10 Best Museums in Europe

October 25, 2018 0 0

What are the 10 best museums in Europe? That’s a tough question to answer, as the many regions and countries contained within it play home to several of today’s most impressive tourist destinations at which you can explore and discover art in all its forms. Galleries are beautiful, collections are epic, and monuments are must-sees for those looking to be wowed. Which is why we’ve selected 10 of the best museums in Europe where you can begin exploring the best the area’s art world has to offer – including several you may have heard of and other unsung destinations that are well worth the stopover.

Name

Location

Description

The Louvre

Paris

The Louvre is one of the most visited museums in the world (over 10 million come each year). It’s home to more than 380,000 priceless masterpieces, from prehistoric time to the 19th century. New exhibits are on display every month featuring works of art ranging from sculptures to objets d’art, paintings, drawings, and archaeological finds. Visitors can explore more than 35,000 pieces in eight different curated departments.

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Madrid

Originally an 18th century hospital, the Reina Sofia Museum is now a beautiful art-filled space for the past 25 years. In 2005, the museum added an extension designed by French architect Jean Nouvel for its collections. The museum is home to contemporary and modern art pieces with two floors devoted to temporary exhibits and another two, which display permanent collections of abstract pieces, pop art and more. Visitors can also explore the museum’s library, which features 20th century art and houses more than 10,000 volumes and 1,000 printed periodicals.

Uffizi Gallery Museum

Firenze

The building that houses the Uffizi Gallery Museum dates back to 1560. Some might argue this is not just one of the best museums in Europe, but THE best, period. Built by Giorgio Vasari, it originally housed the administrative and legal offices of Florence. The museum is divided into rooms dedicated to varied artistic periods. Visitors can explore through the gallery’s 45 halls all exhibiting priceless works of art. From Michelangelo and Da Vinci to Botticelli and Raphael, the museum covers works from some of the most noted artist in the world showcasing beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces from the Middle Age and Renaissance eras. Visitors can also explore the temporary exhibits displaying works from sculptures to sketches and more.

British Museum

London

In 1753 King George II along with Parliament, created the British Museum. The original collection belonged to Sir Hans Sloane, who kept a panopy of more than 71,000 antiques, artworks, and artifacts. Originally the museum consisted of Sloane’s pieces and two library collections including the Royal Library and one by Sir Robert Cotton dating back to Elizabethan times. The newest museum building opened in 1857 and while the museum no longer holds books or natural history items, the collection continues to grow.

Deutsches Historisches Museum 

Berlin

Germany’s art scene is impressive and the Deutsches Historisches Museum houses more than 8,000 exclusive exhibits from the German Historical Museums’ collections. The museum’s permanent exhibition dates back 1500 years to the beginning of the German nation and proceeds to chart its progress up until the end of the 20th century. Visitors can also enjoy temporary exhibitions, showcasing everything from German colonialism to immigration and other period themed collections.

Musée d’Orsay

Paris

First opened in 1986, the Musée d’Orsay lies within an amazing building completed back in 1900, originally built as a train station and declared a historical landmark in 1978. The museum is the third most popular in France and currently features a variety of French artwork dating back from the mid-1800s to pre-WWI. Visitors can explore art from three French establishments: the Louvre, Musée du Jeu de Paume and the National Museum of Modern Art. Collections displayed include paintings, sculptures, objets d’art, photographs, graphic arts and architecture.

Vatican Museums

Vatican City

The Vatican Museums opened to the public in the year 1506, when Pope Julius II displayed a sculpture of unearthed nearby (“Laocoön and His Sons”). Since then, the Vatican has added numerous buildings to display their amazing collections, which includes the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel painted by Michelangelo and the Stanze della Segnatura by Raphael. Aside from the world-famous artwork, the museum also houses many important Etruscan and Egyptian artifacts uncovered in archeological excavations sponsored by the museum. Maybe this place beats out the Uffizi for the prize…

Van Gogh Museum

Amsterdam

The Van Gogh Museum is home to more than 200 paintings, 400 drawings and 700 letters by the Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh. The museum also features an extensive collection of works by Van Gogh’s contemporaries and 19th-century art works that influenced his style, including his collection of Japanese prints. Van Gogh’s work is organized chronologically into five periods, each representing a different period of his life and work: The Netherlands, Paris, Arles, Saint-Remy and Auvers-sur-Oise.

Acropolis Museum

Greece

This beautiful modernist museum at the foot of the Acropolis’ southern slope showcases one of Greece’s most prized architectural pieces. The museum’s collection covers the Archaic and Roman periods, but the Acropolis is considered Greece’s biggest artistic achievement. The ruins were incorporated into the museum design after they were uncovered during an excavation. Visitors can observe offerings from holy sanctuaries where gods were worshipped and end with the museum’s impressive top floor Parthenon Gallery.

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

Portugal

Portugal’s Calouste Gulbenkian Museum is one of the World’s greatest museums and one of Europe’s unsung treasures. Visitors will be able to explore some of the most amazing masterpieces from collections of Greek, Egyptian, Greek, Islamic, Asian, and European art. The museum’s collection is one of the World’s finest private art collections and came together over a 40 year period by Calouste Gulbenkian. In his later years he moved to Portugal as and donated all of his art to the country when he died in 1955. Visitors will be able to see everything from Japanese prints to 16th century Persian tapestry and Egyptian mummy masks to almost 3,000-year old bowls and vases.

Cheat Sheet

Get ready to embark on some culture during your next vacation with the 10 best museums in Europe:

Tags: Culture, Top 10 Guides, Travel Categories: Culture, Top 10 Guides, Travel
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Meg Parisi

Meghan Parisi is an accomplished freelance writer and the managing editor for a luxury design publication that covers homes in New York City, the Hamptons, San Francisco and Connecticut. Meghan enjoys traveling, exploring new restaurants and cities as often as possible. She is an avid cook and enjoys sharing her recipes on her blog: Whiskey + Aprons.

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