The Best Museums in Europe
While sightseeing abroad, there are a few essential places everyone should have the pleasure of visiting.
Among the most remarkable spots not to miss are the museums that dot the map of Europe.
Louvre Museum: Paris, France
As the seasons change, so, too, does the art on display at The Louvre. Sketches, paintings, sculptures, and other works of art are always in rotation at this world-famous museum in the heart of Paris. However, there are some staples at The Louvre almost always open to the public: the most famous of these being The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. There's much more to this famous Parisian museum than the most well-known portrait on the planet. Activities and tours, exhibitions and events, and views of The Louvre Palace are also on the menu.
The Uffizi Gallery Museum: Florence, Italy
As one of the most exceptional museums in the world, The Uffizi Gallery Museum doesn’t share the same name recognition as other celebrated European museums. Located in Florence, Italy, Uffizi is one of the oldest museums in the world and contains some of the best-known works of art in the world. Its 45 halls are filled with masterpieces not to be missed, including The Birth of Venus by Botticelli, Doni Tondo by Michelangelo, and Venus of Urbino by Titian.
The Vatican Museums: Rome, Italy
For art lovers and history buffs, Vatican Museums are among the best museums in Europe. You’ll see everything from masterpiece paintings to archaeological sites, Pontifical villas to Vatican Gardens, and multi-sensory tours to educational laboratories—not to mention the Sistine Chapel.
Sightseer’s Tips: You must dress appropriately to visit Vatican Museums; revealing ensembles, shorts, hats, and sleeveless T-shirts will bar your entrance. Photography gear might be checked in for you, as there are stringent regulations for cameras and tripods.
The Natural History Museum: London, England
Walk through The Natural History Museum to discover countless attractions, exhibits, and galleries of the world’s most highly-revered collection of nature’s bounty. See creatures of the deep, dinosaurs, insects, plant life, minerals, fossils, and even get a closer look at human history throughout the ages. With a constant influx of new features from giant blue whales to microscopic specimens, this is one of the best museums in Europe, perfect for sightseers of any age.
Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Spain
As a progressive, learning museum, the Guggenheim Bilbao is ideal for visitors of any age. Partitioned into areas for kids, teens, and adults, sightseers can partake in concerts, presentations, jazz sessions, art classes, film viewings, performance art, dance, lectures, and more. Modern and contemporary art of all kinds is displayed in this Guggenheim, located in Northern Spain's Basque Country. The building itself—erected in 1997—is one of the most highly-lauded architectural structures of today, and houses the works of artists from Spain, Basque Country, and many others from around the world.
The Prado: Madrid, Spain
The 200-year-old Museo Nacional del Prado—known by most as The Prado—is the pride of Madrid. Housing countless masterpieces by some of the most celebrated names from numerous epochs spanning the 12th through 19th centuries. Spanish, Italian, French, and Flemish paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, and other art lines the halls of The Prado. The works of the world's most prodigious artists, including Raphael, Bosch, El Greco, Ribera, Goya, Rembrandt, and Velazquez can be found inside innumerable galleries.
Rijksmuseum: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Founded in 1800 as the national museum to preserve the history and arts of Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum is best known for its collection of European masterpieces, with a focus on works of the Dutch Golden Age. Rijksmuseum has undergone numerous renovations and additions and is now a modern structure. Rather than displaying works of art in different galleries, this museum uses what it’s designers call a “single chronological circuit” to display works in the order they were created. Enjoy the realism and impressionism the Golden Age is known for from prodigious artists, including Ernst, Mor, Rembrandt, Hals, Vermeer, and of course, Van Gogh. Many other artists from France, Italy, and Spain are also exhibited here.