This is a real highlight. Not far off an idealised museum. Quite similar to eg the v&a in many respects, but with an even more spectacular building in terms of architecture, decor, and situation. Collections excellent; good examples from Egypt, Greece, and Rome downstairs (not an encyclopedic sweep of the ancient world by any means, but certainly favouring quality over quantity, and rightly so) and an excellent collection of old master paintings upstairs. Particularly strong in brueghels, durer, rubens, titian, and Velazquez. Cafe is also very calm, relaxing, and well situated (set amongst the collection rather than hidden away in a basement, but not in such a way as to be a noisy distraction). Unlike in, say, Paris or London, the crowds are relatively sparse and well behaved; you don't have to fight your way through a camera wielding rabble to snatch ten seconds in front of an artwork. Three drawbacks; one, it is not free to get in; two, many of the explanatory cards accompanying the pieces are in German only (although by no means all, particularly in the picture galleries), so get the audioguide; three, although the general collection is excellent, I'd struggle to say there are any 'wow' artefacts or pictures that will knock you off your feet, as can be found in other major European galleries. But all in all, a majestic experience. Go!
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