Whether you’re vacationing in the Vatican, pottering in Paris, or ambling through Amsterdam, there are some must-see museums you won’t want to miss. Here’s the lowdown on 11 of the best museums in Europe.
Rock on at Stonehenge
Believed to be constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of Britain’s most famous cultural landmarks. Take a trip to visit the iconic stone circles, and be transported back to the Bronze Age. In the visitor center you can see over 250 archaeological objects and treasures on display. Fantastic finds for any avid prehistorian, ya dig?
Find out about the Fab Four
Mosey to the Mersey (the river in Liverpool) and you’ll find the Beatles Museum. Learn about the lives of John, Paul, George and Ringo, the history of the world’s biggest boy band, and their music from the swinging sixties to present day. Want to skip the queues? Let it be.
Tea with the Queen
If it’s royalty you require, pop along to Windsor Castle, the Queen’s favorite weekend home. Established in the 11th century, the castle boasts a huge history and is full of treasures such as paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck and Holbein. Although you won’t be able to sample a state dinner, you can enjoy a good British cuppa at the oldest part of the castle.
England’s Tower of London has some of the most famous carnivores on guard — the Beefeaters. You won’t see them munching on Daisy though, they’re too busy keeping an eye on the Crown Jewels. Visit the White Tower, built around 1078, and find out the tragic tale of the princes imprisoned there. Watch out for Anne Boleyn’s ghost (you’ll lose your head).
Head to Barcelona and you’ll see the famous spire of Sagrada Familia reaching above the skyline. Begun in 1882, Antoni Gaudi’s life’s work is a modernist mastery of Gothic and Art Nouveau. Take a guided tour to marvel in the intricate architecture and learn about Gaudi’s vision (as it still remains to be completed nearly 100 years after his death).
Don’t leave out the Louvre
One of the most famous museums globally, the Louvre holds some of the most recognized pieces of art you could ever hope to see. The iconic Parisian pyramid nestled between the Renaissance and Baroque buildings is an architect’s dream. Mona Lisa herself would smile to see it. With over 380,000 objects and over 35,000 works of art, you’re best booking a tour to make the most of your time.
Amster-dang, that’s some good art
Revel in a Rembrandt or two at the Rijksmuseum. The permanent works are one of the best art collections in the world. Spanning the Dutch Golden Age, it includes famous classics like ‘The Night Watch’ and Vermeer’s ‘The Milkmaid’. Amsterdam’s well-known 19th Century landmark is slap bang in the midst of the canals, so you can amble along the leafy waterways afterwards.
Visit the Vatican
If you’re in Italy, you need to visit the Vatican. You must. It’s one of the top destinations for its history and culture as a place of religious pilgrimage. Be overawed by Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, skip the line for St. Peter’s, and keep your peepers peeled for the Pope.
Although Madrid hosts a large number of cultural sites, one of its best museums is, without a doubt, the Prado. Opened to the public in 1819, Spain’s national art museum boasts one of the finest collections of European works. ¡Qué divertido! Skip the queues to see Goya, Rubens, and Velázquez (amongst others) on a guided tour — that way you’ll see the bigger picture.
It’s play time
Head to Hamburg and you’ll find Germany’s Miniatur Wunderland. This is a delight for kids and adults alike. See the miniature landscapes of the world’s largest model railway, first opened in 2001. In the last 20 years, its modelers and technicians have spent 947,500 hours creating this incredible exhibition. There are open-to-view workshops and construction areas, so you can watch them make their magic.
If you can’t get to all of the best museums in Europe right now, why not take a trip online?