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.