beginning, depending on where you start) to experience their bustling urbanity.
There are several fontana courses throughout the state of Brandenburg, and one of them is in Potsdam. This is a route that can be done by bike or on foot, although on foot you will most likely only do a part of it, as it has a total length of about thirty kilometers. The route actually surrounds the Templiner See, and allows an exit to the green spaces south of Potsdam. Green in your eyes and a lake next to you throughout the walk, what more do you need?
The 66 Lakes Bike Trail
This is probably the most recommended route for bike enthusiasts. This route has a total length of 416 km, but of course you can also do parts of it. It starts and ends at Potsdam’s Brandenburg Gate, which makes it especially convenient if you are staying in the city. The most recommended way to do the route is clockwise, both Because the markings are easier to spot, and because most guides describe it that way.
It is recommended to take a raincoat with you, for any trouble that may arise, and to plan the route (given favorable weather) at a rate of about four kilometers per hour of riding (including stops). For the joy of those who don’t have two weeks to invest in the entire trek, it is divided into 17 segments of 20-30 kilometers, so you can choose how many segments you want to do. The first section (Tour 1, 20 km), where you will ride between Potsdam and Marquardt, is full of parks, castles and gardens, and is one of the shortest on the entire route. This is why it is especially suitable for beginner riders and those who do not want to do a real off-road single.