Best Museums to Visit in Berlin, Germany in 2024

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Berlin is one of the best cities to visit for history buffs and art lovers. There are around 170 museums in the city showcasing everything from beautiful fine art collections, archaeological treasures from ancient history, significant historical monuments, and fun interactive exhibitions.

No Berlin itinerary is complete without adding a couple museums that are in line with your interests! This guide of the best museums in Berlin will help you choose which to visit during your trip.

And because figuring out which ticket or pass to get can be confusing, I lay out your options so you can make the best choice for your itinerary. I also tell you how you can visit many of these museums for free!

I spent hours comparing ticket and museum pass options while we were in Berlin recently so I hope the information at the very end of this article saves you from having to do the same!

Best Museums in Berlin

Bode Museum

Museums on the Museum Island

Berlin’s Museum Island is a complex of 5 famous museums (see description of each below) located along the Spree River near Unter den Linden. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most renowned museum sites in Europe, covering everything from archaeology, art and history. Here are the 5 museums on the island:

Altes Museum

The Altes Museum (“Old Museum”) features an impressive collection of classical antiquities with a special focus on Ancient Greece and Rome. This includes bronze, clay and stone sculptures, coin collection from the 7th century, jewelry and vases made of gold, and Roman portraits and tombs.

Alte Nationalgalerie

The Alte Nationalgalerie features art collections from the 19th century onwards. It houses over 3,000 paintings and sculptures of different art movements like realism and impressionism, with works from famous artists like Monet and Renoir. 

Bode Museum

The Bode Museum is housed in a Baroque building and is home to a large and unique sculpture collection as well as sacred Byzantine art. The sculptures date back to the Middle Ages to the 18th centuries. Aside from Byzantine art, the museum is also known for its well-preserved Byzantine coin and medals collection.

Neues Museum

Neues Museum

The Neues Museum (“New Museum”) is actually home to some of the oldest archaeological findings in the world. The collections feature items from prehistory from the Stone Age, the Golden Age and the Bronze Age as well as artifacts from ancient Egypt, the most famous one being the bust of Nefertiti. 

Pergamon Museum

The Pergamon Museum is home to magnificent items from the ancient world. Journey into the past by visiting the Pergamon Altar, a monumental construction from the 2nd century BC and the Market Gate of Miletus, a large marble monument built in the 2nd century AD. You can also admire beautiful artwork and cultural artifacts from the Museum of Islamic Art here.

  • Public transportation stop:  U-bahn: Friedrichstraße / S-bahn: Friedrichstraße or Hackescher Markt
  • Museum Pass or Museum Island Pass: you get free entry to all 5 museums with either pass
  • Berlin Welcome Card: Free entry with All Inclusive and Museum Island
  • Book online: If you’d like a skip-the-line ticket and expert-led tour of the Pergamon and New Museum, plus a Museum Island Pass, book this ticket online.
  • If you just want to book tickets for an individual museum, book a ticket here (timed entry for Alte Nationalgalerie, Neues Museum, Pergamon Museum)
DDR museum

DDR Museum

The DDR Museum, located just across the Berlin Cathedral, gives you a fascinating look into everyday life back in the years of the German Democratic Republic or former East Germany. The interactive exhibits let you sit in an interrogation room, drive an old Trabi, sit on replica furniture, and even try on authentic clothes from that time. Visitors are invited to immerse themselves in the experience to have a better and more critical understanding of this part of Germany’s history. This is a super fun museum!

  • Public transportation stop: U-bahn: Alexanderplatz / S-bahn: Hackescher Markt
  • Museum Pass: Not included
  • Berlin Welcome Card: 25% discount with Basic, free entry with All Inclusive
  • Book regular ticket online (timed entry): Book your skip the line ticket here!

Everyday Life in the DDR Museum (Alltag in der DDR)

If you can’t visit the DDR Museum, or if you’re especially interested in life in the former East Germany, the Everyday Life in the DDR Museum is a fantastic place to visit. And it’s free!

This interactive museum dives into several facets of everyday life in the DDR (GDR) including school, work, grocery shopping, restaurants, vacations, and more. You can even scan a QR code when you enter the museum and listen to their free audio guide as you tour the museum. We really liked this museum and found it a wonderful complement to the DDR Museum.

After touring this museum, explore the Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood or walk to the Mauerpark (Wall Park).

  • Public transportation stop: U-bahn: Eberswalderstrasse
  • Tickets: free admission!
Stasi Museum

Stasi Museum

If you’re interested in the Cold War time period and how the Stasi (East Germany’s secret police) spied on its citizens, the Stasi Museum the perfect museum for you. It’s housed in the former Stasi building! Inside you can explore 3 floors of exhibit and walk through actual offices and meeting rooms used by the Stasi. They offer an audio tour and expert-guided tours but you can also explore at your own pace.

  • Public transportation stop: U-bahn: Magdalenenstrasse
  • Museum Pass: Not included
  • Berlin Welcome Card: 25% discount with Basic, free entry with All Inclusive
  • Book regular ticket online (timed entry): Book a ticket here!
German Spy Museum

German Spy Museum (Deutsches Spionagemuseum)

Want to know more about spy craft throughout history in Germany and beyond? If so, this interactive museum deserves a spot on your itinerary. There are several interactive exhibits kids will love, so it’s a fun family destination. While you can get tickets at the door – if they’re available – it’s better to book online so you can skip the line (that’s what we did).

  • Public transportation stop: Potsdamer Platz
  • Museum Pass: Free entry
  • Berlin Welcome Card: 25% discount with Basic, free entry with All Inclusive
  • Book regular ticket online (timed entry): Book a flexible entry ticket here!
Berlinische Galerie

Berlinische Galerie

The Berlinische Galerie showcases art from classical modernism, expressionism, Dadaism and a special focus on avant-garde European art. Works encompass all sorts of media from photography, painting, installation, architecture, and digital art. The museum is also an important cultural center for concerts, lectures and talks featuring international artists.

  • Public transportation stop: U-bahn: Hallesches Tor, Kochstraße or Moritzplatz
  • Museum Pass: Free entry
  • Berlin Welcome Card: 37.5% discount with Basic and All Inclusive
  • Book regular ticket online: Book your skip the line ticket here!
German Historical Museum

Deutsches Historisches Museum (German Historical Museum)

The Deutsches Historisches Museum is one of the best places to learn all about the history of Germany. The permanent exhibition in the historic Zeughaus building showcases thousands of historical artifacts from medieval armors, embroidered uniforms, election posters, and even an original piece of the Berlin Wall. On the other hand, special temporary exhibitions on current political and social developments can be found in the modern Pei Building. 

Note: As of December 2022, the Zeughaus building is closed until further notice.

  • Public transportation stop: U-bahn: Museumsinsel
  • Museum Pass: Free entry
  • Berlin Welcome Card: 25% discount with Basic, free entry with All Inclusive
  • Book regular ticket online (timed entry): Deutsches Historisches Museum Official Website
Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin (German Museum of Technology)

Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin (German Museum of Technology)

For any fans of science and tech, the Deutsches Technikmuseum is one of the best Berlin museums. The interactive exhibits take you from early history achievements in aircrafts and locomotives to modern developments in computers and communication technology. The museum takes on a hands-on, activity-oriented approach so if you’re traveling with children make sure to check out their programmes of presentations and guided group workshops too!

Hamburger Bahnhof Berlin

Hamburger Bahnhof (Museum of Contemporary Art)

Hamburger Bahnhof is located in a former train station and is a vibrant center of the German capital’s contemporary art scene. The train station used to be a railway museum until the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation agreed to operate the museum as part of the Nationalgalerie. Aside from paintings, you’ll see everything from sculptures, photography, object art, and video and film art. It’s also home to must-see artworks from iconic artists like Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Joseph Beuys. 

  • Public transportation stop: U-bahn/S-bahn: Hauptbahnhof
  • Museum Pass: Free entry
  • Berlin Welcome Card: Free entry with All Inclusive
  • Book regular ticket online: Book your skip the line ticket here!

Humboldt Forum

Humboldt Forum is one of the newest museums in Berlin having opened to the public in 2021. The new cultural center combined two institutions, the Ethnological Museum of Berlin and the Museum of Asian Art, into one. It showcases important collections from other cultures of Africa, America, Asia, and Oceania. The museum also has a research laboratory that hosts workshops and events that cover global problems and challenges.

  • Public transportation stop: U-bahn: Museumsinsel or Rotes Rathaus / S-bahn: Alexanderplatz or Friedrichstraße
  • Museum Pass: Free entry to special exhibitions
  • Berlin Welcome Card: Not included
  • Book regular ticket online (timed entry): Humboldt Forum Official Website
Jewish Museum Berlin

Jüdisches Museum (Jewish Museum Berlin)

The Jewish Museum is one of the largest museums dedicated to German-Jewish history and culture. The architecture of the museum itself, designed by Daniel Libeskind, is worth visiting and full of meaning. Inside, German-Jewish history is documented through several exhibitions discussing not only World War II but beyond. Some Noteworthy areas are The Memory Void, Holocaust Tower, and Shalekhet (Fallen Leaves). The permanent exhibition is always free of charge.

  • Public transportation stop: U-bahn: Hallesches Tor or Kochstraße
  • Museum Pass: Free entry to special exhibitions
  • Berlin Welcome Card: 25% discount to special exhibitions with Basic and All Inclusive
  • Book regular ticket online (timed entry): Book your skip the line ticket here!

Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts)

The exhibitions at Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts) are the perfect intersection of art, fashion, and design. It houses world-famous displays of European arts and crafts such as relics made of gold and silver, jewelry, porcelain, furniture, tapestry, costumes, and embroidered textiles. These items cover different periods and styles from the Middle Ages to Art Nouveau and give a unique glimpse of the everyday items used back then.

  • Public transportation stop: U-bahn/S-bahn: Potsdamer Platz
  • Museum Pass: Free entry
  • Berlin Welcome Card: 25% discount with Basic and All Inclusive
  • Book regular ticket online: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Official Website
Museum Für Naturkunde (Natural History Museum)

Museum Für Naturkunde (Natural History Museum)

Museum Für Naturkunde (Museum of Natural History) showcases the development and evolution of the world through its interesting exhibitions covering everything from the world of dinosaurs, the solar system, minerals, native animals, and evolution. It’s one of the best museums to visit if you’re traveling with children since it’s both fun and educational. Some highlights include the world’s largest dinosaur skeleton and one of the best preserved skeletal specimens of a T-rex.

  • Public transportation stop: U-bahn: Naturkundemuseum / S-bahn: Hauptbahnhof or Nordbahnhof
  • Museum Pass: Free entry
  • Berlin Welcome Card: 37.5% discount with Basic, 38% discount with All Inclusive
  • Book regular ticket online (timed entry): Book your skip the line ticket here!
Neue Nationalgalerie

Neue Nationalgalerie

Neue Nationalgalerie is a must-visit for lovers of contemporary and modern art. The striking modern museum building opened again recently in 2021 after extensive renovations. The light-filled upper level terrace provides the perfect space for special exhibitions featuring large-scale sculptures. Meanwhile, the lower level houses themed shows and the museum’s permanent collection which features 20th century artists like Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and more.

 Topography of Terror

Topography of Terror

The Topography of Terror is one of the most visited memorials and place of remembrance in Berlin, with over a million visitors each year. This free museum is located on the site of the former Nazi Gestapo headquarters and makes for one of a dark, but educational visit. The permanent exhibitions teach visitors through photographs and old documents about the crimes that took place in the site during the Nazi regime. You can also find here the longest surviving section of the Berlin Wall in the center of Berlin.

  • Public transportation stop: U-bahn: Potsdamer Platz or Kochstraße / S-bahn: Potsdamer Platz or Anhalter Bahnhof
  • Free admission for all
musical instruments museum

Music Instrument Museum

Located in the Berlin Philharmonic, the Museum of Musical Instruments boasts of a collection of over 3,300 European musical instruments from 16th to the 21st century. A great majority of them have been well-preserved and can even be played today. One of the most unique highlights of this museum is the Naumburger wind instrument collection, a rare set of instruments which belonged to a group of traveling pipers in the early 17th century.

  • Public transportation stop: U-bahn/S-bahn: Potsdamer Platz
  • Museum Pass: Free entry
  • Berlin Welcome Card: Not included
  • Book regular ticket online: Get tickets here!

Düppel Medieval Open Air Museum

This is a fun “museum” the whole family will enjoy! Located in the Berlin suburbs, you could easily spend an entire day wandering around the beautiful Düppel grounds learning about life in the Middle Ages. It’s a hands-on museum so you can pet farm animals, roast Stockbrot (bread on a stick) over an open fire, and observe how people dressed in authentic medieval clothes spin yarn, dye fabric, and more. It’s a lot of fun!

  • Public transportation stop: S-bahn: Zehlendorf or Mexikoplatz
  • Museum Pass: Not included
  • Berlin Welcome Card: Not included
  • Book regular ticket online (timed entry): Book tickets here!

What Kind of Tickets or Museum Pass to Get?

Should you get a Berlin Museum Pass, Museum Island Pass or a Berlin Welcome Card? Or should you simply buy individual tickets? There are so many options it will make your head spin. It just comes down to how many museums you want to visit. Let’s look at each option.

How to Visit Museums for FREE!

Before you book any tickets, be sure to check the calendar because if you’re in Berlin on the 1st Sunday of the month, you can visit many of the museums in this list for free!

Single Museum Ticket

If you only want to visit a couple museums, and don’t need the other benefits of the Berlin Welcome card (like public transportation) just buy one or more individual tickets. Note that many museums now require timed entry, so be sure to book tickets in advance so you can get your preferred day and time.

Berlin Museum Pass

The Berlin Museum Pass gives you free entry to over 30 exhibitions and museums for 3 consecutive days. It includes Museum Island and a number of museums which you can find here.

Can you see 30 museums in 3 days? Nope! But with some planning you could probably see 6-9 museums. More if you want to speed through them. If you hit up the right combo of museums, you’ll save money by day 2.

When we were last in Berlin we got Aaron this museum pass so he could visit several museums I’d already been to. Since he had 3 days he could devote to museums, this pass worked out well. And it paid for itself by the second day.

For a majority of the museums, you need to book a timed entry (a specific day and time), which you can easily book when you purchase the pass or later for free on each museum’s website.

I highly recommend checking prices of the museums you’d like to visit and which days/times are available for the timed-entry museums, and then creating a schedule on paper. Be sure to factor in travel time between museums and enough time to get a snack, lunch, etc. This way you can be sure you’ll get your money’s worth out of the pass and that you’ll be able to get a timed entry for your desired days and times.

It took me a bit to figure out a schedule that would work but we did save a good amount of money with the pass and Aaron enjoyed visiting the museums!

To save money on entrance tickets, buy the Berlin Museum Pass here.

Berlin Museum Island Pass

If you just want to focus on the 5 museums on the museum island, this could be a good option. You can get a 1-day Museum Island Pass here.

If you’d prefer to have a guided tour, check out this skip the line ticket that includes an expert-guided tour of the Pergamon and New Museum plus a Museum Island Pass.

Berlin Welcome Card

The Berlin Welcome Card is Berlin’s official tourist ticket that gives you free access to public transportation, discounts to tourist attractions, and free entry to many museums. You can choose from different packages and durations depending on what you need. For more information on the Berlin Welcome card click here.

  • Berlin Welcome Card Basic: Includes public transport in zone AB and discounts to various tourist attractions
  • Berlin Welcome Card All Inclusive: Includes public transport (but can be optional), discounts and free entrance to various tourist attractions, and 1 day hop-on hop-off bus tour
  • Berlin Welcome Card Museum Island: Includes public transport, discounts to various tourist attractions, and free entry to one museum on Museum Island per day

The Berlin Welcome Card might work for you…and it might not. As with the Berlin Museum Pass above, check prices of the museums you want to visit and compare to the Welcome Card options.

Museum Pass vs Berlin Welcome Card Overview

MuseumBerlin Museum PassBerlin Welcome Card
Altes MuseumFree entryFree entry (All Inclusive/Museum Island)
Alte NationalgalerieFree entryFree entry (All Inclusive/Museum Island)
Bode MuseumFree entryFree entry (All Inclusive/Museum Island)
Neues MuseumFree entryFree entry (All Inclusive/Museum Island)
Pergamon MuseumFree entryFree entry (All Inclusive/Museum Island)
Berlinische GalerieFree entry37.5% off (Basic/All Inclusive)
DDR MuseumNot included25% off (Basic), free entry (All Inclusive)
German Historical MuseumFree entry25% off (Basic), free entry (All Inclusive)
German Museum of TechnologyFree entry37.5% off (Basic/All Inclusive)
Hamburger BahnhofFree entryFree entry (All Inclusive)
Humboldt ForumFree entryNot included
Jewish Museum BerlinFree entry25% off (Basic/All Inclusive)
KunstgewerbemuseumFree entry25% off (Basic/All Inclusive)
Natural History MuseumFree entry37.5% off (Basic), 38% (All Inclusive)
Neue NationalgalerieFree entryNot included
Topography of TerrorFree entry for allFree entry for all
Image of Best Museums in Berlin guide

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