6 curious museums in Europe
After enjoying some crisp autumn sunshine (or rain if you're not so lucky!), a museum can be the perfect place to get cosy and cultured after dark. And Europe is home to some of the world's best, with the likes of the Louvre, Tate, Uffizi and Rijksmuseum. But if you’ve seen them all, or you’re not a fan of the echoing halls of these cavernous spaces, consider adding one of these curious museums in Europe to your bucket list.
1. Museum of Broken Relationships | Zagreb, Croatia
Many people choose to forget broken relationships rather than immortalise them, but there’s something quite profound about Zagreb’s Museum of Broken Relationships. You’ll go from laughter to tears and back again as you walk the at-first seemingly underwhelming collection of items donated by romantics from around the world.
Getting there by rail: Zagreb is the main rail hub in Croatia. There are regular trains from Split, as well as international trains from Ljubljana, Vienna, Budapest, and Munich.
2. Mini Bottle Gallery | Oslo, Norway
If you’re obsessed with those small bottles of booze you get on planes, trains, and in hotel minibars, this is one museum for you. Oslo’s Mini Bottle Gallery claims to have the biggest collection of these tiny alcohol containers. And if looking at all that liquor has got you thirsty, there’s also a minibar on site!
Getting there by rail: Oslo is just a train ride away from several cities in Norway. There are also easy connections to the Swedish cities Stockholm and Gothenburg.
3. Hospital in the Rock | Budapest, Hungary
Budapest’s Hospital in the Rock museum offers a fascinating walk through the dark tunnels of a 1930s hospital. It’s carved beneath the famous Buda Castle and was built in preparation for the Second World War. It’s no longer in use, but human wax figures and fully-equipped operating theatres help lend a creepy edge to this unusual museum.
Getting there by rail: Budapest is a popular rail destination. There are regular trains to Budapest from Austria, Czech Republic, Slovenia and Bratislava. There are also overnight trains from further afield.
4. Old Operating Theatre | London, England
London isn’t short of world famous museums. But just because the Old Operating Theatre in London Bridge is small and understated, it doesn’t mean it’s any less powerful. The wood-panelled operating space offers a window into a not-so distant time when equipment was frighteningly rudimentary, and modern day developments such as effective anesthesia didn’t even exist.
Getting there by rail: You can reach London via the Eurostar from continental Europe. Regular trains leave from both Brussels and Paris.
5. Museum of Funeral Carriages | Barcelona, Spain
Once you've survived the historical medicine of the previous two museums, you'll be able to appreciate the morbid curios of this next one... This museum in Barcelona walks you through the ornate and often garish world of funeral transport. You’ll find carriages, hearses, and coaches in this slightly creepy attraction.
Getting there by rail: Barcelona is a busy rail hub in Spain. There are regular trains there from throughout the country. You can also catch easy connections from Paris and Marseille in France.
6. Katten Kabinet | Amsterdam, Netherlands
Ending with something a bit cosier, this may be one of Europe’s quirkiest and furriest on this list of curious museums. Dutchman William Meijer loved his cat so much that he founded an entire museum in its memory. You’ll find cat-themed artwork, household items and at least five cats purring away inside.
Getting there by rail: There are regular trains to Amsterdam from across the Netherlands and neighbouring countries.
Europe’s big museums are almost always worth a visit. However, going to one of these more offbeat attractions will leave you with equally profound memories and perhaps even greater insight into the country. So add some of these curious museums to your next Interrail trip!