Your Berlin trip is incomplete without a visit to Museum Island, where culture, architecture and art have come together to create a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Magnificent, outstanding, impressive!
This is how visitors describe the island complex on river Spree that houses five renowned museums among other landmarks.
Famous Five On An Island
A storehouse of knowledge devised by Prussian ruler, Friedrich Wilhelm II, has become something much more – a showcase of historical artefacts and artwork from around the globe.
Altes Museum was the first to open to the public in 1830, with the remaining 4 – Pergamon, Bode, Neues & Alte Nationalgalerie taking another 100 years to complete.
The museums are frequently renovated, and the latest changes include a single-entry point, James-Simon Gallery that opens this year (2018). The Archaeological Promenade when finished will connect these buildings at the basement.
This popular museum alone, attracts around one million guests annually. You’ll find sculptures, monuments and artwork from ancient Babylon, Near East, Rome and Greece.
Regrettably, the north wing is closed for renovations until 2023, including the amazing Pergamon Altar, and Hellenistic Art section.
Extra tip: If you’ve only a day to spare, visit this museum to admire the cradle of civilisation architecture.
TripAdvisor (Pergamon Museum): 4.5/5 Stars
Altes Museum (Old Museum)
Be prepared to be mesmerised by the Graniteschale, a 70-tonne and 23-feet high, red granite bowl installed outside.
The Greek-inspired building resembles the Pantheon (Rome) with its tall columns, atrium and rotunda.
Initially built to house the royal treasures, Altes Museum is now home to Roman and Greek antiquities and sculptures.
Extra tip: Don’t miss the Etruscan art collection, or busts of Cleopatra VII and Julius Caesar.
TripAdvisor (Altes Museum): 4/5 Stars
At first glance, Bode-Museum looks more like an European palace.
Coin collectors among you will end up admiring the Numismatic Collection.
Extra tip: Visit on weekends to see the Gobelins tapestry room.
TripAdvisor (Bode Museum): 4/5 Stars
Neues Museum (New Museum)
Nearly destroyed during WW2, the Neues museum focuses on pre & early historic, Asian, European and Egyptian cultures.
It’s major claim to fame is the prized bust of queen Nefertiti. Whet your appetite for pharaohs and mummies here.
Extra tip: ‘Odin, Urns and Looted Art‘ room with its Nordic mythology based wall paintings is worth a look for Thor fans.
TripAdvisor (Neues Museum): 4.5/5 Stars
Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery)
Another Greek-inspired structure, the design resembles Acropolis of Athens.
Devoted to exquisite sculpture and painting, Alte Nationalgalerie covers masterpieces from neo-classical to early modern period.
A haven for art lovers with works by renowned artists covering Classicism, Romanticism, Biedermeier, Impressionism and Modernism.
TripAdvisor (Alte Nationalgalerie): 4.5/5 Stars
Or relax at Lustgarten, the park in front of the Berliner Dom.
You can also check out Neuer Marstall, the former royal stables turned music academy and library.
Transport, Ticket and More
From the S-Bahn stop – Hackescher Markt, it’s a 15-min walk to the site. Buses (100 & 200) halt at Lustgarten, whereas Trams (M1 & 12) stop at Kupfergraben, 5 minutes away.
Entry is restricted 30 minutes to one hour before the closing time.
To beat the summer rush, book your tickets online (in German). Buy a day pass for €18 (about S$30), as the entry fee per museum is around €10-12.
Audio guides (included in your ticket) in English help you enjoy the collections, while museum cafes satisfy your hunger pangs.
Don’t bring along any travel luggage and use cloakrooms to store your backpacks.
Although the collections are enormous, and you can’t see everything on this trip, Museum Island is one must-do item on your itinerary!