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Travel tips

The world’s best museums on every continent

Apr 27, 2022 by Kara Kramer

Visiting museums around the world lets you uncover ancient art and discover history right in front of your eyes. The best museums allow you to walk away with a greater understanding of a subject and a fresh perspective on the world. But we know there’s so much more to the best museums in the world than just framed paintings on a wall. Some of the greatest museums in the world are dedicated to things that can’t be brushed onto canvas, like human connection, precious metals, and even food. Follow along as we uncover the best museums in the world to visit on our tours.

gold museum south america

South America

The Museum of Gold in Bogotá, Colombia

The legend of El Dorado lured many explorers to South America with tales of a city made of gold. Europeans never found the city, but the over 30,000 pieces of gold tell an even greater story of pre-Hispanic Colombia, making this one of the best museums in the world.

“There is so much incredible art and history dating back from 10,000 BCE to the present,” said Go Ahead staffer Tom. “I spent probably four hours inside and did not see everything that I wanted to see.” Don’t miss the Quimbaya Poporo artifact on display, a religious ceremonial vase from the 4th-century. Visit the Museum of Gold on a Customized Tour, or add an independent post-stay on tour. to keep exploring beautiful Colombia.

Check out more of the best museums in South America:

  • Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires, Argentina is home to significant works of 19th-century European art.
  • Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts in Santiago, Chile is an epicenter for South American and Chilean art.
  • Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is a science museum housed in a futuristic building.
  • Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City, Mexico showcases the painter’s work and living quarters in her own home.

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pyramids of giza egypt


Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza, Egypt

The Grand Egyptian Museum is one of the most anticipated museum openings of the 21st century. Slated to open in November 2022, it will be the largest archaeological museum in the world. Rare Egyptian antiquities will be on display for the first time, like the entirety of the contents of Tutankhamun’s tomb, making this one of the top museums in the world. This museum also makes our list of the 5 brand-new attractions open to travel in 2022.

Check out more of the best museums to visit in Africa:

  • National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is home to Lucy, the oldest existing skeleton of a human.
  • Zanzibar National Museum of History & Culture in Stone Town, Zanzibar displays artifacts from the Swahili civilization.
  • Marrakech Museum in Marrakech, Morroco is a historic palace and museum with a collection of traditional art and objects from Morocco.
  • National Museum of Mali in Bamako, Mali houses musical instruments and textiles from Mali’s various cultures.

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photographic shot of ramen


Ramen Museum in Yokohama, Japan

Want to discover how ramen noodle soup got its start? Eat your way through the history of Japanese ramen noodles at the Ramen Museum. This museum is also a food court and a recreation of Tokyo in 1958, the year instant noodles were invented in Japan. Vendors here offer mini ramens so you can try some from every region of Japan, making this one of the tastiest—and best—museums in the world. Visit the Ramen Museum during free time on tour in Japan.

How to spend 48 hours in Tokyo →

Check out more top museums in Asia:

  • Peace Memorial Park & Museum in Hiroshima, Japan is dedicated to documenting the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in World War II.
  • Terracotta Army in Shaanxi, China is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China.
  • Hakone Open-Air Museum in Hakone, Japan is an outdoor sculpture gallery set in nature.
  • Cambodian Landmine Museum in Phumi Khna, Cambodia is an organization dedicated to the removal of landmines and unexploded orndance.

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neon museum las vegas

North America

Neon Sign Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada

Now here’s a museum that’s as bright as your future luck at the casino. The neon lights of Vegas have enchanted travelers since the 1950s to come to the desert to let loose and strike it big. Unravel the stories of this iconic American city through its impressive neon signs. You’ll find the old monumental neon signs of the Stardust and Sahara casinos where the Rat Pack used to frequent. The more than two acres of neon American history make this one of the top museums in the world. Visit the Neon Sign Museum during free time on tour in Las Vegas.

Check out more of the best museums to visit in North America:

  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is the largest art museum in the Western Hemisphere with over two million works in its collection.
  • National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. is a Smithsonian Institution located on the National Mall.
  • American Museum of Natural History in New York City showcases exhibitions on human cultures, the natural world, and the universe.

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uffizi gallery florence italy


Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia

People from all over the world donated mementos of past relationships to create one of the best museums in the world. “The place itself is just filled with emotion,” said Go Ahead staffer Mauro. Don’t think you want to visit a museum so cynical? You’ll enter ready to find viles of tears (yes, really) and leave with a newfound appreciation of the capacity for human connection. “Each item on display tells a different, interesting story, and some even date back hundreds of years!” said Go Ahead staffer Andrea. Visit the museum during free while on tour in Zagreb.

The Go Ahead Travel Guide to Croatia →

Check out more of the best museums to visit in Europe:

  • The Louvre in Paris, France houses Europe’s preeminent art collection inside the world’s largest museum.
  • The Rijksmuseum, in Amsterdam, Netherlands is dedicated to Dutch art and history.
  • The Uffizi, in Florence, Italy is the top museum to see the world’s best Renaissance art.
  • The Vatican in Vatican City, Italy displays works from the collection of the Catholic Church.

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tasmania australia landscape


MONA, Hobart, Tasmania

Situated on the southernmost point of Australia on the island of Tasmania, MONA stands for Museum of Old and New Art. This one-of-a-kind museum is the closest you’ll get to dreaming while awake. With massive, state-of-the-art installations, MONA transports you to other worlds. Don’t miss the exhibit Field Lines, where artist Cameron Robbins translates natural forces into art. Using water from the River Derwent beneath the gallery floor, hydraulics drive a pen to trace the waters movement. This provocative, contemporary art museum on the edge of the world is well worth the trek. Visit MONA on a Customized Tour.

Check out more top museums in Australia:

  • Questacon in Canberra, Australia houses more than 200 interactive exhibits relating to science and technology.
  • Museum Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia is the country’s natural history museum home to a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton.
  • Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney, Australia is dedicated to research, ocean exhibitions, and maritime archaeology, including shipwrecks.

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three penguins in antarctica


Lame Dog Hut, South Shetland Islands, Antarctica

Wanna get away? Also known as the Livingston Island Museum, this pre-fabricated hut earned its nickname from a bad winter storm that caused the structure’s support legs to be damaged. Established by the first Bulgarian Antarctic expedition in 1988, the museum (which is also the post office and radio station) displays scientific artifacts and is considered a branch of the National Museum of History in Sofia, Bulgaria. Have the chance to visit the Lame Dog Hut for yourself while in Antarctica.

Check out more top museums in Antarctica:

  • Port Lockroy Museum on Wiencke Island, Palmer Archipelago, Antarctica is a century-old research outpost and museum with a gift shop and post office.
  • South Georgia Museum on the South Sandwich Islands, Antarctica is a former whaling station restored to be a museum and historic site.

Check out more travel tips and join us on tour to experience these destinations for yourself!

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About the author | Kara Kramer
Growing up, Kara’s backyard was the Sonoran Desert where her love for exploration was ignited by dirt roads leading to petroglyphs and family road trips to sleepy Mexican fishing villages. Kara’s enjoyment for charting new territory continued with teaching abroad in Thailand, roaming wine cellar caves in Portugal, and swimming in the bioluminescent waters of the Caribbean. She’s always on the lookout for dive bars and a bowl of Vietnamese Pho (lime, basil, and jalapeño is the holy trinity).

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views of the aegean sea from the greek islands with white buildings in the foreground views of the aegean sea from the greek islands with white buildings in the foreground
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