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Guide to Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam Berlin: Park, Tickets & History

The marvelous Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam Berlin, which together with the beautiful park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most popular attractions in the Berlin area.

A day trip to Potsdam is a wonderful way to explore the many splendors that the lavish palace and Sanssouci Park hold in store.

In this complete guide, you'll find helpful information for your visit to Sanssouci Palace, including its history, attractions, directions, admission, tickets, and more.

Let's go!

Things to Do at the Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam

The unique UNESCO World Heritage Site Sanssouci Palace is a magnificent showpiece of the "Frederician" rococo style with numerous magnificent buildings of different architectural styles as well as picturesque parks.

It is hardly surprising that the imposing palace complex, often described as the Prussian Versailles, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world every year.

See here what highlights await you in the former retreat of Frederick the Great:

1. Visit Sanssouci Palace from the inside

As you tour the richly decorated interiors of Sanssouci Palace, you can admire valuable furniture, antiques, sculptures and paintings that represent the high art of the Rococo period.

To the east of the centrally placed Vestibule and Marble Hall are the five private rooms of Old Fritz, as King Frederick the Great was known, and to the west are five separate guest rooms.

The elaborate ornaments in the Concert Room are of overwhelming beauty. In the monarch's study stands the armchair in which he died. His grave is located next to the east wing of the palace. Another interesting place is the castle kitchen, where copper dishes, porcelain, pots and pans, pudding and ice-cream molds are exhibited.

Important: If you want to visit Sanssouci Palace from the inside, you must take a guided tour.

2. Stroll through the Sanssouci Park

The nearly 300-hectare Sanssouci Park is a dreamy place for a leisurely stroll.

It enchants with outstanding garden art and a breathtaking terrace complex dedicated to viticulture. Visitors can take pleasure in over 1000 sculptures, magnificent buildings, water features and a magnificent fountain complex with a fountain.

The park once included the Picture Gallery to the west and the Old Orangery to the east, which were converted into living quarters in the early 1770s and named the New Chambers. The Neptune Grotto, Chinese House, Antique Temple, Temple of Friendship and Dragon House were added in the course of the conversions.

3. Admire Masterpieces in the Picture Gallery

The Picture Gallery is one of the most magnificent buildings of the 18th century in Europe, built especially for an art collection. Frederick the Great had the oldest preserved gallery building in Germany built for his collection of paintings.

Here you can admire nearly 180 masterpieces of Flemish and Dutch Baroque painting, Italian Renaissance and Baroque painting, as well as antique sculptures from Italy and French sculptures of the 18th century.

4. View the interior of the New Chambers

In 1768, King Frederick the Great had the Orangery, built 20 years earlier, converted into a guest palace. The New Chambers are an impressive late work of Frederician rococo, with a richly decorated interior.

A highlight of the sequence of lavishly decorated banqueting rooms and apartments is the rectangular Jasper Hall decorated with antique busts.

5. Listen to the Water Games of the Neptune Grotto

On the east side of Sanssouci Park, you'll find the Neptune Grotto, which was commissioned by Frederick the Great in the mid-18th century as part of the planning of numerous water features.

It is made of white and pink Silesian marble and is crowned with Neptune, the Roman god of the sea, two Naiads and two Tritons. On both sides of the grotto are cascading shells, from which the water of the Havel River was supposed to flow down. However, this was not accomplished until almost a century later with the help of steam power.

6. Explore the Treasures of the Chinese House

In the 18th century, courtly culture in Europe was influenced by the Chinoiserie fashion. The playful Rococo pavilion in the southwestern part of the park is probably the most charming surviving example of this architectural style.

In front of the pavilion are life-size gilded figures depicting fabulously dressed Chinese musicians and tea drinkers. The interior is decorated with gilded consoles. On them stands porcelain of the 18th century. The ceiling painting depicts a boisterous Chinese society.

7. Visit the Antique Temple

The small circular temple was opened in 1769 in the western part of Sanssouci Park and preserved the royal collection of ancient artifacts, coins and gems.

8. Take Photos at the Temple of Friendship

Should you make your way to the western part of Sanssouci Park, you will discover a small circular temple that King Frederick II had rebuilt in memory of his favorite sister, Margravine Wilhelmine of Bayreuth, who died in 1758.

The pavilion was inaugurated in 1970 as a counterpart to the Antique Temple built a year earlier and is now a truly beautiful setting, whether for photos or to enjoy a moment of peace and quiet.

9. Have a Cup of Coffee in the Dragon House

The Dragon House was built in 1770 as quarters for His Majesty's Grenadier on the Bornstedt Ridge. The multi-story Ta Ho Pagoda near the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou and the pagoda in Kew Gardens, the botanical garden in London, served as models.

The Dragon House has been in gastronomic use since 1934 and offers visitors a wonderful place to take a breather with its restaurant & café. Whether you want to enjoy the historic ambience with desserts and a coffee, dishes from the German cuisine or simply a glass of wine, is up to you.

More Attractions Nearby

Within walking distance, visitors will find several other attractions that should not be missed during a day trip to the former royal seat of Prussia:

1. Historical Windmill

Just a few meters from Sanssouci Palace, the reconstruction of the Dutch Windmill, built in 1791, has been standing since 1993.

Potsdam's Historic Windmill is one of the most famous of its kind in all of Germany and offers a wonderful view as well as an exhibition on the history of the mill.

It is also home to the Sanssouci Palace Visitor Center, which sells tickets as well.

By the way, according to legend, Frederick the Great was disturbed by the clattering of the windmill blades, which is why he asked the miller Grävenitz to tear down the mill. The brave miller defied the king and threatened to call in the chamber court, whereupon the monarch complied.

2. New Palace

After the Seven Years' War in the mid-18th century, Frederick the Great had the New Palace built at the west end of the approximately two-kilometer-long main avenue, also in the Rococo style. The enormous building with its tambour dome served representative purposes and was intended to show Prussia's unbroken strength after the years of privation during the war.

The interior of the palace is characterized by magnificent ballrooms, grand galleries and sumptuously furnished apartments. The baroque Sanssouci Palace Theater is located in the south wing.

The magnificent furnishings of the royal apartment in the southeast wing are among the highlights of Frederician interior design. The Lower Royal Suite with the Braided Room, Concert Room and Oval Cabinet also have one of the most precious interiors in Europe.

3. Belvedere Klausberg

After the construction of the New Palace was completed, Frederick the Great had the Belvedere on the Klausberg built in 1796. It was the last building he commissioned in Sanssouci. The model for the two-story round building with a dome is said to be Emperor Nero's palace in Rome.

Belvedere means beautiful view in English. Thus, from the Klausberg, the view opens out over Sanssouci Park and the city of Potsdam. As the first building of its kind, the Klausberg Belvedere established the later tradition of architecturally designed lookout points in Potsdam.

4. Charlottenhof Villa

Charlottenhof Villa, built from 1825 in the classicist style southwest of Sanssouci Palace, is a synthesis of architecture and landscape, created by architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel and garden designer Peter Joseph Lenné. It is imbued with the spirit of antiquity and influenced by Roman villa buildings.

Schinkel designed much of the furniture in the Biedermeier-style bourgeois rooms himself. The variety of material and color in the rooms is striking. The famous blue and white striped corner room, which resembles a tent interior, is a prime example. The watercourse of the fountain system through the house is remarkable.

5. Church of Peace

In 1845, exactly 100 years after the laying of the foundation stone of Sanssouci, Frederick William IV had a court church built at the foot of the vineyard terraces. Such a church had not existed under the carefree Frederick the Great.

The Church of Peace is modeled on the oldest sacred buildings in Italy, such as the San Clemente Church in Rome. The interior of the church, which is rather plain on the outside, impresses with its colorful marble. An original mosaic from the first half of the 13th century from the church of San Cipriano in Murano near Venice decorates the apse.

Several kings are buried in the mausoleum, including Frederick William IV himself.

6. Orangery Palace

The longing for Italy of Frederick William IV, the "romantic on the throne," is once again vividly documented by the imposing Orangery Palace. The ensemble with its plant halls, sculptures, fountains, arcades and terraces was built between 1851 and 1864.

The Raphael Hall is located in the central building of the 300-meter-long three-wing complex. Here you can admire a worth seeing collection of over 50, 19th century copies of Raphael's paintings.

The Malachite Room is decorated with sculptures, gilded décor and handicraft objects.

7. Roman Baths

The romantic ensemble of the Roman Baths transports visitors to Italy. King Frederick William IV provided numerous sketches of ideas, which were implemented by the architect Schinkel from 1829.

However, the buildings are neither a replica of Roman thermal baths nor an ancient Italian villa. Rather, the architectural recreation borrows from an Italian country house in the style of the 15th century.

Sanssouci Palace and Park Map

With the help of the park map of Sanssouci Park you can get an overview of where the respective sights are located in advance.

Entrance, Tickets & Tours for Sanssouci Palace

  • Entrance: Palace and Park Sanssouci is open daily, except Mondays, from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm. Last admission is at 17:00.
  • Tickets: Tickets, which are valid only for a single visit to Sanssouci Palace, cost €14. Combined tickets, which are valid for a single visit to all open palaces of the SPSG in Potsdam, are also available. You can find more information here.
  • Day trip from Berlin: Organized day trips that start in Berlin and take you conveniently to Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam are very popular. They usually include bus transportation from Berlin to Potsdam and back, sightseeing in Potsdam, and a visit to Sanssouci Palace and Park with a local guide (English/German). You can buy tickets in advance online here as well as here.
  • Guided Tour: Visitors who want to see the interior of Sanssouci Palace have to take part in a guided tour. You can find more about the guided tour here.
  • Tips for Travelers: The visit of Sanssouci Palace is bound to fixed admission times. Tickets for the respective day are available from 8:30 a.m. at the Historic Mill Visitor Center. As the number of tickets per day is limited, we recommend purchasing tickets online in advance of your visit.

How to get to the Sanssouci Palace?

  • By public transport:

From Berlin Central Station or Berlin AlexanderplatzThe easiest way to reach the palace complex is to take the S7 to Potsdam terminus. There you change to bus 614 or 650 and get off at Bornstädter Straße. From there you only have to walk 5 minutes to the palace.

From Berlin Potsdamer PlatzTake the S1 and get off at Berlin Wannsee. Then change to the S7 and get off at the Potsdam terminus. Here, take bus 614 or 650 to Bornstädter Straße. After a 5-minute walk, you will reach Sanssouci Palace.

  • By car:

Take the A115 out of town to the Potsdam-Babelsberg interchange and continue in the direction of Potsdam city center. Follow the signs and drive to the parking lot P1 next to the Historic Windmill.

FAQ about the Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam Berlin

WHERE IS SANSSOUCI PALACE LOCATED?

Sanssouci Palace stands in the city of Potsdam. The address is: Sanssouci Palace, Maulbeerallee 14469 Potsdam

WHO BUILT SANSSOUCI PALACE?

Sanssouci Palace was built by order of and according to the sketches of King Frederick the Great.

The king's successors continued construction work on the extensive grounds of Sanssouci Park. Until 1864, the small classical Charlottenhof Villa, the Roman Baths, the Palace Kitchen, the Orangery Palace and the Church of Peace were gradually built.

WHEN WAS SANSSOUCI PALACE BUILT?

Sanssouci Palace was built between 1745 and 1747 according to the sketches of King Frederick the Great. Other buildings followed under the king's successors, including Charlottenhof Villa, the Roman Baths, the Palace Kitchen, the Orangery Palace and the Church of Peace.

WHAT DOES SANSSOUCI PALACE MEAN?

The name of the castle "Sanssouci" originates from the French and means "without worry". This gives an indication of the function of the small summer palace on the famous vineyard terraces, which was intended to serve as a retreat for Frederick the Great.

History & Facts about Sanssouci Palace

Sanssouci Palace was built between 1745 and 1747 by order of and according to the sketches of King Frederick the Great.

As the name Sanssouci, which comes from the French, suggests, the small summer palace on the famous vineyard terraces was intended to serve as a retreat for him.

The king's successors continued construction work on the extensive grounds of Sanssouci Park. Until 1864, the small classical Charlottenhof Villa, the Roman Baths, the Palace Kitchen, the Orangery Palace and the Peace Church were gradually built.

Thus, the area developed into a total work of art of high quality and international rank. Since 1990, the palace complex has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage "Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin".

UNESCO World Heritage

The Official Website of UNESCO explains the inclusion of the palaces and parks of Potsdam and Berlin in the list of World Heritage Sites with the following arguments:

"The combination of supposedly incompatible styles into a harmonious whole within the ensemble of palaces and parks is remarkable. Sanssouci Palace combines a multitude of influences from the princely courts of Italy, England, Flanders, Paris and Dresden. From then on, the palace and park were new models that strongly influenced the development of monumental art and interior design east of the Oder. In its extent and conception, the ensemble is also an exceptional example of the development of architecture and landscape gardening in connection with royal power in Europe."

Contact & Map

  • Address: Schloss Sanssouci, Maulbeerallee 14469 Potsdam
  • Hours: Daily except Mondays from 09:00 - 17:30
  • Public Transport: S7 to Potsdam terminus, change to bus 614 or 650 to Bornstädter Straße
  • Website: Sanssouci-Palace/
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