Looking for places to visit that will take you back in time or make you appreciate the beauty of art in Europe? Here are the best museums in Europe for just that.
There is no doubt that Europe is blessed with so much beauty and wonder. But behind that beauty lies so much history and treasure that is kept in the continent’s best museums.
From famous paintings, sculptures to archaeological findings, there are so many things that have shaped Europe’s history that you ought to see to get a full understanding of where the continent has been.
Whether you’re into art, history, or culture, here are the best museums to visit in Europe that will either take you back in time or make you appreciate the beauty and artistry that was expressed through art.
Best Museums in Europe
1. Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Contributed by Me (Esther from The adventurous feet)
Housing over 300,000 artworks with only 35,000 on display, the Louvre museum is the largest art and antiques museum in Europe and the world at large and also one of the most visited French landmarks in the country.
Home to the famous Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” painting, the Louvre is flocked by a number of tourists both local and foreign who want to get a close glimpse of the painting.
But it’s not just the Mona Lisa painting that makes the Louvre museum one of the best art museums in Europe but also other artworks that are grouped according to themes.
From the Oriental Antiquities department, Egyptian Antiquities department, Roman & Etruscan department to the Greek Antiquities, there is a variety of antiques to see in this grandiose museum.
Since the Louvre museum is gigantic with so many things to see, it’s incredibly hard to see everything in one day but make sure that you don’t miss seeing the most impressive paintings like “Liberty Leading the People” by Eugene Delacroix, “the Wedding at Cana” by Paola Veronese and the “Napoleon Coronation” which is my personal favorite.
Other must-see sculptures include “Venus de Milo” which is an ancient Greek statue, a “Seated Scribe” which is an Egyptian sculpture, and a “Winged Victory of Samothrace” which is a Hellenistic sculpture.
Nevertheless, it’s not just the paintings and sculptures that make the Louvre museum one of the best places to visit in Paris but also its magnificent architecture.
From the alluring grand facade to the beautiful long arches that seem to drip in gold in the interior, the Louvre museum is truly one of the best European museums that everyone should visit at least once.
It’s open from 9:00 am – 6: 00 pm on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. From 9:00 am – 9:45 pm on Wednesday and Friday but closed on Tuesdays.
15€ if you buy the ticket at the museum but I suggest buying it online to avoid the long queues or better yet opt for a skip-the-line guided tour to get in-depth knowledge about the museum.
However, the museum is free to enter on the first Saturday of every month.
2. National Museum in Prague, Czech Republic
Contributed by Veronika from Travel Geekery
Located right at the very top of Prague’s Wenceslas Square, the main building of the National Museum (also referred to as the Historical Building) houses permanent expositions spanning history and arts.
Since its recent major reconstruction, permanent exhibitions are going to be restored throughout 2020. Temporary exhibitions often showcase significant events of Czech history.
While the National Museum was established 200 years ago, the building itself was built at the end of the 19th century and done so in a Neo-Renaissance style. However, it was damaged several times during the Second World War and the intervention by the Warsaw Pact troops in 1968.
The interior is incredible. It is akin to a beautiful palace, just more compact and covering four floors. You could walk up and down for hours and still find things to admire.
But it’s not just the collections and the stunning interior that will take your breath away.
Only last year, a dome on the top of the National Museum was opened to the public for the first time in the Museum’s history. Its floor-to-ceiling windows offer a new unique view over Wenceslas Square.
The recent reconstructions also saw a tunnel being built between the Historical Building and the New Building of the National Museum located just a few meters away. Nowadays an exhibition spans even the said tunnel.
The National Museum is one of the top sights in Prague and is popular among tourists making it one of the most visited museums in Europe.
The Museum is open year-round, every day from 10 am to 6 pm.
A ticket costs 10€ (250 CZK) for adults. If you want to see the dome too, expect to pay 13€ (350 CZK). You can buy the entry ticket online, which I highly recommend in order to skip the long lines.
3. Acropolis Museum, Athens, Greece
Contributed by Chrysoula from Athens and Beyond
The Acropolis Museum is a sprawling archaeological museum in the heart of Athens that displays the findings that have been excavated over the years on and around the site of the Acropolis of Athens.
The museum opened to the public in 2009 is housed in a modern building on the south-eastern slope of the Acropolis Hill which creates an interesting juxtaposition when paired with the ancient artifacts that lie within.
The findings displayed in the museum range from Greek Bronze age pieces to Roman and Byzantine artifacts, with more than 4,000 items exhibited within the grand halls.
The museum has been cleverly designed to reflect the journey up to the Parthenon, with sloping floors representing the climb up Acropolis Hill and the display of the columns of the Parthenon being laid out in the same way as that of the ancient temple itself.
At the entrance of The Acropolis Museum, visitors can witness another archaeological site upon which the museum is built with transparent glass flooring making even the ground you’re walking on an exhibit!
The Acropolis Museum is open daily, with opening hours changing slightly between summer and winter. In general, the museum is open 9 am-5 pm in winter and 8 am to 4 pm in summer, with longer opening hours on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Full-price tickets cost 10€ in summer (1 April – 31 October) and 5€ in winter (1 November – 31 March).
4. Art History Museum, Vienna, Austria
Contributed by Anca from Dream Book and Travel
The Art History Museum (Kunsthistorisches Museum) is one of Vienna’s most recognizable landmarks.
If you stay in Vienna for more than one day, this museum should be on your list of things to see.
Located on the main boulevard that surrounds the city center (the Ringstrasse) and across the street from the Hofburg Imperial Palace, the Museum shares its glory with its twin, the Natural History Museum, as they flank the statue of Empress Maria Theresa.
Interestingly, the museum was actually built for the purpose of housing the extensive art collections of the imperial family which explains both its stunning architecture and its location.
Known worldwide for hosting the largest Bruegel collection in the world, the museum also prides itself with an extensive paintings gallery that includes Raphael’s “Madonna in the Meadow,” Vermeer’s “The Allegory of Painting,” the Infanta paintings by Velazquez, and countless masterpieces by Rembrandt, Dürer, Rubens, Tintoretto, and Titian.
Besides the picture gallery, the museum’s collections include a stunning Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection, the Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities, and a very well curated Coin Collection.
Of particular interest is the Kunstkammer, reopened in 2013 and the most extensive display of its kind in the world.
Such arts and natural wonders rooms were popular during the Baroque and the Renaissance as encyclopedic collections that encompassed the entire knowledge of the day through exotic uncommon exhibits.
An amazing typical Viennese coffee house is located in the museum’s main hall/atrium and it’s a mandatory stop for your visit.
The museum is open every day between 10 am and 6 pm.
A variety of tickets combinations can be purchased online, starting from 16€.
Related post: 30 ways to travel Europe on a budget
5. The Prado, Madrid, Spain
Contributed by Izzy from The Gap Decaders
You cannot visit Madrid without going to the Museo Nacional del Prado, better known as the Prado.
Founded in 1819, the Prado is one of the most famous art museums to visit in Europe and has an enviable collection of over 2,300 pieces of European art.
The Prado is full of paintings collected by Spanish monarchs of the past and showcases collections by artists who would have been favorites of the ruling royal family in days gone by.
This is why the Prado is often described as a museum of painters rather than paintings.
You will find enormous collections of works by Bosch, Titian, El Greco, Rubens, Velazquez, and Goya, along with many others housed in this beautiful building.
From the weird and wonderful imagination of Hieronymus Bosch set down on canvas, to the beauty and grace of Titian, there is something at the Prado for everyone.
Many of these masterpieces capture the stories of history and it can be helpful to take an educational tour from one of the Prado guides, who can explain the symbolism in the works, what was happening in history at the time of the painting, and more about the famous subjects.
From 10 am to 8 pm from Monday to Saturday and from 10 am to 7 pm on Sundays and public holidays. The museum is closed on January and May 1st and December 25th.
A ticket costs 15€ but you can visit the Prado museum for free between 6 pm -8 pm from Monday to Saturday and from 5 pm -7 pm on Sundays and public holidays, although expect a very long queue.
Consider booking online in advance, especially in the summer months and at weekends as the queues to buy a ticket at the door can be very long.
6. The Museum of the Second World War, Gdansk, Poland
Contributed by Reshma from The Solo Globetrotter
The Museum of the Second World War, located in Gdansk in Poland is one of the best European museums that you should visit.
Symbolically, this historical museum was established close to the post office in Gdansk, the place where WWII started.
The museum has the world’s most extensive collections and artifacts related to the second world war from events during the years before the war to many decades where its aftermath continued to have profound influences; you will witness the series categorized chronologically.
The sections that you shouldn’t miss are the accounts of political propaganda and policies, the role of the press, and writers in the war (interesting wall posters).
The conditions and stories of the holocaust survivors, prisoners of the concentration camps, and stories documenting the impact of devastation on the lives of the ordinary people around the world are not pleasant exhibits, but the harsh truth needs to be known.
The unique style and modern architecture of the museum are also appealing and have won several accolades in the architectural world.
The museum opens from 10 am to 6 pm from Tuesday to Sunday and closed on Mondays.
The entrance fee to the main exhibition is around 5€ (23 PLN (Polish Zloty) ), and an additional 1. 5€ (5 PLN) if you want the audio guide.
I highly recommend the audio guide as it is excellent to understand the collections in the museum.
Also, the museum gets crowded during the peak seasons and on the weekends, so it is best to get here early in the morning or better yet buy a skip the line entry ticket beforehand.
7. Viking Ship Museum, Oslo, Norway
Contributed by Anjali from Travel Melodies
Though Olso is famous for its museums, Viking Ship Museum (Vikingskipshuset) is one of the best-known in the city and, of course, one of the best places to visit in the city, especially if you’re visiting Oslo with kids.
If Viking history intrigues you, then this is one of the top European museums for you. A walk around the museum takes you back to the Viking era of Scandinavia.
Located on a Bygdøy peninsula, a beautiful and scenic cruise through Oslo fjord takes you to Viking Ship Museum. It’s a short walk uphill from the boat terminal in Bygdøy.
The museum is small yet impressive. It houses three of the best-preserved Viking ships in the world – Gokstad, Oseberg, and Tune Ships plus a selection of archeological excavations from the Viking era.
Don’t miss The Vikings Alive, a short multimedia film that narrates the story of Vikings. The movie is beautifully projected on the walls and ceilings of the museum.
You can’t leave the museum before you buy a souvenir from the museum shop to take back home to be reminded of your visit to Scandinavia, the land of Vikings- the Vikings salt is a good option.
Just outside the museum, there’s a little cafe that sells sandwiches and waffles, if you feel like eating something. Alternatively, you can stop for lunch at one of the nice places to eat in Bygdøy, Cafe hjemme hos svigers.
You can also visit other amazing Bygdøy museums like the Norwegian Folk, Fram, Kon-Tiki, Maritime to make the most of your time here. Most of these sights are within a 15-20 minute walk of each other.
The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm.
11.3€ (120 kroner) for adults, 8.5€ (90 kroner) for seniors/students, and free for children under 18 years plus everyone with an Oslo Pass.
Curious minds can ask for the free audio guide at the entrance. The ticket from Viking Ship Museum also includes entry to the Historical Museum, where you can enjoy Norway’s most diverse and largest cultural-historical exhibits.
8. Orsay Museum, Paris, France
Contributed by Elisa from World in Paris
If you are planning a trip to Paris, France for more than two days, you should add the Orsay Museum to your Paris bucket list. It is a top-rated museum in Paris and also one of the most famous museums in Europe.
This wonderful museum is located inside Gare d’Orsay, a former 19th-century railway station in the Left Bank of Paris from which it took its name.
Though this train station linked Orléans to Paris stopped working in the ’50s, today, visitors can see some remains of its original use like the wonderful clock that dominates the central space.
The Orsay Museum is internationally renowned for its rich collection of Impressionist art with important collections of Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, or Paul Gauguin.
The Museum also displays all Western artistic creations from 1848 to 1914, from painting to architecture, as well as sculptures, the decorative arts, and photography.
Unlike the Louvre Museum where it is impossible to visit all the collections in one single day, visitors can see most of the collections in Orsay in one single visit.
In addition to the exhibition rooms, the museum features two beautiful restaurants on its upper floor, a café, and a small shop. Also, some models, pictures, and information panels tell the history of the former railway station.
From Tuesday to Sunday from 9:30 am to 6 pm, and on Thursday from 9.30 am to 9.45 pm. The Museum is closed on Mondays.
14 € for adults and free for children below 18 years. You can grab yourself a skip-the-line entry ticket online to avoid the long queues or opt for a private guided tour to learn more about this impressive Parisian Museum.
9. The British Museum, London, United Kingdom
Contributed By Coni from Experiencing the Globe
If you can only visit one museum in Europe throughout all your travels, make it the British Museum. It’s indubitably the best museum in the world.
It’s definitely one of the highlights while visiting the city, a true testament of London’s multiculturalism.
Founded in 1753, it’s the first national public museum in the world. The collection is impressive and the architecture is splendid. Spend a bit of time wandering around the entrance hall before you venture into the rooms.
In the rooms, you’ll get to see pieces of history of every important civilization throughout history.
And although the reason for this wonderful collection is imperialism – nowadays the museum is facing several lawsuits from countries around the world trying to get their treasures back.
However, it’s still amazing that you get to see and witness the best of the best in one building.
Beyond the political angle, a visit will allow you to walk from Egyptian mummies to a Caryatid from the Acropolis; from Assyrian stone sculptures to an Easter Island moai; from an Aztec double-headed serpent to the Rosetta stone.
The African section is often overlooked, but it deserves more attention. The modern art will help you make sense of some crises that the continent has seen over the last century.
You can spend days there, but half a day should be enough to see the highlights.
Every day from 10.00 to 17.30 (until 20.30 on Fridays)
Free for all
10. Anne Frank House, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Contributed by Chloe from Chloe’s Travelogue
Anne Frank House is one of the best museums to visit in Europe. Despite the hassle of booking often sold-out tickets, there is no doubt that this house museum is a must-visit place in Amsterdam.
The museum used to be the hiding place for Anne Frank’s family under the Nazi.
Whether you read the Diary of a Young Girl or not, it is an excellent place to learn and experience the fear the Jews faced during the darkest time in modern European history.
Be warned that visiting Anne Frank House might trigger an emotional response.
Even if you already know the sad ending, it is a sobering experience to follow along the story told by a series of interviews and explore the narrow and dark space.
Although the museum is not a jolly happy place like other Europe museums, Amsterdam visitors should not miss out on the educational and inspirational experience at Anne Frank House.
The museum opens from 9 am to 10 pm daily, except on Saturdays where it closes at 7 pm. However, you must first book your ticket for a specific time slot through the official website. Reservation opens as early as two months in advance.
Tickets are €12.50 for adults or €6.50 for ages 10-17, including the booking fee. Note that children under 9 can visit for free, but a €1.00 booking fee will be charged.
Related post: Most beautiful cities in Europe
11. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland
Contributed by Ashley from Impact Winder
If you find yourself in Edinburgh and need to find shelter during a cold winter’s day or you are just on a tight budget but still want to explore the incredible history of the Scottish people, head to the National Museum of Scotland. You won’t be disappointed. Plus, it’s free!
The more modern section of the building was opened in 1998 and is connected to the 1860s Victorian Venetian Renaissance facade next door.
Together, these two buildings connect Scotland’s history and culture with the wider world.
As you make your way through the museum, note that the Scottish history exhibits are located in the newer building while the arts, design, fashion, science, technology, natural history, and world cultures are located in the Victorian building.
One of the most spectacular views inside the building occurs when you enter the Grand Gallery on the main floor.
The National Museum of Scotland holds exhibits that would be interesting for the whole family.
Whether it’s Dolly the sheep, the first animal that was cloned from an adult cell, or the Schmidt Telescope, this museum has incredible displays and rotating exhibits that make it well worth the visit.
And if you want to learn more about the rich and vibrant Scottish history, meander your way through the Kingdom of Scots and Scotland Transformed, both of which provide an excellent curation of the Scottish story through incredible artifacts on display including the Lewis Chessmen and Bonnie Prince Charlie’s personal items.
Free for all
From 10 am -5 pm every day
Related post: Romantic places to visit in Europe
12. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Contributed by Tea from Culture Tourist
Rijksmuseum, the royal museum of the Netherlands is one of the best Dutch art and history museums and one you shouldn’t miss when visiting Amsterdam.
It’s located at Museumplein (‘Museum Square’), where some of the best Amsterdam museums are.
Rijksmuseum was built in 1885, and it was one of the first buildings constructed with the sole purpose of being a museum.
Its architecture is 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”).
Home to around one million objects, Dutch paintings from the Middle Ages to the present day are displayed there and you’ll need a few days if not even weeks to see everything.
Rijksmuseum is home to some of the most famous Dutch Golden Age paintings created by artists such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer or Frans Hals.
If you have only a couple of hours to spend there, go to its ‘Gallery of Honour’ where some of the Rijksmuseum highlights, like Vermeer’s ‘The Milkmaid’ or some of the very famous Rembrandt’s portraits are displayed.
You’ll 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 some wonderful dolls’ houses.
To finish your visit in style, have lunch at a beautiful Rijksmuseum restaurant and absorb the atmosphere of this amazing place for just a bit longer.
The museum is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm
20€ for adults but free for anyone under the age of 18.
13. The Tate Modern, London, The UK
Contributed by Stephanie from History Fan Girl
The Tate Modern is one of the great museums of London and one of the most visited. A part of the Tate group, the Tate Modern is England’s primary national gallery of international modern art.
The museum opened in 2000 in the former Bankside Power Station and this is why the Tate Modern’s architecture might appear jarring to visitors: it’s actually a refurbished industrial building!
The museum is divided into different galleries with different themes. The art displayed rotates and changes throughout the year, so even if you’ve been to London before, you should pay the museum another visit. The themes are also periodically changed, creating an entirely new experience.
You’ll want to set aside ninety minutes to two hours to enjoy the museum and see the galleries. Of course, some people will want to spend longer.
Make sure to visit the cafe on the top floor. It offers absolutely stunning views of the River Thames and the surrounding area.
After (or before) your visit, you’ll want to take advantage of the Tate Modern’s location on London’s Southbank (across from St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Millenium Bridge) to take incredible photos.
The museum is open from Sunday – Thursday from 10 am – 6 pm and on Friday and Saturday from 10 am – 10 pm.
The Tate Modern is free to visit. However, some special exhibitions have an entrance fee, but there is no charge to see the main collections.
14. Pergamon Museum, Berlin, Germany
Contributed by Lee and Stacey from One Trip at a Time
Situated on the south bank of the Spree River, Museum Island (Museuminsel) houses a unique collection of galleries and museums within its five temple-like buildings.
Their treasures span 6,000 years of human history so it’s no wonder Museum Island was given UNESCO World Heritage status in 1999 making it one of the top attractions in Berlin.
The largest and newest museum on Museum Island is the Pergamon Museum which houses a world-class collection of Greek and Roman classical antiquities, along with an impressive collection of Middle Eastern Art.
It was opened in 1930 and is one of the first buildings in Europe designed specifically to house big architectural exhibits.
Many people visit to see the Pergamon Zeus alter from 160 BC, (to which the museum owes its name), which stands in the main hall but there are many other incredible exhibits to see.
Make time to see the Babylonian Ishtar Gate covered in glazed blue tiles from the 6th century BC, the Market Gate of Miletus from the 2nd century with a beautiful mosaic floor from the dining room of a private villa laid out in front of it, and thousands of other Ancient Mesopotamian and Islamic treasures.
To get the most out of your visit, the audio guide included within the admission fee is recommended.
The Pergamon Museum is open from 10:00 – 18:00, except on Thursday when it is open until 20:00.
The entry ticket costs 19€ for adults and €9.50 for concessions.
To avoid waiting in potentially long lines it is best to book a time slot online ahead of time.
Alternatively, you can opt for a Museuminsel ticket, Berlin Museum Pass, or the Berlin Welcome Card all of which include the Pergamon Museum and can help save you money on your visit to Berlin.
15. Galleria dell’accademia, Florence, Italy
Contributed by Matt from It’s all in Italy
The Galleria dell’accademia is a famous museum in Florence, Italy that is probably best known for housing Michelangelo’s Masterpiece, David.
In fact, it’s home to the most number of sculptures by Michelangelo compared to anywhere in the world, with seven in total.
Located via Ricasoli (#58) in Florence, Galleria dell’accademia is the fourth most visited museum in Italy, following the nearby Uffizi Gallery.
Its famous artworks include the classic David Statue (as in David and Goliath) as well as the largest collection of pictorial artworks with a gold background.
Annual visitors to the Galleria dell’accademia average around 1.5 million making it one of the most visited museums in Europe.
Enduring many political upheavals since its inauguration in 1784, the museum celebrates Florentine art from the 13th to the 19th century.
The museum also encompasses several rooms and halls from different time periods and features artworks from famous artists, painters, and sculptures such as Michelangelo and Bartolini, an International Gothic Hall, and a vast collection of Russian Icons.
From Tuesday to Sunday from 8:15 am-6:50 pm and it’s closed on Mondays, January 1, May 1, and December 25.
20 € for adults but free for children below 18 years. The museum is also free for everyone every first Sunday of the month.
16. National Tile Museum, Lisbon, Portugal
Contributed by Wendy Werneth from The Nomadic Vegan
Portugal is famous for its ceramic tiles, known as azulejos. And while you’ll see plenty of azulejos on the buildings as you wander around town, you should definitely visit the National Tile Museum (or the “Museo Nacional do Azulejo” in Portuguese) to see the best examples of this art form and understand more about its history and importance to Portuguese identity.
A visit to this museum is honestly one of the best experiences you can have in Lisbon.
Oddly, most tourists seem to skip it, though. Perhaps this is because its location on Rua da Madre de Deus on the east side of Lisbon is a bit far from most of the city’s other tourist attractions, and there’s no metro station nearby.
But with Google Maps, it’s easy to figure out the best bus route from where you are, or just walk from the Santa Apolónia station, which should take about 20 minutes.
The museum is located inside the 16th-century Madre de Deus Convent, some of the azulejos can still be viewed in situ, in the chapel, courtyard, and other buildings of the convent for which they were intended. And of course, the Baroque architecture of the convent is an attraction itself.
The undisputed highlight of the museum, though, is the 37 meter-long panorama cityscape made out of azulejos.
It was created in 1730, just a couple of decades before most of Lisbon’s buildings were destroyed in the devastating earthquake of 1755.
This unique piece of art, therefore, offers a fascinating glimpse of what the city looked like before it was changed forever.
The museum is open from 10 am to 6 pm every day except on Mondays.
Admission is 5€
Related post: Famous landmarks to visit in Europe
17. Titanic Belfast Museum, Northern Ireland
Contributed by Ella from Many More Maps
For any history buffs, the Titanic Belfast Museum will be a dream come true.
Situated in the very city the Titanic was built in, this museum teaches you everything you could possibly want to know about the famous ship.
The huge aluminum museum building, nicknamed “The Iceberg” by locals, who rightly believe that the museum’s exterior resembles a giant iceberg sits in the Titanic Quarter of Belfast in Northern Ireland.
The history museum documents the story of the Titanic from start to finish and covers everything you could possibly want to know.
The highlight of visiting the museum is undoubtedly the number of interactive exhibits, making you feel like you’ve really stepped back into the past.
The Shipyard Ride takes you on a guided tour of a shipyard recreation completed with heat from the furnaces, smells of oil, and more.
Once you’re back on solid ground, head over to the stunning floor-to-ceiling windows which look out to the dry dock the Titanic once launched from over 100 years ago!
Next up is the virtual tour of the ship’s interior, which will make you feel like you’re really inside the Titanic!
One of the final exhibits in the museum is a huge projection of the titanic wreck site on the floor of a large room, which you can walk around, and get up close to different areas of the wreck.
Opening hours vary by season, but in general, the museum is open from 10 am – 5 pm from October- March and between 9 am -6 pm from April – September.
Standard admission (called the ‘Titanic Experience Belfast Ticket’) costs 21.2€ for adults and 9.5€ for children over 5. Children under 5 are free.
This ticket includes entry to the museum and the SS Nomadic moored nearby which is the only remaining vessel of the White Star Line – the company which built the Titanic!
18. Brontë Parsonage Museum, Haworth, West Yorkshire, England
Contributed by Helen from Helen on her Holidays
Any book lover will be familiar with the names of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë.
The Brontë sisters are well known for iconic novels like Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
For most of their lives, they lived in a small mill town, Haworth, in the north of England. Their father was the parish priest, so the Brontë family lived in Haworth’s Parsonage, next to the church.
The Parsonage is now the Brontë Parsonage Museum and has been restored to be as close as possible to how it would have been when the Brontë sisters lived there.
Furniture like the dining table where Charlotte, Emily, and Anne wrote almost all their novels has been tracked down and reinstated, and visitors can also see some of their clothes as well as the first editions of their novels.
The sisters originally wrote under male pseudonyms as they believed that they wouldn’t be taken seriously by publishers under their own names – it’s very strange to see a copy of Wuthering Heights with the author’s name being Ellis Bell rather than Emily Brontë.
The Museum holds regular exhibitions related to the sisters’ lives and works, and on Victorian society. The garden has also been restored to be as it was when the sisters lived in the house.
Once you’ve visited the Brontë Parsonage Museum, don’t miss going on one of the moorland walks above Haworth that the sisters loved so much.
Haworth village is also very picturesque, with many cafes, pubs, and bookshops where you can pick up your own copy of the Brontë sisters’ novels.
It’s open every day from 10 am – 5:30 pm in the summer months and from 10 am -5:30 pm during winter. The museum is however closed at Christmas time and New Year.
Entry to the Brontë Parsonage Museum costs around 10.50€ for adults and 4.5€ for children.
19. The Ancient Agora, Athens, Greece
Contributed by Melissa from High Heels & a Backpack
Located in Adrianuo, Athens, The Ancient Agora is one of the most important museums in Athens, Greece. This site comprises of both an archaeological site and a fascinating museum that contains artifacts recovered from the area.
In Ancient Greece, the Agora was the place where locals would assemble to listen to important announcements and speeches. Even important Greek Philosophers once strolled through the cobbled boulevards of the Agora – including Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.
The Agora museum is organized in chronological order. The items on display date all the way back to the Neolithic, Bronze, Iron, and Geometric periods. Everything from antiques, intricately carved statues, weapons, and vases can be found inside.
The exhibitions will take you back in time to paint a picture of what the Agora was once like during its heyday.
The museum is housed inside the Stoa of Atticus – a grand structure filled with colonnaded walkways. The Stoa was originally built in 159BC when King Attalos II of Pergamon gave it to the people of Athens as a gift because he loved the city so much.
Look out for the nearby Temple of Hephaestus which is widely regarded as one of the best-preserved Classical era Greek temples.
The Agora is open from 08:00 am until 20:00
General admission tickets to the Agora are 10€ per person, although children, students, and those over 65 may be eligible for reduced admission prices but free on certain Greek public holidays.
20. Arktikum Museum and Pilke, Finnish Lapland
Contributed by Cath from Passports and Adventures
Two of the best museums in Europe are located in Finnish Lapland – the Arktikum Museum and the Science Centre Pilke. If you are visiting Rovaniemi with kids, both are suitable places to bring them.
Arktikum is a museum dedicated to the Arctic Circle, its indigenous people, the animals, and the history of the region. For kids, they have an interactive treasure hunt that will keep them engaged and entertained.
One of the must-not-miss exhibitions in the museum is the Aurora Borealis room. You lie back, relax and watch an amazing display of the Northern Lights above you.
Another great exhibition is the wind-chill room, which can give you a real sense of how the wind affects how cold you feel.
There are interactive displays throughout the museum and for history buffs, the room dedicated to the history of the region is amazing.
There is an area that details the role Finland and Lapland played in World War II. You should also spend some time reading the information on display as it’s really interesting.
Right next to Arktikum is the Science Centre Pilke. Pilke is a museum dedicated to showing visitors how important the forests are to this region and the role they play throughout the different aspects of lives.
Another interesting exhibition that you shouldn’t miss is the tree pulping room. There are lots of different displays and exhibitions dotted throughout the museum that qualify Arktikum Museum as one of the interesting museums in Europe
From Tuesday to Friday from 1:00 am to 5 pm, and on Saturday and Sunday from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm. The Museum is closed on Mondays.
15 € for Adults but kids, students, and seniors have discounts and free for children below 7 years.
Related post: Romantic things to do in Europe
21. Museum of the Great War, Peronne, France
Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels
The museum of the Great War in Peronne is a cultural-historical war museum. It’s located in Château de Péronne, a medieval castle from the 13th Century, built by Philippe Auguste.
Adjoining the castle is a modern building designed by Henri-Edouard Ciriani. With its stark design, Ciriani wanted to emphasize that the museum is about more than the battles of the First World War alone.
The museum showcases the history of the First World War from the perspective of France, Germany, and Great Britain covering the battlefield, but also behind the lines.
In the Guardrooms of the castle is an exhibition covering the history of the castle, the history of the city of Péronne, a photo collection of the frontline and the Australians in the battle of Mont Saint-Quentin.
In the modern building, 2 movies are shown. The exhibition explains the causes of the Great War, the experiences of the war, the total and industrial warfare, and the consequences of war. There’s also the Otto Dix Galery with art.
Not to be missed is the part in the Guardrooms about the battle of Mont Saint-Quentin. The photo gallery is also a must-see as it visualizes the frontline.
Outside on the courtyard, a French Saint-Chamond tank is on display and the evolution of the various helmets is interesting to see.
In the modern building, the displays show German artifacts above, French in the middle, and British in the lower part of the cases making it easy to compare.
From 1st April – 30th September every day from 9.30 am – 6 pm, and from 1st October -31st March from 9.30 am – 5 pm.
The ticket goes for 10€ for adults, 5€ for Children between 7 and 16 years, and free for kids under 7 years.
Since the Museum of the Great Waris aligned with Thiepval Memorial, a combined ticket is possible.
22. The RAF Museum, London, The UK
Contributed by Jacquie from UK Family Travel
The RAF Museum is one of London’s best museums showcasing a huge number of aircraft.
It documents the history of aviation as well as the history of the RAF from the beginning of flight at the turn of the 20th century up to the present day.
There are over 70 aircraft of varying ages and sizes on display in the enormous aircraft hangers and each one has an interesting story.
It’s also great for children learning about the World Wars in history, toddlers who just love planes, or elderly relatives who may have had some association with the planes.
In addition to the planes, there are playgrounds and miniature planes dotted around to keep little ones happy.
There are also extra attractions like 4D flight simulators where, for an additional cost of 6.7€, you can experience the thrill of flying a Red Arrow or a B-17 bomber.
The RAF museum is located in Hendon, about 10 miles north of the center of London. If you are driving to the museum, there is plenty of parking. The closest train station is Mill Hill Broadway on the Thameslink line and the closest tube station is Colindale on the Northern Line.
The museum is a little way out of the center of London, but it’s well worth a visit, particularly if you’re looking for something a little different to do on a rainy day in London.
It’s open from 10 am to 5 pm from November to February and from 10 am to 6 pm from March to October throughout the year.
It is free to visit, although a donation is welcome. But if you want to experience the thrill of flying a Red Arrow or a B-17 bomber, you’ll have to pay 6.7€ for it.
23. The East Side Gallery Museum, Berlin, Germany
Contributed by Oksana & Max from Drink Tea & Travel
The East Side Gallery Museum in Berlin is home to the largest section of the Berlin Wall still standing. It also houses a 13 room themed museum that delves into the history of the Cold War.
The 1.3 km section of the Berlin wall which previously divided East and West Berlin is an important historical remnant.
Its surface is covered in the works of over 105 artists who have successfully captured the mood of the post-Cold War in Berlin as well as the struggle that many people endured before its collapse.
The artists painted the wall in 1990 and the museum was opened a year after the Berlin Wall “fell”.
Inside the museum, you can see dramatic footage of the Berlin Wall falling as well as explore what Germany was like before, during, and after the Cold War through interactive exhibits.
The East Side Gallery itself, which features many famous paintings can be accessed for free and is a great stop on any tour around Berlin.
The Berlin Wall falling was an event that not only helped shape the history of Germany but that of the world.
If you are a history enthusiast or interested in learning more about the Cold War, this is definitely a museum to add to your Europe bucket list.
It’s open daily from 10 am – 7 pm
The entry ticket to the museum is 10€ for Adults and 5€ for children.
24. Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg, Germany
Contributed by Nele from Global Introvert
Miniatur Wunderland is not your usual museum. It’s dedicated entirely to showcase the world’s largest model railway!
What may sound whimsical at first has become one of Germany’s most popular tourist destinations.
It’s situated inside an old brick architecture building in Hamburg’s Speicherstadt, the historical war house district close to the center of town.
Once inside the Wunderland, it’s a different world – or rather many worlds at once. The model railway runs through a variety of different landscapes.
One of the oldest parts is Knuffingen, which is no actual place but takes its inspiration from a typical small town in Germany. Then there’s a miniature version of Hamburg, featuring all its attractions in a small scale.
But it gets international, too: Among others, you can explore miniature versions of the Swiss Alps, Italy, Scandinavia, or the US. New parts are constantly added, and most recently Monaco and South America.
Highlights include the huge open-air concert in Switzerland, the aliens hiding in Area 51, or the planes landing and flying out of Hamburg’s airport.
Miniatur Wunderland is open every day from 9.30 am to 6 pm.
It is 20 € for adults and 12.50 € for children under the age of 16. To avoid long lines, buy your ticket in advance, which will give you a specific entry time.
25. Galerija 11/07/95, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Contributed by Cassie from Cassie the Hag
No trip to Sarajevo is complete without a visit to Galerija 11/07/95. This modern museum is many tourists’ first point of learning about the mid-1990s war and horrific genocide that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Part museum, part gallery, Galerija 11/07/95 provides both education and memorial space for the Srebenica tragedy.
8,372 people lost their lives during the Srebrenica massacre alone due to the attempted ethnic cleansing of Bosniaks but the civil war itself ended with an estimated 100,000 deaths.
The exhibition begins with a documentary about the event. As you walk through the harrowing black and white photographs, you are given a headset to learn more from the engaging audio narration and testimonies. There are benches as well to sit on and reflect.
Photographer Tirik Samarah details the relentless hope he saw of families hoping their husbands, sons, and brothers would one day return home. Unfortunately, they never did.
Despite the difficult information, the factual and artistic hybrid qualities of the museum create a sensitive format in which visitors can take everything in.
The visual and written formats help to humanize those who were affected by this tragedy and question the terrible part our own indifference plays in human history.
The museum is located in the heart of Sarajevo next to the Sacred Heart Cathedral which means that it is a walking distance to many of the city’s best attractions. In fact, it is just a few minute’s walk away from the picturesque historical Baščaršija area and many restaurants.
It is open from 10 am – 6 pm, 7 days a week.
The entrance fee is around 5.5€.
26. Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, Greece
Contributed by Nisha from And There She Goes Again
Archaeology museum Thessaloniki is certainly the highlight of any weekend trip to Thessaloniki.
The museum includes masterpieces of ancient Greek art and various other artifacts dating from prehistoric times to late antiquity. They came from excavations conducted throughout Macedonia, the region in Greece, since 1912.
One of the highlights of the museum is the Marble head of Apollo from the city dating from 1263.
Another thing not to miss is the open-air walk around the ancient city where the antiquities from the 2nd to the 4th century AD demonstrate an era of great prosperity for Thessaloniki. This exhibition even includes altars from the city’s cemeteries.
The museum opens from 8:00 – 20:00 in summer (April 15 – November 14) and from 9:00 – 16:00 in winter (November 15 – April 14) every day.
It costs 8€ for adults but is reduced to 4€ from November 1st until March 31st every year but free for children below 5 years. The entrance is also free on specific national holidays.
27. The Red Flat, Sofia, Bulgaria
Contributed by Emma from Journey of a Nomadic Family
The Red Flat is anything but a typical image of a boring, stuffy museum and that’s because it is described as an immersive history exhibit.
The Red Flat is one of Sofia’s newest tourist attractions and it is based in a block of flats nestled into Sofia’s central district.
A visit to the Red Flat will take you back into what used to be the everyday life of ordinary Bulgarians during the cold war period.
Whether it is strolling through the house’s living room, bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen, you’ll get a general understanding of how locals used to live during the communist era.
You can also browse through the large collection of books in the house, photos, and postcards as you dive deeper into Bulgaria’s old lifestyle.
Feeling already comfortable on your visit? Why not try on some of the few socialist wear to fully understand this era.
So as you explore this Balkans nation, make sure that you add the Red Flat to the list of things to see and do in Bulgaria.
The Red Flat is open from Monday – Sunday 10:30- 18:00.
The cost of visiting the flat is 9.2€ (18 Lev).
28. Vatican Museums, Vatican City
Contributed by Bhushavali from Journey My Travelogue by Bhushavali
Vatican City (Holy See) is quite a unique place! To begin with, Vatican City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
Being an enclave in Italy, within Rome, but an independent country, it’s quite unusual and fascinating!
There are just 2 things to do/see in the Vatican – St.Peter’s Basilica and Vatican Museums! The very famous Sistine Chapel being part of Vatican Museums.
As soon as you enter, you’ll be greeted by the sculpture of Laocoon & sons.
In the various galleries inside, there are several sculptures, Roman tiles, and tapestry that you shouldn’t miss. You should also not miss the room just before the Sistine Chapel, which houses one of the masterpieces of Raphael – School of Athens.
And a visit to the Vatican museums is not complete without strolling the picturesque Bramante Staircase which is commonly known as the double helix staircase!
It’s open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm on Monday – Saturday.
The ticket costs 16€ and an extra 7€ for the audio guide. While it is possible to buy a ticket there, the queues tend to be way too long so it’s better to buy it online.
Final Thoughts on the Best Museums in Europe
There you have it, folks, those were some of the best museums in Europe to visit for history, art, culture, and technology. I hope they inspire you to learn more about what has shaped Europe into a continent we all love.
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