Visiting a landmark museum is one of the best ways to get an in-depth look into a country’s culture and history (and often, the culture and history of societies that have influenced it). While there are countless museums worth checking out, these five must-visits are at the top of our list when it comes to honoring heritage.
The Prado Museum, Madrid
Formally the private collection of the Spanish Royal Family, the treasure trove of artwork at the Prado includes paintings, sculptures, drawings and various other works from around Europe. Not surprisingly, there is a prime focus on artists from Spain, and the Prado is widely considered to have the most prestigious collection of Spanish art. The collection is extensive—to say the least. Luckily, the museum puts out a visitor’s app and a helpful guide that outlines three routes, allowing you to see the greatest number of historically significant pieces that your timeframe allows.
See it for yourself during an included museum visit on the Grand Tour of Spain.
The Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore
One of the National Museums of Singapore, the Asian Civilisations Museum takes a look at pan-Asian cultures. Highlighting the history and art of various populations from China and Thailand to Indonesia and beyond, this multi-faceted perspective is a perfect fit with Singapore’s diverse and cross-cultural heritage.
Check it out during free time in Singapore on Singapore & Malaysia: A Journey through Southeast Asia, one of our newest tours.
The National Gallery, London
A hub of England’s art scene, London’s National Gallery is right at the heart of Trafalgar Square. Located in a striking palatial-like building, the architectural design and size of the museum were actually ridiculed by the general public when it was built, but have since won over the country’s favor. Founded to satisfy the need for a national art collection, the National Gallery has over 2,000 paintings on permanent display from across Western Europe, including pieces by Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Cézanne, Renoir and more. The museum is considered property of U.K. citizens and thus is free of charge. If you’re looking for souvenirs while in London, keep in mind that there’s a great gift shop at the National Gallery, featuring everything from prints and stationery to coasters and canvas bags.
Visit the museum during downtime on London: The City Experience.
The Larco Museum, Lima
The Larco Museum is a go-to for pre-Columbian art and artifacts. Founder Rafael Larco Hoyle comes from a family rooted in museum curating with a passion for pre-Columbian history and culture. The founder’s father had a collection of North Peruvian pre-Columbian pottery, which he donated to Madrid’s Prado Museum. He donated all but one piece of pottery, which he passed along to his son and inspired the creation of the Larco’s extensive collection. Ranging from ceramics and jewelry to textiles and scultures, the Larco’s exhibitions give a glimpse into the daily lives of Peru’s pre-Columbian population.
Explore the exhibits during Ancient Peru & Machu Picchu.
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
The largest cultural institution in all of Israel, the Israel Museum holds a spot as one of the world’s leading art and archaeological museums in the world. Featuring exhibits and artifcats that span pre-history to present-day, the museum houses the Dead Sea Scrolls along with other rare early medieval biblical manuscripts and an outdoor sculpture garden, complete with a one-acre model of ancient Jerusalem (pictured above).
See it for yourself on The Wonders of Ancient Israel.
What’s your favorite international museum? Tell us in the comments below!