Art lovers rejoice! Which are the most artistic cities in Europe?

What are the best cities in Europe for art lovers?
What are the best cities in Europe for art lovers? Copyright posterXXL - Canva
Copyright posterXXL - Canva
By David Mouriquand
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Wondering which European cities are the best when it comes to art? Check out the rankings...


Are you an art fan or an artist?

Have you been planning a city trip, are relocating to a European city, weighing up your options about where to study art, or just plain curious about which European cities have the most to offer artistically?

Well, posterXXL have got you covered.

The company is one of Germany's leading online dealers for personalized photo products and they’ve handily collected, analysed and ranked the most artistic cities in Europe, unveiling which European cities are havens for artists and art aficionados. 

They’ve based their metrics on the number of art galleries, the amount of buildings designed by famous architects, the quantity of art schools and art festivals, as well as the number of contemporary artists born in the city.

So, which are the most artistic cities in Europe?

Based on posterXXL’s five categories, London ranks overall as Number 1 city. 

The most artistic cities in EuropeposterXXL

The rest of the Top 5 destinations that stand out for art lovers are Amsterdam, Rome, Edinburgh and Oslo. Berlin narrowly missed the top 5, and somewhat surprisingly, Paris only comes in at 10, with Milan, Helsinki and Lyon all outshining the French capital.

Here’s the full breakdown:

The Top Art Galleries in Europe

European ranking for art galleriesposterXXL
  1. London (England)
  2. Prague (Czech Republic)
  3. Paris (France)
  4. Amsterdam (Netherlands)
  5. Milan (Italy)

London tops posterXXL’s ranking of the top art galleries. It's hard to argue, as the Brits do excel when it comes to museums. From Turner to Van Gogh, The National Gallery houses some of the most famous paintings in the world; the Design Museum is definitely worth your time, as well as the Natural History Museum and the Science museum. And let’s not forget the Tate Modern, home to numerous modern works of art. 

Prague comes in second, boasting the National Gallery (Národní galerie Praha) and the Kampa Museum, as two of its most popular art destinations. Paris is third in the ranking, with the French capital standing out with the Centre Pompidou, which houses the largest collection of modern art in Europe, the Musée de l’Orangerie, and of course, the Louvre.

Notable Architectural Buildings

European cities for architecture buildingsposterXXL
  1. Koeln (Germany)
  2. Helsinki (Finland)
  3. Antwerpen (Belgium)
  4. Leeds (England)
  5. Valencia (Spain)

London topples to the 12th spot, surpassed by cities like Lyon, Glasgow and Valencia for the top cities for architecture. Cologne nabs the number 1 spot, standing out with buildings designed by famous architects, such as the imposing Cologne Central Mosque or the Cologne Tower. 

Further up north, Helsinki takes second place, with the university library or its national museum. Antwerp is in third place, with buildings such as the modern Havenhuis or the imposing Antwerpen Centraal train station.

Must-visit Art Festivals in Europe

Art festivals in EuropeposterXXL
  1. Amsterdam (Netherlands)
  2. Bremen (Germany)
  3. Lyon (France)
  4. London (England)
  5. Hannover (Germany)

Amsterdam for the win the in the ranking for art festivals. Over 100 artists exhibit their work at This Art Fair and lovers of unconventional art performances and music get their money's worth at the No Art Festival. 

Bremen’s ArtFest, organized by the students of Jacobs University, and La Strada, which celebrates street art, earn the German city the second place on the podium. The top 3 is round off by Lyon, boasting a thriving art scene, chief amongst which the Lyon Biennale, which has established itself as an important event for contemporary art in France and Europe. 

Within the Top 10, Germany has the upper hand, with 4 out of the 10 spots going to Deutschland.

Well-known European Art Schools

European cities for art schoolsposterXXL
  1. Rome (Italy)
  2. Oslo (Norway)
  3. London (England)
  4. Turin (Italy)
  5. Amsterdam (Netherlands)

Art schools are crucial for an art metropolis to thrive. According to posterXXL’s findings, Rome is in first place with universities such as the Rome University of Fine Arts (RUFA) or the Accademia delle arti Roma. 

Oslo also offers vibrant opportunities for young artists, with training facilities such as the Oslo National Academy of the Arts or the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. London comes third, and remains one of the most popular destinations to study art and design. Take your pick: the Royal College of Art, the University of the Arts London, Goldsmiths University, the Slade School of Fine Art, Imperial College London. 


In the Top 10, France has the most sought-after art schools, with Toulouse, Paris and Lyon.

Birthplaces of Famous Contemporary Artists

European cities for artistsposterXXL
  1. London (England)
  2. Paris (France)
  3. Amsterdam (Netherlands)
  4. Vienna (Austria)
  5. Berlin (Germany)

London claims the top spot in posterXXL's ranking when it comes to contemporary artists. The English city is the birthplace of numerous artists such as Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley, James Nares and Richard Hamilton.

Paris is close behind, as the French capital has also produced some well-known contemporary artists, like Sophie Calle, Christian Boltanski, or Camille Henrot. Amsterdam is number 3 in the ranking, with the likes of Saskia de Brau, Rob Scholte and Inez Van Lamsweerde, who were born in the Dutch city.

For more information, head over to posterXXL’s full ranking.

Additional sources • posterXXL

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