Real Russia Blog

The Most Popular Museums in Europe, According to Instagram

The Most Popular Museums in Europe, According to Instagram

Four Russian museums in the top 50!

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.

Our research

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 results

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.

EN:We're kicking off a new hashtag, #VaticaninFocus, to share the best glimpses of this sacred place that's so full of history. Use it as well when you share your own pics of the Vatican! We'll publish the best on our @VaticanNews account. ES: Hemos pensando este nuevo hashtag para compartir con ustedes imágenes de lugares bellos y significativos del Vaticano: #VaticanInFocus. Úsenlo también ustedes para compartir sus fotos del Vaticano; publicaremos las mejores en nuestra cuenta @VaticanNews. PT: Pensamos numa nova hashtag, #VaticanInFocus, para contar os ângulos mais belos e densos de história e sacralidade do Vaticano. Use você também para compartilhar suas fotos do Vaticano, publicaremos as melhores na conta do @VaticanNews IT: Abbiamo pensato a un nuovo hashtag, #VaticanInFocus, per raccontare gli scorci più belli e densi di storia e sacralità di questi luoghi. Usatelo anche voi per condividere i vostri scatti in Vaticano, pubblicheremo i migliori sull'account di @VaticanNews

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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.

Real Russia Blog

Meet the team: Yuriy Legepekov

Meet the team: Yuriy Legepekov

Our Travel Specialist in Volzhsky, Russia

Here at Real Russia we have a well-established team of highly experienced specialists, who are happy to give independent, expert advice and assistance with your travel needs; finding your perfect destination within Russia and the surrounding countries, as well as along the Trans-Siberian railway. In our continuing blog series we have been introducing you to the people that make Real Russia special, the Real Russia team.

Today we shall be meeting Yuriy, so let’s go!

Yuriy Legepekov, Real Russia Travel Specialist

Yuriy has been working at Real Russia for more than nine years. He graduated from Volgograd University of Humanities in 2007 with a Master’s Degree in Linguistics. He is married and has a three years old son, Ivan. This year, Yuriy embarked on a trip to discover Moscow and towns of the Russian Golden Ring.

What is your favourite place in Moscow?

The place I enjoyed the most was the area in the centre of Moscow, with the narrow old streets behind the Kremlin, with richly decorated historic houses, stone-block pavement, street artists and musicians, cosy coffee-shops and eateries.

There's a stereotype that you can't have a relaxing quiet evening in roaring and vibrant Moscow … well, I would totally disagree to that! The area around the Kremlin offers tens of atmospheric pedestrian streets and lanes to explore and enjoy – Kamergersky Lane, Varvarka Street, Lavrushensky Lane, Bolshaya Nikitskaya Street, and many more just waiting to be discovered!

Which excursions in Moscow from Real Russia’s range would you suggest to a tourist visiting Moscow for the first time?

Moscow for me is a huge multi-layer canvas with many scenes, neat lines and patterns. If you try to see all what's worth to see there, it will take weeks. And since most of the foreign tourists have only two to three days, I'd recommend the following ‘Crash Course in Moscow’, which includes:

City Tour and visit inside St. Basils Cathedral

The magnificent Red Square with Mausoleum and St. Basil's Cathedral (I bet you'll make at least a hundred pictures of it!), are your first ‘must-see’ places. The changing of the guard at the Eternal Flame is a procession which will make you hold your breath with excitement, stretching your arms and camera up over the crowd. Panoramic views of the Moskva River and monumental Cathedral of Christ the Saviour will pop up before your eyes every time you think of Moscow again. Of course, a visit to the famous GUM on Red Square, a department store, where Soviet-era style goes hand in hand with capitalist glamour, and both shine with happiness. Don't miss the pleasure of tasting the legendary Soviet ice-cream, produced exclusively at this place.

The Kremlin and Cathedrals

No Moscow experience will be complete without seeing the inside of the Kremlin (which, in Russian, means ‘fortress’) in the heart of Moscow. It's time to see the star-topped towers and find out through which gate Vladimir Putin drives in to work, and see the place where he sits – the President’s Palace. You won't be able to resist the beauty of the architecture and rich history it hides. The Tsar Cannon, Tsar Bell and Cathedral Square – with glittering golden domes under the blue sky – will reveal hidden El Dorado behind the Kremlin walls on the Red Square. I didn't even mention the diamonds at the Kremlin's Diamond Fund. Not to be missed!

Arbat Street and Moscow Metro

After seeing the head of Moscow, it wouldn't be fair to go without seeing its heart, Arbat Street – the famous Moscow promenade, and subway, one of the most beautiful in the world. Arbat is a wonderful place to feel Moscow's informal life, and buy Russian souvenirs.

The Moscow Metro tour will take you through the most notable metro stations, the inner beauty of which can be compared to a palace or cathedral halls with mosaics, sculptures, stained glass artworks, moulding and chandeliers. Every metro station is unique and themed.

What museum in Moscow would you especially recommend?

Every person to their own taste here! Since I know it, I'll recommend a few to hit yours.

For history amateurs:
The Armoury Chamber. You can do it in one shot with a visit inside the Kremlin. A magnificent collection of artefacts of Russian history, including royal regalia of the Russian Empire, thrones, jewellery and Fabergé eggs.
For lovers of fine art:
The Tretyakov Gallery, one of the most famous in the world, housing an epic collection of the Russian art. If you enjoyed the Louvre and Tate Galleries, it would be a crime for you to miss it!
For tech-geeks:
Bunker 42. The only underground nuclear vault in the world which can be visited as a museum. The exhibition is devoted to the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis, and includes a mock-nuclear attack. To say it's impressive, is to say nothing.

Which city in Russia is your favourite?

As a lover of history and fine architecture, I'll give my preference to the two most notable cities in Russia – Moscow and St. Petersburg. ‘Too predictable’, you might say. And I will answer, “For a reason!’ So different they are – a big-bellied jolly merchant Moscow, and a tall, mannered aristocrat St. Petersburg, yet so Russian! In our country many people seem to dislike Moscow for being overcrowded and noisy, and tend to think much warmer about St. Petersburg – the ‘cultural capital’.
As for me, I wouldn't prefer one over the other, as visiting each of them is a unique experience, which will make you wonder how different Russia can be.

Also, an honourable mention will go to Suzdal – the essence of the Golden Ring region of Russia. As tranquil and peaceful as a natural reserve, with its roots going deep into ancient Russian times, Suzdal has the atmosphere and charm of a small ancient town. Taste Russian cuisine with vodka at a traditional tavern, and think of the past ages, meditating at twilight on the hill over green fields, patched with old churches and monasteries.

What are your favourite destinations abroad?

So far, I have been to Prague, Turkey and Tunisia. The latter was especially exciting to me, reminding me of the Indiana Jones movies, and raising my interest in adventuring to other exotic places, like India, Tibet and Vietnam.
All lands of Eastern Europe, in the past populated by Slavonic tribes, including Poland, Belarus and Ukraine, appeal to me as well. These cultures have a lot in common with Russia, and I'm always happy to discover the similarities.

Among western European countries, I'm mostly attracted by Scotland, France and Italy. I love travelling and believe that spending money on travelling around the world is the best reason for getting rich!

We asked Yuriy to tell us a little about his hobbies and pursuits, and received a very emotional answer!

I enjoy listening to music, tons of it! Mostly classic and alternative rock (1960’s to the 1990’s), ambient and electronic. In tune with my hobby, I wear headphones most of the time and because of it many people think I am dreamy and withdrawn, which is partially true due to my introvert type. Nevertheless, many friends call me a ‘music guru’, which sounds more appealing to me! Sometimes I listen to styles I don't really like, just to keep myself up-to-date. My second passion after music is playing videogames on PS4.

Besides these two, I love cross-country biking and travelling. I read quite lot too, preferring historical books and biographies.

Reaching 10 years of working in travel, Yuriy thinks that he has found his dream-job.

What does it mean for you to work at Real Russia?

Many people would get bored working in the same job for that many years. As for me, I think that I'm doing more than a job. Many customers come to me saying that travelling to Russia was their dream. So, what I am doing is helping them to fulfil their dreams. And if making dreams come true is not a ‘dream job’ itself, than I don't know what is! Honestly, it's been (and still is) a fantastic time for me, with a great opportunity to communicate with people from around the world. And for me it is job to boast of!

I always believed that Real Russia is a ‘magic’ company. Don't ask me why, I don't want to spoil your surprise! Just try us and see for yourself.

We are grateful to Yuriy for his fantastic interview, and for sharing his Moscow insights. We hope that you have found some of the answers to question about Russia that you had; if not, ask your questions in the comments, or on our Facebook and Twitter pages. To read other interviews with our team members, click here.

If you wold like a helping hand in designing your perfect travel itinerary, or anything from train booking to applying for a visa, please contact our travel specialists.