Potsdam, on the Havel River just southwest of Berlin, is the capital and crown jewel of the federal state of Brandenburg. Scores of visitors are drawn to the stunning architecture of this former Prussian royal seat and to soak up the air of history that hangs over its elegant parks. A visit here is essential if you’re spending any time in the region at all. All this splendour didn’t go unnoticed by Unesco, which gave World Heritage status to large parts of the city in 1990.
Headlining the roll call of palaces is Schloss Sanssouci, the private retreat of King Friedrich II (Frederick the Great), who was also the visionary behind many of Potsdam's other fabulous pads and parks, which miraculously survived WWII with nary a shrapnel wound. When the shooting stopped, the Allies chose Schloss Cecilienhof for the Potsdam Conference of August 1945 to lay the groundwork for Germany’s postwar fate.