From the Albertina Vienna to Belvedere Vienna
There are more than 100 Vienna museums, housing everything from world renown 16th century oil paintings to curious objects, watches and even fake art. Many of the museum buildings either form part of the Imperial Palace Vienna (Hofburg) or are housed in splendid town palaces. My personal shortlist below will help you pick and choose what you want to see.
If you plan to visit more than one museum and stay in Vienna for at least three days, consider buying a Vienna Card, which grants between 8 and 50 percent discounts on most museum visits.
Why visit: The Kunsthistorisches Museum is the most popular of all Vienna Museums. It is a treasure chest of classical art and one of the leading princely collections in Europe. Emperor Franz Joseph had the Kunsthistorisches Museum built 120 years ago as the Imperial art collection at the Upper Belvedere needed re-organising and re-structuring.
My favourite collections there are the picture gallery, the Collection of Sculpture And Decorative Arts, and the Kunstkammer.
This Vienna museum has the largest Brueghel collection in the world, and exhibits major art works by Raphael, Rembrandt, Rubens, Tintoretto, Titian, Vermeer, and Velazquez.
Why visit: one of Europe's ten largest cultural areas; Vienna museum complex of more than 10 museums and cultural institutions in baroque imperial building, housing a series of design restaurants, bars and shops.
The Leopoldmuseum is a paradise for lovers of Art Nouveau (Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Wiener Werkstaette), and the most popular museum of the MQ.
Great place if you visit Vienna with kids. Its vast outdoor space is populated with Enzi lounge chairs, a Vienna design success story.
Things To Do In Vienna
Why visit: The Belvedere, former summer residence of General Prince Eugene of Savoy, houses the largest collection of Gustav Klimt artwork in the world.
The Belvedere keeps the largest collection of national art, at the Austrian National Gallery (Upper Belvedere).
The Lower Belvedere is popular for its contemporary exhibitions.
Why visit: The Albertina Vienna is another of the many Vienna museums located in splendid old buildings. The Albertina houses the restored Imperial Habsburg state rooms.
I love the lavish authentic interior decoration which uses original vibrant colour schemes. You can see key pieces of international modern art there - French Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, German Expressionism, Fauvism and the Russian avant-garde.
Vienna Museum (Wien Museum)
Why visit: The Vienna Museum is probably the most underrated museum in this city. It rolls up all of Vienna's history, exhibits world renown paintings by the likes of
Peter Paul Rubens and Gustav Klimt, showcases Viennese urban life in the past 500 years, and has recently built a reputation of fascinating temprorary exhibitions.
Why visit? Hofmobiliendepot (Imperial Furniture Collection) is the best traded Vienna museum insider tip; largest collection of furniture and of Biedermeier interiors in the world; watch Imperial-style living up until Austrian 20th century interiors in 6,000+ objects; get behind Empress Elisabeth's (Sisi's) lifestyle through series of displays of world famous Sisi films matching those collections of furniture borrowed from the Imperial Furniture Collection for these films;
Why visit: The MAK is totally inspiring if you love 19th/ 20th century home interiors.
It has a large collection of the famous Thonet chairs, which are typical for many Viennese coffeehouses.
(Thonet was probably the first IKEA-style success story of the late 19th century.) There are also dozens of Empire and Biedermeier interiors.
(Make sure you get into the Österreicher im MAK, design restaurant of acclaimed Austrian Chef Helmut Österreicher, which serves fantastic modern Viennese cuisine.)
Vienna Travel Planning
Why visit: Vienna museums don't get more exciting than this: The Haus der Musik (House of Music) is an extraordinarily brilliant and interactive museum of sound and music that has been fascinating all adults and children in our family.
See my review of our visit to the House of Music.
Why visit: The Kunsthaus Wien shows off Gaudí-style hippie-Vienna in both art and architecture at its best. Learn why "the straight line is godless" (Friedensreich Hundertwasser) and other inspiring art concepts. The Kunsthaus Wien is also the only Vienna Museum (and building in general) with tree-tenants growing out of the windows. Don't miss the Hundertwasser-style mosaiqued toilets there (one of the 10 best ranked public toilets worldwide), and have coffee in the lovely garden of the cafe/restaurant in the summer.
Location: Untere Weissgerberstrasse 13, 1030 Vienna
Why visit: The refurbished former Museum of the 20th Century, called 20er Haus provides a good answer to what Austrian artists have been doing between 1945 and now.
For all who want to look beyond the National Gallery and Hundertwasser Vienna museums.
The 21er Haus is run by the Belvedere Vienna, which is known for blowing fresh wind into Vienna's museum management.
Why visit: The Phantastenmuseum fills a gap with Vienna Museums. It lets you explore the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism which has been a key force of Vienna art after World War II;
the museum includes internationally renowned fantastic realism artists Ernst Fuchs, Arik Brauer, Wolfgang Hutter, Fritz Janschka, and others. They used the techniques of the old masters to paint bizarre modern fantasy realms.
If you are a fan of Graham Greene cult film The Third Man: The Palais Palffy, where the museum is located, was used for film shots of Harry Lime's supposed residence.
Do not expect too much, though. This Vienna museum still requires more key show pieces and could benefit from more appealing forms of presentation.
On this map you can find the museums of my shortlist above.
View Best Vienna museums in a larger map
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