Culture Vultures – The top five museums in Europe
Whether you are jetting off to wander around the Louvre, or to visit a quirky museum dedicated to a sole, ginger, cat named John Pierpont Morgan, visiting a museum while travelling is a great way to learn about the history and culture of a destination.
A trip to one of the destinations listed below wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the more popular museums, but why not also explore some of the lesser known, eccentric museums during your stay? Booking.com have put together the best places to get your Museum fix in Europe.
St. Petersburg, Russia
Must See Museum: The Hermitage Museum is one of the most influential 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. Since The Hermitage occupies a full six buildings on the banks of the Bolshay Neva River, you will need to stay here dusk until dawn in order to see it all!
Museum You’ve Never Heard of: The Upside-Down House is a unique museum 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 mind-blowing 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 accent. After wandering through The Hermitage all day, relax at the Hotel’s spa and take your pick from a range of massages.
Must See Museum: The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most visited art museums in the world and showcases an incredible array of artworks from major Italian artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio, Raffaello, and Michelangelo.
Museum You’ve Never Heard of: The Ferragamo Museum is every woman’s dream thanks to its impressive collection of over 10,000 shoes designed by Salvatore Ferragamo from the 1920’s until his death in 1960.
Where to Stay: Boasting an ideal location, in the centre of Florence and more importantly, just a few steps from the Uffizi Gallery, sits the Uffizi Home and Florence. The Tuscan-style apartment features wood-beamed ceilings, terracotta floors and wooden furnishings. The Ponte Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria are only about 100 metres away from the apartment.
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Must See Museum: The iconic Rijksmuseum, located in the heart of Museum Square in Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful museum buildings in the world. It is more than 200 hundred years old and hosts a great variety of Dutch and international masterpieces like Rembrandt’s ‘Night Watch’ and Vermeer’s ‘Milkmaid’.
Museum You’ve Never Heard of: The KattenKabinet (Cat Cabinet) is a unique museum founded in commemoration of a ginger cat named John Pierpont Morgan. Morgan’s owner would give his beloved cat special gifts, such as a commissioned portrait or a custom dollar bill with Morgan’s picture replacing George Washington. Visitors can also see a wide collection of cat-related items that shows the role of cats in art and culture throughout human history.
Where to Stay: Set within 25 interlinked 17th and 18th century canal houses, the newly restored Pulitzer Amsterdam is the ideal location for all Amsterdam visitors. The hotel sits along the famous Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht canals, giving guests gorgeous views along with a very central location.
Must See Museum: The Louvre is the largest museum in the world, if you stared at each of the 35,000 pieces of glorious works of art, it would take you 100 days to see them all. Some of the collection includes Egyptian antiquities, Greek and Roman pieces, Islamic Art, as well as major masterpieces like Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
Museum You’ve Never Heard Of: The Musée de la Magie or the Museum of Magic, is not the obvious choice while visiting Paris. Situated in a 16th-century cellar, this extraordinary museum hosts artifacts used in magic shows such as, secret boxes, magic mirrors and optical illusions.
Where to Stay: Located in central Paris, Hôtel de la Place du Louvre - Esprit de France is merely a two-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. Enjoy the familiar characteristics of the old Parisian building, stonewalls and the gorgeous modern décor.
London, United Kingdom
Must See Museum: The Victoria and Albert is a bucket-list museum for any fashion lover. The museum houses pieces from iconic fashion eras and locations around the globe. They also hold some of the most-sought after exhibitions, like the 2015 sell-out Alexander McQueen show.
Museum You’ve Never Heard of: The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History houses a huge assortment of shells, skulls, taxidermy specimens and assorted oddities. They also have an art collection and out on the occasional (rather eerie) show.
Where to stay: The Baileys Hotel is located in an elegant 19th-century town house. The hotel has a handy central location in Kensington. These luxurious rooms are only 30 m from the Gloucester Road Tube Station, making it easy to get around. Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Royal Albert Hall and a series of museums including the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and, of course, Victoria and Albert Museum are all within a 10-minute walk.