Travel sites that rank destinations, activities and attractions can definitely be helpful when you are planning a trip to a new country or city. Many times, they provide a simple guide or bucket list of places to see or things to do, making it easier to build your itinerary and map out your day to day activities. However, often times, looking beyond these prescribed lists can lead you to a host of hidden gems that are even better than you imagined.
For instance….I’m a huge fan of museums. Museums (and bookstores) are my happy place. They not only provide a glimpse of art, history, culture and society through the ages, but they are also my bright spot to visit during the cold winter months and provide cool, shady relief during the summer.
So after seeing a headline for Trip Advisor’s top 25 museums to visit in your lifetime, I couldn’t resist the click bait. Upon reviewing the list, I was quite impressed that I had already visited seven of the top museums around the world. I must be doing something right – I thought.
However, after giving some additional thought to the list, I recalled the many museums that I have visited over the years – more than 20 – and yet only seven were on Trip Advisor’s list. These 13+ museums that somehow did not make Trip Advisor’s cut, may not be as grand or opulent as the top 25, but they really are unique and impressive in their own way.
So, to give these amazing museums their time in the spotlight, I’ve created my own list below – a list of my top 12 favorite museums to visit around the world. Yes, it’s true that half of the museums I’ve listed are also included on Trip Advisor’s list (and many other top museums lists, I’m sure), including my international favorite, the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. However, the other half (which are conveniently starred below) are just as noteworthy, memorable and worthwhile as the rest.
My Top 12 Favorite Museums
- Musee d’Orsay (Paris)
- Victoria and Alberts (London)*
- Musee du Louvre (Paris)
- British Museum (London)
- Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago)
- Musee de l’Orangerie (Paris)*
- National Gallery (London)
- Vatican Museums (Vatican City)*
- National Gallery (Washington, DC)
- Musee de Cluny (Paris)*
- Charles Dickens Museum (London)*
- Borghese Gallery (Rome)*
As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that includes the beauty of art, history and culture. If I would have merely followed the traditional “top” museum lists, I might not have given a second thought to visiting some of the lesser known, but no less incredible places listed above. Instead, I ventured beyond the traditional to find a few hidden gems that I would recommend to anyone who loves and appreciates museums.
So, as you are planning your next trip, consider those places, restaurants or sites that didn’t make the list. Or better yet, throw the lists out the window and just see where your heart takes you.