Choosing the right museum to visit can be a tricky (yet fun) task. There are thousands out there with each one offering something different from the next. To save you from a sea of guidebooks and open tabs, we put together a list of 12 awesome museums that you simply can’t miss. Whether you’re interested in breathtaking architecture, famous paintings, or just quirky insights into old legends, these museums have it all.

Quirky travelers can…

Explore Bran Castle on a walking tour

1. Follow Dracula’s footsteps in Romania

You’re going to need a clove of garlic for this one. After all, nobody in their right mind would visit Count Dracula’s castle without some sort of protection. Dracula’s lifestyle may have been questionable, but his taste in architecture and design is beyond reproach. Bran Castle, his beautiful home turned museum in Transylvania, stuns with an amazing interior and hilltop location. No trip to Romania is complete without stopping by.

2. Discover Japan’s animation secrets

Tokyo’s museums add a further layer of quirkiness to an already eccentric city. One of the more surreal experiences is found at the Ghibli Museum, which displays the works of the famous Japanese animation studio. With films like “Totoro” and “Mei and the Kittenbus,” you’ll find some recognizable characters in the museum’s halls to snap a pic or two with.

3. Learn about Frida Kahlo’s roots in Mexico City

Frida Kahlo’s work is celebrated around the world, and you can learn all about her in Mexico City. Her former home, known as the Blue House, in the Coyoacán neighborhood has been transformed into the Frida Kahlo Museum. Here, you can step into Frida’s shoes (not literally!) and admire her personal possessions as well as some of her most important works.

Bucket-listers will want to…

Admire some of the world’s best works of art at the Louvre

4. Get lost among masterpieces in Paris

The sheer size of the Louvre is astonishing, and you can get happily lost among its many world-famous paintings, sculptures, and artifacts. Icons like the Venus de Milo and Mona Lisa are the main attraction, but be sure to leave enough time to explore every nook and cranny of Paris’s prized museum.

5. Enjoy thousands of paintings (and tapas) in Madrid

Exploring Madrid’s Prado Museum is the perfect way to spend a few hours — that’s if you can drag yourself away from the city’s delicious tapas bars. The museum’s packed with countless incredible works of art by the likes of Murillo, Rembrandt, and Goya. And — who knows — maybe you’ll find inspiration for your next creation while wandering through the masterpiece-filled corridors.

6. Go chapel-hopping in the Vatican

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but you can see its best museums in 24 hours. Start by crossing the border into the Vatican (no need to bring your passport!). You’ll be greeted with some of the finest works of art in the world at the Vatican Museum,  St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. Plus, you won’t even have to stand in line!

History lovers can…

Explore the British Museum with a guide

7. Step back in time in London

Of the many fascinating museums in London, the British Museum stands head and shoulders above the rest. From the Rosetta Stone to the Parthenon sculptures of ancient Greece, this museum bursts with age-defining treasures. Its variety of artifacts bring you through some of the most momentous moments in history.  

8. Learn about the history of flight in DC

The fascination of flight has captivated the minds of a whole lot of people in the past hundred years. And there’s no better place than the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington DC for aviation enthusiasts. The much-loved museum details the history of flight, including the Wright Brothers Flyer, the space race, and moon landings. You’ll probably sign up to NASA’s astronaut program as soon as you leave.

9. Find a slice of Jurassic Park in Berlin

There’s a massive t-rex named Tristan on display here. Need we say more?! Aside from the huge t-rex skeleton, visiting the Natural History Museum in Germany’s buzzing capital is well worth your time. It’s the largest natural history museum in the country and has more than 3,000 different species on display.

Architecture fanatics will want to…

Visit the Hagia Sophia, the world’s largest place of worship

10. Marvel at the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul

One of the first things that catch your eye in Istanbul is the beautiful architecture of the Hagia Sophia. Luckily, it’s not just something to marvel from afar. You can also explore its stunning interior, which includes renowned mosaics from the Byzantine period. Once you’re inside, learn how it transformed from a church into a mosque and ultimately into a museum.

11. Meet Spain’s Moorish wonder

Lose yourself among the beautiful arches and ornate gardens of the Alhambra, an absolutely gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage Site that sits between the Sierra Nevada mountains and the city of Granada. From the picturesque palace and fort, take in the marvelous views over Granada after you’ve enjoyed all the interior has to offer.

12. Witness artistic wonders in Berlin

After you’ve learned all about Tristan the t-rex at the National History Museum, hop across Berlin to the Alte Nationalgalerie. What it lacks in dinosaurs, it makes up for with artistic masterpieces like Friedrich’s “Monk by the Sea” and Menzel’s “Eisenwalzwerk.” The beautiful architecture is simply the cherry on top.

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