After our Easter trip to Spain fell trough we were left a bit disappointed and clueless on how to spend the next 4 free days we had ahead of us. On Sunday we woke up and after a little discussion we decided “You know what? I we don’t know what to do in Berlin, let’s get away from Berlin” So we took the U-Bahn to Friedrichstraße Station around midday and bought a ticket to Potsdam. In just 45 minutes, we arrived at the train station, had a bite to eat and started our day trip.
Potsdam is the biggest city on the Brandenburg state and it’s just 24 kilometres away from Berlin. For years (until 1918) it homed Prussian Kings and Kaisers at the amazing Sanssouci Palace, which has now become the largest World Heritage sites in Germany. The city looks amazing, most of its buildings were saved during the wars or reconstructed, so it’s easy to recognize the Dutch influence on its architecture.
As we walked towards the city, we already started planning bringing people here if anyone came to visit, maybe pack a picnic basket and a blanket during the summer and sit down on freundschaftsinsel park.
We walked towards St. Nicholas Church on the Alter Markt, the old market square that forms the historical center of the city and its surrounded with historical building such as the City Palace, Potsdam Museum and the old City Hall. We were lucky enough to visit the church while musicians were practicing for the easter mass, so we sat down for a while, listening to the violins and the choir, before climbing to the top of the church. Even though is not too long of a climb, I wouldn’t recommend it to people who are not comfortable with tight spaces. But it was all worth it, since St Nicholas Church offers one of the best views of the city and you can walk around the top of the church for a 360 panoramic view.
After planning (from higher ground) the rest of our day, we decided to make the most of it and went back to the train station to hire some bikes. We heard the Sanssouci Park was huge and biking was going to make it faster.
Before you do it, I think it should be noted that you can’t go in with bikes on some parts (which we didn’t know) so if you are really annoyed by that it’s worth just going by foot, but be prepared to walk….a lot. If not, the way we did it, is by sticking to the bike lanes and if we saw something interesting, stopping, doing the rest by foot and then going back for the bikes.
The Sanssouci Palace was built in the 1740’s and it served as a summer retreat for the Prussian royalty. If you translate the name ‘Sans Souci‘ it literally translate to ‘Care free’ o ‘Without cares’ so now you can understand why it was chosen as a retreat from the Berlin court. Besides the palace and all the buildings that were constructed later, there are over 3000 fruit trees, greenhouse and flowerbeds throughout the park.
Le boyfriend and I spent the rest of the afternoon biking throughout the garden, stopping every once in a while to check the Chinese house and the Orangery Palace and we even stopped at the University of Potsdam right as the sun was setting which gave us a great excuse for an impromptu photo session. We biked back to the train station, through all the little roads and hallways (we kept saying how we wished we had a go pro or some sort of camera because there was no way to describe all the little hallways, houses and how lovely the city looked) returned our bikes and took the train back to the city.
Transport and key points:
- Train to Potsdam- S7 from Friedrichstraße station to Potsdam Hauptbahnhof 4.5 euros each ticket – 45 minutes
- St. Nicholas Cathedral – Free entry to the church, 5 euro ticket to the rooftop
- Peter Pane – Quick and easy burger shop, with veggie options and different choices of bread. Average prices USD 6 – 20
- Pedales Bike rental – Full day $10.5 or Half day $8.5 rental, open until 7pm, Potsdam Hauptbahnhof Station
- Sanssouci Park – Free entry, bikes allowed only on designated paths.