The Art Lover’s Guide to Vienna: Top Museum and Cultural Gems to Visit

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Posted by on 05 Mar 2024

Austria is renowned for its stunning Baroque and Rococo architecture, rich Viennese coffee culture, and significant contributions to the world of art and music, making Vienna a vibrant hub for both classical and contemporary artistic expression.

From grand historic exhibitions in centuries-old palaces to cutting-edge modern art museums, Vienna offers a diverse array of art galleries to explore. Housing masterpieces by iconic artists such as Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt, these impressive museums showcase the rich cultural heritage of the city.

Not sure which Vienna art galleries and museums to check out while you’re in Austria’s capital? We’ve compiled a list of must-see arts and culture spots for any art lover visiting the city. Here are the seven best museums to visit in Vienna that will absolutely blow you away.

The 7 Must-See Museums in Vienna

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien

The Kunsthistorisches Museum—also known as the Museum of Art History in Vienna—is a stately Baroque building that houses a trove of masterpieces from across the centuries.

Aside from seeing the works of renowned artists like Raphael and Jan van Eyck, you can also marvel at the building’s high ceilings, gold-leaf interiors and grand stairway embellished with masterpieces by Gustav Klimt, Hans Makart and so much more. It’s the perfect place to see classical art and the grandeur of Vienna’s old architecture all at once.

Belvedere Museum

Belvedere Palace isn’t just one of the prettiest, most majestic structures in Austria. It’s also one of the best museums to visit in Vienna if you have a penchant for Austrian art.

It is home to the largest collection of paintings by Austria’s pride and joy, Gustav Klimt. There are over 20 of Klimt’s paintings at Belvedere, including the iconic masterpiece “The Kiss.”

Leopold Museum

Exploring MuseumsQuartier—a 90,000-square-meter arts and culture district in Vienna—is one of the best things to do in the city. You’ll find over 60 buildings here, each one dedicated to the arts. Leopold Museum is one of the most popular institutions in the area.

Leopold Museum is the Vienna art museum to visit if you love contemporary art. It features over 8,000 pieces, some of which are by the biggest Austrian names in modern art, such as Oskar Kokoschka and Richard Gerstl.

It’s also home to the biggest Egon Schiele collection anywhere in the world. All these works were collected and curated by Rudolf and Elisabeth Leopold for half a century.

Liechtenstein Museum

The Liechtenstein Museum is home to the private collection of the Princely family, which hails from the principality of Liechtenstein.

It’s considered one of the most significant private collections in the world, with over a thousand paintings ranging from classic European Renaissance art to more modern masterpieces. Here, you’ll see the works of Rembrandt, Quentin Massys, Peter Paul Rubens and more. At one point, its crowning glory was a painting by Leonardi da Vinci himself.

Aside from works by world-renowned artists, the Liechtenstein Museum also houses sculptures, Italian bronzes, ivories, historic weapons and even furniture that used to be part of the Princely family home.

Museum of Modern Art (Mumok)

The Museum of Modern Art in Vienna—also known as Mumok—is a must-see for lovers of avant-garde, contemporary art. Just the building’s basalt lava exterior is enough to pique the curiosity of modern art aficionados.

And when you step inside, you’ll marvel at the 9,000+ modern pieces, from conceptual pieces to pop art to 20th-century realism works. Admire the works of Picasso, Andy Warhol and many more iconic names. The galleries also feature rising stars in the art world.

Need a quick break from exploring Mumok’s art-filled halls and galleries? Take a breather at their café or library. Better yet, find an art souvenir in the Mumok shop.

Note, however, that the Mumok is currently closed for renovations as of writing. After running non-stop since 2001, they’ve decided to close down for a few months to make way for renovations that will reduce the building’s energy consumption. The museum will reopen in June 2024.

Sisi Museum in Hofburg

Vienna’s museums feature more than just art. Many of them also showcase the rich culture of the country and famous Austrians’ contributions to society. The Sisi Museum in Hofburg Palace is one such museum.

This museum depicts the life of Empress Elisabeth or “Sisi,” the wife of Emperor Franz Joseph I. Known for her beauty and vibrant lifestyle, Empress Elisabeth was loved by many. And so, many of her personal belongings and artifacts have been made available for the public to see firsthand.

The museum is set in the magnificent imperial apartments of Hofburg Palace, which was once home to the famous Habsburgs of Austria. You can visit the Empress’s bedroom and salon, marvel at her well-preserved gowns, read through her personal correspondences and learn about her life as a royal.

Mozarthaus Vienna

Another Austrian who made a huge mark on history is musical prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who once played for the imperial family and lived in Vienna. His residence in Vienna’s Old Town stands today as a museum where visitors can learn more about the life and works of this prolific composer.

The museum’s many floors explore the different facets of Mozart’s life, from his important operas such as “The Magic Flute” and “The Marriage of Figaro” to his personal life and interests in literature, fashion and the sciences. The building is riddled with installations and artworks to give visitors a better understanding of the life of this celebrated composer and an immersive experience of his works.

The Best Museums to Visit in Vienna are a Must for Art Lovers

Whether you want to travel back in time and see centuries-old artworks in age-old castles or admire more contemporary works in the trendier corners of town, there is always an art museum in Vienna that fits your taste.

It’s one of the best cities in the world to see art and cultural exhibits, so make sure at least one of these museums is on your bucket list the next time you travel to Austria.

Want to maximise your stay in Vienna? Check out Entire Travel Group’s Austrian Holiday Packages to see more of this gorgeous European gem.

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