If there’s one thing synonymous with a trip to Europe it’s the idea of taking in some of its famous culture.
From the Romans to the Renaissance Europe has been a hotbed of art and style throughout history. There are hundreds of museums on every range of topic, from lawnmowers to torture, but if you’re on a tight schedule which ones are an absolute must?
Allow me to present my must-visits for any European Vacation.
While there is plenty to see around the rest of the country, the whistlestop tourist should not fail to take in the magnificent city of London.
Here there are numerous small and curiously British museums, including the Design Museum, the John Soane’s Museum and the Surgery Museum which are well worth a visit if you have the time. However, an absolute must is the British Museum, which houses some of the most famous artefacts from around the world under one roof.
Established in 1753 this magnificent museum features unparalleled exhibitions covering every era of human history from all over the globe. The collection includes the controversial Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon, the Rosetta Stone which unlocked the secrets of hieroglyphs and the remains of the Mausoleum of Halikarnassos, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Other museums of note in London include the Natural History Museum, which includes numerous exhibits from such noted naturalists as Charles Darwin, as well as a vast collection of dinosaur fossils, and The National Gallery, which includes famous paintings by everybody from Rembrandt to Van Gogh.
From London it is easy to find cheap flights to Paris where again there is a prevalence of museums, including the gruesomely fascinating catacombs.
The absolute must for any visitor is the Musée du Louvre, the most visited art museum within the world, situated within the city’s ancient pre-revolution royal palace.
As well as offering the opportunity to see that famous enigmatic smile on the face of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa there is a huge collection of paintings and sculpture for every level of art lover. Other famous exhibits include the Venus de Milo and Caravaggio’s Death of the Virgin.
Just a short hop south across the Pyrenees and it’s time to get more contemporary with the Guggenheim Bilbao. The building alone is a work of art, designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry it has consistently been named as one of the most important pieces of world architecture since 1980.
Inside you will find frequently changing exhibits of some of the biggest names in modern and contemporary art, including the likes of Salvador Dali, Jeff Koons and Picasso.
Rome has the Vatican with Michaelangelo’s ceiling fresco in the Sistine Chapel and Venice has the Museo Correr in a 19th Century palace, but Italy’s jewel in its crown of galleries has to be the Uffizi in Florence.
Housed in a palace constructed between 1560-1581 the Uffizi is one of the oldest museums in the world and contains major works by a huge number of famous artists, particularly from the Renaissance. The museum’s collection includes important pieces from da Vinci, Titian, Michaelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli and Caravaggio.
Set within the ancient city of Florence, the Uffizi is surrounded by world-famous art and is an absolute must for tourists. Another popular place to travel is Milan, which is the second-largest city in Italy. You have the Milan Cathedral and Sforza Castle which is very famous for its unique architecture. When planning your trip here, take a look on Venere.com for cheap Milan hotels since the price usually fluctuates during the summer and winter.
Finally, hop on an Amsterdam flight and you’ll soon find that there’s far more to this city than its reputation merely as a destination for stag parties.
With its largest collection of the artist’s paintings in the world Amsterdam’s van Gogh Museum is a breathtaking treasure. As well as works from all periods of the painter’s life the museum features pieces by many of his 19th Century contemporaries.
So whatever you do on your European vacation don’t miss out by staying outdoors, get inside and see the sights.
Picture by juandesant.