Museums in Vienna You Can’t Afford to Miss Out On

I never thought I was a huge museum person, but in reality that was only because I had never gone to a proper museum.

Vienna offered me a new perspective on what museums should actually be like: I learned that the tone each exhibition portrays their pieces with gives the audience a certain impression, that the surroundings and placement of each piece of art can affect how they are viewed, that art works can elicit certain emotions just because of their colours or their brush strokes, and that there is an absolute mystique and mystery behind artifacts from centuries ago.

I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on such an experience, especially one which will leave you excited to visit other museums around the globe.

So which museums should you make sure not to miss out on while in Vienna?

The Belvedere

The Belvedere museum was not always a museum. When it was built in the early eighteenth century, it was envisioned as a palace.

The upper Belvedere museum in Vienna
Welcome to the Belvedere!

Differentated as the “Upper Belvedere” and the “Lower Belvedere”, these structures were for two different purposes.

  • The Upper Belvedere served the purpose of prestige and display
  • The Lower Belvedere was a residence

Over time, these two Belvedere palaces were adapted into a gallery and a museum and now house the world’s greatest collection of Austrian art.

The Upper Belvedere

At present, the Upper Belvedere houses the permanent, and in my opinion, most noteworthy and impressive, collections. These collections are made up of art by Austrian and international artists, such as Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, and Gustav Klimt.

A glimpse of the upper Belvedere museum
A glimpse of the Upper Belvedere from the gardens

The highlight of the permanent collection of this museum is that is houses the world’s largest collection of Klimt’s paintings.

Art work (Fritza Riedler) by Gustav Klimt, on display at the Belvedere museum
Fritza Riedler (1906), by Gustav Klimt. Oil on Canvas. 1937 purchase from a private collection, Vienna
Art work (Judith) by Gustav Klimt
Judith (1901), by Gustav Klimt. Oil on canvas. 1954 purchase from a private collection, Geneva.

The most famous piece of his work is titled The Kiss (Lovers). This painting dates back to the early 1900s and depicts a couple embracing one another in a flowery meadow.

Art work (The Kiss) by Gustav Klimt
The Kiss (Lovers) is considered Klimt’s most popular work.

The Lower Belvedere

The Lower Belvedere houses the temporary exhibitions and focuses on presenting Austrian art in an international context.

Walking towards the lower belvedere
A view of the Lower Belvedere
A view of the lower belvedere museum
Walking towards the doors of the Lower Belvedere

This section of the museum also houses a Medieval Treasury which gives insight into medieval art.

Art work in the Medieval Treasury of the Belvedere
Art work in the Medieval Treasury of the Belvedere

Interesting piece of information: I was confused why there were some paintings which could be photographed, while others in the same room could not. The staff explained this to me, saying that it was either because:

  1. The artist had asked that they not be photographed
  2. It had not yet been 70 years since the artist’s passing

Belvedere 21

The smallest and newest addition to the Belvedere galleries, the Belvedere 21 houses temporary contemporary art exhibitions and is a platform for the local art scene.

Art work on display at Belvedere 21
Art work on display at Belvedere 21
Art work on display at Belvedere 21

Additional Information

Opening Hours
Daily from 9:00am – 6:00pm

Ticket Prices
Upper Belvedere: 16€ adult
Lower Belvedere: 14€ adult
Belvedere 21: 8€ adult
Belvedere ticket: 25€ adult
Annual ticket: 39€ adult

Ticket for the belvedere museum
Just bought my ticket! I purchased the “Belvedere ticket” which includes access to the Upper Belvedere, Lower Belvedere, and Belvedere 21

For more information on tickets, visit the Belvedere website, here.


TIP: go early to beat the crowds and not wait in line

speaking from experience

Kunsthistorisches Museum

The Kunsthistorisches museum was opened around 1891 and is the largest art museum in Austria.

The Kunsthistorisches Museum from the front
A shot of the entrance of the Kunsthistorisches Museum

It was commissioned by Emperor Franz Joseph I in order to find a suitable place for the art collection of the Habsburgs, one of the most influential and distinguished royal houses of Europe. It was the Emperor’s hope that it would be made accessible to the public.

The museum is stunning

The museum is, in itself, a piece of art. With its great columns, extravagant windows and ceilings, and exquisite details, you’ll be in awe no matter where you are.

Don’t believe me? Take a look:

Details on the inside of the Kunsthistorisches Museum
Details on the inside of the Kunsthistorisches Museum
Details on the inside of the Kunsthistorisches Museum
Details on the inside of the Kunsthistorisches Museum

Egyptian and near Eastern collection

The Kunsthistorisches houses one of the world’s most important collections of Egyptian antiquities.

There are over 17,000 artifacts which are divided into 4 areas:

  1. funerary cult
  2. cultural history
  3. sculpture and relief
  4. the development of writing
Artifacts at the Kunsthistorisches
Artifacts at the Kunsthistorisches
Artifacts at the Kunsthistorisches
Artifacts at the Kunsthistorisches

Collection of Greek and Roman antiquities

The objects within this collection are most impressive and span over a period of three millennia!

Greek statue heads at the Kunsthistorisches Museum
Not too sure how I feel about these floating head statues though…
Artifacts at the Kunsthistorisches
Artifacts at the Kunsthistorisches

Temporary Exhibitions

Temporary exhibitions also come and go at the Kunsthistorisches. At present, there is one showcasing Mark Rothko’s works. Mark Rothko was an American artist and an Abstract Expressionist. His work made New York a centre of modern art.

Art work by Mark Rothko
Art work by Mark Rothko

Additional Information

Opening Hours
Sunday: 10:00am – 6:00pm
Monday: closed
Tuesday: 10:00am – 6:00pm
Wednesday: 10:00am – 6:00pm
Thursday: 10:00am – 9:00pm
Friday: 10:00am – 6:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am – 6:00pm

Ticket Prices
Entrance ticket: 16€


For more information, check out the museum’s website here.

Have you been to any museums that have blown you away? Which ones were they?

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