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Expect the Unexpected

Europe has many famous museums that are must-see attractions, but there are lots of smaller, unexpectedly entertaining museums just waiting to be explored. Stop following the crowds and head off the beaten path to discover these lesser-known gems. They just might surprise you and become highlights on your trip to Europe.

 

Some of the Museum of Broken Relationships’ strangest pieces include an axe, mannequin hands and a wooden watermelon
Some of the Museum of Broken Relationships’ strangest pieces include an axe, mannequin hands and a wooden watermelon

 

Begin your explorations with a visit to Germany, to experience the Cologne Chocolate Museum. Showcasing all stages of the chocolate-making process, you’ll travel through 3,000 years of chocolate from the Aztecs to today’s industrial production. Then, on the more bittersweet side, take a tour of the quirky, award-winning Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia, where people have donated sentimental relics from their failed romances. Stop by the Lithuanian Art Museum while in Vilnius for a classic experience and observe over 2,500 paintings from the 16th to the 19th centuries.

Craving a little silver-screen glamour? Check out Cinecitta in Italy. Hollywood isn’t the only place to see famous film sets. This studio is the home to classics such as Ben-Hur and Quo Vadis and more modern hits, like Gangs of New York and The Life Aquatic. Film lovers are sure to be star-struck by the historical film sets and props.

 

The Kulturan in Sweden provides one of Europe’s most unique museum experiences
The Kulturan in Sweden provides one of Europe’s most unique museum experiences

 

Many museums have fine art collections, but very few feature a gorgeous panoramic view in Technicolor. Admire the stellar collection of modern art at ARoS Aarhus Art Museum in Aarhus, Denmark, but don’t miss Your Rainbow Panorama, a permanent art installation that’s a circular colored-glass walkway at the top of the building offering amazing 360-degree views of the city. In nearby Sweden, visit Kulturen for a living, breathing interpretation of history. Experience the Swedish countryside with living exhibits demonstrating life from the Middle Ages to the 1930s.

Create juxtaposition on your vacation with a cultural experience in Latvia, visit the Rīga Art Nouveau Centre, a museum that has been completely restored to resemble a middle-class apartment from the 1920s. Then, travel to the Museo di Stato (the State Museum) in San Marino, flanked by a museum of ancient weapons and the Gallery of Modern Art.

From fun and informative to wild and wacky, Europe is filled with all kinds of interesting and unexpected educational offerings to appeal to all tastes. Discover Europe’s unique museums and learn something new on your next visit.

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Hidden Gems in Spring

Spring is the perfect time to be in Europe. The sun comes out, the days get longer and all the plants begin flowering. Itʼs also the perfect time to get away from busy European capitals and enjoy the out of the way secret locations and green spaces of the world. Make your way to Belgium for the Greenhouses of the Royal Palace at Laeken, Brussels. Beauty can be found at the Winter Garden in both its plant life and Art Nouveau architecture; the massive greenhouses with their ironwork frames are home to many rare and beautiful plants. They cover six acres of striking rotundas, domes and galleries. Twenty full-time gardeners meticulously tend this impressive collection.