Europe is incredibly rich in art and culture, which makes it the perfect destination for art lovers. In this article, we are going to highlight the best cities for an art enthusiast.
Weekend City Breaks in Europe
Europe has so much to offer the art lover that it is difficult to narrow the options down to the top ten. However, the cities below are the most popular, with art lovers flocking to see them every year. It is clear to see why these beautiful cities have made it into the top ten European cities for art lovers.
Florence is the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance movement and offers endless opportunities for art lovers. It is an incredibly well-preserved city, so it is worth visiting for the architecture alone. However, it is also the home of Michelangelo’s ‘David’ sculpture and Botticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus.’
The Uffizi Art Gallery is one of the most famous galleries in the world, housing the works of Raphael, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Titian, Botticelli, and many other Great Masters.
Once you have seen the traditional masterpieces, don’t forget to check out some of the other artists and designers that have made Florence their home in modern times. There are many modern art exhibitions and pop-up galleries for you to visit. You will find many creatives in and around central Florence from street artists and painters to jewellery and fashion designers, Florence caters to many artistic tastes.
Paris is the home of Da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’, so head over to the Louvre Gallery to see this masterpiece for yourself. Once there, you can marvel at the great works of art spanning pieces from ancient civilizations to the mid-19th Century. It is the largest art gallery in the world, so give yourself enough time to view all that this great museum houses.
The Musee D Orsay is home to more recent paintings and covers the approximate period 1848-1914. It is situated in the former Gare D’ Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railways station built around the turn of the 20th Century. It hosts a large collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings by artists such as Monet and Cezanne, among others.
The Centre Pompidou is right in the centre of Paris, situated at an equal distance from the Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral. This is the home of the largest modern art gallery in Europe, which is displayed over two floors.
History and tradition are all around you when you visit London. Architecture such as Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey will excite history and art lovers alike. Visit the National Gallery, home to over 2,300 works of art by artists such as Rubens, Constable, Turner, and Van Gogh spanning the 13th to the late 19th century.
The Tate Gallery Britain houses a substantial collection of art from the UK. View masterpieces such as Millais’ ‘Ophelia in Water’, Reynolds’ ‘The Age of Innocence’, and Waterhouse’s ‘The Lady of Shalott’.
If modern art is more to your taste, then the Tate Modern is a must-see. This is situated in the old Bankside power station and holds a collection of modern art from 1900 until the present day and includes international modern and contemporary art.
Walk the streets of Rome and it will feel as if you have stepped back in time. Marvel at the ancient architecture such as the Colosseum or the Forum. The Trevi Fountain is an excellent example of Baroque architecture, which is also worth a visit.
A tour of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City is not to be missed for art lovers visiting Rome. The splendid building is famous in the art world for its Renaissance Fresco ceiling by Michelangelo that depicts scenes from the Old Testament.
Visit the Borghese Gallery while in Rome. This is one of the most famous art galleries in the world and houses a fantastic collection of paintings, sculptures, and antiques.
Visit Amsterdam in mid-April for your best chance of seeing the tulip fields in bloom. This riot of colour will offer inspiration for any budding artist. Many of these flowers are laid out in intricate designs and the most famous tulip garden is the Keukenhof, which has been photographed by well-known photographers such as Albert Dros many times.
Art lovers should pay a visit to the Rijksmuseum, where you can see examples of work from many celebrated artists such as Vermeer.
If you are interested in Impressionism, then look no further than the Van Gogh museum, which houses over 200 works of art by him.
The Stedelijk will interest lovers of modern and contemporary art. It houses work from the 20th and 21st centuries including Kandinsky, Kircher, Warhol, and Dumas.
Vienna has an interesting mix of old and modern works of art. The Museum quartier is a sprawling area covering 90m2 that is home to 60 different art institutions. It is one of the biggest districts for art and culture in the world. It houses everything from architecture, music fashion, theatre, dance, game culture, and street art.
The Belvedere Museum consists of two Baroque Palaces set in a Baroque park. This houses the largest collection of work by Gustav Klimt in the world.
The Albertina houses one of the largest print rooms in the world with thousands of drawings and more than a million prints by the Old Masters, as well as photographs and architectural drawings. The museum is also home to a large impressionist and early 20th-century collection, as well as several temporary exhibitions.
The city of Berlin has a unique history, and this is reflected in its architecture. Artefacts from Ancient Greece are on display and Berlin art spans everything from the ancient period right up to the modern-day era.
The East Side Gallery sits on the longest surviving section of the Berlin wall. It consists of a series of murals painted directly on to the wall, which became a symbol of freedom in the era of the Cold War.
The Pergamon museum consists of three separate museums and is a must-see for lovers of ancient art and artefacts. It houses one of the largest collections of Islamic art in the world.
The architecture of Venice is truly a sight to behold if you are an art lover. The city consists of 118 islands that are separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges. This romantic city houses an incredible collection of art. Renaissance painters such as Titian and Veronese can be seen in this beautiful city, as well as contemporary art from around the world.
The Peggy Guggenheim museum houses one of the most important collections of modern art in Europe. It once belonged to the heiress that gave the museum its name and contains European and American works of art from the 20th century.
Venice is a Catholic city, and the most beautiful works of art can be seen in its churches and religious buildings. Visit the Church of Santa Maria dei Gesuati, the Church of San Sebastiano, or the Church of Madonna dell Orto to see some truly wonderful and spiritually uplifting paintings.
Barcelona is rich in artwork and the great news is that if you buy a museum pass, you will get access to the six best museums in the city without having to queue. This will give you more time to view these fantastic works of art. The museums and galleries that are included in this ticket are:
- The Museu Picasso of Barcelona – This museum houses over 4,500 works of art exhibited by Pablo Picasso.
- Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya – The museum of Catalan visual art featuring Romanesque church paintings and works from the late 19th and early 20th century.
- Fundacio Joan Miro – The museum of Modern Art featuring the work of Joan Miro.
- The Centre de Cultura Contempoaria de Barcelona – This art gallery focuses on the city and urban culture.
- Museu d’Art Contemporani Barcelona – This centre explores the culture and popular discourses in music, art, TV, and film.
- Fundacio Antoni Tapies – This gallery is dedicated to the life and works of Antoni Tapies.
The vast collection of art located in the Russian city of St Petersburg makes this stunning city a popular destination for art lovers. The Hermitage and the adjoined Winter Palace house some of the most renowned works in the world.
- The Winter Palace served as a private gallery for art amassed by Catherine the Great. It has been open to the public since 1852.
- The Hermitage is set over three floors and houses the work of artists such as Da Vinci, Renoir, Picasso, Cezanne, and Melisse.
- The Russian Museum concentrates on work by Russian artists such as Kandinsky.
There are so many fantastic places in Europe for art lovers. Why not write a list of all the places you want to visit and tick them off one by one? If you have time on your hands, you could always city hop and spend a little time in each one and follow in the footsteps of some of the great artists and poets during the Grand Tours in the 18th Century.