While we have listed some of the top art museums in the U.S. that everyone should visit, there are countless others that are highly regarded, especially across international borders. Though a trip across the pond to visit some of these breathtaking museums may take a bit of planning as well as some savings, being able to see artistic masterpieces will be worth the while.

  • Musée du Louvre, Paris — While the Louvre may have had an issue with Robert Langdon visiting them, this will not be the case for you. In 2010, the Louvre drew in the most international tourists, according to the World Tourism Organization, and it’s not a surprise with all of the legendary artwork that calls this museum home. Philip II had this edifice built during the 12th century as a fortress. The Louvre officially opened as a museum all the way back in 1793. The 500-some paintings that were included in the museum on its first opening were either royally owned or confiscated from the church.


Those 500 paintings are nothing compared to the over 35,000 pieces of art the Louvre houses today. No wonder the Louvre sees an estimated 8.5 million people annually. If you’re to visit the Louvre, know that there are eight different departments of the museum housing temporary displays and a permanent collection. The most notable works of art that call the Louvre home are Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and the famed statue “Venus de Milo.” The Louvre is open every day of the week except Tuesdays and French holidays. The first Sunday of the month from October to March is free admission for visitors, but solely to the permanent collection of the museum.

  • National Gallery, London — This museum is a bit different than many museums in Europe in that it was not established to house a royal or church-owned collection of art, but rather came to be when the British government bought paintings from the heirs of John Julius Angerstein, a great patron of the arts. After the 38 paintings in Angerstein’s collection were purchased, the National Gallery opened its doors for the first time in 1824. Paintings from other collections were included along with Angerstein’s on opening day. Originally the home of this museum was in Angerstein’s old townhouse, the small size of the museum did not last long as the collection began to grow exponentially.


While 38 paintings may seem like a diminutive collection, the 2,300 paintings it now houses wouldn’t be there without the original 38. With an estimated 2,400 daily visitors, the National Gallery may be small in size compared to other European museums, but not in its reputation. Collections and artwork that call the National Gallery home range from Jan van Eyck, da Vinci, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh and Peter Paul Rubens, just to name a few, making this the museum to browse by artist. When you visit, know that the National Gallery is open 361 days a year (only closed on January 1 and December 24-26). Plus, admission is free so seeing countless masterpieces will be an easy feat!

Though you don’t have to travel outside of the U.S. to see artistic masterpieces, many well-known works of art call home a place outside of our borders. For a small continent, there are many art museums that are deemed “must visit” based on its rich cultural history. Stay tuned for our next blog post about a few other internationals museums we say are on our list of “must visit!” ​​