TMR’s Top 10 Museums in Europe
Europe is home to some of the world’s most famous museums and galleries. Rome, not surprisingly, has the oldest museum in the world, Paris is home to the largest art gallery in the world – the Louvre – which also holds the title for the world’s most visited museum. There are literally hundreds of thousands of museums and galleries to choose from, covering subjects ranging from fans (Greenwich, UK) to failed love affairs (Museum of Broken Relationships – Zagreb, Croatia) to funeral carriages (Barcelona, Spain) with every possible subject you can think of in-between. So you can plan wisely for your next trip, we’ve come up with our ten favourites, which are guaranteed to impress.
Musée d’Orsay – Paris
Compared to the endless galleries of the huge Palais du Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay is a lot easier to get around in one visit. There are also few art galleries in the world where you’re confronted with so many instantly familiar masterpieces. The magnificent setting in a former railway station on the Seine isn’t too bad either.
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Museo Egizio (Egyptian Museum) – Turin
This is the largest collection of Egyptian artefacts outside Egypt and also the oldest in the world entirely dedicated to Egyptian culture. From magnificent statues to mummies, sarcophagi, figurines, jewellery and a complete rock-cut temple built around 1420 BC, there’s plenty to discover. Get here early to beat the queues.
DDR Museum – Berlin
There’s such a huge choice of fabulous museums to visit in Berlin, but we could only choose one per city, and this modern, relatively small museum is a gem. It paints of a very vivid picture of life in the former East Germany using interactive exhibits and explanations in both German and English. Visitors can drive a Trabant or wander around a typical East Berlin apartment.
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Vasa Museum – Stockholm
As with the DDR Museum, history comes to life in Stockholm’s most popular tourist attraction, centred around a 17th century warship that sank less than 1.2 kilometres into her maiden voyage in 1628. Remarkably, this ship was found almost entirely intact and was recovered with thousands of artefacts, many of which are on display alongside the ship, in a purpose-built museum.
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Van Gogh Museum – Amsterdam
Amsterdam has a wildly eclectic choice of museums, with collections dedicated to everything from microbes to vodka. The Rijksmuseum (National Museum) is probably the most famous, but this one (in this blog writer’s opinion) is a lot more fun! Van Gogh’s spectacular palette is allowed to run riot in a modern, simple space. This gallery is a must for anyone who likes impressionist and post-impressionist art.
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Victoria & Albert Museum – London
In South Kensington, London, there are a few very famous museums in close proximity – the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria & Albert. The V & A generally has the shortest queues, which is surprising considering it’s the world’s largest museum of applied and decorative arts and design, as well as sculpture, housing a permanent collection of over 2.27 million objects. These range from dresses to musical instruments and even a giant plaster cast of Michelangelo’s David. We would also suggest that the museum shop is one of the best in Europe too.
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The Warsaw Rising Museum – Warsaw
This unforgettable museum was opened to mark the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of fighting in Warsaw. The uprising against Nazi occupation was ultimately quashed with huge loss of life and the almost total destruction of the city. The museum honours the memory of the resistance fighters who fought and died in the largest military action taken by a resistance movement during World War II.
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Peggy Guggenheim Museum – Venice
The black sheep of the wealthy Guggenheim family, Peggy made her mark as a passionate supporter and collector of modern art. Her collection is now housed in her former home in Venice. The collection includes works by Kandinski, Dali, Picasso and Miro. If pre-19th century art is more your thing, the Galleria dell’Accademia is also well worth a visit.
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Vatican Museums – Rome
This is one of the largest museums in the world, so you really need a full day to do it justice. The collection, amassed by popes through the centuries, is housed in 54 rooms, with the breathtaking Sistine Chapel being the last ‘room’. You can also go into spectacular St Peter’s Basilica from here. Like many of the museums listed here, it’s best to buy your tickets in advance and dodge the queues.
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Prado – Madrid
Along with the Museo Reine Sofía and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, this is one of three museums that make up Madrid’s ‘Golden Triangle of Art’. The Prado is by far the most famous and considered by many to be one of the greatest art galleries in the world. The collection is made up of some 7,600 paintings and 8,200 drawings, spanning the 12th to early 20th centuries.
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