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The best European destinations for fine-art lovers

The tradition of creating art focused on beauty has contributed to some of Europe’s most aesthetically pleasing galleries, museums and collections. In a bid to help art lovers narrow down their options, we asked travellers which cities were a must-visit for fine-art. *

Paris, France

The Louvre Pyramid, designed by architect I.M. Pei

The Louvre Pyramid, designed by architect I.M. Pei

Parisian museums and galleries are works of art in their own right, with contemporary masterpieces like the Louvre Pyramid almost as visually mesmerising as the collection inside. But artworks such as The Venus de Milo and The Winged Victory of Samothrace will be inspiring visitors for centuries to come. Put yourself at the front of the queue for these classics and stay within walking distance of the Louvre at Sebastopol Apartment.

Madrid, Spain

Pablo Picasso's 'Guernica' in the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Pablo Picasso's 'Guernica' in the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Over the years, the definition of ‘fine-art’ has expanded to encompass artworks that seek to combine beauty with a serious subject matter. Madrid is home to the classic example of this technique: Picasso’s ‘Guernica’. Depicting the horror of Spain’s civil war in stark-yet-fluid shapes, the wall-length Guernica is considered by many contemporary fine-art fans to be Picasso’s greatest work. The painting currently hangs in Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, a short walk from Madrid’s most famous fine-art collection at the Museo Nacional del Prado. Stay within easy reach of both collections by checking into the conveniently located Aspasios Atocha Apartments.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The glowing interiors of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

The glowing interiors of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is rightly proud of the city’s art history and the city showcases this richness in buildings that are works of art in their own right. This can be seen in the lofty golden ceilings of the Rijksmuseum and its neighbour, the immaculately preserved townhouse that houses the Moco Museum. Staying in the heart of the Amsterdam Museum District will put you a short walk (or an even shorter bike ride) from the Rijksmuseum collection of ornate 20th-century wood and glasswork. Try the Canal House De Schans for classic decor and sunny breakfasts on the terrace.

Florence, Italy

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence

The Italian Renaissance is often credited with the birth of fine-art theory, and, wandering around the galleries and museums of Florence, it’s easy to see why. The extensive Uffizi Gallery is at the top of most visitors’ itineraries, and this is especially the case for fine-art lovers who come to admire the works of artistic elites such as Botticelli, Caravaggio and Michelangelo. Another of Florence’s striking landmarks is the Ponte Vecchio, a stone bridge crossing the Arno River, and artistically inclined travellers often choose the nearby (and appropriately named) Gallery Hotel Art as a base for their explorations of the city.

Saint Petersburg, Russia

The Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg

The Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg

While many fine-art lovers make a point of visiting Saint Petersburg Hermitage to see the cream of the museum’s fine-art collection, it’s Hermitage’s storage facility at Staraya Derevnya that offer the most rewarding experience. Here, the visitors get access to artistic works that were – until very recently – hidden away. The facility stretches over 35,000 square metres and runs a series of restoration workshops and lectures, perfect for travellers interested in how Europe’s fine-art treasures are being maintained for future generations. And if you’re looking for somewhere to stay, you can book a room with a view of the creamy yellow Hermitage at Galla Apartments.

** These destinations were the most highly rated by Booking.com customers for 'fine art museums'.