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Sanssouci Palace

6 hours
Wednesday, Friday and Sunday
Strap on your bike helmet and head to the most popular day trip location from Berlin. The sensational Potsdam Bike Tour will lead you on an action-packed day!
From 65 per person
4 out of 5 stars
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Explore gorgeous Potsdam on a guided day-trip out of Berlin. Discover beautiful Sanssouci Palace and the iconic terraced gardens surrounding the castle.
From 41 per person
4 out of 5 stars
Half day
Take a trip out of Berlin and visit Potsdam, the former home of German royalty and the location of the largest UNESCO World Heritage site in the country.
From 440 per group
5 out of 5 stars
Half day
Take a train to Potsdam and go on a tour with a guide able to speak in several languages! Highlight your German trip with this one-of-a-kind private tour.
From 290 per group

Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam

Forget about your Cares at Fredrick the Great’s "Carefree" Palace

Just a quick forty minute S-Bahn ride from Potsdamer Platz in downtown Berlin, Brandenburg’s beautiful green capital of Potsdam is an inviting city with a colorful 1000 year past. This former seat of the Prussian kings is filled with dozens of 18th- and 19th century churches, palaces and parks, many of them honored and protected by the UNESCO World Heritage Foundation in Germany. Whether you decide to have a look at the New Garden and the famous Cecilienhof Palace where the post-war Potsdam Conference was held, or Glienicke Castle or Park, or the massive and impressive Neues Palais, when it comes to Prussian and German architectural-historical monuments, Potsdam is one of the most significant locations you will ever find. But perhaps the most significant architectural monument of all, as well as the best known icon for the city of Potsdam itself, is Sansouci Palace, by many considered to be the German rival of Versailles.

All over the world, Sansouci (yes, it’s spelled with only one s in the middle) is associated with Rococo architecture and landscaping and, of course, with the person and life of the famous Prussian "philosopher" king Frederick the Great. Potsdam was the summer residence of Frederick II, or "Old Fritz" as the Berliners liked to call him, and he ruled a prospering Prussia for 46 years from 1740 to 1786. Living in the era where the zenith of French cultural influence as represented by the Sun King Louis XIV had been reached, Fredrick consciously built his own version of Versailles. And although Sansouci was built in the more intimate Rococo style and is far smaller than its French Baroque counterpart, its ornate brow rested upon a terraced hill at the center of the expansive Sansouci Park is a gem of sumptuous, gilded style.

As Voltaire once said, "The superfluous is very necessary", so Voltaire would have felt quite at home here with the Palace’s "Frederican Rococo" style. And as a matter of fact, he did feel quite at home here. Frederick was well acquainted with Voltaire, who was a frequent and long-staying guest at Sansouci and even had a bedroom named after him in his honor.

Sansouci has a magnificent and yet anything but overpowering appearance. It is somehow humble in its appeal, a very broad one-storey structure with tall, rounded windows and generous sculpted stone figures around the exterior. The building’s pleasant yellow stucco color reminds one of Italy and the wide terraces leading to the park below it even boast grapevines and citrus fruit trees. The beautiful marble inlaid floors and checkerboard parquet inside the Palace shine dully as you tour the building, partly due, no doubt, to the giant oversized flannel slippers visitors are asked to wear while taking the tour. Sansouci’s inner walls shine with generous amounts of crystal and mirrors and exotic figures of beautifully painted porcelain greet you at every turn you take. But one nevertheless gets the impression that Friedrick was in essence a simple man. Unlike Versailles, Sansouci is an intimate little palace where Frederick the Great, when he wasn't waging one of his many wars, could relax and play his famous flute, perhaps read the latest poetry, or just converse with his friend Voltaire.

After the Frederick’s reign, the palace became the residence of Frederick William IV and later a popular place of residence for the German imperial family until the fall of the Hohenzollern dynasty after World War I in 1918. After World War II, the palace became a tourist attraction in East Germany and was carefully maintained throughout the entire Cold War period. And then, after the German reunification in 1990 and the disappearance of the communist leadership had vanished who had been against such a bourgeois gesture, the final wish of Frederick could be respected: His body, removed during the war, was returned to his beloved palace and buried in a new tomb overlooking the gardens he had created.

Getting to Potsdam is very easy for tourists visiting Berlin. Just take Berlin’s S7 S-Bahn line or one of the numerous regional trains which run to Potsdam from Berlin’s Hauptbahnhof. Bus and tram lines connect directly to the Palace from Potsdam’s main station. Because Sansouci is so popular, large crowds are sometimes a problem. But don’t worry if the tour you wanted is sold out, the huge Sansouci Park is filled with numerous curiosities; a Chinese teahouse, an orangery, a windmill, temples, Roman bathes and, of course, the impressive Neues Palais, all well worth a visit until the next tour is available – provided you can still walk after that, that is.

An important historical monument and the best known icon for the city of Potsdam itself, Sansouci Palace is considered by many to be the German rival of Versailles.