Find the Best Museums in Berlin
Berlin is not only the party capital of Europe, but also home to some of the most important museums in Europe.
Just to visit the most important museums in Berlin will take you at least one week.
And not because you will need to wait in line for a long time (which you do not have to do if you follow our tips and skip the lines as good as possible), but because Berlin has such a wide range of interesting history and museums that you should probably plan two trips to Berlin if you want see them all.
Naturally most people think of the Museumsinsel, which is part of the Unesco World Heritage list since 1999, but there are a lot more interesting museums that you should not forget to pay a visit to.
Most Important Museums in Berlin on one map
For all of you who haven’t heard of the Museumsinsel – this is an area close to Alexanderplatz in the heart of Berlin which is home to some of the most important museums in Berlin.
Constructions are ongoing there since years to have one central area for visitors to enter and of course to renovate some parts of the museums.
This visitor center is called James-Simon-Gallerie and will be the starting point of all visits to the Museumsinsel.
But even with constructions ongoing everywhere the Museumsinsel is a place that will leave you speechless.
So make sure to visit the Museumsinsel even if you do not plan to visit any of the museums, it will be worth it just for the view from outside.
The most iconic view you can get is to go to Monbijoupark opposite of the Museumsinsel and admire the world famous Bode-Museum.
Overview of all Museums on Museumsinsel
Museumsinsel consists of 5 world renowned museums each with a different focus of exhibitions.
In order for you to find the most interesting ones we put together a quick overview of the exhibitions you can expect.
Buy tickets online: www.shop.smb.museum
Location: Museumsinsel Berlin Mitte
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 10am – 6pm except Alte Nationalgalerie, Altes Museum & Bodemuseum, which are closed on Mondays
Admission fee: 18€ all museums for one day, for free below 18 years and if you receive welfare
Altes Museum – Museumsinsel 1830
Constructed from 1823 to 1830 following the designs of world famous architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel, the Altes Museum is probably the most important example of neo-classical architecture in Berlin.
Directly in front of Altes Museum you will find a little park called Lustgarten, where Berliners like to hang out if they work close to Alexanderplatz to find a spot of peace and quite.
The Altes Museum is yet to be scheduled to undergoe renovations like the rest of the museums.
Main exhibitions are the Collection of Classical Antiquities – mainly works of Roman and Greek antiquity.
Neues Museum – Museumsinsel 1859
The Neues Museum underwent was completely rebuilt and reopened in 2009.
Opened in 1859 the Neues Museum was originally designed to be a home to important contemporary art and science.
After being mostly destroyed in the 2nd World War the Neues Museum was in ruins for more than 60 years until in 1993 some world famous architects were invited to pitch their ideas to rebuild this important museum.
David Chipperfield architects, who have left their marks throughout Berlin already, were commisioned with the rebuilding of the Neues Museum which begann in 2003 and finished in 2009.
Nowadays the Neues Museum is home to the Egyptian Museum and the Papyrus Collection as well as the Museum of Prehistory and Early History.
Alte Nationalgalerie – Museumsinsel 1876
The first of the museums to be reopened after renovation or reconstruction was the Alte Nationalgalerie in 2001.
In 1998 the museum had to be completely closed for the 3 year renovation works.
The design of the Alte Nationalgalerie is very similar to temples in ancient Greek and Roman times with pillars all around.
The Alte Nationalgalerie is also called the The Temple for the Arts as it is home to paintings and sculptures from the 19th century.
Bode-Museum – Museumsinsel 1904
Whoever walks past the Bode-Museum for the first time will have to admit that this museum is just beautiful.
Nestled at the Northern end of the Museumsinsel and right at the banks of the river Spree the Bode-Museum reminds oneself more of a castle than a museum.
Reopened to the public in 2006 the Bode-Museum today is home to Sculpture Collection of wrks until 1800 and the Museum of Byzantine Art as well as the Numismatic Collection.
Unfortunately the Bode-Museum has been the place of one of the highest profile robberies in Berlin when in 2017 an exhibit called the Maple Leaf, which was a Canadian coin completely made of gold and with a weight of 100kg (!) was stolen out of the Bode-Museum.
Pergamonmuseum – Museumsinsel 1930
Of alle the museums on the Museumsinsel the Pergamonmuseum is probably the most famous and most visited of all.
However renovation and extensions works in the Pergamonmuseum are ongoing and will not be finished before 2026.
The Pergamonmuseum is home to several collections of Classical Antiquities as well as the Museum of Islamic Art.
But the Pergamonmuseum is most famous for the Pergamonaltar that has been rebuilt in just unbelievable dimensions of more than 35m width and 33m depth.
Millions of visitors came to Pergamonmuseum just to see this unique Pergamonaltar – and we can confirm that it is well worth it.
Archäologisches Zentrum – Museumsinsel 2012
This recently opened centre for archeology is technically speaking not located on the Museumsinsel itself.
But it has always been part of the masterplan of the Museumsinsel and therefore included in this list.
As the name already says the Archäologische Zentrum is home to all the archeological artefacts and also serves as a storeroom as well as a place to host workshops.
Leaving behind the Museumsinsel the Jüdisches Museum should be your first next stop.
As you might remember Berlin has some quite horrible recent history including the Holocaust and the almost complete destruction following the 2nd World War.
So there is no better place in the world to remember this dark history and move forward than Berlin and to understand all this we highly recommend you visit the Jüdisches Museum.
And best of all, if you are a fan of modern architecture you will love the Jewish Museum.
Following the designs of world famous star architect Daniel Libeskind the Jüdisches Museum is a dream for all architecture geeks.
You will notice the so called “Between the lines” design that is reflecting the German – Jewish history.
We do not want to give away too much but the due to the design and the wind going through the open spaces this “Between the lines” design makes for some very chilling effects.
Location: Lindenstraße 9-14, 10969 Berlin
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 10am -8pm
Admission fee: 8€ regular ticket, 3€ students and welfare, for free for kids below 6 years
If you are visiting Berlin with children but you still want to see some impressive stuff we can highly recommend the Naturkundemuseum in Berlin.
This Naturkundemuseum is on the top of the lists of the most important natural history museums in the world.
And it will not stop there, the German state just agreed to invest 660 Million Euros in the extension of the Naturkundemuseum.
It would take way too much time to write about all the incredible exhibitions at Naturkundemuseum, but we need to point out that the tallest mounted dinosaur skeleton in the world.
Standing tall at unbelievable 13m the skeleton of the Brachiosaurus brancal is even listed in the Guinness Book of Records.
And until 2019 the Naturkundemuseum was also home to Tristan, a complete mounted skeleton of a T-Rex, which unfortunately returned to Copenhagen in 2020.
Buy tickets online: https://www.naturkundemuseum.de
Location: Invalidenstraße 43, 10115 Berlin
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday 9.30am – 6pm and weekends 10am – 6pm
Admission fee: 8€ regular ticket, special offers for families
Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin
Another museum that will make both the parents as well as the kids happy is Technikmuseum.
I mean who does not love to visit a museum full of airplanes, ships, trains, cars and computers.
This is like a dream come true for kids and grown-ups alike.
The Deutsche Technikmuseum is an interactive museum with lots of show, explanations and hand-on experiences.
You can also enjoy a guided tour through all the exhibits and get more detailed insights from very knowledgeable guides.
Make sure to take a whole day off to have enough time to discover all the different parts of the museum.
Location: Trebbiner Str. 9, 10963 Berlin
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday 9am – 5.30pm and weekends 10am – 6pm
Admission fee: 8€ regular ticket, special offers for families
The DDR Museum feels a bit like the movie Back to the Future.
You step into this museum conveniently located between Alexanderplatz and Museumsinsel in Berlin Mitte and you feel like you have been transported 40 years to the past.
But this is not your average museum, where you are allowed to look at things but not touch them.
On the contrary, the DDR Museum is completely hands on and visitors are encouraged to experience the way people lived in the former Eastern German state.
This is definitely the most fun way to learn about the history and they do have some exhibits that give you the chills on how not everything in the East was nice – but we won’t give away more.
Buy tickets online: www.ddr-museum.de
Location: Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 1, 10178 Berlin
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 9am – 9pm
Admission fee: 8,50€, free of charge for children below 6 years
Another must-see museum in Berlin is the Neue Nationalgalerie, which is currently undergoing a complete renovation.
But it is just worth to have a look at the impressive building designed by Ludwig Mies von der Rohe.
Opened in 1968 the Neue Nationalgalerie is an icon of classical modern architecture.
As the name already implies you will find more recent collections, mainly dating from the modern 20th century, at the Neue Nationalgalerie.
However, as of today, the Neue Nationalgalerie is still under construction/renovation work and not accessable for visitors.
Parts of the exhibitions can be seen at the Hamburger Bahnhof at the moment.
Location: Potsdamer Str. 50, 10785 Berlin
Opening hours: Closed until end of 2020 due to renovations
Admission fee: —
How to Skip the Queue
There are two very basic tips on how to avoid waiting for hours to get access to the museum you would like to visit.
First of all try to buy the tickets already online.
We have added a link for each museum where you can purchase the ticket directly on their website.
And secondly try to avoid the main visiting hours such as weekends or during school holidays.
Other than that you should be good to go, even the Museumsinsel is not overrun by tourists, at least if you compare it to the Louvre in Paris.
Other Important Museums in Berlin
This article could go on for another 2 hours if we would write about all the museums in Berlin.
However we decided to give you a quick overview in our list as well as in our Google map (see top of article).
In total Berlin is home to roughly 175 museums, some of them smaller ones and some of them on the same level as the most important museums in the world.
- Topographie des Terrors
- Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer
- Deutsches Historisches Museum
- Schloss Charlottenburg
- Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas
- Gedenkstätte Berlin-Hohenschönhausen
- Deutsches Spionagemuseum
- Berliner Unterwelten-Museum
- Hamburger Bahnhof
- Domäne Dahlem
Now that you have a complete overview of the best museums in Berlin it might be a good time to check out the best places to eat in Berlin after all this cultural activities.