TMR Top 10 Museums in Europe
Looking for some sightseeing inspiration? Have a look at our top tips for must-see museums in Continental Europe. These are in no particular order…
Musée d’Orsay – Paris
Compared to the endless galleries of the vast Palais du Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay is much easier to enjoy in one visit. There are also few art galleries in the world where you’re confronted with so many instantly familiar masterpieces. The majestic setting in a former railway station on the Seine isn’t too shabby either.
Museo Egizio (Egyptian Museum) – Turin
Representing the largest collection of Egyptian artefacts outside Egypt, this fantastic museum is 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.
DDR Museum – Berlin
There are so many amazing museums to visit in Berlin, but we could only choose one per city, and this relatively small museum is one not to be missed. It paints of a very vivid picture of life in the former East Germany using interactive exhibits and explanations in both German and English.
Vasa Museum – Stockholm
As with the DDR Museum, history comes to life in Stockholm’s premier tourist attraction, centred around a 17th century warship that sank less than 1,400 yards into her maiden voyage in 1628. Unlike the Mary Rose in Portsmouth, this ship is almost entirely intact and was recovered with thousands of artefacts, many of which are on display with the ship.
Van Gogh Museum – Amsterdam
Again, Amsterdam is one of Europe’s museum capitals with collections dedicated to everything from microbes to vodka. The Rijksmuseum is probably the most famous, but this one (in this blog writer’s opinion) is a lot more fun! Van Gogh’s vivid colours are allowed to run riot in a modern, simple space. A must for anyone who likes impressionist and post-impressionist art.
Chaplin’s World – Vevey (Switzerland)
Housed in the former country estate where Charlie Chaplin spent the last 25 years of his life, this museum offers an unforgettable insight into his life and work. This is another entry to the top 10 which has been chosen as much for location as for content. The manor house and gardens are stunning.
The Warsaw Rising Museum – Warsaw
This ultra-modern, 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 WWII.
Peggy Guggenheim Museum – Venice
Whether you’re an avid fan of modern art or more of a moderate sceptic, this light and airy museum housed in American collector Peggy Guggenheim’s former palazzo offers a calming retreat from the crowded alleys of Venice. The collection includes works by Kandinski, lasix Dali, Picasso and Miro. If pre-19th century art is more your thing, the Galleria dell’Accademia is also well worth a visit.
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’, a fabulous reward for your efforts. Like many of the museums listed here, it’s best to buy your tickets in advance and dodge the queues.
Prado – Madrid
Along with the Museo Reine Sofía and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, this is one of three museums making 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 comprises some 7,600 paintings and 8,200 drawings spanning the 12th to early 20th centuries.
Visit our European Cities by Rail page for more inspiration.