6 Of My Favorite European Museums

I am an unapologetic nerd. I was born and raised into a nerdy family, and it’s just who I am as a person. When I travel, this spills over into my itinerary. I love visiting places that have literary significance, historical significance, or just allow me to buff my nerd knowledge. MOST of the time these places are museums, so I thought I would share my top five favs so if you happen to be planning a trip to Europe you can stop by some of my favorite spots. Tell them Emilee sent you. JK I definitely don’t have that kind of sway…yet.

1. Parlamentarium | Brussels, Belgium | FREE

This museum is AMAZING. And that’s coming from someone who isn’t even a part of the EU. At the beginning of your tour you’re given a headset that walks you through the history of the EU, where it came from and how it functions today. I honestly never knew any of this information and it was such an amazing lesson in world history, and also in current economic situations in Europe. There’s obviously a bit of a bias, but I felt like overall the structure of the museum was amazing and very interactive. I think I spent 2-3 hours in there.


2. The Louvre | Paris, France | $18.50

I’m sure all of you are SO SURPRISED to see this one on the list. But, really. The Louvre is one of my favorite places on the planet and I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for people to visit it. It honestly will change your life. One of the biggest mistakes that a lot of people make about The Louvre is that they go in for an hour, walk around two floors and say they’ve “been” to the Louvre. You’re cheating yourself with this approach. I would say take a couple of days to go to the Louvre. Go a morning on one day and just sit and look at paintings. Go an evening another day and walk through the lower levels of The Louvre. Look at the Middle Eastern exhibits (which, by the way, barely anyone knows about). There is so much history in this museum it really is a must-see multi day/hour visit. While I lived in France I think I went 6 or 7 times at 2-3 hours a pop…and I still haven’t seen everything.

3. The Sherlock Holmes Museum | London, England | $21

This might be the nerdiest one on the list, but I’m a pretty hard core Sherlockian, and I absolutely loved being able to visit the real 221B during my first trip to London. This museum is essentially set up as the house of Sherlock Holmes with a Victorian style guard at the front door, three levels of Sherlock Holmes related artifacts, and an over-priced gift shop. Everything you could ever want, right!? If you’re a Sherlock Holmes fan like I am I would definitely recommend visiting the museum for photos if nothing else. The whole museum takes about 30 minutes to an hour to go through.


4. Titanic Museum | Belfast, N. Ireland | $25

You think you know about the Titanic because you’ve seen the movie? Ha. Try reliving the entire experience from day one as an immigrant in the early twentieth century to the day the ship sinks. WARNING: This museum is REALLY emotional and there is a really high chance of you feeling feels. One of the coolest parts of this museum is that the admission ticket is made to look like the tickets that were originally made for the Titanic’s maiden voyage. Since I’ve been obsessed with the Titanic since I could read, this museum was absolutely amazing to go through. It’s several floors and takes about 2-3 hours (at least) to walk through.

5. Van Gogh Museum | Amsterdam, The Netherlands | $22

Can I tell you how much I love Van Gogh? If you know me well, I probably already have…but here we are again. I distinctly remember the first time I saw an image of a Van Gogh painting. It was the same feeling I had when I first heard French. So right, and a forever part of my identity. The Van Gogh museum was a sacred space for me. From the first moment I slipped on the headphones for the self-guided tour I was completely immersed and could have been in that world of Van Gogh for forever. Not only is this museum the world’s largest installment of Van Gogh paintings, but it’s also such a personal experience since it’s in the home country of the artist. Must see. I think I spent 2-3 hours in the museum.

6. Natural History Museum | London, England | FREE

This is actually one of my most recent visits, and GUYS, THEY HAVE DINOSAURS! I’ve been to London three or four times before, but I had never visited this museum until November and it was so cool. Basically everything natural history related is in this museum, and it’s broken down into geology, biology and just general awesome. We actually got kicked out of this museum because it was closing, to be sure to get there early. You could easily spend 3 hours in this spot.

And that’s the best of the best! What are your favorite museums? Let me know in the comments!

Belfast, Northern Ireland: Part 1 – The Titanic Museum

VAD3t63

Did you know that there are two Ireland’s? It may sound humorous, now (since I’m developing quite a reputation as Irish obsessed), but I had no idea of that fact when I first landed in the Northern one. During my first backpacking trip to Belfast, back in 2013, I made the terrible mistake of thinking Northern Ireland was just an extension of what is formally referred to as the Republic of Ireland. True story. Now thinking back, it’s pretty ridiculous given that you would think that I had learned about Northern Ireland’s history at some point in school. But either I didn’t, or I retained none of it.

Luckily, a rather tart bus driver was more than willing to educate me on the difference as he kicked me off his bus for trying to use the wrong currency (N. Ireland = Pounds not Euro). There’s nothing quite like learning firsthand from the locals.

That was then, this is now. And on our two week backpacking trip me and one of my friends decided to take a day tour up to Belfast to visit (what turned out to be) one of the most beautiful museums I’ve ever been to. I didn’t get a picture of the outside of the museum but you can see, thanks to the interwebs,  what it looks like, above. It’s absolutely immense, and you go through each level learning about a different aspect of the Titanic – from concept to construction to catastrophe. If you’re ever in Belfast I CANNOT recommend the museum enough – it was breathtaking.

In addition to sponging up as much information as possible, the overall bus tour itself was also great (despite the weather, which we’ll talk about in Part II). I’ve done three tours, now, with WildRover tours, and I’ve loved every single one. It really is one of the best ways to learn about the history of Ireland while seeing the countryside. Here are some of my favorite pics from this part of the trip!

DSC_0145
DSC_0147

DSC_0148
DSC_0151

DSC_0152

DSC_0153

DSC_0154
DSC_0156

DSC_0157

DSC_0159

DSC_0160

DSC_0161

DSC_0163