I have traveled through Europe quite a bit over the past few years and over that time, I have probably visited close to a hundred museums. During my semester living and studying in London, I made it a point to see all that the city had to offer and museums were definitely on my list. That was in 2008 and there wasn’t a great method for purchasing entrance tickets ahead of time, or at least, I didn’t know of any. I usually bought tickets the day of and hoped that my student discount would save me a few pounds.
That was then and this is now. A few weeks ago I discovered Musement, a site that allows you to find and book handpicked tours, tickets to local attractions, museums, art exhibits and city passes around the world. Right now, their main markets are in big cities throughout Europe like Berlin, London, Madrid, Barcelona but also right here in New York. Besides a clean interface that is easy to navigate, I found the images inspiring and it really got me pumped for my trip to Hamburg and Berlin, which I just came back from.
I’m often on a budget when I travel and the fact that Musement guarantees the lowest prices is a major selling point. The packages also go beyond the typical tourism attractions and deep into the heart of the city. For example, for travelers heading to Berlin, Museument offers the Berlin Welcome Card for Museum Island but they also have an interactive walking tour, a pub crawl and an alternative tour for those who aren’t really the museum type. Another major perk for booking with Musement is that you get to skip the lines and if you’ve ever vacationed during the busy summer months, you know that is is invaluable.
When I arrived in Berlin I opted for the general Berlin Welcome Tour because I wasn’t completely sure what I wanted to do this time around. Sure, I could have tailored my experience a bit more but this was my second trip to Berlin and I wanted more flexibility in terms of activities and cultural excursions. That’s my preferred travel style, but there’s something for everyone so take your time looking at the different options on their website to see which option is the best fit.
As it turns out, The Berlin Welcome Card Museum Island was a good choice. It offers free travel on all public transportation services, including the Berlin Tegel Airport and free entry to the museums on Museum Island (Alte Nationalgalerie, Altes Museum, Bodemuseum, Neues Museum and Pergamonmuseum) for three consecutive days (excluding special exhibitions). Since the museums are all located within walking distance, you can either visit them all on a rainy day or space them out throughout your stay.
The pass also offers discounts to 27 other museums and attractions in addition to discounts on guided bicycle tours, boat trips, theatre shows, restaurants and clubs. Personally, I took the U-Bahn and S-Bahn a lot over the course of three days, so that really came in handy. Berlin is definitely a biking city but for longer distances, the underground and overground are great options for saving time.
Lastly, the pass comes with a small guide with tips and tour suggestions, a map of subway system and a city map. The booklet is small enough to fit in your purse or your back pockets so I recommend bringing it along with you in case your iPhone runs out of battery or you aren’t sure where exactly to eat dinner one night. It was surprisingly useful during my stay.
Similar to my last trip, much of my time in Berlin was spent wandering through the city’s revamped neighborhoods. In the end, I only went to one museum while in Berlin and it was the DDR Museum. Technically it’s not on Museum Island but the pass does grant a discounted fee. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall so I was curious for a glimpse into what life was like for residents in East Germany during these 28 years.
The museum is relatively small in terms of size but one can easily spend two hours here. I finished in just over an hour but I was on somewhat of a time crunch. Through a series of interactive exhibits, ranging from a hands-on Trabi and childhood propaganda to a recreation of a living room, guests are introduced to a much different Berlin than the one we know today. Photos, documentaries, furniture and sliding drawers showcasing everything from women’s fashion to politically charged children’s toys, show rather than tell guests how it was to live in the GDR.
What is the best museum you’ve ever visited? Tell me in the comments below!
This trip was hosted by Visit Berlin. All opinions are my own.