Top Museums to Visit Near Your Favorite Holiday Park or Holiday Home

In the whirlwind of planning vacations and adventures, museums often get overshadowed by iconic landmarks, bustling markets, and picturesque landscapes. However, these cultural repositories are more than just buildings filled with artifacts and paintings; they are windows into the soul of a destination, offering invaluable insights into its history, art, and heritage.

Whether you are spending a long holiday in a luxury holiday park or a few days in a cute little apartment in a busy city, I think you should always make time to visit a museum. Truly, I have never been not surprised every single time I did so, and there are so many exceptional spaces for couples, families, and even solo travelers to enjoy.

To give you a taste of what could be waiting on the other side, and to make it easier for you to sift through all the wonderful opportunities out there, I have comprised a list of my favorite museums in Europe, easily reachable, even from the comfort of your favorite holiday park or holiday home. Is it a highly subjective list? Absolutely, but that just means I am speaking out of passion, love, and first-hand experience!

For the love of surreal art: Magritte Museum in Brussels

Situated in the vibrant center of Brussels, the Magritte Museum stands as a testament to the genius of the renowned surrealist artist René Magritte. Boasting the world's most extensive collection of his works, the museum showcases a staggering array of 230 pieces alongside archival materials.

Within its multidisciplinary confines, visitors encounter an eclectic mix of paintings, drawings, sculptures, and painted objects, complemented by a diverse assortment of advertising posters, musical scores, photographs, and films. Notably, the museum proudly hosts the largest collection from Magritte's distinctive "vache" period, offering visitors a comprehensive insight into the evolution of the artist's oeuvre.

As you wander through the halls of the Magritte Museum, you will certainly find yourself captivated by the surreal world crafted by René Magritte. His art transcends the boundaries of reality, inviting viewers to question the nature of perception and reality itself. With each painting, drawing, and sculpture, Magritte beckons you to delve deeper into the mysteries of the subconscious mind.

Stay at: Vallée Les Etoiles, Le Soleil Comfort, in the heart of the Ardennes region.

Discover the beauty of Mauritshuis in The Hauge

Situated at the heart of The Hague, the historic and political nucleus of the Netherlands, lies the Mauritshuis. Despite its modest size, this museum boasts an impressive array of Dutch and Flemish paintings dating back to the 17th century – a period revered as the golden age of this genre of art. Comprising two striking historical edifices, namely the Mauritshuis, a city palace nestled on the Plein in The Hague, and the Prince William V Gallery at the Buitenhof, the museum offers a captivating journey through the artistic legacy of the region.

I have always been captivated by Flemish painters. There is something ethereal in the style itself, for me, they have a mystique about them which I can’t quite put my finger on. As if the characters and scenes are hiding some secret to be uncovered, I find them mesmerizing.

Within the walls of the Mauritshuis, you will be treated to an encounter with iconic masterpieces, including Johannes Vermeer's enchanting "Girl with a Pearl Earring" and Rembrandt's profound "Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp." These treasures draw thousands of admirers from across the globe to the museum each year, eager to immerse themselves in the beauty and historical significance of these renowned works.

For a seamless and hassle-free experience, I would recommend purchasing your tickets and selecting your preferred time slot online. By doing this, you can bypass queues and secure your entry to the museum. This rule kind of applies to all of the big museums around Europe, you shouldn’t just show up and hope for the best, because some days you might not have the chance to get in at all if you are unprepared (I am thinking of you past self! I remember how you one time thought you could just samba in the Uffizi Gallery in the middle of summer). (

Stay at: Callantsoog, in a comfortable detached villa, and visit the neighboring cities easily.

The oldest perfume shop in Europe: Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella - Florence

The Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella's origins can be traced back to Florence and the year 1221. It was during this time that Dominican friars established the convent of Santa Maria Novella, where they cultivated a garden among other pursuits. This garden became the starting point for centuries of expertise in pharmacopeia and natural remedies. Over time, this knowledge expanded to encompass the realms of cosmetics, fragrances, and wellness products.

In 1533, a young Catherine de Medici embarked on a journey from Florence to France to marry the future king. Among the entourage of pages, guards, and ladies accompanying her, she also brought along a perfumer named Renato Bianco. Upon arriving in Paris, Renato Bianco adopted the name René le Florentin, thus carrying the ancient wisdom of Florence's essence-makers to the French court. It was through his expertise that the noble art of perfume began to spread across the world.

One of the most enduring legacies of this journey is the fragrance known as Acqua di Santa Maria Novella, or Acqua della Regina (the "Queen's Water") – the oldest perfume from the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. The best part is that you can just walk right in and buy it for yourself, as the pharmacy is still a functioning shop.

When I was there last time, as soon as I walked in, the sounds of Santa Maria Square died down instantly and I was instantly transported to an entirely different universe. Flowers were dripping from the ceiling and walls in intricate designs you might see at fashion shows such as Chanel or Gucci. The pharmacy combines the charm of the old world with the new and you can see this in the design and how they treat every customer. You can sign up as a group to walk through the pharmacy and treat it as a museum but you can also just walk right in and ask the clerks any questions you might think of regarding the shop and they will know the answer, it is a luxury experience after all.

You might be wondering about the Acqua della Regina perfume and what it smells like. Well, I absolutely did smell it, and is very citrusy, and fresh, with a deeper scent of flowers and musk hiding in there somewhere. I did enjoy the scent very much, and as a comparison, it does smell a little bit like Neroli Portofino by Tom Ford or Cologne Imperiale by Guerlain. But you know what? You should go there and test it out for yourself!

Stay at: Edera complex in Poggibonsi, Tuscany, located at just a 40-minute drive away from Florence!

The perfect museum to eat dessert at: Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat

Nestled between Nice and Monaco, with stunning views of the Mediterranean, lies the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild – a grand palace enveloped by nine meticulously designed gardens. Each garden, from the French and Spanish to the Florentine and Japanese, offers a unique theme, inviting visitors on a journey of exploration and discovery.

Located within the very room once frequented by Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild as her dining space, the tea room/restaurant boasts a terrace overlooking the picturesque Bay of Villefranche. Throughout the day, you can indulge in delightful snacks within this serene oasis, all while enjoying an unobstructed vista of the bay. Led by their Head Chef, Aude Romero-Fillipowski, who has honed her skills under the tutelage of renowned Michelin-starred chefs like Alain Ducasse, Ddier Aniès, and Patrick Raingeard, their culinary offerings are a reflection of the gardens' sophisticated aromas.

One of my favorite places in the entire world, I visited this museum-restaurant-paradise while spending my holiday in Nice. It was a life-changing experience because it is a unique look into the life of a woman who wanted to be free so she created her very own piece of heaven on earth. The restaurant is such a great addition to this place, and I remember getting the largest, pinkest macaroon on the planet and the creamiest cappuccino and just looking out the large windows at the sea and feeling completely happy and content. To be honest, I was so enthralled by my choice of French patisserie, that I already forgot what my travel partner got, so I for sure will be visiting this museum again…just for the desserts!

Stay at: Apart-hotel Nice, Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur, located just a 30-minute drive from the villa, but I would recommend the bus from this spot!

The weirdest museum you will visit: Deutsches Jagd und Fischereimuseum in Münich

Oh, the German Museum of Hunting and Fishing.You might walk past it and not even give it a second glance, but if you enjoy the weirder things in life, this is the place for you!

Originally established within a German castle in 1938, this museum emerged in response to popular demand driven by the region's deep-seated tradition of game hunting. Regrettably, its initial tenure was short-lived, abruptly ceasing operations with the outbreak of World War II, despite its notable taxidermy collection, featuring a prestigious array of antlers.

Undeterred by adversity, the museum resurfaced in 1966 within the confines of the former Augustinerkloster, a venerable Augustinian abbey dating back to the 13th century. Yet, amidst the museum's extensive collection of over 1,000 taxidermy specimens, a particular fascination lies with the "wolpertingers" – curious creatures akin to the legendary American Jackalope, magical inhabitants of the dense forests of Bavaria. These whimsical taxidermy creations, fashioned from an imaginative amalgamation of small game and bird parts, often resemble fantastical beasts with horns, fangs, and wings.

I have to admit this is an acquired taste, but for someone who at one point in her life has traveled to Florence just to see the imaginative rendition of a hippo from the 18th century at the La Specola museum, this little hidden gem in Münich was a whimsical find. Regardless, I would not recommend this to be the only museum to visit while in Münich, but it is a quick and fun one to add for a rainy day, on your way to Marienplatz.

Stay at: Appartement am Rosengarten, in Füssen, Bavaria, one of the best holiday spots of the region.

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