Tue, 9 Feb
This 6-hour tour with a vehicle takes you to the heart of Potsdam’s UNESCO-listed palace gardens to see the pomp and grandeur of the Prussian monarchy and also explores the origins of the Cold War.
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 and a driver will meet you in Berlin, either at your hotel or a pre-arranged meeting point. You will then drive to Potsdam via Wannsee (circa 45 to 60 minutes) to cross the Glienicke Brücke, the ‘Bridge of Spies’, where the US and Soviet Union swapped captured agents during the Cold War.
From here you will 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’ finalized the division of Europe and Germany, and where the Cold War began, at the Potsdam Conference. You will then drive to Potsdam’s downtown, entering the historical center through the gothic-revivalist Nauen Gate, walking via 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 lavish Sanssouci Gardens through the Church of Peace, the burial site of various Prussian monarchs, and passes by the Picture Gallery. You will then approach Frederick the Great’s iconic Sanssouci Palace, the heart and soul of Potsdam, from the bottom of its magnificent tiered vineyard. Walking around 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. You will also visit the Ruinenberg and the historic windmill. Lastly, you will drive on to the Neues Palais, to marvel at the most grandiose of all the palaces on the Potsdam palace grounds.
At the end of the tour, your guide will accompany you back to Berlin to drop you off at your hotel or a pre-arranged drop-off point. There will be regular bathroom and refreshment breaks throughout the tour.
Your professional, local guide and driver will meet you at your hotel with a private vehicle. You will then drive to Potsdam. The journey takes between 45 minutes and 1 hour, and your guide will provide a commentary on sights passed on the way.
We then arrive on the borders of Potsdam and 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.
Getting back into the vehicle we drive to Potsdam downtown, passing 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.
Watch the turning sails of the still-functioning mill that Frederick the Great had raised upon a stone tower as he built around it.
Getting back into the vehicle once more you will be driven to the far end of the Sanssouci gardens to see the largest palace on all of the Potsdam grounds.
As we ride back through Potsdam city center be sure to look out the windows to see where Frederick the Great spent his winters in Potsdam.
Finally you will drive back to Berlin. Your guide will accompany you back to your hotel.
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