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A traveller’s guide to Vienna’s spectacular museums

As the world is slowly opening up again to travel, it’s time to start planning your bucket list destinations. For those who have been craving some culture, Austria’s museums are unrivalled in their offering. (Credit: Schloss Schönbrunn Kultur und BetriebsgesmbH/Severin Wurnig)

A traveller’s guide to Vienna’s spectacular museums

Albertina Modern

The Albertina Modern museum

Credit: Rupert Steiner

Art lovers will be familiar with the Albertina museum in Vienna which houses one of the largest and most important print rooms in the world with over a million Old Master prints, as well as more modern graphic works, photographs and architectural drawings.

In May 2020 one of the most significant things that happened in Europe’s art world was the opening of Albertina Modern, a brand new museum for contemporary Austrian and international art in the Künstlerhaus building just beyond the edge of Vienna’s old town.

Albertina Modern provides an appropriate home for Albertina’s extensive contemporary works including the Essl collection, which features works by Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Gottfried Helnwein, Gerhard Richter and many more.

The full collection of Albertina Modern encompasses over 60,000 works by 5,000 artists in a spacious 2500m2. It is the only museum in Austria that presents the past 80 years of Austrian art history as a permanent exhibit, alongside various exhibitions that focus on the political, social and cultural developments of the past decades.

Leopold Museum

Leopold Museum

Leopold Museum at Museums Quartier : painting by Hermann Nitsch / credit: Volker Preusser

Housed in the Museumsquartier in Vienna, the Leopold Museum features the world’s largest Egon Schiele collection as well as one of the largest collections of modern Austrian art, featuring artists such as Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Richard Gerstl.

Austrian artist Egon Schiele was one of the most important figurative painters of the early 20th century. A protégé of Gustav Klimt, Schiele’s work is noted for its intensity, and is referenced as an early exponent of expressionism.

As well as its exquisite collection of over 5,000 works of art, the museum’s panorama windows offer a wonderful view of central Vienna.

Schloss Hof

Schloss Hof museum

Michael Liebert photography.

The baroque country estate of Schloss Hof has undergone several transformations since it was originally built as a citadel in the 17th century. Visitors can now enjoy a moment of solace in the dome-vaulted chapel where Prince Eugene himself prayed, listen to a concert performed under the chandeliers in Empress Maria Theresa’s neo-classical banquet hall or wander the grounds filled with magnificent statues and fountains.

The estate farm also runs a petting zoo with over 200 furry friends including four-horned goats, Bactrian camels, Racka sheep, and the rare Austrian-Hungarian White Baroque Donkey.

MAK (Museum of Applied Arts)

MAK

Credit: MAK/Katrin Wisskirchen

Opened in 1864, in one of the grandest works of architecture in Vienna, the MAK Museum is still one of the most important museums of its kind in the world. The museum showcases the ever-evolving connection between past and future and counts the interplay of applied art, design, architecture, and contemporary art among its core interests.

At the heart of the MAK’s permanent collection lies art and design from the fin de siècle period in Vienna. Artists of the Secession movement like Adolf Loos, and other proponents of Modernism like architect Otto Wagner are prominently represented as are other art movements, including Biedermeier and Baroque Rococo Classicism.

With more than one million works of art, including furniture, glass, textiles and paintings, this is a museum not to be missed.

Belvedere Palace

Credit: Christian Kremser

The awe-inspiring Belvedere in Vienna consists of two Baroque palaces set in a stunning formal Baroque garden. Built as a summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy, the Palace is now home to the Belvedere Museum, which features the largest collection of Gustav Klimt paintings, as well as prominent works from the period of Viennese Biedermeier, Austrian Baroque, Vienna around 1900, and French Impressionism.

The Belvedere Park is also home to the oldest Alpine garden in Europe and houses the Austrian Federal Gardens’ valuable historical Alpine plant collection. The Alpine Garden is open to the public every year during peak flowering season, from the end of March to the beginning of August. belvedere.at

Liechtenstein Palaces

Credit: Kara Mercer

The collections of the Prince von und zu Liechtenstein contain major works of European art spanning five centuries and are among the most important private collections in the world. The collections are housed in the Garden Palace in Alsergrund and the City Palace in the heart of Vienna. While the palaces are still used as a private residence by the princely family, tours of the collection are offered to the public.

In the Liechtenstein Garden Palace masterpieces from the early Renaissance to the High Baroque era are displayed – including one of the biggest Rubens collections – and at the newly renovated Liechtenstein City Palace, paintings and furniture from the Neoclassicism and Biedermeier era are on view.

Kunsthistorisches Museum

Credit: Sebastian Burziwal

Taking 20 years to build, the spectacular Kunsthistorisches Museum is the largest art museum in Austria and one of the most important museums worldwide, housing numerous important works from seven milliennia – from Ancient Egypt to the late 18th century including extensive collections of Renaissance and Baroque art and Greek and Roman Antiquities.

Haus der Musik

Credit: HdM/Inge Prader

Vienna’s Haus der Musik (House of Music) is a unique experience, part musical history museum, part modern sound studio.

Full of interactive exhibits and activities – like experiencing what it would be like to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the museum enables you to experience and learn about Vienna’s great composers and musical institutions throughout history, including Beethoven, Mozart and Strauss.

Planning you trip

To plan your trip to Vienna, go to austria.info/en/austria-s-beauty-secrets/museums-in-vienna. To find the best accommodation, visit austria.info/en/where-to-stay/austria-hotel-collection

Getting around

The best way to explore Austria is by train. For more information go to austria.info/en/austria-s-beauty-secrets/explore-austria-with-oebb

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