Berlin is a great place to visit for its impressive list of museums. Each Berlin museum hosts a wide range of arts and items, with classical antiquities, art, and even some about the world wars. There are even a few free museums in Berlin!
We’ve compiled a list of the best Berlin museums to visit for a memorable trip in Germany. Each of these has unique exhibitions and collections that all can enjoy. Also, don’t forget to check out our full travel guide on Berlin to help you make the most of the city.
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Table of Contents
- Best Museums in Berlin to visit
- 1. DDR Museum
- 2. Jewish Museum Berlin
- 3. East Side Gallery
- 4. Neues Museum at Museum Island
- 5. The Hamburger Bahnhof
- 6. Altes Museum
- 7. Alte Nationalgalerie
- 8. Museum für Fotografie
- 9. Bode Museum at Museum Island
- 10. German Museum of Technology
- 11. Allied Museum
- 12. Märkisches Museum
- 13. German Historical Museum
- 14. Pergamon Museum
- 15. Museum for Communication
- 16. DESIGNPANOPTIKUM
- 17. Military History Museum – Airport Berlin-Gatow
- 18. Topography of Terror
- 19. German-Russian Museum
- 20. Museum at the Kulturbrauerei
- 21. German Spy Museum
- 22. Bröhan Museum
- 23. Museum of Decorative Arts
- Final Thoughts
Best Museums in Berlin to visit
Before you dive in, make sure to purchase the Berlin Museum Pass. All the state-operated museums are included in the Berlin Museum Pass, so you are sure to get a return on investment! It will also help you save time by skipping the ticket line.
1. DDR Museum
Address: Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 1, 10178
The DDR Museum is located in the city center, just opposite the Berlin Cathedral. Of all the museums on this list, make sure to stop here. The DDR Museum offers interactive exhibits to portray what life was like in the old East Berlin (formerly known as Deutsche Demokratische Republik, hence the name DDR).
This is the best place to learn about “Ostalgie”.
The exhibitions include articles, virtual reality, art, and actual pieces of items from people’s homes. There is even documentation on diets and health at that time. There is even a statue of a covert listening device, which tells visitors that they are under surveillance.
There are three areas: the “Life in a Tower Block” area, the “State and Ideology” area, and the “Public Life” area. These areas, all for themselves, represent the negative and positive sides of old East Germany, made visible through the exhibitions they display.
Other exhibits here teach about fashion, border control, work, consumption, construction, education, free time, environment, party, economy, state, army, brother states, wall, opposition, and authority. You can buy tickets online here.
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2. Jewish Museum Berlin
Address: Lindenstraße 9-14, 10969
The Jewish Museum Berlin (aka Jüdisches Museum) is the largest European Jewish museum. It portrays the Jewish history in Germany beginning from the Middle Ages up until the present age. They also offer exhibitions on Jewish life in the country.
The Jewish Museum is popular, over twelve million guests have visited since its opening year in 2001. This makes it one of the most visited in Germany – buy your tickets here in advance to skip the line! It was also designed by Daniel Libeskind, the unique architecture is worth a visit to see.
The German-Jewish history here is documented through several exhibitions. While they discuss World War II, there is so much more to the German-Jewish history to discover. History buffs will love learning about the turmoiled history here, making it one of the best Berlin museums to visit.
Nearby is the W. Michael Blumenthal Academy of the Jewish Museum, also designed by Daniel Libeskind. Located in this academy are resources referencing the Jewish Museum such as archives, a library, the museum education department, the Diaspora Garden, and a lecture hall.
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3. East Side Gallery
One of the most popular museums is the East Side Gallery, which is free to visit. Located in East Berlin, the Gallery is a series of art pieces painted on the longest piece of the former Berlin Wall that is still standing.
After the Berlin Wall came down, a series of artists painted the wall which became protected just a year later. This open-air gallery is a great spot to visit on a walking tour and take pictures.
One of the most famous art pieces is Dmitri Vrubel’s Fraternal Kiss, another is Birgit Kinder’s Trabant car breaking through the wall. If you want to see a piece of the former Berlin Wall and contemporary art, this spot checks the box.
Several guided tours walk buy this Berlin wall memorial to teach about contemporary art. You might be able to listen in on a tour!
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4. Neues Museum at Museum Island
Address: Bodestraße 1-3, 10178
The Neues Museum is a UNESCO World Heritage site that was built in the mid-1800s. Its extraordinary architecture resembles the Renaissance and is a marvel just to see the exterior!
The Neues Museum was destroyed during the second world war and the decay in East Germany. Today, a world-class collection resides inside the ornate interiors.
The museum houses the Agyptisches Museum, the Papyrussammlung, the Museum für Vorund Frühgeschichte, and parts of the Antikensammlung.
The exhibits displayed in the museum include the artifacts from the ancient world like ancient Egypt and Prehistory and Early History Collections. One example is an artifact from the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti.
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5. The Hamburger Bahnhof
The Hamburger Bahnhof Museum of Contemporary Art is one of the largest contemporary art museums in the world. And it is located inside a former train station, or old tram depot, that connected Berlin to Hamburg.
This impressive museum prides itself on a unique collection featuring contemporary artists like Andy Warhol.
You can buy your tickets in advance online (10 Euro for adults). Also, check out the gift shop. They have a lot of cool books about the Hamburger Bahnhof and the artists they present.
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6. Altes Museum
Address: Bodestraße 1-3, 10178
The Altes Museum is home to a collection of antiquities from around the world. Here you can see ancient artifacts and the largest collection of Etruscan art outside of Italy.
The Altes collection includes an impressive coin collection from the 7th Century to Rome. There’s also a large collection of statutes, jewelry, and vases spanning thousands of years.
The Altes also shares an exhibition with the Neues and the Pergamonmuseum. This collection of museums is interconnected but each is unique. Make sure to visit them all!
7. Alte Nationalgalerie
Address: Bodestraße 1-3, 10178
The Alte Nationalgalerie, or Old National Gallery, is one of the best Berlin museums to visit. It is located on the island and houses a collection of over 3,000 paintings and sculptures. But their collections are historical – they only add to it on rare occasions.
Here you can see sculptures and a large collection of Impressionist paintings. They also have a broad collection of German paintings and other European countries.
8. Museum für Fotografie
Address: Jebensstraße 2, 10623
Translated in English to the Museum of Photography, this is located in the Charlottenburg district of Berlin, nearest to the Zoologischer Garten S-Bahn station.
It is owned by the State and is administered by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation. It occupies a building built in 1909, in a former mess of Landwehr (home guard/national guard) officers.
It opened to the public in 2004 and has two organizations exhibiting their photography works in it. The ground and first floors are occupied with exhibits from the Helmut Newton Foundation; such exhibits include a series of Newton’s nudes.
The second floor has exhibits from The Art Library. He donated photographs of Newton to the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in 2003, which had formed groups upon which the Helmut Newton Foundation was established.
There’s always a rotation in the exhibition on the ground floor. On the second floor, temporary exhibitions are displayed. The photography displayed ranges from retrospectives to works by promising talents. For lovers of the art of photography, this is one of many Berlin museums to put on your list.
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9. Bode Museum at Museum Island
Address: Am Kupfergraben, 10117
The Bode Museum was formerly known as the Kaiser-Friedrich, named after an emperor. It was renamed in 1956 to honor its first curator, Wilhelm von Bode.
Another spot on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list, the Bode Museum is a Baroque structure that took several years to build.
The Bode mixes varying forms of collections such as sculpture collections, Byzantine art, and coins and medals. It is among the best places to visit in Germany.
Such a mixture of collections could be seen on the first floor, which keeps chronological and geographical exhibits, the Byzantine art and Gothic art of northern and southern Europe. On the second floor are Renaissance and Baroque art forms.
It also houses artwork of the Christian Orient, sculptures of the Middle Ages, the Early Renaissance, and the Italian Gothic school. Purchased your ticket in advance to save time ad avoid long lines.
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10. German Museum of Technology
Address: Trebbiner Str. 9, 10963
The German Museum of Technology (GMT), or Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin, is one of the best museums in Berlin for transportation and technology fans. The GMT concerns science and technology and is a great spot to learn about the history of technology. They have daily demonstrations, guided tours, and hands-on activities.
The GMT was established in 1982 and originally meant to display rail transport exhibits. But over the years, it began to display sorts of industrial technology. Today the exhibitions include maritime and aviation exhibitions as well as air and rail.
There is also a science center with the name Spectrum. You can also see exhibits from locomotives, aircraft, shipping, railways, automobile, film technology, and computer.
It also has two windmills, one German and the other Dutch. The museum also includes a brewery and a water wheel-powered forge.
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11. Allied Museum
Address: Clayallee 135, 14195
The Allied, or Alliierten, is a political and military history museum.
Collections here typically portray political history exhibits, military commitments, and the roles of the Western Allies (particularly Berlin) between 1945 to 1994, including their role in ensuring Berlin’s liberty over the Cold War Era. Here you can even see documents of the European Advisory Commission’s early period of partition plans.
The Allied stands on Clayallee, an arterial road that got its name from General Lucius D. Clay, a one-time senior officer of the United States, known for his administration of occupied Germany after World War II. It opened in 1998 with an inauguration ceremony to celebrate the Berlin airlift’s 50th anniversary.
One exhibit you must see is the former film theatre constructed in 1953, which is home to a collection of Berlin maps, military uniforms, photos of Red Army forces on the march to Berlin, CARE packages (Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe), the first postwar Berlin newspaper editions, and much more.
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12. Märkisches Museum
Address: Am Köllnischen Park 5, 10179
The Märkisches Museum, or Museum Knoblauchhaus, opened in the year 1874 and is the main facility of the City of Berlin Museum Foundation. The Märkisches happens to be Berlin’s first museum to be totally free of Prussian ownership.
The inspiration for the Märkisches came from the need to preserve items that had been lost in Berlin. It was a product of donations from foundations and individuals, originally budgeted at 2,000 Goldmarks.
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13. German Historical Museum
Address: Unter den Linden 2, 10117
The German Historical Museum, or Deutsches Historisches (DHM), is devoted to German history, making it perfect for the German capital.
There are over 6,000 artifacts here to represent German history from every era. Different collections displayed here range from everyday life culture to old and valuable prints, to documents, and picture archives.
It is considered one of Berlin’s most important museums and welcomes millions of visitors. They also have a research facility focused on the history of Germany.
14. Pergamon Museum
Address: Bodestraße 1-3, 10178
The Pergamon Museum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located on Museum Island built in the early 1900s.
During WWII, the Red Army took away all the loose items of the Pergamon Museum in 1945, and a major return was done in 1958 – although the items are still not completely returned.
The impressive collection here includes sculptures from the archaic to Hellenistic ages as well as Greek and Roman artwork antiquity such as architecture, inscriptions, sculptures, mosaics, jewelry, bronzes, and pottery.
While at the Pergamon, visit the Antikensammlung, including the famous Pergamon Altar, the Vorderasiatisches, and the Museum für Islamische Kunst. There is also a small cafe where you can refuel.
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15. Museum for Communication
Address: Leipziger Str. 16, 10117
Come to Berlin to visit the world’s oldest postal museum! It was founded by a German postmaster in the late 1800s who wanted to collect, document, and display communications and ways of transporting communications from around the world.
The building itself has a crazy history, having been nearly completely destroyed than refurbished. Today, it has an impressive collection of stamps throughout history. It even houses the world’s most famous stamp – the Blue Mauritius.
They also display different forms of communication throughout history. “From an axe to smartphone” the museum shows visitors how communication has evolved over time.
This may be one of the more unique Berlin museums, but it is well worth a visit. Admission is free on the first Sunday of the month and always free for those under 17!
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Address: Poststraße 7, 10178
The Designpanoptikum collection consists of surreal industrial objects, ranging from a large collection of technological objects collected by Vlad Korneev. This is a great spot for kids and adults looking for an interactive experience.
The museum houses exhibits from various fields such as medicine, sports, aviation, film, construction, and manufacturing. Here you will experience exhibits differently than what you’d expect, you won’t find details and descriptions like your typical museum exhibition. This museum takes a unique approach to its displays. The focus is on the object’s interactions and operational modes.
As an exercise, visitors are often encouraged to decipher the uses of some of these objects and interact with them -including touching them. Notable works on display include a photo gallery of film projectors from Zeiss Ikon, a plate camera, an iron lung, and an ejection seat of Martin-Baker.
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17. Military History Museum – Airport Berlin-Gatow
Address: Am Flugplatz Gatow 33, 14089
The Military History Museum – airport Berlin-Gatow, is the Berlin branch of the Bundeswehr Military History Museum. It was founded in the year 1995.
However, its history can be traced down to 1957 as the year when the idea of such a place was conceived, during the period when Helmut Jaeckel, an ex-government official, started gathering collections of Wehrmacht soldiers and showcasing them at the Uetersen Airfield.
Here you can see representations of the military history, especially the German Air Force post-war. The vast range of over two hundred thousand items of such collections, comprising one hundred and fifty-five airplanes, thirty thousand books, and five thousand military uniforms.
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18. Topography of Terror
Address: Niederkirchnerstraße 8, 10963
The Topography of Terror (Topographie des Terrors) is located on the site of the former headquarters of the Nazi Gestapo – the loathed secret police arm of the SS. This museum document the history of terror during the murderous Nazi regime.
Here you will get a fascinating look at the psychological torture that occurred in an interrogation room. You can also see the cells where people were tortured and killed, as well as learn about the different methods of torture that were used.
This is one of the top museums to visit to learn about the darker side of German history. It is not for the faint of heart, but it is very educational.
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19. German-Russian Museum
Address: Zwieseler Str. 4, 10318
The German-Russian Museum is dedicated to German-Soviet and German-Russian relations.
It represents German-Soviet relations from the year 1917 up until 1990. The exhibition’s major focus is on the German-Soviet War 1941-1945, the political background, the hostile stereotypes and propaganda, and the soldiers’ and civilians’ everyday life during the war. In the surrender room, a film shows the signing of the Act of Surrender in 1945.
Monuments from the Soviet times and the soldiers’ original exhibition can be seen here. Items collected include objects from the Central Museum of Armed Forces Moscow as well as objects from Europe.
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20. Museum at the Kulturbrauerei
Address: Knaackstraße 97, 10435
Looking for free admission? The Museum in the Kulturbrauerei is focuses on contemporary German history and is free for all. There is even a free audio guide.
The permanent exhibition portrays the daily life of folks in the German Democratic Republic during the Cold War including the complex tensions that exist between the living true living conditions of the people of the German Democratic Republic and the expectations of the political system.
Products, posters, photographs, archive materials, etc., are displayed in the Industrial Design Collection section.
There are over 800 items, 200 documents, and several recordings and films to show real-life during a time of a divided city.
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21. German Spy Museum
Address: Leipziger Pl. 9, 10117
The German Spy Museum is a privately owned spy museum by a journalist. Here you can dive deep into the history of spies and espionage from all eras of German history.
Using one thousand different artifacts and exhibits, you can learn about spies during World War I and II, and the Cold War, cryptology, listening devices, spy cameras, animals used as spies (even pigeons), double agents, espionage in movies, conspiracy theories and espionage, secret services, and assassinating people with poison!
Exhibits are arranged chronologically, providing for a physical timeline so you can see the development over the ages. Get your tickets in advance to start spying early!
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22. Bröhan Museum
Address: Schloßstraße 1a, 14059
The Bröhan is dedicated to Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Functionalism. The majority of the art here, including a large collection of porcelain, was donated from a private collection.
Beautiful collections of Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Functionalism, including works from the Berlin Secession, are housed here. Permanent exhibitions in this museum are in constant change.
In addition, the Bröhan Museum hosts several events and educational programs throughout the year. Conference meetings, for example, are held here, dance performances, and concerts.
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23. Museum of Decorative Arts
Address: Matthäikirchplatz, 10785
The Museum of Decorative Arts, also known as the Kunstgewerbemuseum, exhibits decorative arts such as crafts, sculptures, or any other form of artwork patterned very intricately and yet very useful for other purposes.
Here you can view ceramic art, furniture, metalwork, and textile art. The Kunstgewerbemuseum showcases decorative arts of European origin dating from all post-classical periods of art history. These include enamel items, silver items, glass, gold, and porcelain.
We hope this list of the best museums in Berlin helps you plan a fantastic visit filled with art, culture, history, and fun.
Think we’ve missed anything on this list? Have you had any great experiences at any of these museums and galleries? Drop us a line and let us know!