At 9.30am on a Saturday morning, Museum Island (Museum Insel) looks like a painting. The classical architecture is awash with golden morning sun and the streets have a hazy, warm quality, as if produced in watercolour. It is a perfect backdrop to the Alte Nationalgalerie (Old Nationalgallery), which is snugly situated on Museum Island next to the Neues Museum. The queue for the entrance is a less appealing prospect; however, patience certainly pays. Upon entering the Gallery and standing under the imposing white marble entrance hall, the waiting is certainly forgiven and forgotten.
The Alte Nationalgalerie displays the city’s collection of 19th century art, including some prime examples of German Romanticism and Neoclassicism. The expansive nature of the gallery means crowds disperse almost immediately, so while it may seem that you will be fighting for floor space, you’ll actually find that you have entire rooms to yourself. For a €16.00 entrance fee (€10.00 concessions), you can also get an audioguide, which is highly recommended. Although not all of the paintings have an audio description available for them – which can be frustrating – the guides that are available are highly informative. They are multi-sensory, incorporating music and real quotes from the artists to make you feel as if you are inside the paintings themselves; a vivid experience that stays with you even after you have left. The gallery also has a small espresso bar on the lower floor in the shop, which, although looking rather cramped, is a nice enough place to relax with a €2 espresso after losing yourself in the masterpieces upstairs.