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If you’d like to add a few new stamps to your passport this year, consider adding some of the best European museums to your itinerary. From ancient history to contemporary art, these world-renowned institutions cater to multiple tastes.
So whether you’re a lover of fine arts or want to see some interesting sights, be sure to put these museums on your list! There are many good museums in Europe. People who travel to Europe should visit these museums because they offer a lot of different things to see and learn.
For example, there are museums with ancient history and others with modern art. There are also museums with things from other countries, like Greece or Italy. So people who go to Europe can learn about different cultures and see some incredible art.
This written journey will cover the top European museums that travelers should visit. These museums offer a variety of exhibits and experiences, from ancient history to contemporary art.
Additionally, by visiting these museums, travelers can gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the cultures of Europe. According to a study by The European Museum Forum, museum visitation significantly impacts tourist spending and economic growth. Therefore, travelers can help stimulate the European economy by visiting these museums.
- Best Museums in Europe
- 1. Acropolis Museum
- 2. Louvre Museum
- 3. Musée d’Orsay
- 4. Museo Nacional del Prado
- 5. Natural History Museum
- 6. The British Museum
- 7. The National Gallery
- 8. Uffizi Gallery
- 9. Vasa Museum
- 10. Rijksmuseum
- 11. Van Gogh Museum
- 12. Vatican Museums
- 13. Anne Frank House
- 14. Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
- 15. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
- 16. Pergamonmuseum
- 17. Tate Modern
- 18. Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves
- 19. The Centre Pompidou
- 20. State Hermitage Museum
- What are the best museums in Europe to visit?
- Do I need a visa to visit museums in Europe?
- What is the best way to get around Europe to visit the most famous museums?
Best Museums in Europe
1. Acropolis Museum
Address: Dionysiou Areopagitou 15, Athina 117 42, Greece
If you’re interested in ancient history, then a visit to the Acropolis Museum in Athens is a must. This museum displays all of the artifacts discovered at the site of the Acropolis and its surrounding slopes, from the Bronze Age to the Roman and Byzantine periods. In addition, it also covers some of the ruins from Roman and early Byzantine Athens.
The museum was founded in 2003, and the Organisation of the Museum in 2008. It was unveiled to the public on June 20, 2009. More than 4,250 objects are exhibited over an area of 14,000 square meters. Visiting the museum is ideal with the Acropolis walking tour.
The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Professor Emeritus of Archaeology Dimitrios Pandermalis chairs the Organization for the Construction of the new museum. The Acropolis Museum is one of the most visited archaeological sites on the planet.
More than 4,250 objects are on display on a 14,000-square-meter site. Professor Emeritus of Archaeology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Dr. Dimitrios Pandermalis, chairs the Organisation for the Construction of the New Museum.
The Acropolis Museum is an active archaeological location. For more than a decade, the Acropolis Restoration Project has been working to preserve this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Excavations are still conducted regularly, and discoveries are made regularly.
The Acropolis Museum is also a research and education center. It provides educational opportunities for students of all levels, from kindergarten to postgraduate studies.
The museum is open every day except Monday. It closes at 3 pm from November to February and at 7 pm the rest of the year. The Museum Admission is €12 for adults, €6 for students and senior citizens, and free for children under 18.
2. Louvre Museum
Address: Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
The Louvre Palace, erected during the late 12th to early 13th Centuries by Philip II, is home to the Musée du Louvre. The Louvre Museum is the most-visited museum in the world and a historically significant building in Paris, France.
The Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo are two of history’s most famous art pieces, and both are housed at the Louvre. It is a primary feature of the city’s skyline and is located on the Right Bank of the River Seine in Paris’ 1st arrondissement (district or ward).
The Louvre Museum is a must-see for visitors to Paris due to its ancient Egyptian relics to works by Leonardo da Vinci. The Louvre Museum is guaranteed to amaze and delight.
The medieval Louvre fortification can be found in the museum’s basement. In 1546, after becoming obsolete as a defensive structure, the fortress became a royal residence.
The Louvre Museum is open every day except Tuesday. It closes at 9:45 pm from April to September and at 6:45 pm the rest of the year. Louvre Museum Admission Ticket is €15 for adults, €7.50 for students and senior citizens, and free for children under 18.
See Related: Things to Do in Paris with Kids
3. Musée d’Orsay
Address: 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France
The Musée d’Orsay is a world-renowned museum in Paris that houses an incredible collection of French art from 1848 to 1914, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography. The Musée d’Orsay is located within the former Gare d’Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900.
The Gare d’Orsay served as a station for barely over 50 years before being converted into a museum. The Musée d’Orsay is one of Paris’s most popular tourist destinations today, and there’s plenty of reason behind that.
The Musée d’Orsay is a must-see for any visitor to France thanks to its world-famous art collection. Every day except Monday, the museum is accessible. It closes at 9:45 p.m. from April to September and at 6:45 p.m. the rest of the year. Adults pay €12 for admission; students and senior citizens pay €6, and children under 18 are free.
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4. Museo Nacional del Prado
Address: C. de Ruiz de Alarcón, 23, 28014 Madrid, Spain
The Prado Museum is one of the world’s most renowned art museums in Madrid, Spain. The museum houses a remarkable collection of European art dating from the 12th Century to the early 20th Century.
Prado’s collection of Spanish art is particularly impressive and is widely considered the best in the world. Visitors can view masterpieces from history’s most renowned artists, including Velazquez, Goya, and Murillo.
In addition to its incredible paintings, the Prado Museum also features an extensive collection of sculptures, tapestries, and other works of art. Whether you’re a fan of art or simply looking for a cultural experience, the Prado Museum is definitely worth a visit.
The Prado Museum in Madrid is home to some of the finest examples of Spanish and European art. Among the most famous works on display are by Francisco Goya, Hieronymus Bosch, El Greco, Peter Paul Rubens, Titian, and Diego Velázquez.
For easy access, be sure to book the museum skip-the-line guided tour. The museum also boasts an extensive collection of work from Italian masters, thanks largely to the efforts of Velázquez. With so much to see, the Prado Museum is a must-visit for any art lover traveling to Madrid.
5. Natural History Museum
Address: Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 5BD, United Kingdom
The Natural History Museum in London is one of the world’s leading natural history museums. It houses an extensive collection of specimens from various segments of natural history, including botany, entomology, mineralogy, paleontology, and zoology.
The museum is also a center of taxonomy, identification, and conservation research. The Natural History Museum is one of three major museums on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, the others being the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, which offer great discovery for a family tour that the museum offers.
The museum is easy to reach by public transport and is a popular destination for guests and locals.
See Related: Tower of London Tour
6. The British Museum
Address: Great Russell St, London WC1B 3DG, United Kingdom
if the Louvre ever had a rival in terms of prestige and fame, here it is: The British Museum is in the English city of London, the capital city of the United Kingdom. Its vast and varied collection of more than 8 million pieces originates from all over the world, illustrating and documenting human civilization’s history from its beginning until now.
The British Museum was founded in 1753, largely based on Sir Hans Sloane’s professional and scientific collection. The museum opened to the public on January 15, 1759, in Montagu House (now Spencer House), which now serves as the museum’s headquarters.
The British Museum is one of the world’s largest museums, with a collection that spans two million years of human history. The museum houses some of humanity’s most iconic artifacts, from the Rosetta Stone to the Elgin Marbles.
The British Museum is a significant tourist attraction, and many travelers go there to learn about European history. If you’re in London, the British Museum is a must-visit.
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7. The National Gallery
Address: Trafalgar Square, Westminster, London WC2N 5DN, United Kingdom
The National Gallery is one of the world’s great art museums, housing paintings that span centuries and continents. The National Gallery is located in Trafalgar Square in the heart of London, making it easy to visit whether you’re staying in the city or just passing through.
The origins of the National Gallery can be traced back to 1824, when the British government purchased 36 paintings from the estate of the late Sir John Restell. These works formed the basis of the gallery’s collection, which has since grown to include over 2,300 paintings.
The Gallery is an exempt charity and a non-departmental public body of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport. The National Gallery is open to the public free of charge, making it a great option for budget-minded travelers.
The National Gallery is home to an impressive collection of paintings, including works by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Vincent van Gogh.
The Gallery is easy to visit and free to the public. It provides an informative museum tour, making it a great option for budget-minded travelers. Additionally, the Gallery is located in the heart of London, making it easy to visit whether you’re staying in the city or just passing through.
8. Uffizi Gallery
Address: Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most important art museums in Italy, and it is also one of the largest and best-known in the world.
The museum is adjacent to the Piazza della Signoria in the Historical Centre of Florence and houses a collection of priceless works from the Italian Renaissance. If you’re planning a trip to Florence, a visit to the Uffizi Gallery should definitely be on your itinerary.
The Uffizi Gallery was established in 1581 by Cosimo I de’ Medici and has been open to the public since 1765. The museum is home to a collection of works that span from the 13th to the 18th centuries, and it includes masterpieces by artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Botticelli.
The Uffizi Gallery is a must-visit for anyone interested in the Italian Renaissance, and it’s also an excellent option for travelers who want to see some of the world’s most iconic artworks.
The museum is easy to visit and relatively short, making it a great option for those who don’t have much time to spend in Florence.
9. Vasa Museum
Address: Galärvarvsvägen 14, 115 21 Stockholm, Sweden
The Vasa Museum is a maritime museum in Stockholm, Sweden, dedicated to the Vasa; a warship that sank on its maiden voyage in 1628. The museum opened in 1990 and is one of Sweden’s most popular tourist destinations, with over 1 million visitors annually.
The Vasa Museum is geared towards travelers, with exhibits telling the story of the sinking of the Vasa. There is also a large collection of maritime artifacts and interactive exhibits that allow visitors to learn more about sailing and naval history.
The Vasa Museum is a must-see for anyone visiting Stockholm, and it’s one of the best museums in Europe. The Vasa Museum is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm.
The museum is closed on December 24th and December 25th. Like what you’re reading, get your Vasa Museum entrance ticket now.
Address: Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Netherlands
In the borough of Amsterdam South, opposite the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and Concertgebouw, is the Rijksmuseum. The Rijksmuseum is one of the most famous attractions in Amsterdam and houses a collection of Dutch art and history.
Visitors can explore the Rijksmuseum’s extensive collection of paintings, sculptures, and other works of art. The Rijksmuseum also offers a variety of educational programs and events for visitors of all ages.
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam houses one of the world’s largest collections of art and artifacts dating from the 11th Century to the 21st Century.
The museum’s collection includes more than 8,000 objects on display, ranging from Rembrandt paintings and Frans Hals portraits to Johannes Vermeer masterpieces and a small Asian collection housed in the Asian pavilion.
The Rijksmuseum is a must-see for history enthusiasts and art aficionados alike. So, if you’re ever in Amsterdam, make a point of visiting this world-renowned museum.
The Rijksmuseum is open from 9 am to 5 pm, with extended hours on Friday and Saturday. The museum is closed on January 1st, May 1st, and December 25th.
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11. Van Gogh Museum
Address: Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Van Gogh Museum is a Dutch art museum dedicated to the works of Vincent van Gogh and his contemporaries in Museum Square in Amsterdam South, close to the Stedelijk Museum, the Rijksmuseum, and the Concertgebouw.
The museum opened on 2 June 1973, and Gerrit Rietveld and Kisho Kurokawa designed its buildings. The world’s largest collection of Van Gogh’s works is housed in the museum.
In 2017, the museum had 2.3 million visitors and was the Netherlands’ most-visited tourist attraction and the 23rd-most-visited art museum in the world.
The Van Gogh Museum is one of the most popular attractions in Amsterdam and is a must-see for art lovers visiting the city. The first building, designed by Gerrit Rietveld, was opened in 1973. It was a white square building surrounding a trapezoid-shaped courtyard containing the main exhibition hall.
The building was later expanded with a new wing designed by Kisho Kurokawa. The new wing, which opened in 1999, is a glass and concrete structure that resembles a group of greenhouses. The Van Gogh Museum receives more than two million visitors annually and contains the world’s largest collection of works by Vincent van Gogh.
If you’re a fan of Vincent van Gogh or enjoy art, the Van Gogh Museum is a must-visit. The museum is open from 9 am to 5 pm (8 pm on Fridays) and is closed on December 25th.
12. Vatican Museums
Address: 00120 Vatican City
The Vatican Museums are the public museums of Vatican City. They display works from the immense collection amassed by the Catholic Church and the papacy throughout the centuries, including several of the most renowned Roman sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world.
The museums contain roughly 70,000 works, of which 20,000 are on display, and currently employ 640 people who work in 40 different administrative, scholarly, and restoration departments. The Vatican Museums, founded by Pope Julius II in 1506, are home to the world’s largest collection of ancient artworks.
The Sistine Chapel contains several famous works of Michelangelo, including The Creation of Adam and God Creating Adam. Other notable galleries include the Raphael Rooms, which Raphael and his workshop decorated, and the Borgia Apartments, which Cesare Borgia decorated.
There are 24 galleries, including the Sistine Chapel, the last sala within the Museum. The Vatican Museums are open every day except Sunday, and the admission price includes entrance to the Sistine Chapel. The museums are busiest on Saturdays, so it’s best to visit during the week if possible.
13. Anne Frank House
Address: Westermarkt 20, 1016 GV Amsterdam, Netherlands
Anne Frank is one of history’s most well-known Holocaust victims. During the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, Anne was a German-Jewish teenager forced into hiding. The Anne Frank House, which now houses a museum dedicated to her memory, was where she and her family were hidden.
The Anne Frank House is one of the Netherlands’ most popular museums and tourist destinations in Amsterdam. The museum provides an opportunity to learn about Anne’s life as well as the Holocaust’s barbaric history.
Visitors can view Anne’s belongings, including her iconic diary and excerpts from her diary that have been exhibited. The Anne Frank House is a moving testament to the horrors of the Holocaust and is a must-see for anyone interested in history.
Anne Frank died at Bergen-Belsen in March 1945, a month before its liberation, although her wartime diary was published the following year. The Anne Frank Foundation was established ten years later to protect the site from developers who wanted to demolish it. On May 3, 1960, the museum opened.
The museum is open from 9 am to 5 pm (from 8 pm from April to October) and is closed on December 25th. Admission is €9 for adults, €4.50 for children aged 10-17, and free for children under 10.
See Related: How Much is a Trip to Amsterdam?
14. Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Address: Abandoibarra Etorb., 2, 48009 Bilbo, Bizkaia, Spain
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a world-renowned modern and contemporary art museum designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry. Located in Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain, the museum was inaugurated on 18 October 1997 by King Juan Carlos I of Spain, with an exhibition of 250 contemporary works of art.
Built alongside the Nervion River, which runs through Bilbao to the Cantabrian Sea, it is one of multiple museums belonging to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.
The museum’s collection is composed mainly of post-World War II artists but includes earlier 20th-century masters such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Alberto Giacometti. The museum is also home to a sizable collection of works by Basque artists, including Eduardo Chillida and Jorge Oteiza.
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao features permanent and visiting exhibits of works by Spanish and international artists, making it a must-see destination for travelers interested in the arts. The museum also offers a skip-the-line tour.
The museum’s architecture is widely regarded as a masterpiece of contemporary architecture. The building has been hailed as a “signal moment in the architectural culture” because it represents “one of those rare moments when critics, academics, and the general public were all on the same page.”
The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm. Admission prices are €13 for adults, €8 for students and seniors, and free for children under 16.
15. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Address: C. de Sta. Isabel, 52, 28012 Madrid, Spain
The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is Spain’s national museum of 20th-century art. It is located in Madrid, near the Atocha train and metro stations. The museum is dedicated to modern art, focusing on Spanish artists. Some of the most famous pieces on display include Picasso’s Guernica and Miró’s The Farm.
On September 10, 1990, the museum was officially opened and is named for Queen Sofía. The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía houses a large collection of Spanish art from the early 20th Century to the present day, particularly emphasizing Pablo Picasso’s work.
Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí, Antoni Tàpies, and Equipo Crónica are just a few of the Spanish artists represented in this museum’s collection. The works span several genres and periods, including paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs, and installations by some of Spain’s most renowned artists of the 20th Century, such as Joan Miró.
The museum is open from 10 am to 7 pm (9 pm on Thursdays) and is closed on Mondays. Admission prices are €10 for adults, €6 for students and seniors, and free for children under 16.
Address: Bodestraße 1-3, 10178 Berlin, Germany
The Pergamonmuseum is a listed museum in Berlin’s historic center, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was erected between 1910 and 1930 by the order of German Emperor Wilhelm II following designs by Alfred Messel and Ludwig Hoffmann in a Stripped Classicism style.
The Antikensammlung, which includes the famous Pergamon Altar, the Vorderasiatisches Museum, and the Museum für Islamische Kunst, is presently housed at the Pergamon Museum. The structure’s restoration will be completed in 2025.
The Pergamonmuseum is one of Germany’s most popular attractions, with around 1.1 million visitors annually. The museum’s three main shows are the Antikensammlung, Vorderasiatisches Museum, and Museum für Islamische Kunst.
The Antikensammlung, located in Berlin’s Pergamon Museum, is home to the famed Pergamon Altar as well as other Greek, Roman, and Etruscan archeological artifacts.
The Vorderasiatisches Museum is home to one of the world’s largest collections of Near Eastern art. At the same time, the Museum für Islamische Kunst houses one of Europe’s most important Islamic art collections.
Parts of the building are currently closed for renovation until 2025. Admission prices are €12 for adults, €6 for students and seniors, and free for children under 18. Like what you are hearing? Check out these best things to do in Berlin.
See Related: Best Museums in Berlin
17. Tate Modern
Address: Bankside, London SE1 9TG, United Kingdom
Tate Modern is an art gallery in London and part of the Tate group. It is one of the world’s largest modern and contemporary art museums and is free to enter. Tate Modern is located in the former Bankside Power Station, in the Bankside area of the London Borough of Southwark.
The Tate Modern houses the United Kingdom’s national, international, modern, and contemporary art collections. Some artwork on display includes pieces by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Mark Rothko.
The museum offers Tate Modern tours and has various educational programs and events open to the public. If you’re interested in modern and contemporary art, Tate Modern is, without a doubt, worth a visit.
The gallery is just 0.5 kilometers from Blackfriars railway station and the London Underground. Like what you are hearing? Check out these top things to do in London.
18. Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves
Address: R. Dom João de Castro 210, 4150-417 Porto, Portugal
The Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves is a Portuguese cultural institution with a Contemporary Art Museum, a Park, and a Villa. The Contemporary Art Museum is an example of contemporary architecture, while the Park and Villa are examples of Modernism and Art Deco architecture.
The museum has various educational programs and events open to the public. Álvaro Siza Vieira designed the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves.
The Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves is also one of the most relevant in the contemporary art circuit in Europe. Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves is a must-see for any art lover visiting Portugal.
The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm (8 pm on Thursdays). The museum admission ticket prices are €5 for adults, €3 for students and seniors, and free for children under 18.
19. The Centre Pompidou
Address: Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris, France
The Centre Pompidou is a complex building in the Beaubourg area of the 4th arrondissement of Paris, near Les Halles, rue Montorgueil, and the Marais. It was designed in high-tech architecture by the architectural team of Richard Rogers, Su Rogers, Renzo Piano, and Gianfranco Franchini.
The Centre Pompidou contains the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Europe’s largest museum of modern art. The museum has a collection of over 200,000 art pieces from the early 20th century to the present day. The sculpture Horizontal by Alexander Calder is a free-standing mobile that is 7.6 m (25 ft) tall. The sculpture was placed in front of the Centre Pompidou in 2012.
The sculpture is an abstract representation of a balance beam. The sculpture was inspired by Calder’s time working as a circus acrobat. The Center Pompidou is one of the most-visited museums in Paris, with over 5 million visitors annually. Admission is free for all visitors from November to March on the first Sunday of each month.
See Related: Famous Historical Landmarks in France
20. State Hermitage Museum
Address: Palace Square, 2, St Petersburg, Russia, 190000
The State Hermitage Museum offers a variety of exhibits and experiences, from ancient history to contemporary art. Additionally, by visiting the museum, travelers can gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the different cultures of Europe and Russia.
The museum contains many items from the royal collection of Peter the Great and other Russian rulers. Apart from that, there is also a mansion known as Menshikov Palace, a porcelain museum, a storage facility at Staraya Derevnya, and an eastern wing of the General Staff Building in the collection.
The museum has six buildings on the Neva River’s banks, including the Winter Palace. The museum is open every day from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 pm, except on Thursdays when it is open until 9:00 pm.
What are the best museums in Europe to visit?
This is a difficult question to answer as there are so many amazing museums throughout Europe, but some of the best include the largest art museum in the world, the Louvre Museum, The British Museum and The National Gallery in the UK, the Rijksmuseum (Dutch National Museum), or the Centre Pompidou, a modern art gallery in Paris.
Do I need a visa to visit museums in Europe?
Most European museums do not require a visa for visitors from other European Union countries. However, some of the larger and more famous museums, such as the Louvre in Paris or the British Museum in London, may require that you have a valid passport and Entry Visa. For more information, please consult the museum website you wish to visit.
What is the best way to get around Europe to visit the most famous museums?
Depending on your budget and preferences, there are many different ways to get around Europe. You can fly between cities, take ferries, ride the Eurostar train, or drive. However, we recommend combining all methods to make the most of your time in Europe.
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.