Suggested Itinerary for Berlin 3 Day Museum Pass

Following up with my 10 Tips for Using and Maximizing a 3 Day Berlin Museum Pass, here is a suggested itinerary for those who want to see Berlin’s world famous museums, contemporary art, and photography in a packed 3 days.

Day 1

Altes Museum

Pergamon Altar at Pergamon MuseumTake the U-Bahn to Friedrichsstrasse or Oranienburgerstrasse and walk to the Museuminsel. Spend the day wandering the Lustgarten, visiting the Alte Nationalgalerie, Altes Museum, Neues Museum, Pergamon Museum, and Bode Museum. The recently reopened Neues Museum is a spectacular building in and of itself. Make sure to observe the carefully reconstructed rooms, in addition to the priceless artifacts. The “Bust of Nefertiti”, the most beautiful woman in Berlin, is the reason everyone goes. Though not the largest museum, the Pergamon Museum was the highlight for me and worth at least 1.5 hours to see the Pergamon Altar and the Ishtar Gate of Babylon. Take a break in the cafe of the Bode Museum (note that the Pergamon Museum does not have a cafe). You can also visit the Berliner Dom and Neue Synagoge, which are very close by Museuminsel but neither is included on the Museum Pass.

Day 2

Mao Warhol Hamburger Bahnhof

Malle Babbe GemaldegalerieTake the U-Bahn to Hauptbahnhof and walk to Hamburger Bahnhof to see contemporary art in a former railway station. Then take the U-Bahn to Potsdamerplatz to visit the museums of the Kulturforum, including the Gemäldegalerie and Neue Nationalgalerie. You could pop around the Sony Center at the station exit, before you head to the museums. It’s not my favorite place but the roof is worth a look and the CineStar is where English-language movies show, in case you want to come back later. Take a lunch break at the Neue Nationalgalerie. A 15 minute walk along the canal takes you to the Bauhaus Archiv, but if you have time, take a side trip though the Tiergarten and make it a full hour. Don’t forget Bauhaus Archive closes at 17:00. You may want to do this day in reverse.

Day 3

Bauhaus Archiv

Void Jewish Museum Jewish Museum

Take the U-Bahn to Zoologisher Garten and visit the Museum für Fotografie, just alongside the station. See the amazing work of provocative photographer Helmut Newton. Then take the U-Bahn to Nollendorferplatz for the Bauhaus Archiv, if you didn’t manage it the day before. Don’t forget to check out the small museum shop and cafe. Take the U-Bahn to Hallesches Tor and take the 10 minute walk, cutting through Mehringplatz, to Daniel Liebskind’s Jüdisches Museum. Give at least 2 hours to this massive museum, then continue walking to the Berlinische Galerie, which is among many artists’ favorite Berlin museums.

There are many more amazing museums on offer in Berlin.  This suggested itinerary highlights some of the best that are covered on the 3 Day Berlin Museum Pass but are not normally free without the pass.

For free Berlin museums, check out Topographie des Terrors Museum and this list.

10 Tips for Using and Maximizing a 3 Day Berlin Museum Pass

3 Day Berlin Museum Pass

If you are planning to visit Berlin and want to visit more than 1 major museum, I highly recommend getting a 3 day Berlin Museum Pass.  The 3 day Berlin Museum Pass includes free regular admission to the permanent exhibitions of around 60 Berlin museums, on three consecutive days.

10 tips for using and maximizing a 3 day Berlin Museum Pass:

  • Concessions.  The 3 day Berlin Museum Pass costs €19. However, this reduces 50% to €9.50 if you are a student with a valid student id.  You will only pay half price.  Please note this should not be confused with the Berlin WelcomeCard. These are different passes that cover different museums, activities, transportation, etc.
  • Plan your itinerary. Some of the museums covered with the pass are always free admission, with or without the pass. So I you can eliminate those museums for a future date. I wanted to visit as many museums as I could a day, spending about 1-2 hours at each. In order to do so, I generally grouped the museums by proximity, using public transportation and walking. 
  • Check websites for updated museum times. Most museums open around 10:00 and close around 18:00 but not all.  I made the mistake of showing up to the Bauhaus Archiv at 17:00 only to learn it closed at 17:00 and I had to return the next day. When I spent some effort  to double checking the times, I learned the Neues Museum was going to close for 3 consecutive days, close to when I wanted to use the pass. That could be annoying to miss. My last day of the pass, a Friday, I learned that the Schloss Friedrechsfelde is only open Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11:00-17:00, not on Fridays, so I had to miss it. That same day, I learned that Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg was closing early at 15:00 and Museum Berggruen was closed the entire day. I ended up entirely eliminating the Schloss Charlottenburg area museums for another time. The national museum websites are at http://www.smb.museum and seem to keep their websites fairly updated with closures. Check it before you head out.
  • Include a Thursday, avoid a Monday.  The pass is used for 3 consecutive days.  On Thursdays, some museums like the Neues Nationalgalerie, Gemäldegalerie, Pergamon Museum, Altes Museum, Altes Nationalgalerie and the Museum für Fotografie have extended hours until 20:00 or even 22:00, so you will have more time to see more museums. Many museums close on Mondays, so this is not the best day to use the pass.
  • Buy your pass through alternative means. You can purchase your museum pass online at Visit Berlin before you arrive. If you plan to purchase a pass at the Pergamon Museum’s ticket kiosk, the line may be long (30 minutes or more). You can generally get the pass without waiting by going to a less popular museum nearby like the Altes Museum (where I went) or Altes Nationalgalerie on Museuminsel. You can also get the pass at a Berlin Tourist Info center, like one at Brandenburger Tor (Brandenberg Gate).
  • Get your time stamped ticket first. At the time of writing, the Neues Museum was the only museum I visited which required a time stamped ticket. I was able to get this at the same time I purchased my 3 day pass at the Altes Museum just by asking and I chose the time I wanted to visit. You might be able to get your time stamped ticket where you buy your 3 day pass.
  • Special exhibitions cost extra and maybe required for some museums. You are not always allowed to visit a museum’s permanent exhibition without paying for any special exhibitions also going on. For example, I visited the Neues Museum where I had to pay an extra €4 for the special exhibition or I could not enter the museum at all. The “Bust of Nefertiti”, the highlight of the museum and normally part of the permanent collection, was in this special exhibition at this time.  I was able to pay for the Neues Museum special exhibit at the same time as my museum pass so I saved some time and did it all at once. At Hamburger Bahnhof, I was admitted without paying extra on the 3 day pass, but only saw the permanent exhibitions and not the individual special exhibitions.
  • Get a paper day ticket. Generally, you can use your pass to go right on in but some museums may make you get a day ticket. It’s no big deal, just an extra step to go to the ticket counter, let them check your pass, and get a paper ticket day ticket.
  • Check in coats and any bags that are even slightly large. This is required for entry but it is a complimentary service. Often, there are also lockers where you deposit a €1 coin, to receive back when you retrieve your belongings at the end.
  • Audio guides are free and included with your ticket price at most national museums.  They are highly recommended, especially at museums where there are limited English descriptions.

I paid €19 for the 3 day pass and €4 for the special exhibition at Neues Museum, for €23 total. It would have cost €103 to visit all the museums individually, essentially saving  €80. Note that you can visit all five (5) museums on Museum Island on one day without the pass for €14 but you would still need to pay the extra €4 for any special exhibitions.

For a list of museums included on the 3 day Berlin Museum Pass, go to the Visit Berlin factsheet.

Snow Day Berlin

Holed up here for the winter.

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tonga

Tonga was a more relaxed location for us. The shouts of “Hey Baby” came to a near full stop other than an old guy who circled around CJ and I in a parking lot twice with his tounge literally hanging out of his mouth and a Tongan soldier on the ferry back from Pangiamato who was going to Iraq (and who I thought may just take me with him).

There are tons of Mormon churches in Tonga. One or two on every street it seems. When we met our friend Simon in Samoa, he told us was installing computers for the Mormons and when got to Tonga, he would be staying at one of the schools, and not in a hostel. Unfortunately, we never got in touch with him in Tonga, so we didn’t find out how the stay was. I’d imagine pretty tame. It’s kind of nasty though. They have signs near the schools that read “English Only Please.”

As some of you know, we both hit major money access problems on our way. We were each only allowed to get access to 100 Tongan dollars, which is about a whopping $56 US dollars. Tonga is cheaper than Samoa but not that cheap. For three days, every morning we would take the bus into town to try to get some money from the ATM with no success. On the second day, we managed to see the King’s caravan and then watch him get out at the police headquarters in full regalia. CJ demanded that I abstain from photos so I have no proof but it happened. So sad.

Also on day two, Toni, the owner of the guest house we were staying at drove us around Tongatapu on and island tour that mostly consisted of him describing how Tongans grow different fruits and vegetables, with a bit of beach time, ocean views, and a visit to the Trilithon. A guy selling jewelry claimed to have a son that plays USC football. Steph, Hector, can you confirm? They call him “The Rock?”. We met SB there and she traveled with us a bit from then on. Since it was Friday, the big night in Nuku’alofa where bars are open until 4 a.m., we headed out for drinks. In Samoa, pretty much everything closes at 10 p.m. many bars were having problems with clientele. Met a bunch of Aussies and Kiwis on the island for mostly aid work at Billfish. An awesome bunch of people. A possibly awesomer night? It ended at Roadhouse where the women were rougher than the men.

I was leaving early on the morning of the fifth day. But I had a back up and was okay. The fourth day, when we both finally got money, we were screaming like we had hit a jackpot in Vegas. Off we were to check out some churches, including the one the Royal family attend. Didn’t see the King. Guess once is enough. We didn’t do too much in Tonga in part because of our lack of financials but it was probably a good thing after Samoa. We spent a bit of time in Nuku’alofa, the main town, and took a day trip around the island of Tongatapu and a trip to Pangiamoto. We walked around Pangi in about 20 minutes but it was a great day, the island has a lot of interesting inhabitants, including those crabs that roll bits of sand into starburst designs. I can’t remember what they are called. Can someone help me with this? They are way tinier than I previously thought. They look big on Discovery Channel. They are about the size of a fingernail. Had a sundowner and back to the main island…which led to the encounter with the Tongan Iraqi War vet…I hadn’t realized that Tongans were involved at all. The photos pretty much explain what happened when his guy was celebrating his last day in Tonga. Good, no hysterical, times. There was also some famous Tongan rugby or footballer on the boat. He plays in New Zealand and he’s the bald guy on the ferry boat.

samoa

Update on my trip so far…

My send off was amazing. Some of my best friends saw me off at LAX. Beforehand we spent a few hours at Encounter, where we had the best elevator experience of our lives. Had some Mai Tais and everyone walked me over to the departures terminal. I was so happy, I didn’t have any time to be nervous. It was really more than a girl could ask for. No tears, just happy.

Samoa was a really fun time. The flight in was filled with competitors in the World Judo Championships. On the shuttle into Apia, I met an older couple from British Columbia and a guy from London. We’ll call him the Galoot. Not much to report on him but he brought me in contact with my eventual travel partner in Samoa, CJ.

My frist stop in Samoa was the Robert Louis Stevenson House, Valima, and Grave. The place well maintained but overpriced at 15 WST and the hike to the grave was steep and the views, not really worth it. Overall a bust. I’ve never read Stevenson and now, I don’t think I will. Seems pretentious of some guy to make people carry his dead body up a steep mountain for some lame views. I got 31 mosquito bites during this venture and they are still haunting me.

When searching for a ride back into town, we ran across CJ, AM, and asked to join them. They were headed for the Papasea Sliding Rocks and I was happy to go. Not ready for sliding, as I was wearing a skirt but it was a nice place to spend an afternoon. The guys slid down the rocks into refreshing pools of fresh water. It looked like they could have easily cracked their heads open.

In the evening we headed to Aggie Grey’s fiafia show. Samoan dancers and musicians filled the bar area of the hotel and performed traditional Samoan songs and dances. The show was good, the food a bit better. The best part was that we saw the ladyboy who had previously propositioned AM on the street “for a good time” as a performer in the show!

CJ and I traveled around Samoa for the next 7 days and met many nutters. I won’t go into the details but lets just say 2 women traveling solo in Samoa get a lot of attention, both good and bad. “Hey Baby!”

More on Samoa, Tonga, and New Zealand soon! Some photos to entertain you…

Samoa

favorite natural sites…pre-rtw edition

Obviously these lists are totally subjective and limited to what I have experienced but here are some of my favorites…

Favorite Cliffs:

Photo by marcooooo on Flickr

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Photo by net_efekt on Flickr

White Cliffs at Dover, UK

Favorite Delta:

Photo by geoftheref on Flickr

Okavango Delta, Botswana

Favorite Desert:

Photo by Wolfgang Staudt on Flickr

Mojave Desert

Favorite Island:

Photo by MarcelGermain on Flickr

Photo by MarcelGermain on Flickr

Santorini, Greece

Photo by Ash Lourey on Flickr

Ko Phi Phi, Thailand

Favorite Lake:


Peyto Lake, Canada

Favorite Lake Crossing:

Photo by adapar on Flickr

Cruce de Lagos (Andean Lakes Crossing), Chile – Argentina (Takes all day but it is stunning. That’s Volcano Orsorno.)

Favorite Mountain:

Photo by Starfires on Flickr

Mt. Fuji

Mt. Shasta

Favorite National Park:

Photo by Alaskan Dude on Flickr

Yellowstone National Park, USA

Photo by Shelby PDX on Flickr

Chobe National Park, Botswana

Favorite Reef:
Photo by richard ling on Flickr Great Barrier Reef (I’ve only been to one! Sad to say the colors weren’t as vibrant as I expected in the area we dived…)

Favorite Volcano:

Volcano Orsorno, Chile By Ruben Lohaus Brito (Coleccion Personal) via Wikimedia Commons

Volcano Orsorno, Chile

Favorite Waterfall:

Photo by Claudio.Ar (working ...limited time online) on Flickr

Iguassu Falls, Brazil – Argentina border

Photo by only_point_five on Flickr

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe – Zambia border

my favorite cities…pre-rtw edition

I love cities. Big cities especially. Of all the places I have been to so far, here are my favorites:

Favorite North American city: New Orleans
Runner up: Montreal
Honorable mentions: Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Savannah, Austin

Favorite South American city: Rio de Janeiro
Runner up: Buenos Aries
Honorable mentions: Santiago, Lima

Favorite European city: London
Runner up: Barcelona
Honorable mentions: Paris, Amsterdam, Fira (Santorini, Greece), Venice

Favorite Asian city: Tokyo
Runner up: Shanghai, Taipei
Honorable mentions: Bangkok, Beijing

Favorite Oceanian city: Sydney
Runner up: Melbourne

Favorite African city: Cape Town
Runner up: Victoria Falls

Up next, favorite natural sites…