18 Must-See Museums From Around the World

Tour everything from the Guggenheim to the Museum of Broken Relationships.

August 20, 2018 5:00 am
The Crystal Universe, an interactive installation by teamLab at the Future World exhibition, ArtScience Museum in Singapore. (Stefan Irvine/LightRocket via Getty Images)
The Crystal Universe, an interactive installation by teamLab at the Future World exhibition, ArtScience Museum in Singapore. (Stefan Irvine/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LightRocket via Getty Images

Every city has a museum, or two or three, that they love to boast about. And with good reason: museums allow visitors to learn about a variety of subjects, including art, history, science, animals, nature, and more. A study conducted by Harris Interactive found that people are happier when they spend money on experiences instead of material purchases. Visiting museums can provide a way to be with others and meet new people, and an opportunity for interactive learning.

In honor of that study, we put together a list of great museums around the world that you’re bound to love exploring. Check them out below.

1. Museum of Modern Art, New York City

The Museum of Modern Art in New York City. (Wikipedia)

Known as MoMa, the building was designed by Yoshio Taniguchi and can be found in Midtown Manhattan. It has one of the most influential collections of modern art in the world, featuring works by Van Gogh, Cézanne, Matisse, Magritte, Picasso, Pollock and Warhol.

2. Musée D’Orsay, Paris

Musée D’Orsay in Paris (Flickr)

This Paris museum was converted from an old railway station and now hosts some of the most notable art works in France. You can see sculptures by Auguste Rodin as well as paintings by Paul Gauguin.

3. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City

People look at exhibits during the “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World” media preview at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York on October 5, 2017. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

The building itself—with its spiraling interior ramp—is iconic, and was designed by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The exhibits inside constantly change, so you could encounter Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, modern or contemporary art.

4. Musée du Louvre, Paris, France

The Richelieu wing (Rear L) and the Denon wing of the Louvre Museum are pictured on January 1, 2018 in Paris. (GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

Not only is the Louvre an art museum, but it is also a royal palace, and includes parts of a medieval castle concealed in its basement. Inside the Louvre proper, you can find Classical sculptures, Egyptian relics and Mesopotamian antiquities, as well as Italian Renaissance paintings, Rembrandts and Rubens, medieval artifacts and French neoclassical and Romantic painting.

5. Vatican Museums, Vatican City

The Raphaels Rooms at the Vatican Museums.
(Giuseppe Ciccia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NurPhoto via Getty Images

Think of it as a beautiful walk on your way to the Sistine Chapel. The Vatican Museums are full of classical statues and beautiful paintings.

6. Design Museum, London, England

A general view shows the atrium of the new Design Museum in Kensington, London on November 17, 2016. British architectural designer John Pawson has remodeled the interior of the former Commonwealth Institute building in west London. (BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

This museum opened November 2016 and is dedicated to contemporary design “in every form.” British architectural designer John Pawson remodeled the former Commonwealth Institute in Kensington. It has three times the amount of space of its original location in Shad Thames, and can offer a wider range of exhibitions.

7. Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England

Employees pose in front of ‘Il Vostro Maggio’ (2017) a Scenographic installation inspired by the original stage directions of Rinaldo at the Victoria and Albert Museum during a photocall for their Opera: Passion, Power and Politics exhibition on September 26, 2017 in London, England. The V&A’s major new exhibition looks at 400 years of operatic and European history through paintings, costume, sets and musical instruments. (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
NurPhoto via Getty Images

The V&A Museum is a London landmark. It received the largest architectural revamp in its 100-year history earlier this year and now has a new courtyard entrance and underground gallery.

8. Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain

People visit a video installation on Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch’s masterpiece “The Garden of Earthly Delights” at El Prado museum in Madrid on July 5, 2016. (PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

Known as one of the greatest museums in the world, the Prado has works by Spanish masters such as Velázquez, El Greco and Goya, but also includes permanent Italian and Flemish collections, too, with paintings by Raphael, Titian and Tintoretto, Bosch, and Rubens. There are also rotating temporary exhibitions.

9. Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy

Galleria degli Uffizi illuminated at Night in Florence, Italy (Mayall/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
ullstein bild via Getty Images

Galleria degli Uffizi is Italy’s richest and most celebrated art gallery. It sits in what was originally the Medici’s equivalent of London’s Whitehall, and was the governing dynasty’s administrative center. It is home to famous art pieces like Gentile da Fabriano’s Adoration of the Magi, Botticelli’s Primavera and Birth of Venus, Piero della Francesca’s twin portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino, and Michelangelo’s Tondo Doni.

10. Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Seoul, South Korea

Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, South Korea. (Flickr)

The Dongdaemun Design Plaza, which officially opened in March 2014, was designed by Zahah Hadid. Its exterior is lit up every night and has quickly become one of Seoul’s best-known landmarks. The plaza is surrounded by art and design venues and other gallery and exhibition spaces, and an eco-friendly park.

11. Museum of Broken Relationships, Zagreb, Croatia

A visitor looks at stuffed animal presented during the opening of the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, on October 6, 2010. The museum grew from an idea by Croatian Olinka Vistina and Drazen Grubisic who broke up a few years ago. Each of the more than 700 items on display is explained by a love story. (HRVOJE POLAN/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

It may seem like an odd premise for a museum, but the Museum of Broken Relationships has been described as a “genuinely touching window on the human soul” by Telegraph Travel’s Chris Leadbeater, and it is one of Zagreb’s most visited museums.

12. Vasa Museum, Stockholm, Sweden

Vasa Museum in Stockholm. (Flickr)

You can view a beautifully preserved ship built in the 17th century at the Vasa Museum. The 64-gun Vasa, which gives the museum its name, sank on its maiden voyage in 1628. The maritime museum also has four floating ships moored outside.

13. ArtScience Museum, Singapore

The Crystal Universe, an interactive installation by teamLab at the Future World exhibition, ArtScience Museum in Singapore. (Stefan Irvine/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LightRocket via Getty Images

The museum was originally built as Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands Resort and is first to meld art and science together. It features traveling exhibitions from around the world.

14. Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino, Santiago, Chile

Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino, Santiago, Chile. (Flickr)

The Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino is one of the best places in the world to view ancient Central and South American artifacts.

15. Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, South Africa

Jochen Zeitz the former CEO of PUMA (l), a philanthropist and collector of African art, stands with the Executive Director of Zeitz MOCAA Mark Coetzee in their temporary office on February 21, 2017 at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa. The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (Zeitz MOCAA) museum opened in 2017 with about 6,000 square meters (65,000 square feet) and was be dedicated to exhibition space, on nine floors. The English architect Thomas Heatherwick designed the museum. (Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Cape Town’s Zeitz MOCAA is one of Africa’s most important cultural attractions. It was established through a partnership with the V&A Waterfront and former Puma CEO Jochen Zeitz. The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art showcases a diverse modern art collection from around the continent.

16. The Getty Villa + Getty Center, Los Angeles, California

Statue on the panorama terrace of the Getty Center, Los Angeles Seated Cardinal by Giacomo Manzu. (Godong/UIG via Getty Images)

The Getty Museum has two different campuses, one in Malibu and one on the hillside of Brentwood. The location in Malibu has a world-class collection of Greek, Roman and Etrucscan antiques. The Getty Center in Brentwood has a collection of American and European photographs, European art and furniture.

17. Inhotim Institute, Brazil

Inhotim Institute in Brazil (Wikipedia)

This forbidding-looking block of a museum features a wide range of contemporary art, but it also includes a botanical garden, where you can view rare species of plants from all seven continents.

18. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia

Winter Palace, 1754-1762, by Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli (1700-1771), now the Hermitage Museum, and the Neva river, Saint Petersburg (UNESCO World Heritage List, 1990). Russia, 18th century. (DeAgostini/Getty Images)
De Agostini/Getty Images

You’ll probably need more than just one day to explore The Hermitage, since it has a vast collection of art, including masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Picasso and Rembrandt. The Telegraph writes that you would actually need 11 years to view every single exhibit. Better get started.


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