There are many reasons why travelling across Europe is an incredible thing to do. Each country offers exceptional beauty, richly diverse cultures, and wonderful experiences unique to their origin.
And another enticement on top of all those things?
The continent’s internationally treasured art galleries.
Discover the best of these, and join hundreds of thousands of tourists who visit Europe every year to experience astounding art from different centuries, nationalities and influences.
The Louvre, Paris
The Louvre first opened in 1793 exhibiting five-hundred and thirty-seven paintings of royal and religious inception. Today, thirty-five thousand pieces of art can be found here, from canon works like the enigmatic Mona Lisa, ancient Islamic art, to dark and obscure European paintings.
This accounts to one of two reasons why Paris’ treasured monument is one of the most visited art galleries in the world. And the other? The building itself. The Louvre is spectacular both day and night, with the grand museum encompassing its legendary glass pyramid. Walk from the Place de la Concorde through the statue filled Tuileries Gardens to add another layer of architectural majesty to your trip.
Muses Picasso, Barcelona
Picasso once said, “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
Set your eyes on Picasso’s earlier works, and understand how his unique way of seeing the world is carried from his formative years as an artist into his adult life.
For fans of his work, an insight into the foundations of his genius and his love of Barcelona is a must experience. And be mesmerised by the surrealist, beautiful architecture the gallery is housed within. It’s also worth purchasing an audio tour to deepen your understanding of his many iconic paintings.
Fine Arts Museum (Kunstmuseum), Switzerland
In northern Switzerland, between the borders of Germany and France, lies Basel. Situated beside the picturesque Rhine River, this city is both stunning and rich in history, with buildings dating back to medieval 15th century. Basel is also home to the oldest and largest collection of public art in Europe.
Basel’s Fine Arts Museum, also known as Kunstmuseum, features jaw-dropping works from the early 15th century to the present day. And its display of elaborate Renaissance art is a treat to behold within this mammoth building, with works from Witz, Cranach, Picasso, and Braque (to name but a few).
A tip for your visit: Get in for free between the hours of 5 pm and 6 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.
The Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Similar to Muses Picasso in Barcelona, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is an ode to one of its most celebrated treasures. Works from this renowned artist paint a vivid picture of Van Gogh’s colourful, yet tragic life. Any art lover can appreciate the magnitude of seeing his pieces such as ‘Sunflowers’, ‘Almond Blossom’, ‘The Potato Eaters’ and ‘The Bedroom’ in person.
It’s easy to spend a whole day here experiencing the retelling of Van Gogh’s life through his art. And it’s worth picking up a multi-media headset for an in-depth tour (as well as being an excellent way to block out the real world on a busy day).
National Gallery, London
If I told you the National Gallery was free to visit in London (the land of expensive things), I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t believe me. But it is, and this is all the more amazing once you experience how brilliant it can be.
One of the most visited museums in the world, the gallery offers a spectacular display of over two-thousand Western European paintings from 13th to 19th century.
Walk along the gorgeous inlaid wooden floors while gazing at work from the likes of Turner, Degas, Monet, and Botticelli. Finish your afternoon here with tea and cake at the gallery’s excellent cafe.
East Side Gallery, Berlin
Have a mini-break in Berlin and witness art interwoven with the city’s deep history. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, talented painters from across the globe came together to combine their artistic genius.
They created over one-hundred paintings on the remnants of the wall, which was once the divide between East and West Germany, and transformed this landmark into an open-air gallery for all to see.
Street art infuses colour, intrigue and iconic representation of the late 20th century along a mile-long stretch of the wall. It’s a break away from Europe's more traditional galleries, but no less impressive.
Europe: An Art Lover’s Paradise
Easily transform your travels around Europe into a retelling of the continent's ancient history through phenomenal art. Each gallery discussed here has its own unique story to tell; experiences you, your family and friends will speak of and remember for years.