Europe is one of the best places to live or travel if you love art. There are so many world class art museums and locations where masterpieces are kept, it can be almost overwhelming to decide where to go! These are my top five cities to visit in Europe if you love art like me, but of course there are so many that didn’t fit on the list that are just as amazing. But if you’re looking for locations for your next Euro trip, these cities are the perfect place to start. Their memorable museums are just the start to discovering the wonderful cities.
1. Vienna, Austria
Vienna is truly an art lover’s dream. It’s a well-known stop on any European art tour, as it was home to the Avant-Garde Movement and an artist key to that movement, Gustav Klimt. You can view his work in almost every museum in the city. Most well-known might be his piece The Kiss, which lives in the stunning Belvedere Palace.
Vienna is all about its palaces, as it was once home to the immensely powerful Hapsburg dynasty. Visit Schönbrunn Palace to see how these royals truly lived (it houses original furniture that has been impeccably maintained!). It was their summer palace and is just a little bit outside the city center, but thankfully Vienna has great public transportation. You won’t be lacking in museums or palaces to visit, but you should also enjoy strolling around the city and marveling at the beautiful architecture.
2. Florence, Italy
Florence is known around the globe as the Renaissance city. It is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance because the movement was born there, and it’s easy to see the remnants from this era almost everywhere you go in Florence. The city has countless Renaissance masterpieces of art and architecture, most notably the absolutely iconic (and massive) duomo designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, in the center of the city.
If you ever tire of viewing the Renaissance masterpieces that are outdoors, then step into one of Florence’s many museums. There is most notably the Uffizi galleries, located right off of Piazza Signoria where the Palazzo Vecchio stands (with its copy of Michelangelo’s David, one of three in the city). The Uffizi is where you will find many famous works of art, including paintings by Sandro Botticelli. The Birth of Venus is one that many flock to, with it’s large scale depiction of Venus famously arriving at the shore. If you’d like to see the real David, step into the Accademia Gallery and be wowed by this sculpture. One of Michelangelo’s best works.
The city also contains great art from the Medieval times and even some Roman history. The timeline of the city of Florence is long, and Florentines are so very proud of their art and their city. You will never be bored as an art lover in Florence, with countless museums to choose from, as well as modern artisans working in their shops across the river in the Oltrarno. A haven for art lovers, to be sure.
3. London, United Kingdom
London’s museum are impeccable, which isn’t surprising seeing as it’s the British capital and probably one of the most well-known cities in Europe. The beauty of London’s museums is that they are immense and there’s something for everyone. They are also donation-based, so they don’t inhibit anyone from viewing art if they please. I definitely don’t recommend visiting five museums in a day like my boyfriend and I did, but a few each day is doable. Whether you like modern art or historic, portraits or sculptures, you will find art to love in London, I can assure you.
4. Paris, France
Like the other cities I’ve mentioned, Paris is an art lovers dream because not only are there so many museums to choose from on any given day, but the city itself is full of art. Just take one stroll along the Seine River and you’ll see it. The architecture in Paris is also very unique. No where else in the world looks like Paris does, or has the beautiful city layout that Paris is lucky to have created hundreds of years ago.
From the metro stop entrances to the Eiffel Tower, Paris is a city that should be discovered on foot. Stop into a museum and let the hours drain away while you take it all in. My favorite has to be Musée D’Orsay, located in a converted train station that was built for one of the World’s Fairs. It also happens to be the location Blair meets her prince in Gossip Girl. I didn’t meet a prince, but I wholly enjoyed the masterpieces located there, Van Goghs and Monets abound.
Of course there is also the Louvre, which is truly as big as you could imagine. I definitely recommend hiring a guide for your adventure at the Louvre. It will be so much more enjoyable to view the art if you aren’t worried about getting lost! There’s also the Musée de l’Orangerie which houses Monet’s famous water lilies, and the Palace of Versailles just thirty minutes outside the city. My favorite place in all of Paris though, might just be Saint Chapelle. The stained glass is unlike anything else I’ve seen in the world, it’s magnificent.
5. Rome, Italy
Rome is notably called an “open air museum,” and once you visit you’ll see exactly why. There is beauty and history on every corner. For anyone who loves art, Rome has to be on your list when you travel to Europe. When you are in Rome you also have access to the Vatican, which has one of the best museums in the world. Not to mention the art in Saint Peter’s Basilica and the many churches located in the Eternal City. You can wander into a church and happen upon a Caravaggio, which can’t be said of anywhere else in the world.
In addition, there are countless ancient historic sites within the city of Rome. You can visit the Roman Forum and the Colosseum, both absolutely stunning in their antiquity and perseverance. While Rome may be known for its ancient art, there is also an abundance of modern art at MACRO and MAXXI, the famed modern art museum designed by Zaha Hadid.
Rome is a must-see in Europe for any art lover because of its sheer abundance of museums, landmarks, and stunning architecture. From small galleries in what once were private palaces, to contemporary artists and workshops where present day Romans work, I am always the most inspired when strolling through this beautiful city.
I hope this inspired you to visit these beautiful cities in Europe and take in all of the art your heart desires. Share this article with your friends who love art too!
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Images via @theartfuleveryday on Instagram.
Maggie is the blogger behind The Artful Everyday, a travel and lifestyle blog dedicated to living intentionally and finding beauty in the ordinary. She loves the idea that we get to escape our normal lives when we travel, and that it allows us to be more open to the world and its cultures. Maggie lived in Florence while studying abroad, then was an au pair in Rome last fall. She is very passionate about traveling in Europe, especially Italy, and living abroad. Maggie studied Interior Design at the University of Minnesota, but is currently pursuing a career in writing.