Travel

How to Do ( And Don’t) Potsdam.

Potsdam. Famous for its parks and gardens and beautiful buildings. Sadly, the day we visited Potsdam was one of those where the best laid plans derail , so we didn’t see a great deal of all the lovely things Potsdam is famous for. However, we did enjoy our little taste of the place and I think what we did get to see is worth a quick share. And hopefully, if you avoid some of our mistakes, you’ll get a bit more out of a visit than we did. So… slightly tongue in cheek … how to do and what to don’t.

Don’t just see Potsdam as an extension of Berlin

Potsdam is often discussed in the same breath as Berlin, almost as an after thought. And, undeniably, it makes a great day trip from the capital. But it’s also a great destination in its own right. Potsdam would make a great weekend break in itself, and has a much more chilled out vibe than its crazy, creative neighbour Berlin. Of course, if you can’t choose you can always do both as the two cities are well linked by public transport. Which brings me neatly onto …

Do use of  public transport.

Lots of things about life in Germany frustrate me. Public transport is not one of them. It is fast, safe, clean, regular and seems to run on time, most of the time.  It is also fabulously inexpensive so if you are on a budget its definitely worth researching what you want to see/do and using public transport over a tour bus. A valid ticket allows access to S bahn, U bahn, buses, trams and ferries. As a family of five, we purchased a small group ticket , unlimited travel ticket for just shy of €20.  Just don’t forget to validate the ticket at the post next to the ticket machines when you buy it. However, on the subject of public transport…

Things Helen Loves, Girl riding Tram
Plenty of seats but the best view is from the back…

Don’t jump on a tram going the wrong way.

Really, don’t do it. Well and good getting excited when the tram you need is right there and everything seems to have just fallen into place. However, bit tedious when after five or six stops the driver announces end of line, everybody off and you realise you hopped on a tram going in the wrong direction. And so begins the twenty-minute wait for the next one to run the line.  On the plus side we got a nice little tour through some of the suburbs including a glimpse at some old East German housing. Lovely.

Things Helen Loves, image of red brick houses in traditional Dutch style.
Beautiful Dutch style design in the Dutch Quarter

Do stop for a coffee in the Dutch Quarter.

This little bit of Old Holland , transplanted to Brandenburg makes a lovely place to wander, and to take a little break. Now home to cafes and boutiques, the buildings were originally built in the 1700s for Dutch craftsmen invited to Potsdam by King Frederick Wilhelm I. The buildings are as pretty inside, as out. A really quirky, fun aspect of the city.

Things Helen Loves, Interior image of historic building in Potsdam
Interior of house in the Dutch Quarter, now an antiques store.

Don’t overlook Potsdams more modern-day attractions.

History is thick on the ground here , and the parks and gardens makes for some beautiful exploring opportunities. But the modern Biosphaere Potsdam brings a glimpse of the tropics to the party. The jungle landscape in the dome is made up of 20,000 plants and residents include free flying birds, a variety of insects (caged, thankfully) and a beautiful butterfly enclosure. Waterfalls, winding paths and an hourly indoor ‘thunderstorm’ complete the Tropical Islands atmosphere. The aquarium, where the feature image for this post was taken, shows what you might find in tropical seas. A great family option, and somewhere to keep in mind if you are visiting during the colder months.

 

Do give yourself enough time to enjoy this beautiful city.

We, regrettably, didn’t. See point 1 and point 3 as to why. Perfect excuse to visit again though… as if an excuse is ever needed.

If you have managed to visit Potsdam with more success than we did, I would love to hear about it. Lets chat in the comments.

Until next time,

Helen x

 

 

 

 

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