Potsdam’s Sanssouci Palace and the surrounding park are still one of the city’s main attractions. Especially in the summer months, when the trees and plants are in full bloom, a visit becomes a memorable experience. We have compiled the most beautiful highlights around the Palace for you to discover upon your visit.
#1 CHURCH OF PEACE
The best way getting to the Church is by entering the park via the “Allee nach Sanssouci“ at the Green Gate. A wide avenue will then lead you past some fairly old houses before you turn right into the Marly Garden. You’ll find the buildings of the Peace Church now on your right hand side. King Frederick William IV. himself, designed the first drafts for this building complex in 1839. To realise his vision he used Italian monasteries as model for his plans.
The 42 metre high bell tower is one of the impressive Churchs ancillary installations. Those four bells bear sonorous names like Gratia, Clementia, Pax and Gloria. In 1917 and 1945 they were actually removed from the tower to be melted down for the production of war ammunition. Both times, however, they managed to return undamaged to their original place.
High arcades will lead you further inside to the quiet inner courtyards, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. There is also a stone seating area with a view of the lakeside, which is particularly beautiful.
#2 SANSSOUCI PALACE
You shouldn’t miss a visit to Sanssouci Palace during your stay in Potsdam. Sans Souci means „without worry“ and was built as a summer residence for Frederick the Great between 1745 and 1747. Along with a large fountain, the castle represents the centre of the park. You might also notice some semi-circular shaped stone-benches around that area. These are the so-called whisper benches. Due to a special construction, all words that are spoken at one end will be transfered to the person sitting on the other side. Rumor has it, that lovers used those seats to exchange little love messages with each other. Don’t miss a try while you there!
A wonderfully sweeping staircase will then take you all the way up to the castle in 132 steps. Watch out for the glazed niches of the terraces. Foreign varieties of wine were cultivated there back in the old days, whereas on the open walls native wine and fruit grew. The view from the top heel is especially beautiful as you’ll be able to see a good part of the city from up there.
#3 SICILIAN GARDEN
The Sicilian garden is a small insider tip as it is a little off the beaten track. You will find it right next to the new chambers, about 100 meters to the left of Sanssouci Castle. The garden owes it’s name to the many Mediterranean plants and ancient sculptures that can be found there. Between colourful flowerbeds and round arches overgrown with beech trees, it’s the perfect place to sit and relax while watching the rainbow spitting fountains bubbling up. With so much Mediterranean flair, it is easy to forget that you are actually still in the middle of Potsdam.
#4 ORANGERIE & BELVEDERE ON THE KLAUSBERG
Between Sanssouci Castle and the New Palace you will find another palace building, also known as the New Orangery. It was built between 1851 and 1864 and comprises former royal apartments as well as servants accommodations. In the adjacent halls, all the exotic palm trees and plants of the park spend their wintertime. Surrounding fountains, arcades and sculptures provide a great southern european flair. This was very important to FriedrichWilhelm IV., as he was very much in love with Italy.
Climbing up the steps to the castle is not only worthwhile to marvel at the architecture. From the terraces you’ll have a great view over the park with its lines of sight. You could also visit the observation tower of the castle from May to October. So if you already like the view from the terraces, you should have 4 EUR to spare for the access fee to the castle and its viewing platform.
If you follow the path to the left of the castle, the Belvedere on the Klausberg already appears in the distance. It is the first architecturally designed viewpoint of the city. Belvedere means beautiful view and in fact, from up here you have a wonderful sight over the landscape and the city. If you follow the path further down and back into the park, it is only a short walk to the New Palace.
#5 NEW PALACE
This castle was also commissioned by Frederick the Great and initially served as accommodation for royal guests. Later, the Emperor Wilhelm II. used the building with its 634 rooms as a summer residence. Since the supply of bricks came to a standstill during the construction phase, a large part of the facade had to be imitated by a deceptively real-looking coat of paint. Only the royal apartment in the left wing was actually made of red bricks. The buildings of the University of Potsdam behind the New Palace are no less impressive and were used as economic rooms and accommodation for employees back in the time.
#6 CHARLOTTENHOF CASTLE & ROMAN BATH
Charlottenhof Palace was a Christmas present from King Friedrich Wilhelm III. to the Crown Prince and later King Frederick William IV. Frederick subsequently commissioned the architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel with the conversion of the estate and also the garden designer Peter Joseph Lenné to design the adjacent park. The castle got its name from the former landowner of the area, Maria Charlotte of Gentzkow. With it’s simple form and column elements, the building looks a lot like a Roman villa. A small fountain, colorful flowerbeds and a large terrace surround the castle. With a stunning view over the green park this place is also perfect for a short break. Afterwards you should take a walk through the neighbouring rose garden towards the pond and onwards to the Roman baths.
Contrary to what the name might suggest, these buildings were never used as bathing houses. The naming reflects rather the deep love for Italian architecture of the royal. In contrast to the more formal Charlottenhof Palace, the bath resembles an old Italian country house with a flowering garden. Only the adjacent tea pavilion was built in an antique style and reminds of a Roman temple.