The following is the list of the 10 Most Beautiful Museums from around the world. They show very different exhibits but they all have one thing in common – they are all definitely worth your time!
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain
This Frank Gehry–designed museum opened in 1997 in Bilbao, a formerly dilapidated town in Basque country. The building sits on the Nervión River and resembles an angular, futuristic boat from below—much like his latest design for the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris—and is crowned by a floral skylight. The titanium, limestone, and glass curves of the building have attracted millions of tourists over the past two decades.
Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
One of the largest and oldest museums in the world, the State Hermitage Museum is like a city of art on the banks of the Neva River, with some 2.7 million works filling its halls, accented in gold and green. (Its Malachite Room, pictured, is astounding, as is the Baroque-style palace housing it.) Fitting that Catherine the Great established the first collection in 1764; the museum is nothing short of majestic.
Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet
Once the home to the Dalai Lama, this towering 17th-century structure now functions as a state museum. The massive palace has 13 stories and more than 1,000 rooms, as well as centuries-old shrines. For those willing to ascend the 12,000+-foot climb, the main payoff will be the complex’s otherworldly Red Palace, filled with murals, bejeweled stupas, and tombs of past Dalai Lamas.
Vatican Museums, Italy
It’s no great surprise that the Vatican Museums welcome at least five million tourists every year. Even if you stripped away the most iconic artwork— Raphael’s frescoes, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling—the buildings would still be worth sightseeing. Take the famous staircase, designed by Giuseppe Momo, which spirals gracefully down to the museum’s exit.
Museo Soumaya at Plaza Carso, Mexico City
Museo Soumaya, designed by Mexican architect Fernando Romero (with consultation by Frank Gehry), consists of two buildings in Mexico City’s Polanco neighborhood. Both museums are striking, but it’s the one at Plaza Carso that truly stands out. The asymmetric building is covered in more than 16,000 aluminum hexagons, which shimmer from every angle. The translucent roof allows the bright sunlight to be gently filtered (and therefore perfect for your photos).
Musée d’Orsay, Paris
Despite the crowds, we keep returning to Musée d’Orsay, Paris’s second-most iconic museum (there is that Louvre…), housed in a former railway station on the banks of the Seine. Commissioned for the Universal Exhibition in 1900, the museum is itself a work of art—destined to be a “Palace of Fine Arts,” said painter Edouard Detaille. Peer up at the ceiling’s intricate glass roof, an enduring feature since the trains serving the station were electrified—no steam or smoke to make it suffer.
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria
Kunsthistorisches (Art History) Museum is one of the most famous landmarks in Vienna (along with its twin, the Naturhistorisches Museum). Construction began in 1871 to house the Habsburgs’ art collection, and it opened to the public in 1891. The palatial museum has a truly stunning interior, centered around the main cupola hall and grand staircase. The rest of the museum showcases a beautiful array of marble columns, towering ceilings, and stucco details.
The Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida
Borne of the private collection of Reynolds and Eleanor Morse—personal friends of Salvador Dali and his wife Gala—the Dali Museum has made St. Petersburg, Florida, an unlikely destination for world-class art, home to one of the most impressive Dali collections outside Spain. The HOK-designed building lets that Florida sunshine filter through a modern shell, something akin to a Faberge egg, and makes visitors pause before they even reach the paintings.
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada
On the edge of Queen Park and chic Yorkville is this art and history museum, which dates back to the early 20th century. Toronto-based architects Darling and Pearson designed the original brick and terracotta building in 1914, which now serves as the museum’s west wing. There have been several structural additions since then, but none has had quite the impact of the “Michael Lee-Chin Crystal” in 2007. The challenging project consists of five prismatic structures of glass and aluminum that jut out in different directions to create the crystalline space of sloped walls and ceilings.
Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil