Berlin, Germany’s capital city, is a place filled with wild extremes. From centuries-old architecture to brand new, modern structures and Soviet-era ideologies clashing with Western ones, Berlin is a giant melting pot. The uniqueness of the city is expressed in its wide range of museums and art collections, which total more than 175. In fact, Berlin even has a place called Museum Island, and it is filled with literally nothing but museums. For more information on visiting Berlin, be sure to read our Berlin travel guide.
This list will include all of the 10 best museums in Berlin, but it won’t even begin to scrape the surface, frankly. There are simply so many museums tackling so many different topics, it would be impossible to see them all. Either way, these are the best of the lot, plus one museum that is closed until 2025 but worth adding to a future itinerary!
- DID YOU KNOW? - Berlin even has a place called Museum Island, and it is filled with literally nothing but museums.
The Pergamonmuseum is a UNESCO world heritage site filled with stunning artifacts from many different ancient civilizations. It is most famously known for its full scale reproductions of antique Greek and Roman structures, but there are fascinating artifacts from many different ancient civilizations, including Babylon, Uruk, Assur, Miletus, Priene, Egypt and more. There are three wings in this museum, and each one is worth your time. They are the Antiquity Collection, the Islamic Art Museum, and the Middle East Museum.
The Stasi was the secret police force of the German Democratic Republic, more commonly known as East Germany. They are commonly known as one of the most repressive and intimidating police forces of all time. The Stasi Museum is located in the former headquarters of this evil regime, and the exhibits within its walls are darkly fascinating. The Stasi was founded to keep evil people in power, and the secrets and facts contained in this museum expose a really dark side of Berlin history that is simply fascinating (albeit upsetting) to learn about.
Charlottenburg Palace is the largest palace in and around Berlin, and visiting this gem is a beautiful window into the past lives of Prussian royalty. Work on this palace began in 1695 and different iterations continued over the next century and a half. This palace is stunning, and seeing the luxuries on the inside is a really cool way to spend a day in Berlin. The styles of the grounds include both Baroque and Rococo, and the architecture and landscaping are both breathtaking.
Berlin’s history is most notably defined by the city’s division between capitalism and communism in the years after World War II, and the Berlin Wall is the physical symbol of just how strong and violent that division was. East Berlin was not a place where you wanted to be, and this was evidenced by the large number of East Berliners that died trying to flee across the border into West Berlin. The remnants of the wall are a tragic reminder of the division that once existed in this city, but the memorial is a touching reminder that progress and growth can occur, even in the most divided of places. The Berlin Wall Memorial is a must-visit place in Berlin.
The Neues Museum is a really cool place that dials in on Protohistoric time periods. There are three main collections in the Neues Museum: the collections of Egyptian art from the Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung, of prehistoric objects from the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, and of classical antiquities from the Antikensammlung. This joint exhibition featuring exhibits of unparalleled breadth and diversity allows visitors to trace the development of prehistoric and protohistoric cultures, spanning from the Middle East to the Atlantic, from North Africa to Scandinavia.
To say that Germany has a complicated history with people of the Jewish faith would be the understatement of human history, but the country has largely made efforts to do what it can to remedy the past. The Jewish Museum of Berlin is one of those efforts. This museum is dedicated to the education about and preservation of the Jewish faith as well as giving a spotlight to notable Jewish artists and creators from throughout time. This is a really unique place to check out, and the foundation that runs this place manages a lot of cool initiatives. This is absolutely worth checking out while you’re in Berlin!
Sammlung Boros is filled with collections of contemporary artworks from around the world, and the art is fascinating. While the art itself is lovely, the cooler part about this museum, in my opinion, is the fact that it is in a converted bunker from World War Two. The unique history of this place, combined with the fantastic rotating art collection, make the Boros Foundation a really cool place to check out while you’re in Berlin.
The coolest part, in our opinion, is that it is in a converted bunker from World War II.
The Hamburger Bahnhof is located in an old Berlin train station, and it is now one of the premier contemporary art museums in the city. In addition to being located in a very unique building, this museum is incorporated with the Berlin National Gallery, and it houses works from many notable artists, including Andy Warhol.
I love museums that are interactive or realistic rather than just exhibits behind glass. While the Museum in der Kulturbrauerei is not really an interactive museum, it is certainly one that feels much more realistic than not. This museum is dedicated to showing what every day life in the German Democratic Republic – more commonly referred to as East Germany – was like. When the Soviet Union controlled half of Germany, the city of Berlin was split right down the middle by the Berlin Wall, and the daily lives of people on each side could not have been more different. This museum shows that dichotomy very well.
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, more commonly known to locals as the Holocaust Memorial, is one of the most moving memorials in a city filled with emotion. This walk-through memorial is composed of over 2,700 steel slats of varying heights, and as you walk through the memorial it is easy to lose track of where you are. This is the point of the memorial; you can very easily be lost, just like all of the Jewish people who disappeared during the holocaust. In the center of the memorial there is an entrance to a more involved holocaust museum, which focuses intently on telling the stories of Jewish people – both murdered and survivors – that were taken away from their homes during the holocaust.
[Closed Until 2025] The Deutches Historisches Museum
The Deutches Historisches Museum, or German History Museum in English, is Germany’s national museum dedicated to the preservation of its bold and strong history that spans centuries. This museum describes itself as a place of “enlightenment and understanding of the shared history of Germans and Europeans,” and is filled with both permanent and rotating exhibits that are always interesting to check out. One recent exhibit was about Karl Marx and Capitalism.
Thanks for reading my post on the ten best museums in Berlin. Hopefully this post helps you to determine which museums to visit on your next trip to Germany’s capital city. If you have any questions about visiting Berlin at all, don’t hesitate to reach out – we’ve got you covered.