Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Fortresses, Castles & Palaces in Berlin & Potsdam

Berlin Icon

As a capital since the 12th century Berlin, together with nearby Potsdam, has a number of castles and palaces. From the remains of one of the earliest castles in the basement of a 21st century reconstruction. To the grandeur of Charlottenburg Palace and the opulence of Sanssouci Palace, today visitors to the German capital can immerse themselves in the a rich history of Margraviates, Kingdoms and  Empires. Whether you’re a history buff with a deep interest in German history or just looking for a taste of Prussian royalty, the castles and palaces of Berlin and Potsdam will not disappoint. 

Fortresses, Castles & Palaces in Berlin

Charlottenburg Palace

With origins in the Baroque period and additions made until the 19th century, Schloss Charlottenburg is the largest palace in Berlin. This was the residence and ceremonial seat for Brandenburg electors, Prussian kings and German emperors. The palace was severely damaged in 1943, and it was feared that the ruins would have to be demolished. Rebuilding was completed in 1970 and soon after it was opened to the public and is now one of Berlin’s major attractions. The palace chapel and the bedchamber of Frederick I, faithful to the originals, are among the highlights of many visits.


Built in 1663, but remodelled and renovated many times since, the Crown Prince’s Palace has been home to many members of the Prussian Royal family. The last Emperor of Germany, Wilhelm II, was born here on 27 January 1859. After the dissolution of the German monarchy, in 1919 the palace became part of the National Gallery, where it showcased Modern Art until ordered to be “cleansed” of it by Hitler. The palace was heavily destroyed during the Allied bombing of Berlin, but again restored. On 31 August 1990 the palace hosted the signing of the German Unification Agreement.

Spandau Citadel

Considered one of the finest and best preserved Renaissance fortresses in Europe, what we see today was built during 1560 and 1594 for the Brandenburg Elector Joachim II to protect the city of Berlin Cölln. The pre-existing 12 century castle was no longer deemed fit for purpose. The Julius Tower is the oldest standing secular building in Berlin. During the Nazi era a chemical weapons laboratory was housed here. Since the end of the War it has been used solely for civilian and cultural activities. It houses a number of museums and galleries, including a local history museum and an exhibition of monuments from 1849 to 1986 that have been removed from public view. Guided tours show the dramatic history of the Citadel.

Fortresses, Castles & Palaces in Potsdam

New Palace

Built between 1763 and 1769 Neue Palace was Frederick the Great’s last palace in Sanssouci Park. It was also the official residence of the last German Emperor, William II. Before Kaiser William the palace was not a royal residence, rather it was built, at the end of the 7 Year’s War, to host state events and accommodate official guests. The magnificence of this large palace was intended to convey Prussia’s power, wealth and victory after the war. The palace has over 200 rooms, some of which have recently been restored and can be visited today. Highlights include the Grotto Hall, the Marble Hall and the Concert Hall.

Orangery Palace

Inspired by Villa Medici in Rome and the Uffizi in Florence, the Orangery Palace is the last and largest of the royal places in Sanssouci Park. The style of the palace is a clear reflection of King Frederick William’s IV love of Italy and Italian architecture. Constructed between 1851 and 1864, the two wings of the palace are still used to overwinter plants susceptible to the harsh winters. The central section, known as the Raphael Hall, houses 19th century reproductions of the Renaissance painter Raphael, made by Prussian  artists. The palace had both servant’s quarters and guest apartments; the latter of which were lavishly decorated.

Sanssouci Palace

Sanssouci Palace was Frederick the Great’s favourite place to retreat to, particularly in summer. It was his wish to be buried here. A wish that was finally granted in 1991 when he was reburied on the highest terrace of the vineyard in front of the Rococo style palace. Constructed between, 1745 and 1747 based on the ideas and sketches of Fredericks, today the elegance and grandeur of the interior is achieved with the use of original furnishings. Sanssouci, French for without worry, is the most famous of all the Hohenzollern palaces in Potsdam.