There is no doubt that Europe, the third most populated continent in the world, is blessed with breathtaking natural landscapes, stunning seascapes, and fascinating destinations. From eternal Rome to playful Paris and from lovely Venice to bustling London, Europe tourist places are diverse and beautiful. But behind that beauty lies so much history and treasure that is kept in Europe’s best museums. These museums are treasure troves to learn about the local culture that showcases with the collections of ancient artifacts, famous paintings, and sculptures. Whether you’re into art, history, or culture, here are the best museums in Europe that will either take you back in time as part of Europe tour packages.
Louvre Museum, Paris
Housing over 300,000 artworks with only 35,000 on display, Louvre Museum is the largest art and antiques museum in Europe, and among the top places to visit in France. Opened in 1793, the museum has one of the most significant art collections in the world right from ancient Egyptian relics to the famous Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” painting. Fayum mummy portrait’, Ghirlandaio’s ‘Portrait of an old man and his grandson’, Michelangelo’s ‘Dying slave’, ‘Nike of Samothrace’, some Napoleon’s portraits, etc. are some of the must see attractions here. The museum attracts more than 9.7 million visitors each year both local and foreigners.
The British Museum, London
Founded in 1753, the British Museum is the first national public museum in the world, and among the best places to visit in London. The museum is dedicated to human history and culture. With more than 8 million pieces dedicated to human history, art, and culture, the museum is indubitably the best in the world. It documents the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present. The museum lures over 6 million visitors every year to experience the most comprehensive collection, including world-famous objects such as the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon sculptures, and Egyptian mummies.
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Vatican Museums, Vatican City (Italy)
The Vatican Museums is a complex of art museums located in Vatican City, among the top places to visit in Rome. Founded by Pope Julius II in 1506 CE, it is one of the best museums in Europe and among the second-oldest museum in the world. The museums hold roughly about 70, 000 items, one of the biggest and most important collections of art and antiquities in the world, including Ancient Roman statues and Renaissance masterpieces. The famous Sistine Chapel is the centerpiece and one of 54 galleries in the Vatican Museums complex. The frescoes depicting scenes from the Bible’s Book of Genesis in the museum are some of the best-known paintings in the world. You should also not miss Raphael Rooms, which houses one of the masterpieces of Raphael – School of Athens. The other notable galleries include the Raphael Rooms, which were decorated by Raphael and his workshop, the Borgia Apartments, and the Bramante spiral staircase designed by Giuseppe Momo.
Prado, also known as Museo Nacional del Prado, is an impressive art museum established in 1819 CE in Madrid, among the best places to visit in Spain. It is one of the most famous art museums in Europe as it is home to an enviable collection of over 2,300 pieces of European paintings, a large number of sculptures, prints, drawings, and works of art. The museum’s collections include Spanish, Italian, and Flemish masterpieces. The museum’s Spanish collection, dating from the 12th century to the early 20th century, is the largest in the world. The main highlight of the museum includes “Las Meninas” by Diego Velazquez, “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Hieronymus Bosch, and “Saturn Devouring His Son” by Francisco de Goya. Visitors can also find several collections of works on display by Fra Angelico, Tintoretto, Paolo Veronese, El Greco, and Peter Paul Rubens.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (the Netherlands)
Rijksmuseum is the Royal Museum of the Netherlands founded in The Hague in 1800 CE and moved to Amsterdam in 1808 CE. Home to around one million objects, Rijksmuseum is one of the best Dutch art and history museums in the world, and among the top places to visit in Amsterdam. The museum houses some of the most famous Dutch Golden Age paintings created by artists such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, and Frans Hals. One can also find there many maritime scenes, landscapes of the Netherlands, or typical Dutch group portraits. Besides the paintings, Rijksmuseum has a fantastic collection of Delftware, historic furniture, and wonderful doll houses. The architecture of the museum is also quite impressive being the only museum in the world with a road running through it and an emergency exit for a single painting (of course, it’s for “The Night Watch”).
Must Visit : Cultural Destinations in Europe
Acropolis Museum, Athens (Greece)
One of the best museums in Greece, the Acropolis Museum is a sprawling archaeological museum located in the heart of Athens. Opened to the public in 2009, the museum has more than 4,250 objects that are exhibited over an area of 14,000 sq. m and is one of the most visited tourist places in Greece. This museum is displaying all of the artifacts that have been discovered at the site of the Acropolis and its surrounding slopes, which range from Greek Bronze age pieces to Roman and Byzantine periods. The main highlights include the “Caryatids of the Erechtheion”, the Parthenon Gallery, and the Archaic Gallery which lures a large number of visitors as part of Athens Tour Packages.
Uffizi Gallery, Florence
If you are an art lover, you must definitely visit the Uffizi Galleries in Florence as part of your Europe tour. Located in the historic center of Florence, the gallery was opened to the public in 1765 and is one of the most visited tourist places in Italy. The museum is home to a collection of both paintings and sculptures that span from the 13th to 18th centuries. Of these, the collection of the 14th century and Renaissance paintings is the star attraction. Sandro Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus’ and ‘La Primavera’, Michelangelo’s ‘Doni Tondo’, ‘Madonna of the Goldfinch’ by Raphael, ‘Bacchus and Medusa’ by Caravaggio, and ‘Venus of Urbino’ by Titian are the main highlights of the museum. Don,t miss out to see ‘Annunciation’ by Leonardo da Vinci as it’s his first significant work, painted when he was only 20 years old. Apart from paintings, the museum also houses several statues and busts that are old Roman copies of lost Greek works which were collected by the Medici family, the de facto rulers of Florence. Visiting the Uffizi Gallery is considered one of the top things to do in Florence.
Museum Island, Berlin
Situated on the southern bank of the Spree River, Museum Island (Museuminsel) in Berlin houses a unique collection of galleries and museums within its five temple-like buildings. With its treasures spanning 6,000 years of human history, Museum Island was given UNESCO World Heritage status in 1999 and is regarded as one of the top Berlin tourist places. Opened in 1930, Pergamon Museum is the newest, and the largest museum on Museum Island that houses a world-class collection of Greek and Roman classical antiquities, along with an impressive collection of Middle Eastern Art. The Pergamon Zeus alter from 160 BC, which stands in the main hall, the Babylonian Ishtar Gate covered in glazed blue tiles from the 6th century BC, the Market Gate of Miletus from the 2nd century and thousands of other Ancient Mesopotamian and Islamic treasures are the must-see attractions here.
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Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersberg
Hermitage Museum is an art museum located in the beautiful Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg. With over three million objects, it is the second-largest museum in the world and among the best museums to visit in Europe. The museum was founded by the Russian Empress Catherine the Great, a true art patron, and visiting this art paradise is definitely a treat for any art enthusiast. Composed of six buildings, the museum offers a variety of exhibits ranging from ancient history to contemporary art. The museum is home to some famous Renaissance paintings and one of the best collections of Dutch Golden Ages’ pieces. Apart from the museum, one can visit a mansion known as Menshikov Palace, a museum of porcelain, a storage facility at Staraya Derevnya, and an eastern wing of the General Staff Building in the collection while in Saint Petersburg.
Vasa Museum, Stockholm, Sweden
Vasa Museum is a maritime and historic museum located in the city of Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, among the most scenic offbeat places to visit in Europe. Opened in 1990, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Sweden and among the best museums in Europe with over 1 million visitors each year. The museum is home to the 17th century warship that sank on its maiden voyage in 1628 just in front of the shore of Stockholm. The museum also houses a large collection of maritime artifacts on display, as well as interactive exhibits that allow visitors to learn more about sailing and naval history. It is one of the must-see museums for anyone visiting Stockholm as part of Sweden Tour Packages.
Santhi is an avid traveler and primary contributor to the blogs at Trawell.in. She has explored most of the states in India and gained vast knowledge on tourist destinations in India and abroad. She also contributes content to other travel websites.