Lonely Planet Writer

The top 10 most visited museums around the world have been revealed

The top 10 most visited museums around the world have been revealed, following a statistical analysis of attendance numbers taken last year. The results come from an index released by the Themed Entertainment Association, an international non-profit organisation working within the hospitality and entertainment field. The index accounts for a total of 107.8 million visitors to museums in total, showing an increase of 1.3 million people on the results from last year.

Attendance grew by 1.2% overall, while Museums in Europe, North America and Asia dominated the top 10 most visited list.

1. National Museum of China, Beijing

The National Museum of China in Beijing had the most visitors of any museum in the world last year.
The National Museum of China in Beijing had the most visitors of any museum in the world last year. Image by testing/Shutterstock

Having had a staggering seven million, five hundred and fifty thousand visitors, the National Museum of China claimed the top spot and saw a growth of 3.6% on last year’s figures. Founded in 2003 and based on the merging of two previous museums, the National Museum of Chinese History and the National Museum of Chinese Revolution, the free attraction is located on the east side of Tiananmen Square.

2. National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC

The National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.
The National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. Image by Pedro Szekelly / CC BY 2.0

With thousands of objects on display, including the 1903 Wright Flyer and the Apollo 11 Command Module, the Smithsonian National Air and Space museum welcomed seven million, five hundred thousand people to its Washington DC location last year.

3. Louvre, Paris

The famous Louvre in Paris.
The famous Louvre in Paris. Image by Pigprox/Shutterstock

The world’s largest and arguably most famous museum proved to be the most visited one in Europe, attracting seven million four thousand people, despite the fact that visitor numbers fell by 14.9%.

4. National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC

National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC
The Washington DC museum claimed the title of fourth most visited museum in the world. Image by Barbara Noe Kennedy/Lonely Planet

Another member of the Smithsonian Institute, the National Museum of Natural History saw a growth of 2.9% in visitor numbers over 2015.

5. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
An illuminated fountain outside the museum. Image by Joe Josephs/500px

The largest museum in the United States, the much loved Met claimed fifth position in 2016.

6. British Museum, London

The interior of the British Museum in London.
The interior of the British Museum in London. Image by Anna Levan/Shutterstock

Located in the Bloomsbury area of London, the British Museum holds a vast collection of artefacts and world art that proved popular with visitors.

7. Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, Shanghai

The exterior of the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum.
The exterior of the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum. Image by Harald Groven

Boasting an exhibition space of 65,500 square metres, the museum saw a 6.2% visitor growth on the previous year.

8. National Gallery, London

London's National Gallery was the 8th most visited museum in the world last year.
London’s National Gallery was the 8th most visited museum in the world last year. Image by Marco Rubino/Shutterstock

Located at Trafalgar Square in the heart of London, the National Gallery proved to be a big draw last year, attracting over six million people.

9. Vatican Museums, Vatican City

Vatican Museum Vatican City
The Vatican Museums proved as popular as ever with tourists and locals. Image by David Aschkenas/Getty Images

Showcasing some of the most famous renaissance art in the world as well as the collections built by different Popes throughout the centuries, the Vatican Museums proved as popular as ever, showing a 1.1% growth in visitor numbers.

10. Tate Modern, London

London's Tate Modern museum against a purple sky.
London’s Tate Modern museum against a purple sky. Image by chrisdorney/Shutterstock

Housing a collection of British art from 1500 to the present day, the Tate Modern saw a large increase in visitors, growing 23.9% over the previous year.