Best museums in Berlin
Planning a trip to Germany and looking for the best museums in Berlin? In a city as culturally and historically rich as Berlin, you won’t have to look hard to find great museums to explore. In fact, narrowing down the list of the best ones will be the real challenge for you. Keep reading for some of the top Berlin museums of art and history.
Discover Museum Island
A great starting point for exploring Berlin’s museums is the impressive Museum Island, located right in the heart of Berlin. This small island in the Spree River is home to five different museums: Pergamon Museum, Bode-Museum, Neues Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie, and Altes Museum (Old Museum).
The Altes Museum ("Old Museum" in English) was the first museum to open on Museum Island. Here you can see a permanent exhibition of classical art and sculpture from Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. The Alte Nationalgalerie resembles an ancient temple, majestically looking out over Museum Island. Inside you’ll find an impressive collection of art from the 19th century, including works by such greats as Monet, Renoir, and Manet.
The Neues Museum ("New Museum" in English) tells a story of ancient history and prehistory around the world. Here you can explore a vast collection of Egyptian antiquities, the most impressive of which is the famed Nefertiti Bust. The Neues also showcases European history from the Stone Age through the Middle Ages.
At the northern tip of Museum Island, you will find the Bode-Museum. It’s home to an impressive gallery of Byzantine Art and a sculpture collection ranging from the medieval period to the late 18th century.
Finally, the Pergamon Museum is the most famous attraction on Museum Island. At this museum, you can explore a collection of antique art and artifacts from all over the globe. Even the architecture of the building is designed to represent the architectural structures of some of these ancient civilizations. Get a glimpse into Ancient Greek and Roman cultures as you observe artifacts from civilizations like Mesopotamia, Assyria, and Anatolia. Make sure to see the stunning Ishtar Gate of Babylon, one of the main attractions in this museum.
The museums are open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays). However, note that on Mondays, only the Pergamon Museum and the Neues Museum are open. Youth under 18 can enter Museum Island for free.
Art museums in Berlin
If you’re a lover of modern art, you won’t want to miss the Berlinische Galerie Museum of Modern Art. It features paintings, sculptures, photographs, and other pieces of art from the 1870s to the present day. Their permanent collections feature modern art created in Berlin, and their special exhibitions cover a variety of themes. Keep in mind that the museum is closed on Tuesdays, so plan your visit accordingly.
Are you a fan pf photography? If so, then the Museum of Photography is for you. It hosts an impressive collection of photographs dating to the 19th century and divided into five main sections. You can learn about the history of photography as you imagine the stories behind the photos.
For a truly unique artistic experience, check out the Gallery of Steel Figures. The sculptures and exhibitions in this museum are made of up-cycled scrap metal and are intended to be immersive and interactive. Touch them, sit in them, and take lots of photos!
The Berlin Wall Memorial: Explore the city’s history
If you’re interested in learning about the infamous Berlin Wall, you have a few different options for exploring this era of German history. The Berlin Wall Memorial features a large open-air exhibition located where the dividing wall once stood. This memorial includes a visitor’s center, an observation tower, and a collection of audio and visual material showing how the border was established. In the documentation center on site, you can learn the history of the wall’s construction.
East Side Gallery
Along the Spree River, you can see the longest still-existing part of the Berlin Wall. It has been converted into the East Side Gallery, the world’s longest open-air gallery, and features more than a hundred paintings of colorful political commentary. The nearby Wall Museum will give you an even more in-depth look at the dramatic history of the Wall, using films, documents, and other artifacts.
Finally, to get the most enjoyment out of your Berlin trip, try to plan your visit for the summer months (between May and September). Once you’ve had your fill of museums, you’ll be able to enjoy a stroll through the city’s charming neighborhoods while you enjoy the warmer weather. As you’re strolling, keep in mind that many restaurants, cafes, street markets, and smaller shops only accept cash. Be well prepared, and all of your trip to Berlin will be just as fantastic as everything you see inside the museums!