Museum Island – Where Culture and History Come Alive

Journey through 6000 years of human history at Museum Island (German: Museumsinsel).

Museum Island and Alexanderplatz
Museum Island and Alexanderplatz

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

Museum Island and Alexanderplatz
Museum Island and Alexanderplatz

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.


Pergamon Museum - Ishtar Gate
Pergamon Museum – Ishtar Gate

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.

But, you can view Ishtar Gate of Babylon, Roman Market Gate of Miletus, along with Ancient Near East and Islamic Art Collections.

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)

Altes Museum with Lustgarten Park
Altes Museum with Lustgarten Park

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


Bode Museum
Bode Museum

At first glance, Bode-Museum looks more like an European palace.

Inside is the sculpture collection ranging from medieval to early modern period, in addition to Byzantine Art.

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)

Neues Museum
Neues 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)

Alte Nationalgalerie
Alte Nationalgalerie

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

Other Landmarks

Berlin Cathedral
Berlin Cathedral

If you’re not really a museum person, there is the famous Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom) with a large Hohenzollern Crypt to explore.

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.

TripAdvisor (Berlin Cathedral): 4.5/5 Stars
TripAdvisor (Lustgarten): 4/5 Stars

Transport, Ticket and More

Getting There

Located between Brandenburg Gate and Alexanderplatz, the island is easily accessible.

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.

Opening Hours

While Pergamon and Neues museums are open on all days from 10am to 6pm, the others are closed on Mondays. On Thursdays, visiting hours are extended to 8pm.

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.

Berlin Welcome Card (72h + Museum Island) or Museum Pass Berlin allows you to visit these museums over three consecutive days.

Useful Tips

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!

What do you think?

Written by Patrick Tan

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