Describing the Albertina is challenging.
Is it an art museum inside a palace? Or a palace inside an art museum?
And the happy answer is…both.
- One of the world’s great art museums
- Permanent exhibition full of renowned names
- Don’t forget the palace staterooms inside
- Selected current & future temporary exhibitions:
- See also:
- Book Albertina tickets* online
- Selected past Albertina exhibitions
- Art exhibitions in Vienna
Quick Albertina tickets
(Booking service provided by Tiqets.com*, who I am an affiliate of)
Inside the Albertina
A visit to the Albertina consist of two parts:
- A self-guided tour of the Albertina staterooms in all their 19th-century majesty
- A set of modern galleries that includes:
- The permanent art display full of Picassos and other such names beginning from around the time of French impressionism
- One or (more usually) several international-quality temporary art exhibitions
As well as pulling in loans from various prestigious institutions for the exhibitions, the Albertina also draws on its own in-house art collection.
Actually, collection is perhaps too small a word.
The museum has stewardship over more than 1,000,000 items. These cover everything from Dürer to Degas, Raphael to Renoir, Michelangelo to Magritte, and (much) more. A treasure trove of delights from the graphic arts, photography and architecture.
All of which would take a lot of string and nails to put up, not to mention space.
Which is why most of the Albertina collection is inevitably and unfortunately not on show. Besides, many of the older, precious items are too fragile for permanent display.
What you do get to see depends on when you go; after several visits, I’ve come to really appreciate the mix of exhibitions put on by the Albertina.
You have what you might call exhibitions featuring the stars of global art from both history and the modern day: the headliners that get all the press interest.
But you also have exhibitions featuring artists with some international reach, and other exhibitions that introduce us to lesser-known or local names that deserve wider recognition. Not to mention themed events like one on renaissance etchings.
The good news is that the permanent exhibition is a treat, as are the staterooms. So the temporary exhibitions form the delicious icing on a particularly tasteful, well-framed cake.
The Albertina recently opened a second location on Karlsplatz square. The Albertina Modern features its own exhibitions that focus on more recent art (as the name suggests). Those I’ve seen certainly continue the Albertinian tradition of excellence.
(I made up the word Albertinian, but it sounds plausible.)
Ticket and visitor tips
An entrance ticket* for the Albertina includes the exhibitions within and upgrade options to include the Albertina Modern.
- Before you go in, walk along the raised front for a perfect view of the State Opera House and a nice view across the Burggarten to the Neue Burg palace wing
- Fans of the movie Before Sunrise should also look for the Albrecht monument on the small open area in front of the main entrance. Jesse and Céline sat below this equestrian statue in one of the final scenes
- The museum has a cloakroom at the entrance. If you go further in and down some stairs, you’ll also find free coin-operated lockers
- Access to the Albertina museum shop does not require a ticket. This is where to get your prints, posters and postcards, not to mention those Monet napkins, Dürer mousepads, and Miró fridge magnets you always wanted
- Once inside, also look out the windows into the palace courtyards. Notice the plain nature of the facades – as is usual with buildings of this nature. After all, you invest your money in the ornamentation that most people will actually see, namely your outside walls
- The coffee house opposite the Albertina (Café Mozart) is one of the traditional ones that Vienna does so well. Just below the museum is the Bitzinger sausage stand, which enjoys an excellent reputation (reflected in the queues that often build up there)
- Another near neighbour is the Heidi Horten Collection which provides a showcase for a prestigious private collection of modern and contemporary art
How to get to the Albertina
The museum is very central, sitting behind the Hofburg palace complex and close to the ancient Augustinerkirche church and above the Albrechtsbrunnen wall fountain. You pass it, for example, on my suggested self-guided walking tour of Vienna.
Subway: nearest stations are around 4-6 minutes away on foot – Stephansdom (U1 and U3 lines) and Karlsplatz (U1, U2 and U4 lines).
Bus: take the 2A to Albertinaplatz.
Tram: the closest tram stops are on the nearby Ring boulevard, and just a few minutes walk away – Kärntner Ring/Oper (lines 1, 2, 62, 71 and D) and Burgring (lines 1, 2, 71 and D).
Address: Albertinaplatz 1, 1010 Vienna | Website