For a true flavour of a destination, its people, and cultures, there is no missing the art, whether it be in a museum, architecture or on the streets.
From iconic masterpieces in art history, to the contemporary artworks of today, we list of the best travel destinations for art lovers.
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1. Paris, France
- This list would not be complete without Paris, Europe’s long-time hub of culture. The French capital has inspired numerous great and iconic artists, such as Dali, Van Gogh, and Picasso, and you can witness many of their works at the city’s numerous exhibitions and spaces. Unmissables include the world’s most visited museum, the Louvre and the quieter, but no less impressive, Musee Rodin, Orsay Museum, and Centre Pompidou and Palais de Tokyo, for contemporary art — just to name a few. Or simply roam the streets of Paris, such as within the Oberkampf district, to discover some of its colourful street art.
2. Florence,Tuscany, Italy
- If you’re a fan of Renaissance art, a visit to its birthplace in Tuscany, is a must. The enchanting and historically rich city of Florence houses some of the world’s greatest Renaissance artwork, from the impressive Uffizi Gallery, which includes Botticelli’s The Birth Of Venus, to the Accademia Gallery, for a glimpse of Michelangelo’s David. But that’s not forgetting its contemporary art institutions, such as Palazzo Strozzi, which previously hosted big names like Marina Abramovic and Ai Wei Wei, to Gucci Garden, the brainchild of Gucci creative director Alesandro Michele, proving that there is just about something for every art lover out there.
3. Naoshima Island, Kagawa, Japan
- This remote Japanese island in Seto Inland Sea has gained a reputation as a prime destination for art lovers.Naoshima contains a host of modern art museums, architecture, and sculptures, which include notable installations by contemporary artists such as James Turrell, Walter de Maria, Yayoi Kusama, and striking buildings designed by Tadao Ando, all under a tranquil backdrop of the Mediterranean and sunny weather.
4. Shanghai, China
- Sure, we’re well aware of Beijing’s infamous 798 Art District, but Shanghai is poised to take the position of the most exciting place to be for art in China yet. Its explosive art scene today is perhaps a testament to the city’s DNA of assimilation and innovation, unmarred by the likes of Beijing’s political conservatism. Visit the West Bund Corridor, for the Power Station Of Art, China’s first state run contemporary art museum, the Long Museum, West Bund, for China’s largest private art collection, including those from the Cultural Revolution, to the Shanghai Center of Photography for a glimpse of a post-Mao-era China on film.
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5. Chiang Mai, Thailand
- The cultural capital of Thailand, Chiang Mai, was recently dubbed a UNESCO Creative City in 2017, and is a burgeoning contemporary arts scene attracting a new wave of resident artists and art spaces today. Pay a visit to institutions such as the newly opened MAIIAM Museum of Contemporary Art, CMU art center and Gallery Seescape, for a taste of contemporary Thai art and culture. It’s rich 700-year heritage of Lana craftsmanship can also be witnessed through a stroll along the old city, and a visit to the Lanna Folklife museum.
6. Mexico City, Mexico
- The capital of Mexico tells a compelling story of history, grandiose architecture and innovation. For design lovers, pay a visit to the colourful Casa Gilardi, designed by acclaimed Mexican architect Luis Barragán, and Museo Soumaya for immense murals by world-famous Mexican artists. For a glimpse of its rich cultural history, visit the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, for the largest collection of pre-columbian artifacts, and the iconic landmark Palacio de Bellas Artes. And there can be no mention of Mexican art without Frida Kahlo, where you can pay a visit to Museo Frida Kahlo in La Casa Azul, the house the artist lived in, for a glimpse of her life and art.
7. Barcelona, Spain
- Catalonia’s colourful capital is well known for its art and architecture. For an appreciation of the modernist landmarks of Gaudi, one needs only to pay a visit to sites such as the fantastical Casa Batllo, La Pedrera, and the breathtaking Sagrada Família to witness his indelible mark on the city. Barcelona also houses an array of impressive museums, such as Museu Picasso, with one of the biggest Pablo Picasso collections in the world, and Maseu Nacional d’Art, housing a large collection of Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque art.
8. Cape Town, South Africa
- Stunning landscapes and bright African sunshine notwithstanding, Cape Town is also the home of Africa’s modern art hub. The multicultural melting pot has a vibrant art scene that has been steadily growing over the past decade, most recently with the highly anticipated Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA). Also check out the South African National Gallery for a restrospective of African art, or the Woodstock neighbourhood for graffiti walls.
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9. New York, United States
- There is perhaps no other city quite like New York, with an art scene as rich and diverse as the city itself. Take a way along Manhattan’s iconic Museum Mile, which includes the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and the Guggenheim Museum. Or Chelsea, home to the Whitney Museum and for a picturesque stroll along the Highline for some outdoor art inspiration. And with the city home to some of the finest street art, which includes the works of Banksy, Keith Haring, and more, you can spot them from anywhere from Bushwick to the World Trade Centre.
10. London, United Kingdom
- Banksy’s favourite canvas and the heart of the world’s contemporary market, London is a city of continual innovation, with a collection of museums that rivals any city in the world. From the antiquities in the National Gallery and the British Museum, to British art in Tate Britain and Tate Modern, there is something to suit a myriad a cultural preferences. And for a taste of its counterculture arts scene, Peckham is a vibrant art hub not to be missed.