A complete itinerary for one day trip to Potsdam from Berlin (including a map with all key sights, where to eat and how to get there).
Berlin may be the capital of Germany, but Potsdam is where the Prussian Kings resided. The city is packed with history, culture and gorgeous royal palaces. It’s a true gem for architecture and history lovers!
Potsdam is the capital of the Brandenburg region of Germany. It’s situated on the River Havel, only half an hour away by train from Berlin. This makes it the perfect day trip from Germany’s capital city.
Planning a few days in Berlin as well? Well, then take a look at my complete 3 day itinerary for Berlin. It covers all the key sights, including how to skip the lines for the TV Tower and how to save money.
One day in Potsdam itinerary
This one day in Potsdam itinerary is perfect for all, who plan to explore the city on a day trip from Berlin. In fact, this is the exact itinerary I followed during my last visit. It’s designed in such a way that you can see the maximum of the city with minimal walking.
At the end of the blog post, you’ll find a map with all the key places from the itinerary.
One day trip to Potsdam from Berlin (best itinerary)
- Marvel at the New Palace
- Explore Sanssouci Park
- Stop for lunch at Zur Historischen Mühle Restaurant
- Tour Sanssouci Palace
- See Brandenburg Gate
- Explore the Dutch quarter
- Admire St. Nicholas’ Church
- Take a boat tour around Potsdam
I’d recommend you have an early breakfast in Berlin, before leaving for Potsdam. There are not many cafés to choose from along your way to the palace. Plus, it will be better to arrive as early as you can, because you have to book a timed entry for your visit (even if you buy tickets in advance online).
Marvel at the New Palace
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Most of the people start with Sanssouci Palace, but I’d suggest you start with the New Palace instead. Arrive at Bahnhof Potsdam Park Sanssouci station and make your way through the gardens and the historical centre in the afternoon. In this way, you’ll be able to see both palaces till noon, when there are fewer tourists.
If you have time only for one palace, forget about Sanssouci. Visit the New Palace (Neues Palais)! Sanssouci Palace may be more popular, but it’s nothing compared to the grandeur of the New Palace.
Friedrich II built the New Palace after Prussia won the Seven Years War (1756 – 1763). The palace wasn’t intended to serve as a royal residence, but to host royal guests.
By building it, Friedrich II wanted to demonstrate the power and glory of Prussia. And he surely achieved that goal, considering that the New Palace is one of the most impressive Prussian Baroque palaces.
To visit the palace, you have to buy a timed entry ticket, which is not possible online. This is the main reason why it is better to start with the New Palace instead of Sanssouci. Also, note that the ticket office is located about 300m away from the palace entrance. So, head straight to the palace after buying your tickets, unless you want to miss your time slot.
Keep in mind, that even if you buy in advance the Sanssouci+ pass, you have to go to the ticket office of the New Palace and reserve a time slot for your visit. Do this immediately after you arrive at the palace grounds.
Right across the palace, you’ll find the Communs. This is where the royal kitchens and servants rooms were.
Explore Sanssouci Park
11:30 AM – 12:00 PM
With more than 70km of walkways, this is the largest park in Brandenburg. So be prepared and bring your comfy shoes.
It’s about a 20-30min leisurely walk from the New Palace to Sanssouci. A few more landmarks are scattered around the park. The most impressive are the Orangery Palace, Chinese House and the New Chambers. You can visit them for free with the Sanssouci+ pass.
The Orangery Palace is a gorgeous building in Italian Renaissance style. It is built after the image of the Villa Medici in Rome and the Uffizi in Florence.
The Chinese House is a small garden pavilion, built by Frederick the Great to adorn his flower and vegetable garden.
The New Chambers can be considered an extension to Sanssouci Palace. Initially, they were used as an orangery to keep the terraces’ potted plants safe during the cold winter months. Later, the chambers were transformed into a gallery.
The Sanssouci+ pass also includes the Charlottenhof Palace, Belvedere on Klausberg and Roman Baths. To be honest, it’s not possible to see it all in just one day, so choose according to your interests.
12:00 PM – 01:30 PM
There aren’t many places for lunch in the park, but Zur Historischen Mühle Restaurant is a good option. The atmosphere is very nice and they offer excellent homemade cakes!
Tour Sanssouci Palace
02:00 PM – 03:00 PM
King Frederick the Great commissioned the construction of Sanssouci Palace in the middle of the 18th century. This small palace is built in opulent Rococo style with beautiful terraced gardens.
Sanssouci Palace was the summer residence of King Frederick the Great. The place where he could escape from the pomp and ceremony of the Berlin court life. This is reflected in the palace’s name – sans souci means without a care in French.
Note, that to take photos, you’ll need to buy a photo permit for €3.
See Brandenburg Gate
03:20 PM – 03:30 PM
Don’t mistake this for a replica of the iconic Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. In fact, the Brandenburg Gate in Potsdam is older than its famous namesake. It was built as a triumphal arch after Prussia won the Seven Years’ War in 1770.
Explore the Dutch quarter
03:30 PM – 04:00 PM
The Dutch quarter is one of the most charming quarters in Potsdam. It’s founded in the middle of the 18th century when King Frederick William I ordered the construction of 134 red brick houses in Dutch style. In this way, he wanted to attract more expert craftsmen from neighbouring Holland.
And while you’re in the area, don’t miss to stop for a cheesecake at Café Guam. They offer excellent cheesecakes, and there are always numerous flavours to choose from. A great spot to stop and relax after a day of walking.
Admire St. Nicholas’ Church
04:10 PM – 04:30 PM
St. Nicholas’ Church (Nikolaikirche) is the largest church in Potsdam. Built in the middle of the 19th century, the church dominates the Old Market Square.
Before you take the train back to Berlin, stop for an early dinner at Restaurant Loft. The restaurant features a rooftop terrace with lovely views of Potsdam.
Take a river cruise
To tour the beautiful Hohenzollern palaces and parks by water, take this Palace tour by boat. You’ll discover the gorgeous scenery along the Havel River on a leisurely cruise. Plus, the views to the monuments are unique!
Church of Peace
Church of Peace (Friedenskirche) is located on the grounds of Sanssouci Park. It’s a perfect stop on your way to the historical centre.
King Frederick William IV commissioned the church in the middle of the 19th century. The structure resembles an Italian monastery. In addition to this, an original Venetian mosaic from the 13th century decorates the apse. It was brought by King Frederick William IV himself from Venice by boat!
Cecilienhof Palace and the Potsdam Conference
Cecilienhof Palace (Schloss Cecilienhof) is the location, where the famous Potsdam Conference took place. Truman, Churchill and Stalin met here to discuss the future of Europe after the end of the Second World War.
At the moment it’s possible to visit the palace as a part of the special exhibition Potsdam Conference 1945 – the Reorganization of the World.
Originally, Cecilienhof Palace was constructed for the crown prince Wilhelm and his wife Cecilie. Built in the English Tudor style, the palace features more than 170 rooms! In fact, this was the last palace of the House of Hohenzollern.
Babelsberg Palace was built in 1833 as a summer residence of Emperor William I. Constructed in a neo-Gothic style, the palace features an English garden with lovely river views.
Although Babelsberg Palace is not open to visitors, you can access its beautiful gardens free of charge.
Find more information at the Potsdam Tourist Information Centre.
Sanssouci Palace – it’s the most popular sight in Potsdam and the tickets are timed entry. Even if you’re travelling outside the season, book your ticket in advance here.
How many days in Potsdam
Is one day in Potsdam enough?
Potsdam is the perfect day trip destination from Berlin. For 1 day you’ll be able to visit Sanssouci Palace, the New Palace and tour the historical city centre.
Best time to visit Potsdam
A day trip to Potsdam includes a lot of walking. Besides, one of the most popular attractions is the Sanssouci Park. So, you’ll definitely need nice weather. Having this in mind, it’s best to visit Potsdam from May to October. Also, most of the small palaces in the park are closed in the winter months.
My first visit was on a cold December day and I didn’t even make it to the New Palace, because of heavy snow. Not to mention, that the terraced gardens of Sanssouci Palace are not a nice view in the winter.
Also, take in mind that Sanssouci Palace is closed on Mondays, while the New Palace – on Tuesdays. So, ideally from Wednesday till Sunday is the best time to visit Potsdam.
Getting around in Potsdam
Find here a map with all the mentioned attractions in this Potsdam itinerary.
As the attractions are quite scattered, prepare for a lot of walking, especially in Sanssouci Park. Don’t forget to bring comfy shoes!
Another option is to rent a bike. There are multiple locations from where you can rent a bike, including the Potsdam Hauptbahnhof Station and Bahnhof Park Sanssouci Station.
How to get to Potsdam
To visit Potsdam as a part of a guided tour, take this Sanssouci Palace Tour from Berlin (it’s the most popular one). The tour includes a bus transfer directly from the Berlin city centre, guided tour of Potsdam and tour of Sanssouci Palace.
Potsdam is an easy day trip from Berlin (a 30min ride on the S-Bahn). To get there just hop on the S7 S-Bahn train (towards Potsdam Hbf) or RE1 train (towards Magdeburg). The S7 train stops at the Central train station (Potsdam Hbf), while the RE1 train at Park Sanssouci Bhf.
To follow my Potsdam itinerary, take the RE1 train to Potsdam in the morning and S7 train to get back to Berlin. In this way, you can start with the New Palace and make your way through the park and then the historical city centre.
Potsdam is located in zone C, so the regular Berlin zone AB ticket is not enough. You’ll need to buy an ABC ticket. If you plan to use public transport in Potsdam, buy a Tageskarte Berlin ABC (day ABC ticket) to save money.