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Getting to Potsdam

This page contains detailed descriptions on how to get to Potsdam. Potsdam lies some 20 kilometres to the south-west of the centre of Berlin, just outside the border of the former West Berlin. It's well connected to Berlin and its railway stations and airports, and straightforward to get to via public transportation.

The Potsdam main railway station (Hauptbahnhof / Hbf.) is used as the reference destination for directions given here.

The information given here includes the following items:

Perhaps the easiest thing to do would be to print out this whole document and just carry it around with you in case you get lost.

If you have any questions concerning getting to Potsdam that are not addressed here, such as renting a car and driving from one of the airports to Potsdam (not a recommended option really, since there's no need), then please send an email to get some help.

Berlin/Potsdam public transportation basics

  • Overview
    Berlin and Potsdam are served by an excellent public transportation network including busses, trams, overland suburban trains (S-Bahn), underground trains (U-Bahn), regional commuter trains, and ferries: all are integrated into a single transferable ticketing system. Watch the map showing the S-Bahn and U-Bahn lines, as well as airport busses, in PDF format. You can also access an excellent online timetable and route planner for all public transportation in Berlin and surroundings.
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  • Zones and prices
    The system is split into 4 basic radial zones: A, B, C, and the outermost so-called Umland. Potsdam lies in zone C, and thus for trips in and out of Berlin, or from any or the airports to Potsdam, you'll need a so-called ABC ticket, valid across all zones. A single adult ABC ticket costs 2.60 EUR, while a day adult ABC ticket costs 6.00 EUR, so the latter is worth buying if (for example) you want to make a day trip from Potsdam to Berlin and back, with just one other ride somewhere in the city. A 7-day adult ABC ticket costs 31.30 EUR. You also can check the prices at the transportation company (VBB)
  • Buying and validating tickets
    All these tickets can be purchased from the machines that are at all S- and U-Bahn stations, as well as many bus stops and also in busses from the driver. The machines take coins and notes, and give change. You can also buy tickets from customer service points at the larger stations: Potsdam Hauptbahnhof is one such. The system operates on an honesty basis: there are no barriers or gates on the S- and U-Bahn, and on busses, you can get on at the back without showing a ticket if you want, at least until 9pm. However, there are plain-clothes controllers wandering around the system, and if you're found without a ticket, the fine is about 40 EUR plus a valid ticket. In addition, the ticket must be validated, i.e., before starting your journey, you need to stamp your ticket in one of the little red boxes on the train platforms or on the busses. This system means you can buy tickets in advance: they only start "running" once you validate them.
  • Transfers and validity
    Once you've bought a single ticket on one part of the system, you transfer for free to any other part of the system within the following two hours (provided you remain within the zones appropriate to your ticket). If you buy an individual or group day ticket, then you can use it anywhere until 3am on the morning of the following day.
  • Key S-Bahn line to Potsdam
    The most important way of getting to Potsdam from Berlin is the S-Bahn line no. 7, or S7. This terminates at Potsdam Hauptbahnhof, and thus it's easy to know you're getting on the right train, since it says "S7 Potsdam Hbf" on the front of the trains and on the platform displays. The "S7 Ahrensfelde" goes in the other direction and is, of course, the train you'd take to get into Berlin from Potsdam.
  • Finding the right exit out of the Hauptbahnhof
    Take the escalators or stairs up to the main ticketing and shop level, which straddles the railway lines. Assuming you arrived from Berlin and walked up an escalator that effectively kept you going in the same direction as the train, then when you reach the main level, turn left. Outside the building there are taxi stand, bus and tram stops. 

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Getting to Potsdam via public transportation from the Berlin airports

Berlin has three airports, but unfortunately as yet, not a major international one. Thus, most people arriving from overseas will probably arrive elsewhere in Germany, perhaps Frankfurt, Munich, or Düsseldorf, and then connect on a short commuter flight to Berlin. If this is the case, and if you have a choice, then your best bet is to take a flight to Tegel (TXL), since that is the easiest to get to Potsdam from. However, if your flights arrive at either Tempelhof (THF) or Schönefeld (SXF), then don't despair: getting to Potsdam is straightforward in any case.

A taxi from any of the airports to Potsdam will cost you anywhere from 35 to 60 EUR depending on which airport you arrive at and which taxi driver you get. Since the taxi will be leaving the Berlin city limits, the price is in principle negotiable, but unless your German is good, I wouldn't count on it. A taxi should take anywhere from 35 to 60 minutes, depending on the time of day and thus commuting traffic.

Fortunately, the public transportation system is much cheaper, and you can be at the main station in Potsdam within an hour or so from any of the airports.

  • From Tegel to Potsdam:
    • Concise version:
      Take the 109 bus from Tegel to Charlottenburg S-Bahn station; take the S7 S-Bahn to Potsdam Hauptbahnhof. Total travel time 45-60 minutes.

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    • Detailed version:
      Tegel lies in the city to the northwest of the centre of Berlin, and thus more or less north-north-west of Potsdam. There is only one terminal at Tegel and it's circular, so it's easy to find your way to the front where the busses leave from: Just follow the signs for the exit and/or bus. There is a yellow public transport ticket machine there: buy your chosen ABC zone ticket (see above) there or a single ABC ticket on the bus.

      Look for a waiting bus no. 109: it should be to your left as you exit the terminal. If it's not there now, it soon will be: busses go every 10 minutes during the day. Stamp your ticket in the little machine when you get on to validate it.

      Take the 109 to the Charlottenburg S-Bahn station. It's about 12-15 minutes ride from Tegel. The busses have illuminated signs on board showing the next stop and/or the driver announces them. Don't be fooled by "Schloss Charlottenburg" however, which will come up a few minutes before the Charlottenburg S-Bahn station.

      You'll get off the bus about 80m before the S-Bahn station. Walk to the station, which is on the same side of the road, making sure you still have your ticket, which is valid for the whole journey.

      Walk through the doors of the station and up the stairs in front of you. The first set of stairs on your right will then lead up to the appropriate platform, i.e., you're looking for the S7 line, which is signposted to and from Ahrensfelde and Potsdam Hauptbahnhof. You need to stand on the righthand side of the platform, looking as you come up the stairs, to catch the train the right direction.

      Take the S7 train to Potsdam Hauptbahnhof. They come every 10 minutes during the day. Other trains such as the S5, S3, and S75 also come to the same platform; don't take any of them.

      Take the S7 all the way to the end station, i.e., to Potsdam Hauptbahnhof, which takes about 25 minutes. Keep your ticket on you in case one of the plainclothes controllers gets on (they never seem to on this line, since it goes through the rich suburbs, where 2.40 EUR is too small a sum to bother cheating over).

      When you reach Potsdam Hauptbahnhof, leave the station following the directions given above, and make your way to your hotel. Total travel time from Tegel to Potsdam is about 45-60 minutes, depending on your luck with regards waiting for busses and trains.

      (From Tegel, you can also take the X9 express bus to the Zoologischer Garten station, and from there a RegionalExpress to Potsdam. This might be a little quicker if you hit the connections right, but in general, the rather complicated and seedy Bahnhof Zoo is to be avoided unless you're a local and you've had a recent tetanus jab).

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  • From Tempelhof to Potsdam:
    • Concise version:
      Take the U6 U-Bahn line from Platz der Luftbrücke to Friedrichstrasse. Change to the S7 line to Potsdam Hauptbahnhof. Total travel time 56 minutes. Alternatively, connect to a faster (but less frequent) RegionalExpress train from Friedrichstrasse to Potsdam Hauptbahnhof: total travel time about 40 minutes.

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    • Detailed version:
      Tempelhof is also in the city, just south of the centre. There is only one terminal and one exit at Tempelhof, onto the semi-circular Platz der Luftbrücke. The big main road in front of you is Mehring Damm, and there is a major mess of streets joining up there. Just across the junction, going north on Mehring Damm with the airport behind you, you'll find the entrance to the underground station Platz der Luftbrücke, signposted by a big white "U" against a blue background. The only line passing through this station is the U6, so that makes things simple.

      Go down into the U-Bahn station and buy your chosen ABC zone ticket (see above) from a ticket machine (I don't know if there is a ticket office at that station). Validate the ticket in one of the little red machines on the platform before you get on the train, and keep the ticket for the duration of your journey to Potsdam.

      Get on a train in the direction "Alt-Tegel": don't get on one going in the wrong direction, to "Alt-Mariendorf". The trains go every 5 minutes during the day. Travel six stops to Friedrichstrasse (about 8 minutes), and then get off. Friedrichstrasse is a big complicated station, and it'd be too much to ask to direct you around it: things are pretty well signposted though.

      Basically however, you want to go up to the top of the station, since you're now going to take an overground train, either the S7 S-Bahn or a RegionalExpress. At Friedrichstrasse, these trains run on elevated tracks above the streets.

      The S7 S-Bahn trains to Potsdam Hauptbahnhof go every 10 minutes during the day and take 42 minutes to get to Potsdam, the final station on the line, stopping at quite a few stations along the way. The big red double-decker RegionalExpress trains go roughly three times an hour during the day, at irregular spacings: they stop much less frequently, and will get you to Potsdam in roughly 25 minutes.

      In general therefore, it's probably worth waiting for the next RegionalExpress. Keep in mind however that Potsdam is not the last station on its journey and different trains go to different destinations, and that not every RegionalExpress that leaves from Friedrichstrasse goes to Potsdam. So you'll need to be sure you're getting on the right train: ask someone.

      In any case, your original ticket is valid on both the S-Bahn and RegionalExpress: you will definitely get asked to show it on the RegionalExpress.

      On arrival at Potsdam Hauptbahnhof, follow the directions given above to leave the station. Total travel time from Tempelhof to Potsdam is somewhere between 50 and 70 minutes, depending on your choice of train and luck with connections.

  • From Schönefeld to Potsdam:
    • Concise version:
      Take the airport bus no. 171 to the railway station; take the AirportExpress train to Zoologischer Garten station and then the S7 to Potsdam Hauptbahnhof, or the S45 to Westkreuz and then the S7 to Potsdam Hauptbahnhof, or a RegionalBahn train directly to Potsdam. Total time between 70 and 90 minutes.

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    • Detailed version:
      Schönefeld is quite some way to the south-east of the city, thus relatively far from Potsdam. It should be fairly easy to find your way out from the terminals and to the airport bus no. 171. This is a short two-minute shuttle to the railway station at the airport and leaves every twenty minutes (at 15, 35, and 55 minutes past each hour) during the day. Buy your chosen ABC zone ticket (see above), validate it as you get on the bus, and keep it with you. When you get to the station, you have several choices, depending on when you get there. I'm just going to describe the three easiest, because the rest involve relatively complicated changes in the city. The brave are welcome to try their own routing.

      First option: The AirportExpress leaves every 30 minutes, at 10 and 40 minutes past the hour: the former is the RE5 train, and the latter the RE4. Both stop just five times, and reach the Zoologischer Garten station in 33 minutes. From there you can either connect to a RegionalExpress or the S7 S-Bahn to Potsdam (you're on your own here: it's a complicated station), and arrive in Potsdam roughly 15 or 30 minutes later respectively.

      Second option: Take the direct RegionalBahn train RB22 from Schönefeld to Potsdam, routing south of Berlin. These leave every hour at 55 minutes past the hour, and take 55 minutes to Potsdam, stopping about ten times.

      Third option: Every twenty minutes during the day (at 04, 24, and 44 minutes past the hour), the S45 S-Bahn train leaves this end station and goes in the direction of Westend. However, you will want to get off at Westkreuz, two stops before Westend. This takes 44 minutes and 18 stops. Once at Westkreuz, you need to change to the S7 line going to Potsdam Hauptbahnhof: these leave every ten minutes during the day, and take 24 minutes. At Westkreuz, I think you need to change platforms from the upstairs S45 line to the downstairs S7 line.

      Your total travel time will have been about 70-90 minutes depending on the connections.

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Getting to Potsdam by rail

The Potsdam Hauptbahnhof is a main line station, and many normal RegionalExpress and Intercity trains going between Berlin and Magdeburg and beyond stop there. Unfortunately, these days rather few of the faster ICE (Inter City Express) trains from Hannover do, since the construction of a new high-speed line into Berlin that goes via Spandau. In many cases, therefore, if you're travelling from elsewhere in Germany by train, you should consider taking an ICE straight to the Zoologischer Garten station in Berlin, before reversing your route with a RegionalExpress or S7 S-Bahn back to Potsdam. This could be quicker than getting off the ICE in (say) Wolfsburg and then taking a slow train direct to Potsdam. You can check the Deutsche Bahn on-line timetable (in English) for a full listing of all trains arriving in Berlin and Potsdam that fit your schedule. (Indeed, this site has an excellent interface to the train timetables for many European countries).

Once you arrive at the Potsdam Hauptbahnhof, follow the instructions given above in order to leave the station and get to your hotel most conveniently.

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Getting from the Hauptbahnhof to the Congress Hotel +Am Templiner See+

When you exit the Hauptbahnhof as described above, you'll find yourself in front of a tram stop. Take a no. 91 or X98 tram in the direction of the centre of Potsdam, i.e., in the same direction as the train you just came with. The tram will take roughly 15 minutes to reach the Bahnhof Pirschheide stop where the Congress Hotel is. You also can take the RB22 regional train in the direction of "S Flughafen Berlin-Schönefeld Bhf". It will take 6 minutes to the Bahnhof Pirschheide stop where the Congress Hotel is.

If you have a lot of luggage and want to take a taxi, then you'll find them parked outside the Hauptbahnhof at the left side.

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Useful travel and transportation links

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These superb travel hints have been stolen from K. Weisse which in turn has published them as a copy from Mark McCaughrean compilation of travel hints at the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam. Many thanks to these people
M. Abel



How to get to Neues Palais Campus

How to get to Neues Palais Campus via bus

Once you made it to Potsdam central train station, which is in german "Potsdam Hauptbahnhof", you need to find the bus terminal in front of the station's building. Then you go to the gate of the bus #606 (you'll see the number at the timetable) and take the next 606, which leads to "Golm Max Planck Campus" or 605, which leads to "Bahnhof Golm via Eichenring". The ride takes you appr. 14 minutes. The ninth stop is yours and it is called "Neues Palais" (say: noise palé). You have to press a STOP button, after the station will be announced.

schedule of bus #605
schedule of bus #606
more about busses in Potsdam
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How to get to Neues Palais Campus via train

You have the possibility of taking a train from Potsdam central station, which is in german "Potsdam Hauptbahnhof", also. Therefore you need to find a train in the linked list.
The ride takes you appr. 6 minutes. The 2nd stop is yours and it is called "Potsdam Park Sanssouci". It is a 10 minutes walk from the train station to the campus. When you come out of the train station, just walk straight ahead and as soon as you enter the park, take the next left.

search train schedule
trains from campus to central station.
The Interdisciplinary Center for Dynamics of Complex Systems (DYKOS) is located in building 19 of the University Potsdam at Neues Palais Campus.

Local time in Germany: Universal Time + 2 h = `CEST' for Central European Summer Time = `MESZ' for Mittel-Europäische Sommerzeit (German).

Weather prediction. Local time and temperature in the region of Potsdam at present:


Rain cloud animation of the last 12 hours for Germany. Rain clouds at the Berlin/Postdam region . CNN weather info.

This is a first aid page, that will help you to survive in Potsdam , Germany.

Arrival

If you arrive at Berlin Tegel airport and you do not want to rent a car you may ask: How to get to Potsdam? When you finally arrive at the Potsdam you will be interested in the map of the town. If you do not want to hire a taxi (tel: 0331/292929), the following bus lines will bring you to the center of the town and to the university of Potsdam : 605 / 606. You have to get off the bus at the station "Am Neuen Palais" .

There are also two plans of the public transport available:

The prices of tickets for Potsdam (zone AB) are 1.30 Euro for a single ticket for buses and trams. If you plan to use public transport during all your stay we propose the »7-Tage-Karte Standard Potsdam AB« (One week ticket) that costs about 9 Euro. If you plan to go regularly to Berlin you can buy a »7-Tage-Karte Standard Berlin ABC« that costs about 26 Euro.

Arriving at the university of Potsdam you will need university site map (The conference rooms are situated in building 8. The institute of physics is located in building 19).