Be sure to check the palace’s website before you go - it has been undergoing renovations since 2013, and is sometimes closed to the public.
15 miles south-west of central Berlin is the lovely Babelsberg Palace. Set in nearly 300 acres of lush wooded parkland, next to the glittering Havel river, it feels a world away from the clamour of the German capital and makes for an ideal day trip if you’re looking to unwind. It was commissioned in 1833 by Prince Wilhelm, who would later become Kaiser Wilhelm I. A team of architects headed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel - who had earlier designed Berlin’s Neue Wache - were tasked with designing the new royal residence, and they opted for a dramatic Neo-Gothic approach.
Walking in Paradise
Closely resembling a number of English Tudor palaces, Babelsberg’s imposing walls are reminiscent of a defensive fortification, with strong flanking towers and lancet windows adding to a formidable first impression. It’s not all about might and power, though — the palace is surrounded by a beautifully designed garden. Here you can find dazzling flowerbeds, terraces, mosaics, and a large Gothic fountain. Wandering along the meandering footpaths in the sunshine, it’s easy to see why Wilhelm used Babelsberg as his summer residence for many years.
A Darker Past
Be sure to visit Flatowturm Tower, which rises dramatically above the gardens and can be reached with a short walk along the pathways. From here you can get a lovely view of Glienicke Castle Park the Glienicke Bridge, which once achieved international media attention as the “Bridge of Spies” - the site chosen for the exchange of captured secret agents from either side of the iron curtain.
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