Here at Real Russia we pride ourselves on being experts in travel specialising in Russia and the Trans-Siberian railway, with our knowledgeable and experienced travel team always on hand to provide assistance, travel advice and recommendations to travellers.
We do this by travelling extensively ourselves, as well as listening to feedback from fellow travellers, and checking out new research and travel trends.
We know that one of the most popular activities for travellers when visiting a European country such as Russia is checking out the vast array of museums the continent offers; covering everything from art to history, science to music, and everything in-between! And, of course, Russia is renowned for having some of the best museums in the world!
On this basis, we decided to research the most ‘Instagrammed’ museums in Europe, to find out which museums are the most popular, and maybe even get a better understanding of what travellers are looking for when trying to find that perfect trip.
As Instagram is one of the most popular ways to document travel experiences in the current age, this platform offered us an excellent and in-depth insight into the most popular European museums.
Having brought together a list of over 100 major European museums from various sources (see ‘Methodology’ below), we tracked all Instagram posts tagged at each of them. From this we were able to create our ranking of the most popular museums in Europe.
We had a feeling that Russia, with its incredible number of world-famous museums would feature highly, and we were right.
The Louvre took the number one spot with an astonishing 4.3 million posts, taking the crown as Europe’s most Instagrammed museum by a substantial amount.
Coming in at second place is the equally iconic Vatican Museum in Italy, which has been tagged an impressive 1.8 million times on Instagram.
We were thrilled to see one of Russia’s best museums taking the third position, with the Moscow Kremlin proving to be one of the top three most popular museums in Europe with a massive 920k posts.
It was interesting to look at the spread of cities and countries which appeared most commonly within the top 50 results.
It was no surprise to us was the fact that Russia was a repeat performer with four Russian museums featured in the top 50; split evenly between Moscow and St Petersburg. As well as the Moscow Kremlin, the other Russian museums featured are the State Hermitage Museum ranking ninth with 490k posts, The Tretyakov Gallery with 59k posts and the Kunstkamera with 36k posts.
Other countries coming out on top for museum-goers include Germany with eight museums in the top 50, France with seven museums featured, and Italy who also feature eight times. The UK also appears to have a great reputation for museums with eight museums included within the top 50.
To compile our research, we first looked at a number of resources including visitor numbers, TripAdvisor reviews, museum size, and trusted expert travel recommendations, to compile a list of over 100 of Europe’s major museums.
We then used the Instagram location function to track all posts tagged at each museum’s location, before crawling this data to find how many posts were tagged per location.
Using this information, we ranked our list by popularity and cut the results down to the final top 50 most popular museums in Europe.
The top Russian museums
If you are interested in visiting some of Russia’s most Instagrammed museums you can find out more about each of the museums featured, below.
Moscow Kremlin, Moscow (3rd - 920,280 posts)
The Moscow Kremlin is one of the most recognised museum complexes not only in Russia or in Europe, but in the entire world.
The fortified complex in the heart of Moscow is an iconic symbol of Russia, and along with the adjacent Red Square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As stated by UNESCO themselves, the Kremlin is, “inextricably linked to all the most important historical and political events in Russia since the 13th century”.
The Kremlin itself actually contains a number of different museums and cathedrals that together offer a fantastic overview of Russia and Russian history. From the Diamond Fund to the Armoury Chamber, and from the Patriarchs Palace to the Museum of History of the Kremlin Architectural Ensemble, there is an exhibit for every interest.
Simply put, the Kremlin is one of the most important social, historical and cultural experiences to enjoy when visiting Moscow.
State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg (9th - 490,326 posts)
The State Hermitage Museum located in St Petersburg is the second largest art museum in the world (based on gallery space) but claims to hold the largest collection of paintings, and we don’t doubt it.
The Hermitage itself comprises a number of historic buildings, with the most famous being the Winter Palace, the former residence of the Russian monarchs. All the buildings fall within the UNESCO World Heritage Site, ‘Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg’, and are as beautiful on the outside, as the artwork is on the inside.
Although it was founded it 1764 by Catherine the Great in what is now known as the ‘Small Hermitage’, it was not opened to the public until 1852, and has gone from strength to strength ever since, with more than 3 million pieces in its collection. In fact, it is said that if you spent one minute looking at each piece, for eight hours per day, it would take 15 years to see everything!
Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow (36th – 59,287 posts)
The Tretyakov Gallery is among the the most iconic art museums in the world and is, in fact, known as home to the best collection of Russian fine art in the world.
The layout of the museum is unique in that you are led through the evolution of Russian art from the 11th to the 20th century, with each painting acting as a window to a specific time and place. We would highly recommend booking an expert guide for this journey through Russian history to really help understand and appreciate how Russia has grown, changed and been shaped over the last 1000 years.
Kunstkamera, St Petersburg (46th – 36,180)
The Kunstkamera (derived from the German for ‘art chamber’) was the first museum opened in Russia; born of the innate curiosity of Peter the Great.
Created as a ‘cabinet of curiosities’, the better description for its modern incarnation also happens to be its full name, the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography.
With exhibitions covering North and Latin America, as well as much of Asia and the Middle East, there is sure to be something of interest to everyone. Be warned, though, as many of the items within its ‘First Scientific Collection’ are not for the squeamish, containing as they do a number of natural ‘oddities’ related to Peter the Great’s interest in human anatomy.
If you would like to check out any, or all, of these museums, get in touch with our travel team who can tailor any one of our Moscow and Saint Petersburg tours to your needs.
For more inspiration, follow us on Instagram for some incredible images of Russia and the Trans-Siberian railway.