- Explore European museums packed with treasure troves of art from across the centuries
- From ancient sculptures to modern masterpieces, there’s something for every art lover
- Discover the best museums to visit to see both traditional and modern art in Europe
Whether a holiday to Europe involves a visit to Paris, Amsterdam, Florence or St Petersburg, if you enjoy visiting art galleries, then there are some fantastic places to add to your must-see list. Discover what’s on display at some of the best art museums in Europe.
Home to one of the most famous paintings in the world, Leonardo Di Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the Louvre is among the best art museums in Europe and a highlight of a holiday in France if spending time in the capital. However, plan your visit carefully. The gallery contains over 35,000 works of art, including Rembrandts and Rubens, so study interactive floor plans beforehand to ensure you see any favourites. Avoid large crowds near the Mona Lisa in the updated Salle des États by arriving later in the day during your free time on an escorted tour of Paris. Tickets purchased online include fast-track entry, so you shouldn’t have to queue for more than 30 minutes.
Ticket prices: Adult €15* (€17* online with fast-track entry). Free admission on the first Saturday of each month.
Opening hours: Open daily, except Tuesday, from 9am to 6pm (9.45pm on Wednesday and Friday).
Housing Renaissance masterpieces such as Botticelli’s Primavera and The Birth of Venus, as well as exceptional works by Michelangelo, da Vinci, Titian, and Caravaggio, the Uffizi Gallery is one of Italy’s most celebrated art galleries and, without doubt, one of the best art museums in Europe. Visitors, perhaps in Florence on an escorted tour, can also see busts of the famous Medici family, patrons of the arts, and a rich collection of sculpture from antiquity to the present day. The Uffizi is always busy, so if in Italy during the summer, visit on the museum’s late-opening days – the website has more details. A Riviera Travel escorted tour to Florence includes a reserved timed visit in the afternoon to the Uffizi Gallery.
Ticket prices: Adult €20*. Free admission on the first Sunday of the month between October and March, and during March’s Museum Week
Opening hours: Open daily, except Monday, from 8.15am to 6.50pm.
A Dutch museum dedicated to the history of art, the Rijksmuseum has 80 galleries and displays four impressive works by Vermeer, one of the most celebrated 17th-century Dutch masters. However, it’s The Night Watch by Rembrandt that draws the majority of visitors to this treasure house (it’s on display at the end of an extended corridor called the Gallery of Honour). Remarkably, the artist’s famous painting is currently being restored in a conservation project entitled Operation Night Watch – watch live updates online. Visit the Rijksmuseum during your free time in Amsterdam on an Amsterdam, Kinderdijk & the Dutch Bulbfields river cruise.
Ticket prices: Adult €20* (€19* online).
Opening hours: Open daily from 9am to 5pm, including Christmas Day.
Don’t underestimate the size of the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg – there are around 400 rooms spread over three floors of five interlinked buildings, one of them being the beautiful Winter Palace. You’ll undoubtedly get lost at some stage during your visit as you negotiate rooms and corridors, and you’ll have to accept that you won’t see all of the gallery’s vast collection. Still, highlights are sure to include works by da Vinci, Picasso, Van Gogh, Titian and Gauguin’s The Woman Holding Fruit. A guided tour of the Hermitage’s highlights is on the itinerary of a Moscow & St Petersburg escorted tour.
Ticket prices: Adult 700 RUB* ($17.95* online. Free as part of the Moscow & St Petersburg escorted tour)
Opening hours: Open daily (except Monday) from 10.30am to 6pm (9pm on Wednesday and Friday).
The name of this art museum is a big clue as to what can be viewed inside. Rubens House was once the residence of the world-renowned artist, and now displays a large number of works by Peter Paul Rubens himself, as well as paintings by his peers and contemporaries. Marvel at The Annunciation, Adam and Eve, and a self-portrait, and learn more about Rubens’s family life, his business ventures, and his charm. A highlight of a visit is the great artist’s spacious studio, and the elegant garden – based on the painting Strolling in the Garden – is a tranquil oasis in bustling Antwerp. You can discover Rubens House on a free afternoon in Antwerp on a Bruges, Medieval Flanders, Amsterdam & the Dutch Bulbfields river cruise.
Ticket prices: Adult €8*.
Opening hours: Open daily (except Monday) from 10am to 5pm.
No wonder art lovers love Paris; the city is not only home to the Louvre, but over on the artistic Left Bank, you’ll also find Musée d’Orsay. A former railway station that was built for the Universal Exposition of 1900, the art gallery today is internationally famous for its remarkable collection of Impressionist artworks by Manet, Monet, Renoir and Cézanne which hang on the walls. Small Dancer Aged 14, a sculpture by Degas is also a must-see. Discover Musée d’Orsay on a free afternoon in Paris when on a Seine, Paris & Normandy river cruise – look at the museum’s website for a handy guide showing peak hours and visitor numbers.
Ticket prices: Adult €14*.
Opening hours: Open daily (except Monday) from 9.30am to 6pm (9.45pm on Thursday).
Amsterdam is also much-loved by aesthetes, not least because the city is home to yet another of the best art museums in Europe, the Van Gogh Museum. The world-acclaimed artist did not decide to become a painter until he was 27 but went on to produce around 52 works in 10 years. Sunflowers, The Bedroom, Almond Blossom, The Potato Eaters, Shoes, and a selection of self-portraits are on display, as well as the unfinished Tree Roots. Visit the museum during your free time in Amsterdam on an Amsterdam, Kinderdijk & the Dutch Bulbfields river cruise.
Ticket prices: Adult €19*.
Opening hours: Open daily from 9am to 5pm (6pm from March to end June, 7pm in July and August, 9pm on Friday).
Whichever of these iconic museums you visit, you’ll leave inspired and with an appreciation of some of the finest works of art. Discover pieces by some of the old masters and early 20th century visionaries. Take the chance to visit all these and more on one of our escorted tours or river cruises in 2020.
*Prices correct at the time of writing and may be subject to change. Please check the museum websites or the latest ticket prices.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.