I was in Berlin on business in June 2013. The city was beautiful and so much better than I expected. I stayed at the Ritz-Carlton at Potsdamer Platz - it was the location was perfect. Potsdamer Platz is a major transport station for trains and buses. It's adjacent to the Tiergarten and a short walk to the Brandenburg Gate,Reichstag, and Holocaust Memorial. The Tiergarten is a magical oasis in this bustling city. I took solo, hour-long runs in the park and always felt safe. The hop-on, hop-off bus was a convenient way to get a quick tour of the city. Potsdam is a great day trip option from Berlin -very easy to get to by train. Allow for 60-75 minutes from Potsdamer Plats (including transfers) Schloss Sanssouci is fantastic. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to see Neues Palais. Potsdam is really charming and the history is fascinating - don't miss it if you're in Berlin.
Hi, Great that you found Berlin and Potsdam so enjoyable, memorable, and just a fantastic experience too. That you didn't make it to Neues Palais you can save it for next time...well worth seeing if you are interested in Prussian-German history. The Brandenburg-Prussia History Museum is within walking distance from the Hbf after crossing the bridge. The tours usually take to Neues Palais, drop you off for about 30 mins, but it's hardly enough. I went back to Neues Palais after the conclusion of the tour. Catch the tram in from of Potsdam Hbf...all labeled electronically. Both Berlin and Potsdam are great for walking and seeing the sights on foot, esp that Potsdam Innenstadt (city centre). Potsdam is indeed "charming." The first time I went there was in Aug. 1987 (during the Cold War days), the weather warm enough, but dark, gloomy, grey , dour. The tour (you could only get there by tour from West Berlin) included Sanssouci but not Neues Palais. Touring Potsdam then with its cobblestone streets and yellow buildings, etc struck me as if time had stopped in 1945. The needed refurbishing has made the city attractive as well as fascinating.
Debbie, even though you didn't visit it, could you see if they had completed the rennovations of the Neues Palais yet? It was covered in scaffolding when I was there, but you could still tour the palace. I found the manner in which they had preserved the deathbed of Kaiser Friedrich III rather touching. Fred, can you tell us more about the Prussian museum?
The Brandenburg-Prussian Museum is located behind Film Museum, ca 10-15 mins walk from the train station. Signs point the way. It struck me as emphasizing more on social-economic history. It's a museum specialising in the local history and geography of the Brandenburg area. I thought the imperial era could have been better displayed. If you're interested in GDR history of the area and Potsdam, you'll see that too, ie, the history does not stop at 1945. A restaurant is next to the Museum. The Museum's little shop corner sells paperbacks about persons/topics covered in the Museum. All the literature on sale is in German, including a couple of very good maps of the former Prussian East. I don't know about the availability of audio guides, wasn't asked if I wanted one when I bought my ticket. Presumably, they would be available since it's almost standard to have them. Historically, in Potsdam are more esoteric sites to track down than this Museum.
Hi Tom: I wasn't close enough to Neues Palais to see the building, so I don't know if the renovations were complete. Debbie