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Did you know that there are some 55,000 museums in the world today? That’s a lot of art collections to get through! It can be hard to decide which museums to visit, which is why we’re taking a look at a few of the most prominent art museums by region. Take a trip through art history and add these five amazing museums to your next European travel itinerary.

THE ACROPOLIS MUSEUM, Athens, Greece

No trip to the Acropolis is complete without a tour of the Acropolis Museum. Covering some 25,000 square meters, ten times the size of the original museum on the Hill of The Acropolis, The Acropolis Museum offers a look at the awe-inspiring history and art of Ancient Greece. The ground floor gallery showcases an amazing collection of finds from the slopes of the Acropolis, while a glass floor provides views of the archaeological excavation. Following the upward slope of the museum floor is the Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis, which houses objects from the sanctuaries and settlements that once resided on the Acropolis slopes.

One of the main attractions of the museum is the frieze of the Parthenon. The Parthenon frieze has a total length of 160 meters and stands a meter high. It is made up of some 115 blocks with horses, chariots and over 370 figures and 200 animals depicted in the sculptured masterpiece. Today, only a mere 50 meters of the entire freeze is displayed in the Acropolis Museum. Of the rest that remains, 80 meters is showcased in the British Museum, with other small fragments found in a handful of museums across Europe including the Louvre, the Vatican, Palermo, Vienna, Munich, Copenhagen and Würzburg.

THE UFFIZI GALLERY, Florence, Italy

Home to the House of Medici’s collection of Renaissance sculptures and paintings, the Uffizi is one of the oldest museums in the world. Open by request since the sixteenth century and officially to the public in 1765, it became a formal art museum in 1865. The Uffizi Gallery today offers the world’s greatest collection of Renaissance paintings along with collections from the Medieval, Baroque and Mannerist eras.

With works from the Italian Renaissance greats including Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, and Raphael, it’s hard to allocate highlights for this gallery. Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus”, however, is probably the most famous piece.

The Uffizi is one of the most visited art galleries in all of Italy. During the summer time, wait times can be as long as five hours! Luckily, tickets are available in advance online, so you can skip the line and spend more time marveling at the works of Italy’s greatest artists.

THE VATICAN MUSEUMS, Vatican City, Italy

The Roman Catholic Church’s Vatican collection spans some nine miles and comprises 22 collections. It is one of the largest – and possibly the most impressive – collections in the world. The Vatican Museums include collections of archaeology, ethno-anthropology and art, although in this particular museum, the rooms themselves are often as stunning, or often times more so, than the artifacts on display.

Some of the more famous collections include the ancient Egyptian Museo Gregoriano Egizio, entire rooms painted by Raphael aptly named the Raphael Rooms, and the medieval and Renaissance collection of the Pinacoteca.

While The Vatican Museum features some of the greatest artworks by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Fra Angelico and many more, the most famous attraction must be Michaelango’s ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. One of the most famous interior paintings in the world, it sees about 5 million visitors every year. With so much to see in the Vatican Museum alone, not to mention everything else in Vatican City, be sure to plan plenty of time to make sure you don’t miss anything.

THE LOUVRE, Paris, France

The Louvre was a former royal palace and medieval fortress before it became one of the world’s largest and important museums. Located on the Right Bank of the Seine, the former home to the Kings of France was first established as a private collection for King Francis I in the 16th century. It was opened to the public in 1793, and the now iconic I.M. Pei’s pyramid was added in 1989.

Home to one of the richest art collections of all time within a whopping 650,000 square meter museum, the collections range from antiquity to the first half of the 19th century. With tens of thousands of pieces on display, it would take weeks to see them all.

The piece de resistance is of course the infamous Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. Other big draws include the Venus de Milo from 100 BC Greece, The Great Sphinx of Tanis from the Old Kingdom of Egypt (2600 BC) and Botticelli’s Venus with Three Graces.

THE BRITISH MUSEUM, London, England

Originating with 71,000 objects bequeathed to King George II and the nation in 1753 by Sir Hans Sloane, The British Museum was established with an act of parliament. The original collections contained books and manuscripts, nature specimens and antiquities, and it opened to the public in 1759 in a seventeenth-century mansion on the same site the museum resides today.

Today, the museum showcases some of the richest treasures of all time, housing over eight million artifacts comprising the national collection of ethnography and archaeology. It is most famous for its collection of Egyptian antiquities – the largest outside of Egypt – and the world-renowned Rosetta Stone, the famous key to deciphering hieroglyphs. Other highly prized possessions include the Parthenon frieze from the Acropolis in Greece, and The Oxus Treasure, comprised of hundreds of fine gold and silver objects from the time of the Persian Empire.

With over six and a half million visitors a year, the British Museum is one of the world’s most visited museums – and rightly so.