If you happen to be in Potsdam follow the Schopenhauerstrasse from the city centre, you can walk it in fact and it is well worth it. You will arrive at this gate called Obelisk Hauptallee which gives you the direct entrance into the pleasure gardens of Sans Souci. It is a very vast garden full of statues, grottos, palaces, a Church and Chinoiserie pavilion.
As you follow this allee look to your right and you will see Sans Souci, if you continue straight on for 2 Km you will arrive at the Neues Palais. Both built by Frederick II the Great, Sans Souci is more like a big mansion, very private, where Frederick only invited those people he really wanted or enjoyed seeing. The Neues Palais or New Palace was for all the Official functions and to house his brothers Henri, William and Ferdinand when they came to Potsdam. Frederick’s wife Elizabeth Christine of Brunswick lived at Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin which he built for her, she very rarely was invited to come visit Potsdam and even then would be housed in the New Palace or in the City Palace in front of the Church of St-Nicolas.
When you visit Sans Souci, the decor and the layout is very much Frederick’s, it was all about the things he liked most from paintings to books. It is essentially high baroque architecture, he chose the colours, the decor and much of it reflects his taste for the exotic. He lived there with his Whippet dogs. He is buried with them in the front garden of his palace as he wished. After his death in 1786, Sans Souci was closed. His successors and family lived at the Neues Palais or in Berlin at the City Palace until 1918.
The entire park is for pedestrians, it was also used for horse back riding given its vast space. Enormous renovation and restoration of the park and its buildings has taken place in the last 25 years again in an effort to bring it back to what it was before 1914. I walked it on 3 separate occasions and enjoyed its charm and peaceful beauty. You can easily spend a day or two here.