Visiting at least one of the five museums that make up Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a must for any serious culture-seeker in Berlin. A pioneering concept, this ensemble of public institutions brimming with exquisite artworks and historical artifacts traces its origin back to 1810 and King Friedrich Wilhelm III’s decision to open a museum for his personal collection of royal treasures. Today, the original Altes Museum—located opposite the former Royal Palace—is joined by the Pergamon Museum, with its jaw-dropping Middle Eastern antiquities; the Neues Museum and its treasures from ancient Egypt; the Alte Nationalgalerie’s collection of 19th-century European masters; and the Bode Museum, which hosts one of Europe’s most important sculpture collections.

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A Perfect Day Trip

An island of peace and beauty in the center of one of Europe’s largest cities? Yes, I’m talking about Museum Island. Right in the middle of Berlin, surrounded by water, sits six thousand years of beautiful art. Beside this, an ultra-modern history museum tells the whole story of Germany: the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you’ve been to the mall in Washington D.C., then try to imagine a very German version of that. How is it? First of all, very old, but most importantly, very quiet. Tidy groups of students, elegant religious men, no one snacking, and no trash anywhere. A kind of Jamie Oliver heaven. Some of the best art is in the Bode Museum, but there is something to be seen around every corner. After a long morning of exploring, you can walk back over the bridge in no time at all.

Berlin Cathedral and Museum island

Museumsinsel is a favorite starting point of mine for strolling along Unter den Linden. The small island is home to many attractions and if you love checking out museums then this is where you’ll spend a good amount of time in. Lustgarten itself has an interesting history but mostly I come here to admire the cathedral. From the cathedral, cross the bridge and head towards the Brandenburg gate. Enjoy the walk and revel in the historic sights. The linden trees are particularly beautiful during fall.

Picnic in the Lustgarten

You packed a gourmet lunch with your purchases from the KDW food hall, right? Well, walk to Museum Island and enjoy a picnic in the Lustgarten (Pleasure Garden). Nosh, watch Berliners at rest and play, and get in some good lusting. The Berliner Dom Cathedral is right there (I love its proximity to the Lustgarten’s LUST signs). The domed ceiling is stunning.

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