Whether escaping the summer heat or the winter cold, museums are the classic vacation activity for a good reason! But where to go? What to see? Every city has their fair share of museums, but what destinations go above and beyond to deliver an amazing experience for museum lovers? That’s where we come in. We’re here to detail eight of the very best cities for anyone who loves spending an hour or two among iconic works of art or underrated gems.

Discover London’s best museum

picture of the British Museum in London, England

London is a city alive with history! Choosing between the Museum of London, Natural History Museum, and the National Gallery is difficult for every history lover. However, as amazing as they might be, there’s one that beats them all. Home to the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles, the British Museum is without doubt one of the best museums in the world. With popular tours and talks available, visitors can learn as the artifacts and exhibits seemingly come to life.

Step back in time in Beijing

A man sitting on the Great Wall in China. There are still hidden gems at this so popular travel destination.

Chinese history is one of the richest and most well-documented in the world. What better way to learn about the home of paper, fireworks, and tea than by exploring the open-air museums of the capital. Step back in time and take a wander through the Temple of Heaven, Forbidden City, and the Great Wall of China — three of Beijing’s best preserved historical locations.

Meet the masters of Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands - May 17, 2018: Rijksmuseum Amsterdam museum with words I Amsterdam and tourists. Famous landmark in Netherlands, Holland

Home to more than fifty museums, Amsterdam is a must-visit city for history hunters. Exhibitions range from classical art to more modern topics, like the kitsch Museum of Sex. With the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and Stedelijk Museum all located in the city, art aficionados have an abundance of options. Most famous is the Rijksmuseum, which is home to works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Steen, and Van Dyck.

Go underground in Rome

People walking down the modern Bramante Staircase in a museum in Vatican, Italy

While most visitors to Rome flock to the famed Vatican Museum to ogle masterpieces like the Sistine Chapel, our tip is to go below the surface — literally. To get a new (albeit slightly macabre) perspective on this ancient city, go underground and explore the Capuchin Museum and Crypt.  

Explore New York’s iconic museums

NEW YORK, USA - OCTOBER 12: Night view of the Museum of Modern Art, a popular travel destination on 5th Avenue on October 12, 2019 in New York

New York is a hotspot for fans of art, design, and history thanks to its range of galleries and museums. While there are some big names like The Met and MoMA, a lesser-known gem is The Frick. To enjoy art in the outdoors, a street art tour is also a great idea. With dynamic pieces by artists from all over the world, the streets are a living gallery that is best explored by foot.

Tour Berlin’s famed Museum Island

Berlin, Germany - May 12, 2017; Statue of a Roman Emperor in front of the Miletus Gate in Pergamon Museum Berlin, Germany

With an island of museums in the heart of the city, Berlin has a well-earned reputation as a prime destination for museum fans. In just a small, walkable area, visitors can find the world-class Pergamon, Neues Museum, and Altes Museum. For even more choice, head to the Bode Museum and the Alte National Gallery (or save them for your next visit).

See more than the Mona Lisa in Paris

Paris, France - April 27, 2016: Tourist boat on the River Seine passing by the Musee Dorsay Paris, France

The instantly recognizable glass pyramid of the Louvre is known across the globe. As one of the world’s largest and most popular museums of art, the Louvre alone puts Paris on this list. However, if visiting the Mona Lisa isn’t on your to-do list, just take a walk across the Seine to the Musée d’Orsay. Here you’ll find a former railway station that’s now home to some of the best of the Impressionist and post-Impressionist pieces in the world.

Sample Greece’s storied past

The Acropolis of Athens, UNESCO world heritage in Greece

As the home of democracy and classical philosophy, Greece offers first-class historical experiences. At the heart of this is, of course, Athens. With the Parthenon looming above, one of the world’s most extensive collection of Ancient Greek artifacts is featured at the Acropolis Museum.

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