Potsdam City Tours

This post reviews and compares the various Potsdam tour options available to you, including walking, bike, bus and boat tours (and one self-guided option). Potsdam has a lot of calm and serene sites to experience. Believe it or not, many of the same companies that provide Berlin tours will also take you on a trip to this historic town. With an average duration of 5-6 hours, several trips through this city last at least half a day. Unfortunately, most of them do not include a meal, so you’ll have to factor that into your costs. Walking tours typically require an ABC public transport ticket, while other options include some form of transportation. Most excursions are only offered a few days per week, but there are a few Potsdam tours available daily. Expect ticket prices to range from €15-€50 on average.

Bike Tours

Boat Tours

Free Tours by Foot

Walking Tours

Bus Tours

Self-Guided Tour

 

A shot of the gardens at Sanssouci Palace. Source: Wikimedia.

 

Several of the tours listed below are either free or heavily discounted with a Berlin Welcome Card. For more information, please check out our overview of Berlin tourist passes.


POTSDAM WALKING TOURS

Walking tours are one of the best ways to get a close look at the most significant areas of Potsdam. There are some locations that won’t be easily accessible by bike or bus, so it makes sense to visit them on foot. Most of these trips will take about half a day to complete, but transportation from Berlin could take another 1 ½ – 2 hours, so you may want to set aside an entire day for these Potsdam tours. Ticket prices range from €15-€19 on average.

 


Berlin Walks

This company is well known for providing excellent walking tours in and around Berlin. Their Potsdam tour is approximately 6 hours in length, allowing you to visit sites such as the Palace of Cecilienhof and Sanssouci castle. Unfortunately, transportation is not included with this service, but train tickets to Potsdam are included with the Berlin Welcome Card, which also gets you discounted or free tickets for this tour.  Although lunch is not included, they will take a break for refreshments.  They also offer other highly rated tours, such as their Third Reich Tour, East Berlin Tour, and Central Berlin Tour.

Ticket Prices

Tip: Save 25% with Berlin Welcome Card or tour for free with their All Inclusive Pass.

Berlin Walks has a 5 out of 5 stars rating on TripAdvisor and Get Your Guide (read the reviews), and they have yet to receive even one negative review for their Potsdam walking tour. Several guests were very impressed with the amount of information provided by their tour guides. According to a majority of customers, this is an excellent trip for anyone who wants to learn about the history of Prussia and Germany. Although families were the most likely audience to leave an excellent review, visitors who joined their friends for the journey also provided wonderful ratings.

 


New Berlin Tours

New Berlin Tours is one of the most impressive tour companies in Berlin, and their Potsdam walking tour is no exception. Clocking in at a total of 6 hours, this excursion will take you to a variety of historically important locations such as Sanssouci Castle, the Bridge of Spies, and the Church of Peace. Transportation is not included, but the ticket price is a little more affordable than some of their competitors.  New Berlin Tours tends to attract a younger clientele and market their evening pub crawl on their day tours.  They also offer other highly rated tours, such as their Third Reich Tour, Red Berlin Tour, and Central Berlin Tour. 

Ticket Prices

Tip: Save up to 30% on their tour with the Berlin Welcome Card.

Just like their competition, New Berlin Tours currently enjoys a 5 out of 5 stars rating on TripAdvisor and Get Your Guide (read the reviews). An overwhelming majority of reviews for their Potsdam tour are excellent, indicating that most visitors had a great time on their trip. Unfortunately, they have received a few negative ratings from time to time, but these comments don’t appear to reflect the typical experience. Happy customers usually have great things to say about their tour guides, stating that they are both friendly and informative. Couples and guests who went with a friend were most likely to leave positive reviews.

 


Insider Walks

Much like their competitors, this Berlin tour company also offers a 6-hour trip to Potsdam. Once again, this walking tour does not include transportation, but this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Discover sites such as the Dutch Quarter, Glienicke Bridge, and the Garrison Church. Ticket prices are on par with competitors and you can actually take this tour for free if you have the Berlin Pass.  They also offer other highly rated tours, such as their Third Reich Tour, Red Berlin Tour, and Central Berlin Tour. 

Ticket Prices

Tip: This tour for free with the purchase of the Berlin Pass, a tourist discount pass.

Insider Tours has been given a 5 out of 5 stars rating on TripAdvisor and they have yet to receive even one negative review for their Potsdam walking tour. Most reviewers are very happy with their tour guides, indicating that they provide a lot of useful information about the city. Some guests also noted that this trip is a welcome break from the often intense side of history represented by Berlin. This trek was especially popular among couples.

 


Brewer’s Berlin Tours

Named after the first person to give tours across the Berlin Wall, Brewer’s Berlin Tours is very well known for providing wonderful trips in and around the city. One of the trips they offer will take you to Potsdam on a tour lasting for approximately 6 hours. While on this trek, you’ll see a variety of locations such as Sanssouci castle and Cecilienhof palace. At the end of the day, they visit the edge of the  Havel river and give guests the opportunity to either hop in or grab a beer while relaxing by the water. Ticket prices fall in line with their competitors. This tour is offered on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:20 AM.

Ticket Prices

  • €15 for Adults | €13 for Reduced (Students/Seniors) | Free for Children 12 and under
  • 10:20 am on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays
  • More information and to book.

With an overall rating of 5 out of 5 stars on TripAdvisor, it’s safe to say that this company provides high quality service. Reviews for their Potsdam walking tour are overwhelmingly positive, and guests typically refer to the experience as both excellent and memorable. Several visitors suggest that their tour guides are organized and informative, giving customers a plethora of historical details about the city. This excursion was particularly well received by couples and families.

 


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BIKE TOURS OF POTSDAM

Considering the distance between Berlin and Potsdam, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are both bus tours and bike tours offered in this city. Although you won’t find nearly as many options for these trips, they are all from highly rated and respected companies. Most of the Potsdam tours listed below are at least 5 hours in length, giving you plenty of time to discover the history behind this area of Germany. Ticket costs range from €15-€50 on average, with longer outings commanding a higher price.

 

 


Fat Tire Bike Tours

This is one of the most well known and respected bike tour companies in Berlin. In addition to all of their Berlin bike tours, they also offer a day trip to Potsdam. Over the course of 6 hours, you’ll visit locations such as the Sanssouci castle, the Dutch Quarter and the Marble Palace. This outing also includes an audio tour of Cecilienhof Palace, adding extra value to the journey. Although ticket prices are a bit high, each trek comes with a free bike rental. 

Ticket Prices

Get 25% off with the Berlin Welcome Card

Fat Tire currently enjoys a 5 out of 5 stars rating on TripAdvisor and Get Your Guide (read the reviews), and their bike tour in Potsdam has yet to receive even one negative review. Reviewers typically comment on the excellent equipment provided for their bike ride and the quality of their tour guides. Several visitors mention that this trip is much longer and includes quite a few more sites than their average Berlin tour. This trek was a pretty big hit with couples, but it was also fairly popular among guests who decided to go solo.

 


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BUS TOURS OF POTSDAM

If you don’t feel like walking around the city, a bus tour is an excellent alternative. Some tour bus options will allow you to jump off at various locations in order to get a better look at significant sites around Potsdam. Tickets for these trips are typically very affordable, and will last for between 5-6 hours a day. Take your time to discover the area at your leisure and enjoy audio commentary while riding from one landmark to the next. These services are typically offered almost every day of the week, making them very accessible.

Hop-On, Hop-Off City Bus

City-Sightseeing offers bus tours all over the world, including Berlin, so it’s not surprising to see that they also offer services in Potsdam. Their hop-on, hop-off bus tour will allow you to explore the city at your own pace. One ticket lasts an entire day, giving you the opportunity to jump off and see the sites a little closer. Discover the Roman Baths and take a walk through the Dutch Quarter. Although the live guide only provides commentary in English and German, an audio guide is available in Spanish, French, Italian, Russian and Portuguese. This trip is available pretty much every day of the week.  You will need to make your own way to Potsdam to start the tour.

 

This photo of Potsdam City Tour is courtesy of TripAdvisor
 

Ticket Prices

City Sightseeing’s Potsdam tours have an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Get Your Guide (see the reviews).  That being said, there have been some complaints indicating that their stops can sometimes be difficult to locate. Other issues seem to be few and far between, so chances are that they do not reflect the typical experience with their service. Most passengers were more than pleased with their bus ride. Couples and guests who went with their friends were most likely to leave a glowing review.

Map of Stops

Potsdam Bus Tour Map

 

 


BEX Sightseeing

If you’re looking for a more traditional bus tour, this should be right up your alley. During this 5 hour trip from Berlin through Potsdam and return, a professional tour guide will reveal much of the history behind locations such as Sanssouci Palace and the Dutch Quarter. You won’t have the option to hop on and off as you wish, but your guide will likely point out a lot of details that you might otherwise miss on other excursions. The cost of a ticket is higher than other options in the area, but it’s a fair price considering the service provided. 

Ticket Prices

Reviews for this company on Get Your Guide are quite good (see the reviews). Several people have left positive comments suggesting that their tour guide was excellent and the bus ride was quite pleasant. Some visitors left constructive criticism to help them improve the experience, but there weren’t many truly dissatisfied customers. Those who were unhappy either didn’t find Potsdam very interesting or would have preferred more time to explore the area. BEX Sightseeing is much more likely to be a hit with couples and patrons who join a friend for the trip.

 


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POTSDAM BOAT TOURS

If you’d rather see Potsdam from the water, that can definitely be arranged. This city is located right next to the Havel River, and you can actually see a lot of significant sites on a cruise. While some boat tours only last for about 90 minutes, others can stretch to 4 hours in length. Unfortunately, some of the vessels on these trips may not be suitable for handicapped individuals, but you are free to call ahead and ask if accommodations can be made. Expect ticket prices to range from €15-€20 per person.

 

The MS Sanssouci on tour. Image Source: Weisse Flotte Potsdam.

 

Weisse Flotte Potsdam

This company offers a wide variety of cruises in and around Potsdam. One of their boat tours focuses exclusively on Sanssouci Palace, while others will take you up and down the Havel River. Most of their trips last between 1 ½ – 2 hours, but they do offer one outing that runs for a total of 4 hours. Considering the unique experience, ticket prices are pretty darn good for the service provided. Many tours are offered multiple times per day, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to book a cruise with Weisse Flotte Potsdam.

Their overall rating on TripAdvisor is a healthy 4 ½ stars, but they haven’t really received many reviews. Thankfully, customers were just as likely to recommend this service on other platforms such as Yelp. Customers frequently make note of the excellent views and the useful audio guide. Although live commentary may not be provided in English, guests suggest that it is available via audio. At the very least, it would appear that most people appreciated the opportunity to explore Potsdam from the river.

Ticket Prices

Potsdam Palace Tour (90 minutes): €14.95 for Adults | €7.65 for Children

Havel Lakes Tour (3 hours): €16.95 for Adults | €8.50 for Children

Potsdam Big Island Tour (4 hours): €19.95 for Adults | €10 for Children
 


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Potsdam is a fairy-tale city west of Berlin that provides a quiet escape from the big and grungy city.  Walk around the garden and palace complexes built by the Prussian kings while being confronted with the western edge of the Berlin wall. Stop for a coffee in the picturesque Dutch quarter and experience everyday life in this beautiful town.  Getting there is easy and takes about 45 minutes.  This tour, depending on your pace will take 3-4 hours not including travel time.  

Click here for larger interactive map.

Potsdam City Tour Map

To travel to Potsdam you will need to buy an ABC zone ticket.  I recommend buying the Day Pass (Tageskarte) which will allow you to travel on the local Potsdam transportation as well. Take the S-bahn 7 from Alexanderplatz going towards Potsdam Hauptbanhof and exit the train at Wannsee.  Follow the signs for buses and take the 316 bus towards Glienicker Brücke.  This bus ride is about ten minutes.

Exit the bus at Glienicker Brücke station and you will find yourself directly at a large bridge.  Potsdam Glienicker BrückeThis is (A) Glienicker Brücke, but more famously known as the Bridge of Spies.  You are currently standing in West Berlin but halfway across the bridge it becomes Eastern Germany and during the Cold War this bridge was used primarily for spy exchanges.  The first of these exchanges happened on February 10 1962 when the Russian spy Rudolf Abel was exchanged for Francis Gary Powers, an event recently shown on the big screen in Steven Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies” (2015) starring Tom Hanks.  They filmed the pivotal scene right here on the bridge.  When you cross the bridge you will now be in the East.  Turn right and follow the Havel river down the gravel path.  

You will come to an entrance of a green garden space called the (B) New Garden.  This is one of many UNESCO world heritage sites in Potsdam.  It was a project started in 1787 by Fredrick William II (Fredrick the Great’s nephew) and it became one of the largest English landscape gardens in Europe.  When the path opens up into a wider meadow, look right, across the lake.  This is (C) Pfaueninsel (Peacock Island) built for Fredrick William II’s mistress Wilhelmine Enke with an intended sightline directly to the Marble Palace on your left, Fredrick William’s palace.  Continue your leisurely walk through the garden following the left path.  Take caution here especially if you are easily surprised because this stretch of the garden is reserved for one of Germany’s favourite pastimes, nude sun bathing.  Avert your eyes or join in, but make sure you wear lots of sunscreen!  Potsdam Schloss CecilienhofGo past the Green House (a summer home) and follow the signs to (D) Schloss Cecilienhof.  This was the last palace built by the Hohenzollern family from 1914-1917 for the crown prince Wilhelm and his wife Cecilie.  Wilhelm never ascended the throne because in 1918, his father Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated after World War I, thereby ending the long reign of the Hohenzollern family.  The architectural design of this palace conceals the fact that it holds 176 rooms and 55 chimneys, a mark of prestige for the English Tudor style.  This palace is famous for hosting the Potsdam Conference on July 17 1945 – August 2 1945.  The big three (Stalin, Truman, and Churchill – later replaced by Atlee) gathered here to decide the fate of Europe after VE day.  Here they decided all the big D’s: demilitarization, denazification, democratization, decentralization and decartelization.  Here, they decided to divide Germany (and Berlin) into four sections, the ramifications of which are still to be seen today.  Walk around to the front of the house and see Stalin’s famous red star in the garden which was a satirical present for Churchill who was upset about meeting on Soviet occupied territory.  With your back to the palace walk straight and take the path on the left.  Wind through the garden and soon you will see something that seems quite out of place.  A giant black pyramid!  This is in fact the refrigerator built 1792 to keep perishable goods fresh.  On your left you will see the (E) Marble Palace.  This was the summer home of Fredrick William II built by the designers of the Brandenburg Gate Carl von Gontard and Carl Gotthard Langhans.  This palace is constructed of grey and white Silesian marble, hence its name.  Nearby on the lake shore is the palace kitchen, built as an ancient temple ruin. Potsdam Nauener Tor Follow the main path to pass by Egyptian entrance to the Orangery, the garden’s greenhouse where exotic fruits were grown.  Exit the New Garden and enter the city of Potsdam.  Follow Allestrasse and turn left on Friedrich-Ebert Strasse.  Walk down this main road and enter the old city of Potsdam through the (F) Nauener Gate, built in 1755 in the English Gothic style and one of three remaining gates in the city.  

Once you enter the gate you will be in the (G) Dutch Quarter. This quarter of the city consists of 130 red Dutch houses designed by Jan Bouman from 1733-1740.  When Fredrick William I (The Solider King) needed craftsmen, he brought the Dutch to Germany and settled them in Potsdam.  It is the largest Dutch architecture collection found outside of the Netherlands.  Stroll through these picturesque streets, pop in the small shops and grab a coffee and take a break.  You earned it! Potsdam Brandenburg Tor After resting a bit, continue down Friedrich-Ebert Strasse and turn right on Brandenburger Strasse, a large pedestrian promenade which is home to the Christmas Market in Potsdam.  Once you reach the end of the street you will encounter a massive gate which looks like a Roman triumphal arch.  This is the other, less famous (H) Brandenburg Tor built by Fredrick the Great in 1770 after achieving victory in the Seven Years War.  The gate has two completely different sides because each side was designed by a different architect. Carl von Gonthard designed the city-facing side and his pupil George Christian Unger designed the outside.  

Walk through the gate and through the square and take the road on the right. This will take you to the entrance of Sanssouci, but before you enter the gardens through the large golden gates, go right through a tiny garden gate (it will look like you are entering the secret garden).  This is the entrance to the Marly Gardens and the (I) Friedenskirche (The Church of Peace).  This was built by Fredrick Wilhelm IV in 1845. (Can’t keep all these guys straight yet?  Here’s a link to the Hohenzollern family tree: https://www.preussen.de/en/family/family_tree/frederick_william_i._king_in_prussia.html). The Church of Peace Berlin Potsdam Sanssouciresembles an Italian Monastery and incorporates a Venetian mosaic from San Cipriano made from Murano glass. Fredrick Wilhelm IV is buried here with his wife but his heart lies with his parents in Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin.  When you exit the church, go right down the stairs and follow the pathway back to the gardens.  Stroll through the various species of trees and go through another small fence.  Follow this path and you will soon reach the climax of the tour.  Turn right and you will see (J) Sanssouci.  

This is the largest UNESCO world heritage site in Germany.  It was built by Fredrick the Great in 1745.  This palace was built as a spot for retreat and relaxation and so was named Sanssouci, the French for ‘without cares’ or ‘no worries’.  Fredrick the Great was such an influence on the design of this intimate palace that it is characterized as ‘Frederician Roccoco’.  The 120 steps up to the top of the palace are dotted with fig trees and trellised vines and the climb is rewarded with a panoramic view of Sanssouci park.  On your right you will see a wing filled with famous busts surrounding a grassy area with a large concrete stone.  This is Fredrick the Great’s grave.  Feel free to leave a potato here, honouring him by his other famous name “The Potato King” because he was responsible for introducing this staple into the German diet.  He was buried here in 1990 honouring his final wishes with his eleven dogs.  After being stunned by the beauty of the Fredrick’s palace, don’t miss out on Sanssouci’s other fantastic buildings.  Stroll through the gardens and encounter the Chinese House, the Temple of Friendship, and the grand New Palace.  (L) The New Palace was built 20 years after Sanssouci in 1769.  This larger palace was in direct contrast with the smaller Sanssouci and was intended to display Prussia’s power and strength to the world.  This was Fredrick the Great showing off after his victory in the Seven Years War.

After exploring the grounds, you can take bus 650/695 from Sansoucci palace and head back to the center of Potsdam. Potsdam Nikolaichurch If you aren’t too tired, take this opportunity to explore even more that Potsdam has to offer.  Get off the bus at Alter Markt/Landtag and walk towards the giant green dome.  This is the Nikolaikirche. Built between 1830-1837, this is one of the last structures built by the famous architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel.  This church was badly damaged during World War II but has since been restored.  Here in the Alter Markt you can also find the Potsdam City Palace built in 1662.  This palace was severely damaged in 1945 and demolished in 1961 by East Communists.  The palace was reconstructed in 2013.  On the eastern side of Market square you see the imposing City Hall (Altes Rathaus) built in 1755 by Jan Bouman.

Potsdam Hauptbanhof is a short walk across the river from here, or you can take a bus (they all go to the main train station).  It’s easy to get back to Berlin just hop on the s-bahn 7 going to Berlin.

 

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