The city of Potsdam, located in the northern part of Germany, started as a small Slavic village and later changed its face and position and became a small fishing town. Only in 1345 was Potsdam declared a city, and over time it grew and expanded. Some come to it for a day trip while visiting Berlin, which is located a short distance of only 26 km from the city, and some choose to spend a few days in Potsdam. Potsdam has quite a few lakes and waterways, it has special cultural sites, elaborate gardens and palaces. It is a pleasant city Very, which definitely warrants a visit, a city that is visited by tourists from all over the world, including Israelis who want to get to know it up close.
Potsdam was adjacent to the western part of Germany, after the construction of the Berlin Wall, which separated the two parts of the city. After the destruction of the wall and the union between the two parts, Potsdam became the capital of the state of Brandenburg, the fifth largest state in Germany. The total area of Potsdam is about 187 square kilometers and over 170 thousand inhabitants live there. Already in the 17th century quite a few immigrants from all over Europe arrived in the city: from France, Holland, England, Italy and also from Russia. For this reason it can be considered Signs of mixed cultures, which are expressed at different points.
Many refer to Potsdam as a kind of suburb of the big city, of neighboring Berlin, but it is a city that definitely stands on its own. Although many parts of it were almost completely destroyed during the Second World War, it was restored and renewed and you can enjoy a full and wonderful visit. The parks where they add green and color and the architectural buildings invested in contribute a lot as well.
Potsdam is a very touristic city, a city that receives a lot of attention due to its proximity to Berlin. Although, many choose to reach it for only a few hours, as part of a day trip that leaves Berlin and focuses mainly on it, but there are also those who choose to spend the night there and stay there for several days. There is a wide variety of accommodation solutions in Potsdam: hotels of various degrees, hostels and also apartments for short or long stays, including Airbnb apartments that have become very popular recently. In the city, you can find luxury hotels considered to be 5 stars, as well as simple and cheap hotels, suitable for travelers with a low budget.
Those planning a visit to the city will discover a selection of options. Choosing a place to stay in a central area of Potsdam, one that is also accessible to regular public transport, can be a great solution. It is recommended to book accommodation in advance if you arrive in the city during the summer months, which are considered the peak tourist season (June, July and August) or near Christmas, when crowds of visitors flock to Potsdam wanting to experience the festive atmosphere it offers.
Quite a few immigrants and natives live in Potsdam. As befits such a mixed city, Potsdam offers a wide variety of cuisines, which characterize countries near and far. The city has a great selection of restaurants and cafes, which usually serve rich and good menus, with a large and significant part of them located on its main street – Friedrich Ebert Strasse – as well as on the streets that branch off from it. Typical German dishes, Asian dishes, Italian dishes, Indian dishes and also Mediterranean dishes and even kosher and Israeli dishes. All these and more can be found while wandering around the city, along with fast food stands and cheap food chains.
You can of course settle for simpler food in the local pubs, which usually serve hot dishes alongside various types of alcoholic beverages. Local beers star on the menu as well as sausages of all kinds, hot or cold salads and good pastries.
In recent years, and similar to other large cities in the world, there has been a tremendous boom in the culinary field and more and more restaurants are opening in Potsdam. Some are even known to be highly regarded, those to which many flock and some less. There is no doubt that it is very easy to spend a week in Potsdam and it is recommended not to miss the good food offered there, even if it is a sit-down restaurant or a fast street food stand, where you stop for a minute.
There is a very wide variety of interesting attractions in Potsdam, some of which are hundreds of years old or even older. Ancient buildings, special streets, slightly different museums and green parks, all these and more the city, adjacent to Berlin, offers. As part of the visit, you can take advantage of the time to wander through its beautiful and pleasant streets or to stop at one (or more) of the points of interest it has to offer. A day trip, dedicated entirely to Potsdam, will certainly be enough for those in a hurry, but for those who want to get to know it a little more in depth and combine as many sites as possible while visiting it, it is advisable to stay there for at least three or four days.
Important tip: If you are planning a longer stay in Potsdam, WelcomeCard ABC is the right solution for you. With this card you can enjoy cheaper transportation solutions, which will take you directly from Berlin to Potsdam comfortably and quickly and will allow you to get around better in the city itself. This ticket is ideal for all those who plan to visit the city for a few hours as part of a day trip to it or for those who want to spend a longer time there and get to know it in depth. You can purchase a ticket valid for 48 hours at a cost of 23 euros (also valid into Berlin), a 72-hour ticket at a cost of 32 euros, a 4-day ticket at a cost of 37 euros, a 5-day ticket at a cost of 42 euros or A ticket for 6 days costs 47 euros.
Here is a short overview of attractions in Potsdam that are worth a stop:
This impressive palace, which is adjacent to an equally impressive park, is one of the well-known and most visited attractions of Potsdam and for good reason. This is the summer palace, which belonged to the kings of Prussia and was built inspired by the famous Palace of Versailles, although it is significantly smaller than it and also built in the Rococo style. Declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the Sensoussi Palace was built between 1745 and 1747 with the aim of providing Frederick the Great with a residence, where he could rest from day-to-day worries when he was not staying in his permanent palace in Berlin. It was built on a terraced hill, in the center of a comprehensive park It is hard not to notice the style of its design and its many decorations, which characterize the style that Frederick himself loved. The rooms of the palace are very impressive and most of them even face the beautiful courtyard that is adjacent to it. The park next to the palace is an attraction that justifies a visit as well, a park with thousands of different types of plants and trees fruit, which add great aromas and spectacular colors to it.
It is hard to miss this spectacular gate, which is also considered one of the symbols of the city. The Brandenburg Gate is a triumphal gate, designed between 1770 and 1771 at the request of Frederick II, who reigned in Prussia during those years. It is located on Brandenburg Street, at its western end, and was actually designed by two architects: Georg Christian Unger and Karl von Guntard. The city gate was in the same place until this gate was built and it was built as a sign of victory and similar in design to the Roman triumphal gates. Since each of its sides was designed by a different architect, these sides are completely different from each other, but together create a complete and very special look.
This beautiful district definitely warrants a visit. The Dutch quarter in Potsdam is one of the special neighborhoods in the city, the one that is considered an attraction in itself. It has 134 charming buildings with an addition of Dutch red bricks that have been renovated and restored. The quarter itself was built between 1733 and 1740 and was designed by order of King Frederick I. Today, apart from residences, it also has nice restaurants and shops.
This is a seasonal amusement park in Babelsberg, where there are over 20 different attractions about cinema and movies in general. It has original sets from various movies, display areas focused on cinema and also places to watch 4D and XD movies. The park is adjacent to the film studio in the city, known as one of the largest and oldest film studios in all of Europe. It has existed there since 1912 and since it began operating more than 3,000 different motion pictures have been made there. The park has stunt shows, reenactments of scenes from famous movies, and quite a few activities for children and film lovers in particular.
This beautiful palace, located in the western part of the city’s well-known park, Parc Sensoussi, was officially opened in 1769 and is considered one of the largest Prussian Baroque palaces. The construction of the palace began as part of commemorating Prussia’s victory in the Third Silesian War, and it is also spectacular and very expensive. It has 200 assembly rooms that were used for assemblies, international events and of course also for banquets and you can find, in the southern part, Friedrich’s study, his music room, his bedroom and the dining room. After his death, the palace became the residence of the eunuch – Frederick III.
These gardens are a beautiful green park, located in the northern part of Potsdam and it covers an area of 102.5 dunams. It was built in 1787 on the orders of Frederick II and has been recognized, since 1990, as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Unlike the typical English gardens of the 19th century, the emphasis was on nature, as it is. The trees and plants in the gardens were indeed cultivated, but their design was simple and not excessive and they were left to grow naturally. In 1816, during the reign of King Frederick III, an important task was assigned to Peter Joseph Lena, to redesign the gardens, which were then perceived as neglected. Indeed, he created wide open spaces, lovely paths and lawns Beautiful and green, which can still be seen today.
This interesting museum, opened in 2017, redefined the perception of culture and art in the city. Its exhibitions focus mainly on contemporary art, with an emphasis on impressionist paintings. Each year, it presents three changing exhibitions, as well as private collections and those coming from international museums. Academic conferences are held there and important curators and researchers come to it, who are responsible for the preparation of these exhibitions. In addition, it is also possible to see displays of art collections for short periods of time as well as take part in various Hanukkah events and activities held there.
This is a spectacular observatory in Potsdam and one of the most interesting attractions in the city. It was built in 1924 and its purpose was to support, through the observations from which it can be seen, Einstein’s famous theory of relativity. The observatory where today allows observations of the sun and belongs to the Astrophysical Institute in the city. The tower is considered a very important project of the architect Erich Mendelsohn and it definitely warrants a visit. In 1999, the tower underwent a massive renovation in honor of its 75th birthday and today it attracts many visitors.
It is very easy to get from one place to another in Potsdam and from the city itself to the neighboring cities, such as Berlin. There is a very convenient transportation that connects the two, so that all those who rent a car can do so very easily and without unnecessary delays. There is a network of highways that connect Potsdam to the ring road of Berlin and all those who wish to continue from the city to nearby sites can get on them in their vehicle and continue anywhere else they want. You can rent the car from one of the international car rental companies, and pick it up directly at the Berlin airport or at their branches in the city.
Although, as of today, there are no direct flights from Israel to Potsdam, however the right choice to reach it is by flying directly to and from Berlin – a short trip to the city that can be made using the variety of excellent public transportation available. Flights to Berlin depart from Israel, from Ben Gurion Airport, with high frequency. Some are direct and some include stopovers in various European destinations. These flights are operated by El Al, Lufthansa, easyJet, Ryanair, Visair, Air France, Turkish, Austrian and many more. A direct flight to Berlin takes about four and a half hours, while the flights that include stopovers are longer (the flight time is determined according to the destinations where you stop).
Potsdam is suitable to visit in any season. During the summer months, quite a few festive events are held there and the weather is wonderful, while in the winter months the city offers real winter magic and various attractions related to Christmas.
For those who choose to fly to Potsdam, you should take into account special events, which are recommended to include during the visit:
Just before the peak of winter, and close to Christmas, festive markets are held in Potsdam. These markets, similar to the markets held in other neighboring or distant cities, are a wonderful opportunity to meet locals and other travelers and of course also try (and buy!) local produce. In the markets, most of which are concentrated in the city center, there are a variety of food stalls and stalls offering for sale gifts, souvenirs and other surprises to passers-by and visitors. The city is decorated with a multitude of colored lights and it is recommended not to miss the great joy.