The best advice when you’re visiting museums in Mediterranean Europe is, after your eyes pop out of your head the first time, just leave them that way. The wealth of ancient Greek and Roman relics, Byzantine, Medieval and Renaissance art is mindboggling and that doesn’t even touch contemporary art on display. Revel in this aesthetic onslaught, and enjoy!
The Islands of Malta themselves are really one big heritage park: open-air and indoor museums for every era from prehistory to the story of Malta in World War II let you in on 7,000 years of history. With the Knights of St John as patrons of the arts for over 250 years, you’ll find cultural masterpieces in museums, palaces and churches across the Islands. The magnificent Baroque architecture and religious treasures as well as evidence of the many wars and battles offer the visitor a glimpse into the spectacular history of the Islands.
Cyprus 10,000 years of history have left innumerable relics, so much so that it’s said if you scratch the soil anywhere on the island you are bound to unearth a find from the past. All the island’s main cities have an archaeological museum, with pride of place taken by the main archaeological museum in Nicosia. Private and state galleries will guide you through the most recent years of arts and culture of the island up until today. A number of specialist museums on the island allow you to admire exquisite icons and ecclesiastical objects. You can also find small folk art museums where 19th and early 20th century Cypriot folk art and crafts are displayed, often in beautifully restored old buildings, in whose rooms the way of life in years gone by is recreated.
Turkey’s museums are a world apart, with exhibits of such antiquity you’ll hardly believe it. The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is located in two renovated Ottoman buildings on the hill with Ankara's ancient Citadel, in the horse market district. Göreme is a wide, open air museum, with Fairy Chimneys and lots of very interesting churches. The region was one of the most important centers of Christianity. The Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology includes mostly underwater artifacts, which means the detritus from ancient and modern shipwrecks, and this is all housed in a seaside castle. The Sadberk Hanim museum is a little gem on the Bosphorous just outside Istanbul, where you can feast your imagination on classic antiquities and your eyes on Ottoman textiles
Greece is as strewn with museums as it is ancient ruins, including over 200 State museums and more than 100 private museums. Here you will have the opportunity to admire unique works of art and sciences and trace over 6,000 years of history. In addition to the archaeological and Byzantine classics, there are also museums dedicated to Asian, Plastic, Music and Theatrical Art Museums as well as Cinema and Photography Museums. It’s not all “dusty relics”; visit the Nautical Museum of Greece in Piraeus or one of several folklore museums that let you imagine daily life in living color.
Velázquez, Goya, Miró, Dalí, Picasso… as well as El Greco, Tintoretto, Monet, Van Gogh, Kandinsky… Spain can show you the work of all of these. There are over 1,400 museums in Spain where you can see masterpieces by great artists famous all over the world, from all periods, and in a whole range of different styles. No visitor can afford to miss a visit to the Prado Museum, home to one of the most important art collections in the world. But there's more to see than just paintings. There are also science museums, archaeological museums, maritime museums…and plenty of cafes and tapas to keep you going in between visits.
Boasting a rare and important collection of fossils and excavated treasures originating from Monaco and nearby regions, the Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology retraces some of the most significant milestones in the history of humans. The Museum of Napoleonic Souvenirs and Collections of the Historical Archives of the Palace is a fascinating collection of precious and important objects and documents on the history of the Principality and its rulers, in particular from the period of the First French Empire. See the royal collection of classic cars on the Terraces de Fontvieille, a remarkable exhibition of almost 100 automobiles of all vintages and models, as well as six historic coaches, all of which are guaranteed not to turn into pumpkins.
Rome, Florence, Assisi, Venice, Siena, Pisa, and Naples are some of its most renowned cities of art in Italy, but the whole Nation can boast breath-taking beauties including 5,600 museums. Tourists can explore and discover the private residences of ancient and noble families; visit world-famous museums such as the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the Capitoline Museums in Rome, or the Brera Art Gallery in Milan; explore impressive archaeological sites, such as Pompei and Herculaneum, to immerse themselves in an exciting, grandiose past.