Although I studied at Potsdam University for 3 months back in 2009, I’d never made it to the city center. Ten years of pure ignorance, even though I’d heard from many people about the beauty and idyllic atmosphere of Brandenburgs capital.

Only an hour train or car ride away, it makes absolute sense to spend an autumn afternoon in Potsdam. It’s close, it’s beautiful and even if you’re visiting Berlin for only a short time, it makes for a perfect escape from the big city. Here are some of my favorite stops.

The royal gardens of Sanssouci

The gardens of Sansoucci are a classic in a tourists’ scrapbook. For longterm Berlin residents: this is the place you take your parents to when they come to visit and you’ve ran out of adequate sightseeing ideas. Famous King Fredericks summer retreat is really a beaut. “Schloss Sanssouci” is a sanctuary for those who want to enjoy a book in the park or simply enjoy the magic nostalgia of being the wealthy leader of Prussia.

On a sunny autumn day, you should definitely take a walk through the gardens surrounding the estate and visit the new chambers that depict quite illustriously the grandiose furnishing of 18th century royalty.

Alexandrowka, the Russian colony of the 19th century

Potsdam is full of UNESCO cultural world heritage sights, and Alexandrowka is one of them. Alexandrowka is a Russian Colony that consists of thirteen wooden houses in Russian style, which were built between 1826 and 1827 on special wish of the former Prussian king, Friedrich Wilhelm III. The charming blockhouses are surrounded by generous gardens which are open to the public (for a small entrance fee).

In those gardens, visitors are welcome to drink coffee, enjoy Borscht or feast on other Russian delicacies.

The Dutch Quarter

A little piece of Amsterdam right in the middle of Potsdam: the Dutch Quarter is a delight to take a walk through, have coffee and live the life of a passionate flaneur.

If you love little Dutch delicacies, little vintage stores and cute places, you’ve found the perfect spot. On a Sunday, most restaurants are open for brunch and breakfast, and in the evenings, the little bars dispersed around the colonial quarter – formerly built by King Frederick for Dutch craftsmen – lively up the place.

Gerhard Richter at Museum Barberini

While the Museum Barberini is certainly worth a visit regardless of the exhibition, the currently running Gerhard Richter “Abstraktion” should be right on top of your cultural highlights list for this autumn.

Gerhard Richter: Abstraction, traces a broad arc from the 1960s to the artist’s more recent works. Unlike the retrospectives, however, the exhibition at the Museum Barberini concentrates upon a theme crucial to Richter’s painting: the abstract strategies and techniques employed across the artist’s oeuvre.

I was also pretty smitten by the other works shown at Barberini, namely a profound Kandinsky and other famous artists of the Expressionist era, Bauhaus and Informel.

For Gerhard Richter you should definitely hurry up, as the show is due to end on the 21st of October 2018.