Describing the Albertina is challenging. Is it an art museum inside a palace? Or a palace inside an art museum? The happy answer is…both.
- One of the world’s great art museums
- Permanent display full of top names
- Don’t forget the palace staterooms inside
- Selected special exhibitions:
- VALIE EXPORT Retrospective (until October 1st)
- Book Albertina tickets* online
- See also:
- 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 three parts:
- A set of modern galleries that include the permanent art display full of artistic greats and other such names beginning from around the time of French impressionism. Picasso, for example, has a gallery to himself
- Several high-quality special art exhibitions
- A self-guided tour of the Albertina staterooms in all their 19th-century majesty
(The museum from below)
As well as pulling in loans from various prestigious institutions for the special 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.
Dürer’s famous hare, for example, last popped out of its carefully-regulated storage in 2019 for the Dürer exhibition. Who knows when we can see it again? (The final section of the staterooms does include a facsimile of the work).
What you do get to see depends on when you go. And, 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 global stars of historical, modern and contemporary art: the headliners that get all the press and visitor interest. Bruegel and Basquiat. Rembrandt and Roy Lichtenstein.
But you also have exhibitions featuring artists with less extensive 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 drawings from the Netherlands.)
The permanent exhibition is a treat, as are the staterooms. So these special exhibitions form the delicious icing on a particularly tasteful, well-framed cake.
For a second helping of top art, be sure to also visit the Albertina’s other location not far away on Karlsplatz square.
The Albertina Modern features its own exhibitions that focus on 20th and 21st century 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. Upgrade options include a joint ticket with the Albertina Modern.
- Before you go in, walk along the front for a raised view of the State Opera House and a nice view across the Burggarten park to the majestic Neue Burg wing of the Habsburg’s Hofburg palace complex
- 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 on the steps below this equestrian statue in one of the final scenes
(The view you see in Before Sunrise)
- 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 catalogues, 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 Café Mozart coffee house opposite the Albertina is one of the traditional ones that Vienna does so well. And just below the museum is the Bitzinger sausage stand, which enjoys an excellent reputation (as you can tell from the queues that often build up there)
- Another near neighbour is the Heidi Horten Collection, which provides a public showcase for a prestigious private collection of modern and contemporary art
How to get to the Albertina
The museum is very central, sitting between the Hofburg palace complex and the State Opera House, 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. Go to Stephansdom (U1 and U3 lines) or 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. Get out at Kärntner Ring/Oper (lines 1, 2, 62, 71 and D) or Burgring (lines 1, 2, 71 and D).
Address: Albertinaplatz 1, 1010 Vienna | Website