International Museum Day: Cities with unmissable museums

Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna

Who doesn’t love a good museum? Nowhere else offers the opportunity to walk through time quite like they do, and between housing some of finest artefacts, rarest paintings and precious antiques, Europe’s museums are among the best in the world. This International Museum Day, make sure you’ve got these historic hotspots on your radar…

1. Austria, Vienna

Vienna is famous for its rich history and culture, making it a must-visit location for every museum lover, especially those invested in art. Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna is the epitome of everything an art museum should be, and includes incredible installations and exemplary exhibits. The range and breadth of artwork they house not only allows visitors to explore different periods of history up-close, but incorporates modern technologies and exclusive events that makes the museum itself feel continually fresh, no matter how many times you visit. For a taste of what they offer, take a look at some of their most notable moments, objects and stories across their 125-year history.

Complementing the cultural angle of your trip, book a room at Hotel Stefanie. The property is filled with antiques collected by its owners, the Schick family, ranging from silver and porcelain wares to clocks and furniture. Its historic ambience is matched by the building’s roots, too. Operational since the year 1600, it’s the oldest hotel in Vienna.

2. Belgium, Brugge

View some of the characters from Europe’s best-loved art in a completely new way, including those from the world-famous ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’ by Hieronymous Bosch, at Bruges’ Musea Sculpta this International Museum Day. Here, painted people that were once confined to the canvas have been made ‘real’, transformed into sculptures by expert visual artists from all around the world.

Afterwards, spend the night at Flanders Hotel. Based in the historic heart of the city, this property is brilliantly-placed to enjoy all of Bruges’ most marvellous sights. It’s also lovely within, and boasts a beautiful garden and contemporary rooms. It’s no wonder it’s been voted as one of the Top 15 Hotels in Belgium in Tripadvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards for eight years running.

3. Italy, Palermo

Theatre and museum culture combine at The Antonio Pasqualino International Puppet Museum. Founded in 1975 by the Association for the Conservation of Folk Traditions, it contains over 5,000 items, including marionettes, hand puppets and shadow puppets from around the world: helping to preserve the art of puppetry, in all of its forms. In this spirit, the museum hosts events throughout the year to highlight its collections, too, including the Festival di Morgana, which features puppet performances and exhibits from international artists. A great pick for your International Museum Day adventures.

Follow up this unique spot of sightseeing with a night or two at Villa del Gattopardo Suites & Spa. Only twenty minutes by car from the heart of Palermo, there’s plenty to admire about this country mansion, from its stunning frescoes to huge glass observatory. What could be more romantic than stargazing in the Italian countryside..?

4. Italy, Asolo

Another one of Italy’s most astonishing museums resides in Asolo: the Gipsoteca di Antonio Canova-Possagno. This museum centres around the work of the famous Neoclassical sculptor, Antonio Canova. Explore some of his magnificent masterpieces, and see where he was born and artistically inspired during your visit. Take special note of the Gypsotheca, which contains the original plaster cast models of some of his most famous works.  

Accommodation-wise, you can’t get much better than Villa Cipriani. This five-star hotel is filled with luxuries to make your trip feel extra special. Book a room with a terrace to enjoy panoramic views of the stunning valley, enjoy a Turkish bath, take a dip in their outdoor pool and much more. You’ll want to stay forever.

5. Slovenia, Ljubljana

There are lots of reasons to visit the vibrant capital of Slovenia, and the National Gallery is certainly one of them. Most recently renovated in 2016, this well-kept institution contains artwork from the 1200s to the modern day, and thanks to its range of events and projects, appeals to art lovers of all ages. Plan your visit around their calendar to attend lectures, concerts and other events, and take advantage of the several tour options the museum offers to gain expert knowledge on its fascinating exhibitions.

Make sure that the small but mighty Antiq Palace is waiting to welcome you, after. This boutique property offers twenty-four hour concierge service, three lounge bars and several handy facilities, ensuring your stay is comfortable from start to finish. The building has great historical significance, too, having first been mentioned in records dating back to the sixteenth century.

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