Culture Vultures – Book Your Next Stay at a Top Museum Destination
Catching a glimpse of the Mona Lisa, gazing at the ancient Greek ruins, or examining the intricate details of Michelangelo’s work in the Sistine Chapel, can be found on thousands if not millions of bucket lists. Housed in museums around the world, these legendary creations and artifacts bring to light a part of history and culture. And while there are endless museums to visit, only a handful are worldwide sensations.
Booking.com, the global leader in connecting travellers with the widest choice of incredible places to stay, has found seven cities with iconic museums to cross off your list. If you find you have some time to spare, they also found some lesser known, quirky and unique museums in each destination. Some of the world’s most stunning pieces of art, science and history await, so take your time and enjoy!
St. Petersburg, Russia
Must See Museum: The Hermitage Museum is one of the most influential museums in the world and a landmark that no traveller should miss while visiting Saint Petersburg. The former imperial palace is home to the largest collection of paintings of any museum in the world and houses a stunning collection of international paintings, sculptures and national Russian artwork like imperial porcelains and ornaments. Since The Hermitage occupies a full six buildings on the banks of the Bolshay Neva River, visitors can easily spend the whole day (or longer!) there. Just make sure that you will orient yourself by picking up a map.
Museum You’ve Never Heard of: The Upside-Down House is a unique house where everything is turned, you guessed it, upside-down. With all furniture stuck to the ceiling, this museum will make you feel very disoriented as well as give you the opportunity to take some pretty bizarre photos.
Where to stay: Overlooking the State Hermitage Museum and the Palace Square, Kempinski Hotel Moika 22 features beautiful rooms, decorated in classic marine style with white and gold accents and antique furniture. Saint Petersburg is endorsed by Booking.com travellers for architecture, museums and sightseeing.
Must See Museum: The Uffizi Gallery is home to the Medici family’s private collection of paintings and sculptures. Today, it’s one of the most visited art museums in the world and showcases a great array of artworks from major Italian artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio, Raffaello, and Michelangelo. Travellers should not miss the captivating “Birth of Venus” by Botticelli, while the best time to enjoy the museum’s masterpieces is later in the afternoon as that’s when it’s usually less crowded.
Museum You’ve Never Heard of: The Ferragamo Museum is every woman’s dream thanks to its impressive collection of 10,000 shoe models designed by Salvatore Ferragamo from the 1920’s until his death in 1960.
Where to Stay: Boasting an ideal location, just a few steps from the Uffizi Gallery, the Uffizi Home and Florence is a Tuscan-style apartment with wood-beamed ceilings, terracotta floors and wooden furnishings. The Ponte Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria are only about 100 metres away from the apartment. Booking.com travellers have endorsed Florence for museums, art and culture.
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Must See Museum: The iconic Rijksmuseum is located in the heart of the Museum Square in Amsterdam in one of the most beautiful museum buildings in the world. The museum is more than 200 hundred years old, but has been recently renovated and hosts a great variety of Dutch and international masterpieces like Rembrandt’s ‘Night Watch’ and Vermeer’s ‘Milkmaid’. Since it is one of the most visited museums in The Netherlands, it would be wise for visitors to buy their ticket in advance to avoid the long lines.
Museum You’ve Never Heard of: The KattenKabinet (Cat Cabinet) is a unique museum founded in commemoration of a ginger cat named John Pierpont Morgon. Every five years, Morgan’s owner would give his beloved cat a special gift, such as a commissioned portrait or a custom dollar bill with Morgan’s picture replacing George Washington. In addition to these items, visitors to the Cat Cabinet can see a wide collection of cat-related items that shows the role of cats in art and culture throughout human history.
Where to Stay: Luxury Apartment Top Location – At Magnelli is a self-catering apartment with free Wi-Fi that’s in close proximity to the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and the Vondelpark. The apartment boosts two bedrooms and a fully equipped kitchen to prepare your meals before exploring the lively city of Amsterdam. The Dutch capital is endorsed by Booking.com travellers for museums, city walks and sightseeing.
Must See Museum: Opening its doors in 2003, the Acropolis Museum was founded to house all the archaeological findings at the slopes of the Acropolis. The museum’s permanent exhibition includes archaeological treasures like the Caryatids, and artifacts from the Propylaia, the temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion and the Parthenon amongst other.
A Museum You’ve Never Heard Of: The Hellenic Children’s Museum is a great place to visit while travelling with kids. Its mission is to help kids up to 12 years old learn and develop via various recreational activities and the admission is free.
Where to Stay: Set at the foot of the Acropolis, Herodion Hotel has a beautiful roof garden with sun loungers and 2 hot tubs boasting spectacular views over Athens. The property is just a few steps from the new Acropolis Museum and features modern rooms with light wood furnishings. The city of Athens is endorsed by Booking.com travellers for history, museums and ancient landmarks.
Must See Museum: Known as The City of Lights, Paris is home to the largest museum in the world, the Louvre (Fun fact: it would take you 100 days to visit every work of art for 20 seconds). The museum opened in 1793 and since then hosts a huge collection of significant objects including Egyptian antiquities, Greek and Roman pieces, Islamic Art, as well as major masterpieces like Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Due to the size of the museum, visitors should not forget to take a break in one of the restaurants inside the Louvre or at the gardens. The French capital is endorsed by Booking.com travellers for museums, sightseeing and culture.
Museum You’ve Never Heard Of: The Musée de la Magie (Museum of Magic) is not the obvious choice while visiting Paris. Situated in a 16th-century cellar, this extraordinary museum is hosts artifacts used in magic shows.
Where to Stay: Located in central Paris, Hôtel de la Place du Louvre - Esprit de France is just a 2-minute walk from Le Louvre and the Pont des Arts. Guests can enjoy their breakfast at the hotel's Cave des Mousquetaires, a vaulted cave which was once connected to the Louvre.
Must See Museum: The art and history museum of Kunsthistorisches is in a stunning palatial building facing Maria-Theresien Square and travellers should not miss it while visiting Vienna. Apart from housing important Renaissance and Baroque paintings by Titan, Veronese, Rubens and Caravaggio, the museum also gives its guests the unique opportunity to dine among glorious masterpieces every Thursday evening or during a special brunch on Sundays.
Museum You’ve Never Heard of: The Third Man Museum is a museum dedicated to the classic movie of the same name, filmed in Vienna in 1948. Fans of the film will have the opportunity to discover an exclusive collection of original posters and artefacts every Saturday afternoon.
Where to Stay: Situated directly opposite the Museum Quarter, the Hotel Sans Souci Wien features spacious rooms with elegant interior design and works by various well-known artists. Vienna is endorsed by Booking.com travellers for museums, culture and architecture.
New York City, USA
Must See Museum: The Museum of Modern Art, mainly known as MoMA, is situated in Midtown Manhattan in New York City and is one of the world’s leading modern art museums. Visitors can spend hours admiring the rich collection of books, archives and sculptures, as well as paintings from major artists including Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo and Andy Warhol.
Museum You’ve Never Heard of: Dedicated to the history of the fire services in New York City, the NYC Fire Museum features an interesting collection of artifacts. Visitors should not miss this opportunity to hear real stories from the New York’s bravest retired firefighters.
Where to Stay: Featuring Baccarat crystals in every room, the Baccarat Hotel and Residences New York is just 100 metres away from the Museum of Modern Art. Guests can relish in the intricate architecture and design features of the property before heading to the nearby boutiques to do their shopping. New York is endorsed by Booking.com travellers for shopping, sightseeing and museums.