This 8-hour walking tour takes you to the heart of Potsdam’s UNESCO-listed palace gardens to see the pomp and grandeur of the Prussian monarchy and also delves into the origins of the Cold War. As part of the tour, you will be able to explore inside both the Cecilienhof and Sanssouci Palaces.
Potsdam was a city of kings – a German Versaille where the Hohenzollern monarchy of Prussia constructed lavish palaces in which they could spend their summers. It was also the setting for the Potsdam Conference, where geopolitical giants Josef Stalin, Harry Truman and Winston Churchill met in the summer of 1945 to seal the post-war fate of Germany and Europe.
Your professional, local guide will meet you in Berlin, either at your hotel or a pre-arranged meeting point. You will then travel together to Potsdam via public transportation (circa 45 minutes to 1-hour).
We arrive in Potsdam at the Glienicke Brücke, the ‘Bridge of Spies’, where the US and Soviet Union swapped captured agents during the Cold War. From here you will cross the border from former West Berlin into former East Germany and head into the New Gardens to see the Marble Palace across the Heiliger See lake. Next is the British country house-inspired Cecilienhof Palace, to see where ‘The Big Three’ finalised the division of Europe and Germany and where the Cold War began at the Potsdam Conference.
From Cecilienhof the tour continues into Potsdam’s downtown. You will enter the historical centrer of Potsdam through the gothic-revivalist Nauen Gate, walking via the the Dutch Quarter to Potsdam’s Brandenburg Gate – built to celebrate Frederick the Great’s triumphs in the Silesian Wars.
From the Brandenburg Gate the tour enters the pristine Sanssouci Gardens through the Church of Peace, burial site of various Prussian monarchs. You will then pass the Picture Gallery to approach Frederick the Great’s iconic Sanssouci Palace, the heart and soul of Potsdam, from the bottom of its magnificent tiered vineyard. Walking round the entirety of the palace you will see the grave of Frederick the Great – and learn why locals pile potatoes on top of it instead of flowers.
Please note that time is put aside on this tour to enter two palaces of your choice. Please be aware that palace entry fees are not included in the cost of the tour, and that palace entry is subject to availability. Sanssouci requires reservations to be made online. Inside the palaces you will be provided with an audio guide to aid in your explorations. Your guide will not guide inside the palaces.
At the end of the tour your guide will accompany you back to Berlin.
Please note: this tour requires the use of public transportation. These costs are not included in the price of the tour.
Sights included: Glienicke Brücke (‘Bridge of Spies’), New Gardens, Marble Palace, Cecilienhof, Dutch Quarter, Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Brandenburg Gate, Church of Peace, Picture Gallery, Sanssouci Palace, Frederick the Great’s Grave, Ruinenberg, Historic Windmill.
Covid-19 Safety Measures:
Your professional, local guide will meet you at your hotel and then, using the public transportation system, you will head to Potsdam. The journey takes between 45 minutes and 1 hour.
First up we cross the 'Bridge of Spies', from West Berlin into East Germany, where the US and USSR swapped captured agents during the Cold War.
Next we enter into the Potsdam UNESCO World Heritage Site via the English country garden style set of parkland cultivated initially under Prussian king Frederick William II. Look out for the Marble Palace across the Heiligen See lake.
You will then stand where Truman, Churchill and Stalin stood, when they met to shape the fate of post-war Germany and Europe at the Potsdam Conference.
After a short bus ride into Potsdam downtown, you will pass beneath one of Potsdam former city gates, built to designs created by Frederick the Great and the first example of British Gothic Revivalist architecture appearing in Germany.
Next time is taken to wander through the close-set streets of picturesque, red-brick houses in the Dutch Quarter and learn how Dutch craftsmen were drawn to Potsdam in the early 18th century to contribute to the expansion of the then garrison town.
We then walk beneath the towering arch of Potsdam's Brandenburg Gate – built to celebrate the Prussian triumphs in the three Silesian Wars, and predating Berlin's Brandenburg Gate by roughly 20 years.
Now it’s time to enter into the main set of palace gardens in Potsdam – the so-called ‘Versaille of Germany’.
Inside the gardens you will explore the private church of the Prussian monarchy, and descend into the crypts to visit the graves of Frederick William IV and his wife Elizabeth, queen of Prussia and former princess of Bavaria.
Next we see where Frederick the Great housed his private art collection, a building the lead architect said would rival the splendor of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
We then climb through the tiered vineyard up to Frederick the Great's iconic summer palace. Visit the grave of Prussia's most famous monarch, and learn how he became a legend.
Before catching the bus back to Potsdam Central Station you can watch the turning sails of the still-functioning mill that Frederick the Great had raised upon a stone tower as he built around it.
As we ride the bus back to the station be sure to look out the windows to see where Frederick the Great spent his winters in Potsdam.
Finally you will boarding the train back to Berlin. Your guide will accompany you back to your hotel.
You will be picked up directly from your hotel or a prearranged meeting point.
At the end of the tour you will be dropped off at your hotel or a prearranged drop-off point. Palace entry in Potsdam is subject to availability.
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