Step back to the 17th century with a visit to the lavish Rococo palace of Frederick the Great, otherwise known as Palace Sanssouci. The palace was designed and built by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff between 1745 and 1747 to fulfill Frederick's need for a private residence where he could relax away from the pomp and ceremony of the Berlin court.
A reminder of the days when Potsdam was the royal seat of the Brandenburg-Prussian rulers, this famous palace is known for its voluptuous interiors and manicured gardens. Take a tour of the marble and statue-filled rooms, the colonnaded courtyard, the grand dining room, the former King’s bedroom and the immaculate circular library. The interior is simply breathtaking. It's highly recommended to do a Palace tour with a small group; otherwise the audio tour through the palace is also excellent.
Sanssouci — Photo courtesy of Suse
Afterwards, the lavish, sprawling gardens of the estate await you. The park covers an area of about 1.6 sq. km (2/3 sq. mile). Built as the summer residence, the name meaning "without care," underscores the fact that the palace was intended as a place for relaxation rather than a seat of power. It is therefore appropriate that Sanssouci is surrounded by the terraced vineyards, fountains, temples, follies and leafy walkways of Sanssouci Park, rivaling Versailles in opulence.
While Sanssouci is in the more intimate Rococo style and is far smaller than its French Baroque counterpart, it too is notable for the numerous temples and follies within its grounds. The historical connection with France is especially interesting, as the Prussian rulers decided to name their palace using not German, but French, perhaps to add an air of legitimacy to their royal throne.
Indeed, Frederick the Great wasted no expense when building his summer residence. Part of the reason that the Sansoucci gardens are so massive in scope is because Frederick the Great would hunt here with his bloodhounds. Fittingly, Frederick is famously buried with his beloved dogs, as his tomb is located within the gardens close to the spectacular grape vines.
Palace in the distance — Photo courtesy of Paul Odörfer
Before entering Sansoucci Palace, we recommend visiting the supermarket within the Potsdam Hauptbahnhof - German for "Main Train Station" - to pick up ingredients for a picnic. You can often purchase disposable grills here, perfect for the summer months. Bring your own blanket, take some drinks and food, and find your own little corner to colonize in the massive gardens of the former German monarchy. For an unforgettable time with your family, visit the villa of Sansoucci. The architecture is absolutely brilliant, for this reason, it's a lovely place to think and meditate even today.
Glitterpavilion — Photo courtesy of Benutzer:Suse
Practical Tips: Potsdam is 24 km (15 mi) southwest of Berlin. Trains and organized tours run regularly to Potsdam from Berlin. In April through October, the palace at Sansoucci is open from 10 am to 6 pm from Tuesdays through Sundays; it's always closed on Mondays. Admission to the main Palace costs 12 euros, and there is a 3 euro fee for photography permission indoors. Other palace areas have separate entrances.