Charlottenburg Palace © Axel Mauruszat
Schloss Charlottenburg is the largest and oldest palace in Berlin, an 18th-century Baroque structure that was originally constructed as the summer home for Sophie Charlotte, the wife of Elector Frederick III who became the first Prussian king. The splendid interiors are festooned with art masterpieces, including the largest collection of 18th-century French paintings anywhere outside of France. The surrounding gardens contain a mausoleum, pavilion and the Belvedere, which houses the porcelain museum. For centuries the best artists, architects and landscapers were commissioned to improve and enrich the palace and it shows. The gardens are lovely and just as worthwhile in their own way as the palace itself. Like many attractions in Berlin, the Charlottenburg Palace was badly damaged in World War II but has since been reconstructed.
Although it is a fairly long walk from the train station it is worth doing if you can manage it because your first view of the palace over the lake is really striking.
Address: Spandauer Damm 10-22
Telephone: (0)3 319 694 200
Transport: U2 or bus 309 to Sophie-Charlotte-Platz
Opening times: 10am to 6pm (April to October) and 10am to 5pm (November to March); closed Mondays.
Admission: Combined ticket for Charlottenburg: €15 (adults); €11 (reduced).