Top Berlin museums

Best Berlin museums

Dramatic history and gritty modernity combine in this most untamed of European capitals. Energetic and irreverent, Berlin is a welcoming, exciting city where the speed of change over the past few decades has been astounding. With a long history of decadence and cultural dynamism, the revived national capital has become a magnet for artists and musicians - and is host to a wide selection of fantastic museums.

  1. Learn about the fascinating history of the Berlin Wall
  2. Explore the Jewish Museum in Berlin
  3. Visit the excellent Kulturforum
  4. Discover the world of art in Berlin
  5. See more history in Berlin’s museums
  6. Learn even more about Germany’s history

Culturally, it has some of the most important archeological collections in Europe, as well as an impressive range of museums. Berlin museums are a fascinating insight into the history of this exciting city. If you’re searching for Berlin holidays, take a look through our terrific options.

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1. Learn about the fascinating history of the Berlin Wall

It’s nearly three decades since the Berlin Wall came down, and much of its course is marked by a double row of cobblestones, with information panels at key points, it’s like an outdoor museum. There are also several stretches preserved as memorials to those who died trying to cross it. Immediately east of Potsdamer Platz, a sizeable, crumbling section of Wall runs along Niederkirchnerstraße, beside the captivating Topography of Terror, an exhibition on the former site of the Gestapo and SS headquarters which documents their chilling histories. To the east, Niederkirchnerstraße meets Friedrichstraße at the site of the Wall’s most infamous crossing, Checkpoint Charlie. Here, along with a reconstruction of the US checkpoint booth, is a fascinating open-air display on the Wall’s history. The most rewarding section of Wall can be seen at Bernauer Strasse, just north of Mitte, where a short stretch has been preserved as the Berlin Wall Memorial.

Where?: Topography of Terror, Niederkirchnerstraße 8

Opening times: Topography of Terror daily 10am–8pm

2. Explore the Jewish Museum in Berlin

Daniel Libeskind’s striking zinc-skinned Jewish Museum (Jüdisches Museum), is part museum, part memorial. Its lower ground level is Libeskind’s reflection on three strands of the Jewish experience in Berlin - exile, Holocaust and continuity - and is a disorientating but compelling experience. On the upper two floors, a more conventional exhibition documents the culture, achievements and history of Berlin’s Jewish community.

Where?: Lindenstraße 9-14

Opening times: Daily 10am-8pm

3. Visit the excellent Kulturforum

Just west of Potsdamer Platz lies the Kulturforum, a gathering of museums centred on the unmissable Gemäldegalerie, with its world-class collection of old masters. The inter-connected building to the north houses the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts), a sparkling collection of European arts and crafts. Art museums in Berlin don’t get much better than this.

Where?: Matthäikirchplatz

Opening times: Gemäldegalerie: Tues, Wed & Fri 10am-6pm, Thurs 10am-8pm, Sat & Sun 11am-6pm

4. Discover the world of art in Berlin

lf you’re looking for art, Berlin is just the place for you. The Alte Nationalgalerie houses a collection of nineteenth-century European art, while at the island’s northern tip the beautifully restored Bode-Museum displays Byzantine art and medieval to eighteenth-century sculpture.

Where?: Alte Nationalgalerie Bodestraße 1-3

Opening times: Alte Nationalgalerie: Tues, Wed & Fri-Sun 10am-6pm, Thurs 10am-8pm

5. See more history in Berlin’s museums

After seeing the Berliner Dom, the city’s grandest church, take a look in the area at the fantastic museums on offer. The Altes Museum focuses on Greek and Roman antiquities, while the Neues Museum houses the city’s impressive Egyptian collection with Berlin’s single most famous exhibit - a 3,300-year-old bust of Nefertiti.

Where?: Bodestraße 1-3

Opening times: The Altes Museum Tues, Wed & Fri-Sun 10am-6pm, Thurs 10am-8pm

6. Learn even more about Germany’s history

The excellent Deutsches Historisches Museum (German History Museum) covers two thousand years of German history. It presents everything in imaginative displays that often focus on social history, making good use of the vast selection of artefacts in the collection: from a seventeenth-century Turkish tent taken during the siege of Vienna, to parallel displays of life in 1950s East and West Berlin. This is one of the best museums in Berlin, for sure.

Where?: Unter den Linden 2

Opening times: Daily 10am-6pm

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