This peerless art museum is in Klosterneuburg, near the 12th-century Augustinian monastery of the same name in Lower Austria. Housed in a futuristic gallery designed by innovative architect Heinz Tesar and built in 1999, the Essl holds one of the most important private collections of contemporary art in Europe. The lovechild of Agnes and Karlheinz Essl, it has more than 7,000 pieces of artwork, ranging from paintings to sculpture, video, wacky installations and photography, all beautifully arrayed in spacious, light-flooded glass galleries that reflect light back from the River Danube floating past outside. Pieces are rotated on a regular basis, with the museum curating up to ten exhibitions a year and drawing on its repository of great names such as Gerhard Richter, Frank Stella and Georg Baselitz. Despite 40 works being sold off in late 2014 to prop up Karlheinz Essl’s family chain of hardware shops, the collection not been diminished and continues to showcase the very best of post-war European art.
An der Donau-Au 1, 3400 Klosterneuburg. Open Tue, Thur–Sun 10am–6pm, Wed 10am–9pm. Admission is adults €7, aged under 19 free. A free shuttle bus leaves Albertinaplatz from Tue–Sun at 10am, 12 noon, 2pm & 4pm for the Essl Museum, which is 20 minutes outside the city center.