While sightseeing abroad, there are a few essential places everyone should have the pleasure of visiting - the Trevi Fountain, Eiffle Tower, Great Wall of China. However, if you want to see some of the world's most important art, artifacts, history, and more - then you have to visit the best museums. Here are our top seven favorite museums across Europe.
Louvre Museum: Paris, France
As the seasons change, so, too, does the art on display at The Louvre in France. 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 Vatican Museums: Rome, Italy
For art lovers and history buffs, the 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. Perhaps one of Michelangelo's most recognized works, the Sistine Chapel ceiling tells the story of man's fall from God, but also his way back. From the small details on the painted tapestries to the famous fingers almost touching, this work of art is absolutely awe-inspiring.
The Uffizi Gallery Museum: Florence, Italy
The Uffizi Gallery Museum is one of Florence's many museums, an open-air ode to the arts. Like each of these listed, the Uffizi is among the most celebrated European museums. One of the oldest museums globally, constructed between 1560 and 1580, its walls contain some of the best-known works of art in the world. Its 45 halls are filled with masterpieces, including The Birth of Venus by Botticelli, Doni Tondo by Michelangelo, and Titian's Venus of Urbino. Don't miss the famous statues and busts of the Medici family on display as ancient Roman copies of lost Greek sculptures.
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 is displayed in this Guggenheim, located in Northern Spain's Basque Country. The building itself—erected in 1997—is one of today's most highly-lauded architectural structures 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 considered the pride of Madrid. The Prado houses 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 Prado's halls. The works of the world's most prodigious artists, including Raphael, Bosch, El Greco, Ribera, Goya, Rembrandt, and Velazquez, can be found in innumerable galleries.
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.
Rijksmuseum: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Founded in 1800 as the national museum to preserve Amsterdam's history and arts, Rijksmuseum is best known for its collection of European masterpieces, with a focus on works of the Dutch Golden Age. The 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 its 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 Van Gogh. Many other artists from France, Italy, and Spain are also exhibited here.
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