Best art museums, according to visitors

By Sergio González | 12:36

We have begun 2014 digging deep into art and there’s plenty more to talk about because that’s one of the greatest things  about paintings, music or sculptures; they will never cease to inspire our imagination and warm up our feelings.

There are many approaches to the vast world of the arts and in this occasion we are disregarding professional criticism and we take advice from the public, tipping the scales for the best art museums in the world; travelers’ choice.

A quick review over the 20 most visited art museums in the world in 2012 will tell us that France, UK, the USA, South Korea and Spain are the only countries to have more than one art gallery worthy of such honor yet the reasons for them to be here are very different from each other.

Most of us will visit a museum during our holidays or during a short leisure break during a business trip if we really enjoy a master brush-stroke, so tourism is the first factor to put under the spotlight.

France is the most visited country once again and it also houses Le Louvre (No2), whose 35,000 wonders attract almost 10 m people making it the largest art museum. Also in Paris, Musée d’Orsay and the celebrated Centre Pompidou make number 11 and 10 on our list. 

The UK is also on the top of tourist’s destinations and London is travelers’ favorite city to get lost after Paris and its museums are all for free so there’s no excuse to miss the British Museum (No 3), the Tate Modern (No 6) and the National Gallery (No 7). And if you have the time Victoria & Albert Museum (No 12) and the National Portrait Gallery (No 20), that ends the list of top 20 art museums in the world.

Spain is another treat worldwide where tourists enjoy by the millions and master art pieces are spread all over the country, but Madrid is the top cultural city: El Prado (No 16) and Reina Sofia (No 18) are both in the capital of Spain and on the list.

South Korea is expected to be the next big international destination in Asia, and as locals already do, many international tourists are already enjoying the rich traditions and crafts of Korean culture, all of them highly populated regions, the second factor. The National Museum of Korea (No 13) and National Folk Museum (No 17) attract almost 6 m visitors between the two. 

The United States is a tourism powerhouse with some of the most populated cities in the world. They are not usually for free but there are special days or hours when the fee is none. The Metropolitan (No 4) in NYC , the National Gallery of Art (No 9) in Washington DC and the MoMA (No 15) again in New York City  are the most popular museums though all three combined are less visited than Beijing’s Palace Museum (No 1). China brings forth a league of its own in terms of population and the museum inside the Forbidden City allows more than 12 m people visitors into the secrets of the Heavenly Kingdom.

When speaking of museums, we can’t forget to include Italy on the top 20 list.  And while not exactly in Italy, the Vatican Museums (No 5) are completed surrounded by Rome. They used to be visited by an average of 4 m people every year but Dan Brown told us about the secrets hidden there and in 2012 more than 6 million visitors enjoyed Pinacoteca Vaticana and the Sistine Chapel.

National Palace Museum (No 8) in Taiwan, the Hermitage (No 14) in St Petersburg and Centro Cultural Banco do Brazil (No 19) in Rio de Janeiro complete our list of the best art museums in the world.

And what about art? Do we prefer Picasso’s figurativism or Flemish realism? Paintings or sculptures? This is a tough one since all these museums have all sorts of high quality art pieces on display but the top five art museums are all about classical antiquities and paintings that proudly show the patina of time, so “modern” must wait just a couple more centuries to be that cool.

What is your favourite museum in the world? We’d love to know! 


Photo Credit: alfieianni 


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