Germany off the beaten track

Marienberg fortress high above the Main river in Würzburg. © CTW/ Andreas Bestle

Your Life!

  • Monuments
  • Lifestyle
  • Heritage
  • Experiences
  • Atmosphere
  • Culture

Practical information

Why go?

The former residence of the Prussian kings with its magnificent palaces and stunning parks takes you back to the days of baroque splendor. If you are interested in culture, you can enjoy UNESCO World Heritage Sites including "Schloss und Park Sanssouci" (Sanssouci Palace and Gardens), "Neues Palais" (New Palace), "Schloss Cecilienhof" (Cecilienhof Palace), "Schloss Babelsberg und Park" (Babelsberg Palace and Gardens), "Schloss Charlottenhof" (Charlottenhof Palace), and the "Marmorpalais" (Marble Palace).

Potsdam first became important in the 17th century when Prince Frederick William decided that the city of Berlin did not provide sufficient scope for his desired level of prestige. In Potsdam, he saw a remarkably fine location with wide-branching, usable waterways surrounded by rolling, arable land. Not least of all, the sovereign had access to rich hunting-grounds here.

In the 19th century, renowned landscape architect Peter Joseph Lenné unified the palaces and gardens into the harmonious landscape that the UNESCO placed on the list of World Heritage Sites in 1990. Lenné used areas of created landscape and the unique topography to unite the town and adjoining royal palaces. Despite the urban development of the 20th century this landscape still exists and can still be seen. From the European perspective the Potsdam cultural landscape is a unique example for the creation of a landscape against the intellectual background of the monarchical idea of state.

Schloss Cecilienhof  (Cecilienhof Palace) in the "Neuer Garten" (New Garden) was the last Hohenzollern palace, built for the crown prince during the years 1913-1917. The end of monarchy in 1918 was another hard blow for the town, which so far was shaped by the Royal Court, garrison and administration. After WW II ended, from the end of July until the beginning of August 1945, the Potsdam Agreement was negotiated and signed between Churchill, Truman and Stalin in the "Schloss Cecilienhof".

When to go?

Germany is a popular travel destination all year-round, with a typical four-season climate. Winter temperatures vary from west to east, with around freezing temperatures in the west and well below freezing in the east of Germany. Summer temperatures are typically between 20°C (68°F) and 30°C (86°F). In terms of tourist numbers, May through to September are the most popular months to visit Germany. However, the winter holidays with their enchanting Christmas Markets are also a major highlight. Those who enjoy the benefits of uncrowded attractions will favor January through to April.

The weather in Potsdam is continental in the sense that it varies from year to year, meaning a chilly spring and rainy summers one year can be followed by a spectacularly warm and sunny season the next year.

Long periods of fine weather can be followed by unsettled conditions.  To be on the safe side, make sure you bring a sweater and wet weather clothing with you.

What to eat?

Potsdam's bill of fare delights even discerning palates. Found here is primarily German and regional cuisine including Brandenburg specialties, served in snug sidewalk cafés, stylish restaurants with historic atmosphere, quaint old tap-rooms and charmingly situated out-of-town restaurants for day-trippers. Especially recommended are the Brandenburg specialties - fish and game dishes.

Nor is there anything to keep you from setting out on pub crawl by night. You can even celebrate on water - aboard a floating restaurant on the White Fleet.

/assetimage_1705_242w183.jpgThe inn and brewery "Meierei" is located right by Jungfernsee (Virgins' Lake) with a beautiful view of Königswald (King's Forest) and the "Glienicker Volkspark" (Glienicker People's Park). Guests are welcomed by a relaxed atmosphere of the style found in rural Prussian inns.

The Krongut Bornstedt (Bornstedt Crown Estate) is a unique ensemble of Prussian history. Visitors can learn about the tradition of Prussian handicrafts, for example, the Bornstedt tradition of brewing beer. The home-brewed beer is called Bornstedter Büffel (Bornstedt Buffalo) and is very popular with all guests. The main restaurant "Brau- und Brennhaus" is opened daily and serves rustic, regional food.

Another local beer brewery is located in the Forsthaus Templin (forester's house Templin). The beer brewing tradition in that house dates back to the year 1834. Today, the 'Braumanufaktur' only uses organic ingedients and very traditional brewing habits for their beer which gives it an uncomparable taste.

Potsdam Gallery

Map of Germany

That´s Germany

Dutch architecture in Potsdam – the ensemble of buildings in the Dutch Quarter is unique in Europe. It was built from 1734 to 1742 for Dutch craftsmen who were invited to come to Potsdam.

VIP: Frederick the Great

The Prussian King brought prosperity to Prussia during the 18th century and embraced the finer things in life, including learning, philosophy and the arts.

The TV Travel Guide by Deutsche Welle about Potsdam I

The TV Travel Guide by Deutsche Welle about Potsdam II