The best museums and art galleries in Europe

Tuesday, 22 August 2023

Man looking around a museum

Historic architecture, bustling cities, coastal escapes and ambient nightlife are just some things you can expect from many European cities, but there is something else that Europe has in abundance – galleries and museums.

If you’re looking for a close-up and personal look at some of the most sacred art, history and artefacts in the world, then what better way to do so than by meandering around Europe’s best museums and galleries, including the likes of the Anne Frank House, The Louvre Museum and The National Gallery. Read on to learn more about these awe-inspiring museums and galleries, where you can find them and what to expect inside.

The best museums and art galleries in Europe:

  • Anne Frank House, Amsterdam
  • Picasso Museum, Barcelona
  • Titanic Museum, Belfast
  • The National Gallery, London
  • Louvre Museum, Paris
  • Nasjonalgalleriet, Oslo

Anne Frank House, Amsterdam

Situated in the Westermarkt district of Amsterdam, The Anne Frank House is situated on and within the site of the annexe where Frank and her family hid from the Nazis in WW2. The museum offers a harrowing insight into the life the Frank family led while hiding for two years, as well as stories about the horrific actions taken against Jews during the 1940s. The Anne Frank House was a location that Laura Meyers from the blog Laure Wanders, she commented on her experiences there and why she recommends people go:

“Another interesting European museum is the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. This museum is dedicated to Anne Frank, a Jewish little girl who kept a diary during WWII. The museum is housed in the house where Anne hid from the Nazis together with her family and four other people. The hidden rooms in which they hid can be visited, and plenty of objects related to WWII are displayed here as well. Although this museum is a reminder of a dark part of European history, it's also one of the most important and interesting museums on the continent.”

Picasso Museum, Barcelona

The Picasso Museum, or The Museu Picasso as it is locally known, is situated in Barcelona in, Spain and pays homage to the world-renowned artist Picasso. The location holds an extensive collection of artwork from Picasso, with 4251 masterpieces to uncover. The collections are displayed across five medieval palaces in the city, so not only is the artwork outstanding, the locations in which they are housed are something to behold too.

The museum was founded in 1960 when an agreement was signed with the city of Barcelona, and it finally opened in 1963, starting with just 574 works of art, meaning the museum has grown considerably in size in the last 60 years. The museum is a great choice for those who love the works of this infamous artist and want to find out more about his life and career.

Titanic Museum, Belfast

Daffodils outside a building

The Titanic is the most famous ships in the world and sadly sank in 1912 after hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean. Since the sinking, a world-famous film was released, and countless documentaries have been created in order to uncover more details about the sinking of the ship, but for those who want to delve deeper into the history and what it was like to be on board the ship, Titanic Museum in Belfast is the ultimate option. If you’re enjoying one of our British Isles cruises, then spending your time in Belfast here will surely be rewarding.

Take a glimpse into the staterooms, explore the 1st, 2nd and 3rd class decks, find out more about the captain and his crew and explore the tragic accident that lead to the demise of this shipping giant. The blog Girl About The Globe commented on their experience at the Titanic Museum on their website, commenting:

“The Titanic visitor experience is interactive and takes you on an amazing journey from the very beginnings of the Titanic to its launch, culminating with the Titanic as it is today. What I really like about this museum is that it takes you back to the days before the Titanic sailed; back to Boomtown Belfast in the beginning of the 20th century. It tells a chronological narrative from Edwardian Belfast when shipbuilding was at its height. Billboards display the wording ‘England is Ireland’s enemy,’ whilst cleverly presented silhouettes give the illusion that you have stepped back in time.”

READ MORE: How to spend a day in Belfast

The National Gallery, London

Situated in the heart of London on Trafalgar Square, The National Gallery is one of the most iconic locations in London and must be visited if you’re in the city and is free to enter. The stunning collections are held within the historic building founded in 1824 and later completed in 1838, and today the building depicts the same facade that it would have had over 200 years ago.

The collection inside is one of the best in the world, and artwork dating back to the early 13th century and through to the 1900s can be examined and admired. Those who enter this historic building can expect to see artwork from greats, from Leonardo da Vinci and Vincent van Gogh to Rembrandt and Botticelli, to name just a few.

Louvre Museum, Paris

Known amongst artists as potentially one of the greatest and best museums of all time, the Louvre Museum is a legendary name in Paris and across the globe. This imposing museum that blends historical and modern architecture sits right in the heart of Paris and is a central landmark for all those that visit. The Louvre Palace was said to have been built in the late 12th to 13th century, but the museum was established in 1793, making it the oldest museum or gallery on this list.

Although the Louvre is an iconic building and one worth seeing whilst enjoying a cruise holiday in France, most come to marvel at the magnificence of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. The museum isn’t just home to grand paintings; those visiting can also explore Egyptian antiquities, Greek and Roman history, sculptures and paintings and drawings; there truly is a form of art for all tastes at the Louvre.

Nasjonalgalleriet, Oslo

Originally situated in the Royal Palace in Oslo, The National Gallery of Norway now rightly has a dedicated building in the city. If you’re on a cruise to Norway, this is a must-visit for art lovers whilst in Oslo. For those visiting the gallery, make sure you see The Scream, painted by Edvard Munch in 1893, a real depiction of artistic excellence.

Alice at the blog Adventures Of Alice has visited the National Museum of Norway and has commented about her experience on her blog: “Home to Norway’s largest collection of artwork, the gallery is one of the best things to do in Oslo to get a further taste of the city’s culture. Showcasing an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, and engravings from the 19th and 20th centuries, Norway’s National Gallery also houses one of the most frequently depicted works of art in the world. Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ is a fantastic piece of expressionism. It has been reproduced countless times all over the world due to its popularity. Most of the people who visit the gallery are primarily there to see that one painting.”

If you’re looking to enjoy a cruise from Tilbury and enjoy the splendours of Europe, then try and include some of these magnificent locations in your explorations; you won’t be disappointed. If you’re looking for more inspiration before you enjoy your Ambassador cruise, then make sure you check out our blog.