To pick 10 best contemporary art museums among hundreds of deserving museums is practically an impossible task. That is why we have made a selection of legendary and lesser-known European museums that have grabbed the attention of fans of the sublime

Tate Modern | Great Britain

The Tate is Europe’s most visited modern art gallery and has a worldwide reputation as striking as its building, a converted power station in London’s Bankside. With a permanent collection across three floors that encompasses everything from photography to performance, a visit to the Tate offers an entire history of modern art from the 20th century and beyond. On top of its permanent collection, it offers well-curated exhibitions about the greats of contemporary art.

Centre Pompidou | France

Pompidou offers Europe’s largest modern art collection that includes Picasso, Miró, Chagall, Matisse and Kandinsky. Exhibitions are rotated every 6 months. In addition, a vast array of brilliant exhibitions is held on its first and sixth floors that have in recent years included Freud, Dali and Richter. 

Guggenheim Bilbao | Spain

Guggenheim Bilbao offers the works of such impressive artists as Jeff Koons and Richard Serra, as well as thematic exhibitions of not only internationally famous artists but also of those artists working in the Basque region. No wonder this was labelled one of the “12 Wonders of Spain” in 2007. 

Kröller-Müller Museum | The Netherlands

What makes the Kröller-Müller one of Europe’s best is its outdoor sculpture park. Housed in Otterlo’s Hoge Veluwe National Park, the exhibition features works by the best sculptors of the last century and now this one including Hepworth, Rodin and so many more. Cycling around this museum is one of the finest and beneficial pleasures on offer in the Netherlands. 

Hamburger Kunsthalle | Germany

One of the features of the Hamburger Kunsthalle is the fact that although its main building houses its own impressive collection of pre-20th century art, it also houses the Gallerie der Gegenwart, a premier collection of modern and contemporary art and an active exhibition schedule. 

S.M.A.K. | Belgium

Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst or better known as S.M.A.K. is a young upstart on the world contemporary art stage. Founded in 1999 in a former casino, S.M.A.K. has quickly become known for an extraordinary collection with the works of contemporary art legends such as Warhol, Bacon and Abramovic. 

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia | Spain

This museum specialises in Spanish contemporary art, so it would be difficult to name one Spanish artist whose work is not exhibited in it. Definitely the superior works of Dali, Gris, Miró and many other modern geniuses are worth seeing. But what makes this museum one of the greatest is that it is the home of Pablo Picasso’s monumental “Guernica”. 

Serpentine/Sepentine Sackler | Great Britain

With no permanent collection to speak of, the Serpentine (and its newer sister, the Serpentine Sackler) has to maintain its reputation by constantly offering new, exciting exhibitions and it manages to do so in spades. At the Serpentine is housed Marina Abramovic’s epic “512 Hours” installation, followed on from major exhibitions from contemporary art giants like Yoko Ono and The Chapman Brothers.

Castello di Rivoli | Italy

Based in a 17th century pallazo close to Turin, the building itself is a World Heritage Site With an emphasis on controversial modern figures on the international art scene, the gallery exhibits the works of artists like Anselm Keifer, Nan Goldin and Tracey Emin. 

Kumu Art Museum | Estonia

Kumu explores the history of Estonian art from the 18th century onwards. It is of particular interest the juxtaposing of the Soviet history of Estonia with its Soviet Realism with non-conforming works of the same period. 

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