If you are an art lover planning on vacationing in Europe, then all the major art museums are probably on your list. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: institutions like The Louvre are so popular with tourists, you’ll have to crane your necks just to see a tiny piece of The Mona Lisa. (Which may be one reason that The Mona Lisa is rumored to be going on tour next year). Don’t despair about the crowds. There are amazing museums everywhere you look, including these much more accessible venues.
Sammlung Boros at the Bunker
Berlin has always been known as a center of hip and daring art and culture. Sammlung Bunker is exactly the type of funky space that artists love. The Boros Collection is a private collection of contemporary art. It includes groups of works by international artists from 1990 to the present. Selections of these works are shown to the public inside the bunker, which was once used by the Red Army to hold prisoners in 1945. The small space is just 3000 square meters and is accessible through guided tours.
La Triennale di Milano
Italy is considered the home of classical art. Museums with the greatest art of the antiquities and the Renaissance are abundant, but crowded. Milan is the design center of the world, as it boasts a modern side. The La Triennale di Milano is a design and art museum in Milan that is housed in the Palazzo dell’Arte, which was completed in 1933. The museum features pop artists like Keith Haring and Roy Lichtenstein and his home for an amazing array of rotating exhibits. During Milan fashion week, there are always fashion retrospectives at the Triennale. It also has a rooftop where you can enjoy a cocktail.
Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
Modern art aficionados adore the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (the City of Paris Museum). This amazing space is also a hip nightclub and bookstore. It features art from some of the 20th century’s top masters and also has a wing for the world’s newest, edgiest artists.
Musée des Arts et Métier
In Paris, Musée des Arts et Métier is a must-see. Founded in 1794 by Henri Grégoire, the museum was meant to be “a store of new and useful inventions.” The result is a place which features all the greatest technological innovations. The Musée des arts et métiers was refurbished in 2000, and now exhibits over 2,400 inventions. They are split into seven collections Scientific instruments, Materials, Energy, Mechanics, Construction, Communication and Transport. The objects include things like the first steam-powered car, mechanical calculator and all manner of mobile phones. One critic called it “A steampunk paradise in a 13th-century abbey.”
Smack in the center of Madrid, the Museo Cerralbo houses the art and historical object collections of Enrique de Aguilera y Gamboa, 17th Marquis of Cerralbo, who died in 1922. The Museo is all about luxury and the lifestyles of the rich and famous, circa 1855. Amazing crystals, paintings, sculptures, tapestries, porcelains, mirrors, furniture and more are on hand to dazzle. The building, built in Italian Renaissance style, includes a ballroom, dining room, Oriental room, and much more.
Everyone loves Prague, but one of the best kept secrets in the world is Museum Kampa, which celebrates the art of the non-conformist. It houses the collection of Jan and Meda Mládek, who were exiled from their country when it was communist. The Mladeks actively supported the then Czechoslovak non-conformist artists. The collection contains the largest collection of works by one of the founders of modern abstract painting, František Kupka and works by other important artists of the 20th century from the former Eastern Bloc nations. The goal is to present works of arts made by artists who were repressed by the State.