For normal folk, Potsdam’s Sanssouci is a relaxing royal treat only 30 minutes away by train from bustling Berlin. In French, the palace’s name means “without a care;” it was a quiet refuge for the Prussian king. His final wish was to be buried there, a desire not granted until after German reunification. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, built between 1745 and 1747, is known for its treasures inside and out.
Highlights include the white and gold Marble Hall reception area, loosely based on the Pantheon in Rome, the many paintings by one of Friedrich’s favorite artists, Antoine Watteau, and the Voltaire Room, with its carvings of birds, flowers and fruits, named after the French philosopher and frequent palace guest. The large landscaped park is dotted with fountains, with faux ruins and classical statues among the many points of interest. Also at Sanssouci is the splendid Neues Palace (New Palace), added to commemorate the end of the Seven Year’s War, a reconstructed Dutch windmill, the Orangerie, which houses a gallery, and the Drachenhaus (Dragon House), a pagoda-style building that now holds a pleasant café for park visitors.
Sanssouci is located in Potsdam, just outside of Berlin, and is easily accessible by public transportation and car. The site, which stretches out for 2 kilometers west of Potsdam’s city center, is open later from Spring to Fall; music festivals are held annually on the grounds. The palace and individual buildings require ticket purchase for entry; many are only accessible with an official guided tour. Day tickets and family tickets providing access to multiple museums are available. If you are visiting with children don’t miss the Historische Mühle (Historical Windmill).