There are myriads of great museums, art palaces and cultural institutions on the old continent that could be mentioned on this list. Here is a selection of 10 that, among others, rank high in the list of Europe’s most visited, most instructive and most impressive museums.
1. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
The most visited museum in the Netherlands is located in a palace combining Renaissance and Gothic architecture on Museum Square in the Dutch capital and boasts Holland’s finest art collection, including the works of world renowned painters such as Rembrandt and Johannes Vermeer. The museum moreover holds sections dedicated to the rich history of the Netherlands as a trade hub and an early republic.
Rijksmuseum, Museumstraat 1, 1071 Amsterdam, Netherlands
2. Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain
The distinctive 100M $ building designed by world famous architect Frank Gehry is one the most recognizable museums in Spain and the most important cultural institution in the Basque country. The museum holds an extensive collection of modern and contemporary art and also temporary large scale on site exhibitions, such as the Maman spider.
Guggenheim Museum, Abandoibarra Etorb., 2, 48009 Bilbo, Bizkaia, Spain
3. Maritime Museum, Lisbon, Portugal
Portugal has a long and impressive maritime history and Lisbon has always been the epicentre of the country’s naval activities. Portuguese explorer have sailed the oceans for centuries, notably making sure the largest Latin American country speaks Portuguese today. The journeys of legendary Portuguese explorers such as Vasco da Gama and Pedro Álvares Cabral have been well documented in the Museu da Marinha and many of their old ships, real and reconstructed, can be admired here.
Museu da Marinha, Praça do Império, 1400-206 Lisboa, Portugal
4. The British Museum, London, UK
The British museum, located in a stunning palace designed to resemble a Greek temple in the Bloomsbury area of London is one of the largest and most influential history museums in the world and the most visited museum in the UK. Its enormous array of collections range from the era of ancient Egypt and ancient Greece to 20th century Britain. The museum is in fact so vast that is barely possible to complete more than one or two sections in one visit.
British Museum, Great Russell St, London WC1B 3DG, United Kingdom
5. Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan, Italy
The Pinacoteca di Brera has one of the finest art collections in all of Italy which speaks for itself. Over 500 Renaissance works dating from the 14th to the 20th century are presented to the visitors in an awe inspiring 17th century palace that has served as a gallery since 1806.
Pinacoteca di Brera, Via Brera, 28, 20121 Milano, Italy
6. Altes Museum, Berlin, Germany
The Old Museum, which is located in a beautiful 19th century neoclassical palace on the museum island in Berlin has been completely restored in 2011 and houses the antiquities collection of the Berlin State museums. The Old Museum along with the various other historical buildings on the museum island have been declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 1989.
Altes Museum, Am Lustgarten, 10178 Berlin, Germany
7. Museum of Communism, Prague, Czech Republic
The Museum of Communism is the perfect place to learn about Central & Eastern Europe’s wretched past. The exhibitions of this history museum located in a beautiful classic building in the centre of Prague will shed light on how the socialist system that was implemented in the former Eastern Bloc actually worked and what its consequences on the people and the state in general were.
Museum of Communism, Na Příkopě 10, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic
8. Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour Museum, Tallinn, Estonia
This 8000 sqm museum is probably the most impressive museum in the Baltics boasting a 1936 Russian submarine and numerous other ships and naval weaponry. The museum is located in a former seaplane hangar that was constructed in the area of Peter the Great’s naval fortress. Apart from its military exposition, the museum delights travellers with its Arctic exploration expositions and its flight simulator.
Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour Museum, Vesilennuki 6, Tallinn, Estonia
9. Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France
There are loads of museums in Paris that would merit to be mentioned in this article but the Musée d’Orsay has been chosen for its general flair. Located in an old railway station, the museum can easily be visited in an afternoon and you won’t spend hours in a queue before getting in as it is the case with the Louvre. The museum moreover scores points with its stunning collection of paintings and sculptures, notably a collection by the world famous Vincent Van Gogh.
Musée d’Orsay, 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France
10. Uprising Museum, Warsaw, Poland
The relentless fight of the Jewish population in the Warsaw ghetto against the Nazi occupation has been one of the most spectacular Second World War uprisings. The bloody and tireless 1944 uprising has been immortalized in one of Poland’s most visited museums which covers all the sections of the uprising, from the underground organization’s plans to the fearless street battles and destruction that followed in the Polish capital.
Warsaw Uprising Museum, Grzybowska 79, 00-844 Warszawa, Poland