This is perhaps my favorite day trip from Berlin. It is a 10-12Km bike ride (depending on how you explore some of the areas) and it ends at Sanssouci Park in Potsdam.
A perfect slow bike ride for a sunny day through lakes, art spaces, rivers, bridges, beer gardens, parks and picturesque neighborhoods, both in Berlin and Potsdam. Later on, I will add a specific day trip for exploring just Potsdam, but for now, enjoy a Bike Ride from Wannsee Lake to Potsdam!
Plan to start the bike ride from the Wannsee S-Bahn station (about 18 minutes from Hauptbahnof on a Regional train or about 35 minutes on S-Bahn). Either way, you can take your bike on the trains. Just make sure to select a wagon with the bike sign on it! Wannsee is still within the AB subway area, so no need to buy an ABC ticket.
I suggest you budget a whole day for the trip or even plan an overnight stay, depending on how much time you would like to spend on sights along the way. Whenever I make this trip, I leave home around 9 AM and stay until dinner time. Then I take the train/subway back home.
If you’d like to eat something (or grab a beer) before you start the right, make a pitstop at Loretta am Wannsee, one of Berlin’s most famous beer gardens. But do not worry, there is plenty of places to stop for snack, food and drinks on the way.
From here take the path outlined on the map at the end of this article. I also added pins to my favorite points of interest and sights along the way. Find a short description of each below.
The Liebermann Villa is the former summer residence of the German painter Max Liebermann. Visit the gorgeous gardens and make a pitstop to check out some of their well curated art exhibits.
The Wannsee Conference was a meeting of senior government officials of Nazi Germany and Schutzstaffel leaders, held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee on 20 January 1942. The nifareous objective of the Conference was to ensure the cooperation of administrative leaders in the implementation of the so-called “Final solution to the Jewish question”. The exhibition at the House of the Wannsee Conference showcases insights into the criminal meeting, and how the plan was put into practice.
**Restaurant Seehaase – ATTENTION – turning point!
The restaurant itself is nothing to write home about, but stop here to take in the Lake views, and enjoy the Flensburger Löwe am Wannsee statue. It is from here that you will start the bike ride along the lake through dirt paths. The paths are well kept and the ride is very smooth.
Badestelle Alter Hof
A great spot to stop for a swim. Around here the Havel river kisses the riverbanks ever so gently and you are guaranteed a nice refreshing time. There are life guards on duty. Here you can also make a bathroom pitstop.
This beautiful restaurant/beer garden is also a great stop for a snack or lunch. From here, you can take a boat and visit the Island of Peacocks (Pfaueninsel). The Pfaueninsel is by itself worth a days trip, though. For our itinerary, we recommend you move along and leave this gorgeous island for another day.
Another great place to stop for lunch and or a beer break is Wirthaus Moorlake. Here you can also venture into the river as the riverbanks form a little safe cove. This gorgeous place has been around for like 100 years and surely provides a magical pitstop along the way.
Schloss Glienicke is a neo-classical palace with somewhat of an Italian charm about it. A fun last stop on the Berlin side before crossing the Havel river to Potsdam. Park your bike and take a stroll through the beautiful grounds. There is an outpost of the solid Austrian/German restaurant Lutter & Wegner on the premises, if you’d like to go full in and have a delicious atmospheric meal.
Glienicke Bridge (Bridge of Spies)
One of the highlights of this bike ride is the crossing of Glienicke Bridge. The landscape is just stunning. There are quite a few classical constructions in the horizon and the bridge itself is full of mystic and history. “The bridge of spies” is a bridge across the Havel River. It connects the Wannsee district of Berlin with Potsdam, the capital of Brandenburg. It was damaged during World War II and a major reconstruction initiative took place during the Cold War. This area, at the time, used to form the border between West Berlin and East Germany. The brige’s knickname (Bridge of Spies) comes from the fact that, during the Cold War, it was used several times for the exchange of captured spies from each side of the Iron Curtain.
After crossing the bridge, you are officially in Potsdam!
Neuer Garten/Schloss Cecilienhof
Bike through leafy streets towards Neuer Garten, a beautiful park where you will get to visit Cecilienhof. Schloss Cecilienhof Palace (a Unesco World Heritage Site) was built in 1917 in English Tudor style and layout. It is mostly famous for having hosted the Potsdam Conference in 1945, in which the heads of Government from the UK, United States and the Soviet Union made critical decisions affecting post World War II Europe and Asia.
Right off Neuer Garten, find the most scenic and magic biergarten/brewery in whole Potsdam: Meierei. Stop here at some point (preferably towards sunset). Meierei is definitely one of our favorite places to end the day here before taking the train back to Berlin. Yes, the train…or did you think we would bike back to Berlin? ; )
Holändisches Viertel, Oldtown Potsdam and Sancoussi Park
Hop on your bike and ride through the picturesque Dutch quarter. This slice of Holland in Potsdam is full of cute cafés, bars and shops. Word has it that one point in history qualified craftsmen were in need and the king reached out to the Dutch neighbors. He then had 130 houses built in Dutch style. Continue the ride through lovely old town Potsdam until you reach the breathtaking Sansoussi Park. Note: Bikes are not allowed inside the park and palace grounds, so you will need to park outside and walk for a while.
At Sansoussi Park you will get a chance to get in touch with the historical legacy of Prussia. The imaculate grounds, the interesting statues, secret gardens and the amazing ensemble of Palaces will surely leave you in awe. The highlights are The Sansoussi Palace and the Neues Palais. Make sure to explore as much as possible. Budget at least a couple of hours for this part of the day.
From here, hop back on your bike and head to the Potsdam Central Station where you will catch a suburban train back to Berlin. Tip: Although you can get on the S-Bahn (subway) from here as well, the trip is a bit long with many stops. We recommend looking for the R-trains. They will get you back to Central Berlin in about 30 minutes. And the price is the same as riding the subway!
Yes…this is kind of a long route and the day is sometimes too short. Before you embark on this extremely fun route, do some reading on the topics and places so you can decide where you would like to stop and spend the most time. Alternatively, the route can be broken in two days.