Top 5 museums to visit in Europe

Top 5 Museums to Visit in Europe

Europe is blessed with not only some of the world’s best museums, but also some of the most quirky. From St Petersburg’s prestigious Hermitage Museum to Rüdesheim’s Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet Museum, here are just five museums to explore on your next river cruise through Europe.

1. Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia

For the ultimate museum and art lover, and anyone visiting St Petersburg for the first or even fifth time, the Hermitage Museum is an absolute must. With more than three million items in its collection, including paintings, sculptures, and archaeological objects, it’s estimated that it would take a visitor 11 years to view each item on display for just one minute. For those with limited time on their hands, a guided tour will show some of the museum’s treasures, of which the majority are found in the Winter Palace, the former official residence of Romanov Tsars. Don’t miss the Jordan Staircase, the main staircase of the palace featuring 18th century white marble, with granite and gold embellishments. The Pavilion Hall houses the famous Peacock Clock, dating back to 1777, and is now the only large example of 18th century robotics to have survived unaltered into the 21st century, whilst the Amorial Hall is one of the largest and most impressive rooms in the Hermitage.
Visit the Hermitage Museum during The Imperial Charms of Russia tour.
Explore the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia

2. Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet Museum, Rüdesheim

A popular stop along the Rhine river is the wine-making town of Rüdesheim, Germany. Not only is this enchanting town famous for its coffee and lofty Riesling vineyards, it’s also home to one of the largest collections of mechanical instruments in Europe. Located within the 15th century Brömserhof building, Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet Museum houses approximately 350 mechanical music instruments spanning three centuries, many of which have been restored by its founder Siegfried Wendel and family. Be amazed by the sheer size and variety of these incredible instruments, which taps into the childless curiosity of countless visitors. From a tiny snuff box with a musical songbird dating back to the early 19th century to enormous orchestrations such as the 1909 Hupfeld Violina Phonoliszt, showcasing a player piano and player violins. Also on display is the Bernhard Dufner’s Band of 27 dolls, each playing a different instrument – the largest Doll Automation calliope ever built.
Visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet Museum on the 15 day Splendours of Europe river cruise.
Pay a visit to Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet Museum, Rüdesheim, Germany

3. Pont du Gard, France

The Pont du Gard is a true engineering marvel and one of the most visited ancient monuments in France. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985, Pont du Gard was originally a Roman aqueduct up until the 6th century, before becoming a tollgate in the Middle Ages and a road bridge between the 18th – 20th centuries. Spanning the Gardon River, Pont du Gard measures 48 metres high and a maximum 275 metres in length and is iconic for its three rows of arches. Walk across the top level during summer for panoramic views of the surrounding area, or enjoy a stroll along the picturesque 1.4km trail Mémoires de Garrigue, lined with stone walls and admire the vineyards, olive groves, wheat fields and oak trees.
Retrace the history of the aqueduct’s construction at the Museum Pont du Gard, which includes life-size reconstructions, multi-media exhibits and a short film describing its impressive construction.
Visit Pont du Gard as part of the Discover More option from Avignon on the 8 day Sensations of Lyon and Provence cruise.
Explore the Pont du Gard, France

4. Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna 

The spectacular Schönbrunn Palace, situated in Austria’s capital city Vienna, is the former summer residence of the long reigning Habsburgs and a magnificent example of Baroque architecture. Encompassing imperial ceremonial rooms and perfectly manicured gardens, Schönbrunn houses 1,441 rooms featuring the Rococo style, a theatrical style belonging to the late Baroque era. Admire the intricate and artistic design of approximately 40 rooms during the Grand Tour, which provides entry to the state rooms, private apartments of the imperial couple and precious 18th century interiors from the time of Maria Theresa. The Millions Room is a true highlight, featuring stunning rosewood panelling, and is regarded as one of the most beautiful Rococo rooms in existence. 
Continue your exploration outside in the palace gardens, which are just as spectacular. Time your visit to spring, as the flowers are in bloom or autumn as the leaves turn golden yellows and crimson reds. Admire the mythological and historical statues, bubbling fountains, and the grand columns and arches of the Gloriette on the crest of the hill. Garden lovers will also appreciate the Orangery Garden, Palm House and Crown Prince Garden, which can be accessed for an additional fee.
Visit Schönbrunn Palace as part of your Discover More options whilst in Vienna on the 15 day Splendours of Europe river cruise.
Gloriette at Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

5. Cosmonautics Museum, Moscow, Russia

Space lover or not, one of the top must see attractions whilst in Moscow is the Cosmonautics Museum. Celebrating the achievements of the Soviet space program, this museum first opened on 10 April 1981 to mark the 20th anniversary of Yuri Gogarin, the first person to orbit the earth.
Situated at the base of the Monument to the Conquerors of Space, more than 85,000 items are on display, from space technology, astronomy and space travel, with sections dedicated to the space programs of US, Europe, China and the International Space Station. View the original spacesuits, models of satellites and original interactive exhibits. You can also see Belka and Strelka, the first dogs in space.

Visit the Cosmonautics Museum during The Imperial Charms of Russia cruise.
Cosmonautics Museum, Moscow, Russia
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