Berlin, with its astonishing history, is unsurprisingly home to a ton of museums – some more emotionally resonant than others, but most of excellent quality. More to the point, since Berlin isn’t exactly a cheap-as-chips city and everyone can do with all the money-saving tips they can use, loads of them are free. Failing that there are some very good-value ones and some ticket deals that can save you a fortune, if museum-viewing is your thing. Below are a few good museum suggestions, a thought or two on multiple entry tickets and an ode to the student card.
Berlin Museums - The Creative, The Cool and the Cheap
Alliierten Museum – The Allied Museum – Entry: FREE! Open daily 10am-6pm except Wednesday
Describing the Allied Forces and their intervention as a “Fairytale ending”, the Allied Museum nonetheless gives a great exhibition of 50 years of the Alliance. But the real draw here is the original entry box from “Checkpoint Charlie”, the border between East and West Germany and the location of which you can still visit in the city.
Topographies des Terrors – Entry: FREE! – Open daily 10am-8pm except major holidays
This popular museum moved to a new building in March 2010, and so has been very recently refurbished and done up. It’s generally accepted as one of those museums that lets you know, often and in excruciating detail, exactly how messed up the Nazis were. But it’s packed with excellent information and furthermore is situated on top of excavated prison cells directly under the Berlin Wall. You can imagine how dark, but fascinating, it is.
The Three Day Museumspass Ticket
Described as the best option for “Museum Addicts”, the "SchauLUST-MuseenBERLIN" ticket is valid for three days and gets you into – wait for it – a staggering sixty-odd museums. Although the ticket doesn’t include entrance into the special exhibitions (you can’t have everything, it seems), it nevertheless includes some great museums. Among the rather extensive list that you can find here are as follows:
The Judisches Museum Berlin – dedicated to Jewish History in Germany – as you can imagine, this is a very moving one, but wonderfully done. Quite apart from covering over two millennia of history, the building itself is a beautiful one, and worth visiting just for that alone. It’s a modern masterpiece, something akin to the Guggenheim in Bilbao, and one of the most significant pieces of architecture in Berlin.
Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung – Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection – Who doesn’t love a good Ancient Egypt exhibition? The world was fascinated by this amazing culture, and Berlin happens to house some world renowned exhibits in this museum.
NOTE: If you don’t think that visiting a whole ton of museums is what you want to do during your trip to Berlin, there is another tip to be pointed out: most of the state-run museums, regardless of their usual entrance fee, are FREE for the last four hours of the day on a Thursday. Furthermore, some extend their opening hours until 10 pm, so you have the evenings to make the most of this, too.
The Labyrinth Kindermuseum – a brilliant one for the kids, this is an activity-based museum which in theory tricks your kids into some education with the whole “learning is fun” ethos. And you know what? It actually is. Something like Britain’s science-for-kids centre “Eureka”, this museum encourages kids to get involved with activities to stimulate all their senses. A word of warning: this is a no-shoes-allowed place. Unless you want to get that uncomfortably grimy feeling most felt at airports where they make you take your shoes off in the name of security, do bring a spare pair of socks.
The Student Card
The blessed, hallowed student card. In some cities it counts for practically nothing, but Berlin still has a lot of time for its grungy, arty students. As such, a student card goes a long way in the museums of Berlin. Generally, a student card is worth a whopping great 50% discount on all tickets, and the above mentioned three day Museumspass ticket drops from nineteen Euros to only nine and a half. If you can get your paws on a student card before you go, it’ll pay off.
If you're a museum enthusiast and you're on a buget (or you've just splurged on your Beriln hotel), these museums are really worth visiting!