• 16 January 2018

Travel and art are like a cup of coffee and a good book – it just goes. If you travel for the love of art, chances are you’ve got a bucket list of top destinations as long as your arm. We’ve rounded up a few of the cities that are bound to excite your creative side!

1. Detroit (USA)

The Detroit Industry Murals. They are twenty-seven panels depicting the Ford Motor Company. Together they surround the Rivera Court in the Detroit Institute of Arts (by artist Diego Rivera)

Probably best-known for Motown music and muscle cars, Detroit is now also one of the most exciting art destinations in the USA. For the past several years, this tough, gritty city has taken on the role of the USA’s very own Berlin. Young artists flock here to avoid the bustle and steep rent along the coasts. This makes it a hotbed for innovation. The renowned Galapagos Art Space moved to Motown from Brooklyn in 2015. They’re striving to invigorate the local scene with a biennial event. Working in collaboration with local curators and galleries, they nurture and support local artists. The result is an ever-growing number of artists whose work imbue the city with new verve and vigor.

Top things to do & see: Detroit Artists Market | Art Detroit Now (events) | Detroit Institute of Art Museum

2. Johannesburg (South Africa)

After 50 years of serving as a power station – the Soweto Towers have now become an artistic sight

Cape Town was long hailed as the creative hub of South Africa. However, with more young artists making their way to the City of Gold (Egoli as Joburg is known in isiZulu), Johannesburg is now the place to be. What was once only known as SA’s economic center, has now become an artistic boomtown. The city even has a public art policy. This means the authorities spend a portion of their regeneration budget on public art. The Maboneng area of Joburg has been transformed from an industrial stopover, to a burgeoning culture hub. Here, many makers have their own studios or galleries, which are open to visits from the public. Look out for First Thursdays. On these dates, galleries stay open late and the streets are alive with art lovers.

Top things to do & see: Past Experiences Graffiti Tour | Gauteng International Art Festival (event) | Wits Art Museum

3. Montreal (Canada)

Montreal Fine Arts Museum with a Beautiful Sculpture of Chihuly (the Sun)

Montreal was recently mentioned as one of the top cities to live for artists at the beginning of their career. This means it is full of young, up-and-coming makers with exciting ideas. And you know what that means – exciting new art! Some of Canada’s best indie designers and fashion magazines are also based in Montreal. The city is designed for an active street life and it lives up to this design expectation.

Top things to do & see: Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal | Spade & Palacio Mural tour (guided, pre-booked excursion) | Festival Mtl en Arts (event)

4. Athens (Greece)

Exhibition of Burning Man outside of National Museum of Contemporary Art

Move over Rome, Athens is where it’s at! While Italy’s capital may be renowned as the birthplace of the classic arts, it’s her Greek counterpart that brings it to life on a contemporary level. Political fragility has shaken up the art scene with undeniable force. This has lead to the establishment of a whopping 50+ art collectives that host pop-up shows and permanent in-house makers. In short: the perfect breeding ground for some top-notch creatives!

Top things to do & see: Athens Walking Tours (guided, pre-booked excursion) | Athens Digital Art Festival | National Museum of Contemporary Art

5. Barcelona (Spain)

Barcelona is a city filled with colour and art

Barcelona has been on the map for ages thanks to the incredible works of Antoni Gaudi. This city is alive with contemporary art! So much so, it spills from almost every nook and cranny. Exceptional street art abounds. There are also a great calendar of annual and once-off exhibitions and events to enjoy. Not to mention the MEAM European Museum of Modern Art!

Top spots to visit: Barcelona Street Style Tour (guided, pre-booked excursion) | Current art exhibitions | MEAM European Museum of Modern Art

6. Paris (France)

A fountain at Centre Pompidou, National Modern Art Museum

Paris has perfected the balance between preserving old art, and introducing new, exciting contemporary art. The capital of France was regarded as the forerunner of art in Europe, since the 12th Century! And the Louvre has been, and still remains, one of the biggest drawing cards for a visit to France. But there are numerous art museums that command the attention of art lovers. One of them being the Center Pompidou, where the exhibitions at are open to the public. The Modern Art Museum of the City of Paris houses one of the biggest collections of modern and contemporary art in France. And Le Centquatre-Paris forms a bridge between innovation and art.

Top spots to visit: National Museum of Modern Art at Center PompidouModern Art Museum of the City of ParisLe Centquatre-Paris

7. Vienna (Austria)

Hundertwasser Haus was designed by the well-known Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, alongside the architect Josef Cravinho

Vienna is where Baroque comes to life, the city is surrounded the architecture, music and art of the 18th Century movement. The contemporary art scene has now joined the stage with the classics. A prime example of this partnership is the Kunst Haus Wein. Here, two floors are dedicated to the works of Friedensreich Hundertwasser –  and two other floors are constantly changing with contemporary art exhibitions. Similarly, the Leopold Museum is famous for its modern art collections.

Contemporary art spots: Museum HundertwasserLeopold MuseumMumok

8. London (United Kingdom)

The Whitechapel Gallery say, “Our history has always been the future.”

London has been an art destination for centuries with museums like Dulwich Picture Gallery, which opened in 1817 and is still exhibiting today. But more recently London as been making waves in the contemporary and modern art world. Art exhibitions in London have been known to push the boundaries and introduce new movements. One of our picks, the Whitechapel Gallery is no different. With exhibitions for artists including the likes of Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Mark Wallinger and many more. This is also a space that invites artists and the public all-year round, for free.

Top places to visit: Tate ModernWhitechapel GallerySouth London Gallery


These are 8 of the most exciting  art cities to visit in 2018. The world is a big place with plenty of inspiring makers – have at it!

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