Table of Contents
World-famous museums, stunning architecture and groundbreaking art galleries are the essential elements that any city needs to have to attract art lovers. Whether you’re into paintings, street art or sculpture, these 10 cities we’ve selected at Bonzah offer a visual feast for visitors.
1 New York City
New York is famous for being home of some of the most stunning museums and art galleries in the world and for housing great collections of some of the best international artists in history. There are also smaller art galleries as well as some incredible street art made by local and national artists.
The Metropolitan Museum of New York is a must-see attraction for anyone remotely interested in culture and art. With over two million works of art that include masterpieces by Rembrandt as well as African tribal masks, not even a whole month are enough to explore and take in all the fantastic artistic materials and artifacts that are exhibited there. The Guggenheim Museum has a wonderful permanent collection that includes works by Kandinsky, Picasso and various French Impressionists. Nearby, the MoMA boasts a fantastic collection of works of art amongst which we can mention the Water Lilies by Monet or various sculptures by Rodin. Other interesting museums that art lovers can’t miss are the Whitney Museum of American Art, the New Museum of Contemporary Art or the Frick Collection.
New York City has a rich and sophisticated art scene, and it is proud of its strong artistic community. Immortalized by Frank Sinatra as “the city that never sleeps”, it is the place where consecrated and aspiring artists want to be and a real magnet for art lovers from all over the world.
With over 250 museums and art galleries combined with jaw-dropping architecture and worth seeing attractions, it is undoubtedly that Paris should be listed amongst the most interesting cities for art lovers. Upon their arrival to the French capital, art lovers are naturally drawn to the Louvre museum. The Louvre has a wonderful collection of 35 thousand works of art and artifacts from ancient civilizations distributed across elegant and spacious rooms and pavilions. Amongst the highlights, we can mention Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the legendary Venus de Milo sculpture or the Winged Victory of Samothrace.
Bordering the left bank of the river Seine, the Musée d’Orsay _ once a neo-classical railway station_ hosts now a great collection of late XIX to early XX century pieces. Let your jaw drop at some masterpieces of the impressionist movement and get ready to admire paintings by Cézanne, Monet, Manet, Renoir or Van Gogh amongst others. If you’re drawn to modern art, the Centre Pompidou, with its colorful building is your place to go.
Paris also seduces art lovers with various museums that may be smaller in size but equally mesmerizing. Some of the all-time favorites we can mention are the Musée Picasso, the Musée Marmottan Monet, the Musée de Cluny dedicated to the Middle Ages or the Rodin Museum.
London rivals Paris as the best city in Europe for art lovers. There are over 240 museums and galleries to explore and discover, and the city itself is an open-air museum. The Victoria and Albert Museum has a magnificent collection of more than 4.5 million objets d’art from Europe, North America, North Africa, and Asia. It is home of the world’s largest collection of post-classical sculpture, the largest collection of Italian Renaissance items outside Italy, the largest collection of Islamic art in the western world and the best collection of Asian art in Europe.
No visit to London would be complete without admiring the more than 8 million works of art from all over the world that cover human culture and history from the beginning of time to the present day at the British Museum. The collection of Egyptian antiquities is jaw-dropping, and the pavilions dedicated to Ancient Greece and Rome are home to the Parthenon marbles from the Acropolis of Athens, one of the must-sees of the museum.
Other highlights for art lovers spending some time in London include the National Gallery that boasts more than 2300 works of art; the Tate Britain, with the largest collection of British art including the largest collection of J.M.W. Turner’s works; the Tate Modern, where you can admire paintings from Picasso, Hockney or Pollock; and the National Portrait Gallery.
It goes without discussion that Florence is one of those cities that makes it to the travel bucket list of all art lovers. Cradle of the Renaissance, this charming red-bricked Italian city is overflowing with art and art history. So much so that even the most avid art lover can feel a little overwhelmed.
The Uffizi Gallery is one of the must-sees as it houses art heroes like Michelangelo and Botticelli; you can’t miss the Birth of Venus by Botticelli! The Bargello and the Accademia Galleries are the places to go if you have a soft spot for sculptures. The Accademia Gallery is the house of Michelangelo’s David. The Museo di San Marco houses Fra Angelico’s painting of The Annunciation, and the churches of Santa María Novella and Santa Croce will delight you with their beautiful frescoes by Giotto.
Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, its stellar art richness has developed over centuries. Everywhere you turn your head you’ll find old shops, wonderful fountains, beautiful churches and iconic sights such as the Roman Forum, the Colosseum or Vatican City as well as hundreds of ancient monuments. Probably the most important art collection in the city is the one housed in the Vatican Museums, where the Sistine Chapel is found. In the exquisite Basilica di San Pietro, you can appreciate exquisite works from Bramante, Raphael, and Maderno as well as the grand dome designed by Michelangelo.
Rome is a paradise for art lovers. Some of the city’s notable highlights are the Galleria Borghese where you can appreciate masterpieces by Bernini and Raphael, the Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia or the National Etruscan Museum, the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna and the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica.
With long-standing and more recently inaugurated museums and an active street art life, Berlin has reborn into an interesting artistic hub where artists from the East and the West come together to create Europe’s most vibrant contemporary art scene. With more than 400 galleries to choose from, art is awaiting tourists in Berlin around every corner.
Berlin has even a whole island dedicated to art. The Museuminsel is a complex of five museums located in the middle of the Spree river. One of these museums is the Alte Nationalgalerie, famous for its stunning collection of romantic and neo-classical works by Caspar D. Friedrich and Karl F. Schinkel, as well as paintings by early Modernists and French Impressionist artists. You’re also invited to appreciate the impressive Pergamon Altar, the Ishtar Gate and Processional Way and a fascinating collection of Islamic art at Pergamonmuseum. If you love sculptures, you can appreciate an extensive collection of sculptures from the medieval period to the late XVIII century at the Bode-Museum. The Neues Museum is world-famous for its outstanding artifacts from the Egyptian Museum, the Papyrus Collection, the Museum of Prehistory and Early History and the Collection of Classical Antiquities; the famous bust of the Ancient Egyptian queen Nefertiti is one of the highlights of this museum. The last museum on the island is the Altes Museum, home to a permanent collection of paintings and sculptures from ancient Greece to the Roman Empire. There are majestic portrait busts of Cleopatra and Caesar and a fantastic collection of Etruscan art.
The Gemäldegalerie boasts one of the best collections of European paintings, including masterpieces by Caravaggio, Rubens, Vermeer or Rembrandt amongst others. Finally, one of the remaining sections of the Berlin Wall has been converted into an outdoor gallery space, and it is called the East Side Gallery.
Small in size but artistically mighty, Amsterdam is a feast for the eyes of art lovers. From Van Gogh’s Sunflowers to Rembrandt’s Night Watch, there are impressive paintings to admire. Probably, the Rijksmuseum came to your mind as soon as Amsterdam was added to the list. This national museum displays 8000 items from a collection of over a million pieces. Highlights include works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Vermeer.
Those who admire Van Gogh and his paintings can’t miss visiting the beautiful Van Gogh’s Museum where more than 200 of his works are displayed together with sketches and letters he sent to his brother Theo. Het Rembrandthuis is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not only to admire Rembrandt’s works but also dig deeper into the house where this Dutch artist lived and worked from 1639 to 1656.
Located in the northeast of Spain, Barcelona is one of those cities that can’t be absent in any travel bucket list for art lovers. It is as famous for its museums as well as for its architecture highlights. Barcelona is a lively city and, whichever way you look it will catch your attention. The charming medieval Barri Gotic, the ceramic tiles and stained glasses of Art Nouveau facades and its lively street art are definitely worth enjoying!
Museu Picasso boasts one of the biggest collections of Picasso works in the world. The Museu Nacional d’Art has an interesting collection of Baroque, Gothic and Romanesque Art. Gaudi buildings are one of the most important highlights and remarkable characteristics of Barcelona. The Sagrada Familia, the impressive cathedral designed by Gaudi and still under construction is a magnet for tourists and art lovers alike. You can climb up one of its towers and admire the great panoramic views of the city.
Impressive and cosmopolitan, Tokyo may not be the first city you think of as a top destination for art lovers. However, the art scene in Tokyo is spread far and wide across the city, and it is worth exploring.
The Mori Art Museum focuses on contemporary art, and it showcases fascinating permanent and temporary exhibitions. The National Art Center holds special exhibitions, and it is a nice place to enjoy a cup of coffee and buy a souvenir from your trip. The National Museum of Western Art boasts a pretty good collection of XV century icons and paintings by Monet, Picasso, and Pollock. The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum showcases a stunning collection of Japanese international art. Amongst other interesting museums, the Mitsui Memorial Museum specializes in traditional Japanese art and crafts including swords, paintings, and pottery.
The Spanish capital is home to some of the most impressive art venues in Europe. There are world-famous museums, a wonderful array of sculptures in Buen Retiro park and a vibrant art scene at El Rastro market, where local artists come to sell their works.
The Thyssen-Bornemisza has one of the best private collections of XIII to XX century art in the world. The artworks displayed there are not only interesting but also incredibly varied: you may find yourself admiring a Canaletto and then turn your head to a colorful painting by Lichtenstein! If you’ve always wanted to see Picasso’s iconic Guernica, head to Reina Sofia Museum. There, you can also see a wide collection of paintings by Salvador Dali, Joan Miró, Juan Gris, Eduardo Chillida amongst others
Based on the former Spanish Royal Collection, the Prado Museum is home of one of Europe’s finest collection of fine art from the XII to the XX century. There are numerous and fascinating works by Goya, El Greco, Diego Velazquez and Peter Paul Rubens amongst others. There are, of course, smaller artistic venues that are fascinating for art lovers: the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, the Sorolla Museum, the CaixaForum, the Convento de las Descalzas Reales or the Lazaro Galdiano Museum.