There is nothing like a few good strange, offbeat and quirky museums to add a unique, memorable twist to your travels. For the last decade I’ve been crisscrossing the globe and visiting every weird museum I stumble across with a simple motto: the stranger, the better!
Turns out that Central Europe is home to a variety of unique museums dedicated to pinball, carnivals, firearms, liquor, perfume, toys, cars, clocks, and even water. If you are visiting Hungary, Slovakia, Switzerland or Germany anytime soon, be sure to check out these gems!
Given the rich history of Hungary’s capital city, it should be no surprise that Budapest has plenty of unique, offbeat sights and activities. When it comes to quirky museums, the Pinball Museum is a great way to feel like a kid again, or for travelers on a family vacation.
Zwack Unicum Museum
The best museum in town, at least for alcoholics people who enjoy the occasional drink (such as myself), is the Zwack Unicum Museum. It is a great way to learn about the national drink of Hungary.
BONUS Other intriguing museums include the Hospital in the Rock, Terror Háza, and The Golden Eagle Pharmacy Museum. There is even an underground church inside a cave in Gellert Hill. More Unique & Offbeat Budapest Museums
Moulagenmuseum (Moulage Museum)
A moulage is a casting or wax molding of an injury or disease that is used to train medical professionals and emergency responders. Why do you need to know this? Because Zurich is home to the world’s second largest collection of moulages — the aptly-named Moulagenmuseum. Who wouldn’t want to see a gallery of over 2,000 wax models of skin diseases?
Medizinhistorisches Museum (Medical Museum)
Sticking with this medical theme, why not make a day of it and also visit the Medizinhistorisches Museum. One look at the questionable history of medical devices and you’ll be glad you live in the 21st century.
BONUS For even more offbeat fun, 30 minutes from Zürich is the Pegasus Small World Toy Museum in Aeugst am Albis. And one hour away from Zurich in Sissach is the Henkermuseum, a large collection of authentic medieval torture devices.
Given the city is renowned for their fashion and art scene, it was a bit of a surprise to discover that Düsseldorf does not have any truly offbeat museums. If you are traveling with kids, the Neanderthal Museum is a must. It is located on the site of the first Neanderthal man ever discovered and features an exhibits centered around human evolution and life in the Stone Age.
Classic Remise Düsseldorf
Located inside a historic roundhouse for locomotives, the Classic Remise Düsseldorf is fascinating and a must-visit for automobile enthusiasts. Even the building itself is an architectural beauty. Classic Remise is so much more than just a museum. In addition to a stunning collection of vintage cars there are also shops for spare parts, clothing, model cars, auto accessories and more.
BONUS You can also find a few cool, quirky museums located just outside the city. For example, learn more about voodoo by visiting the out-of-place but extremely interesting Soul of Africa Museum just 30 minutes away in Essen.
Kölner Karnevalsmuseum (Cologne Carnival Museum)
Tucked away on the west side of Cologne lies Kölner Karnevalsmuseum — the Cologne Carnival Museum. It is a fascinating glimpse into carnival life, both past and present.
Farina Fragrance Museum
To learn more about perfume, take a trip to the Farina Fragrance Museum. Inside you’ll learn all about the history and production of perfume. The building itself, which was built is 1709, is the oldest fragrance factory in the world.
Museum Of Arms
Slovakia’s capital and largest city is Bratislava, which has no shortage of museums. However, only a few of them are interesting enough to be included here. Gun and weapon enthusiasts will be fascinated by the Museum of Arms, which covers not only weapons and their production but also the history of the town and its fortifications.
Museum Of Clocks
The Museum of Clocks houses a collection of antique clocks spanning three centuries and is an ode to Bratislava clock-makers. Oh and don’t forget about the Water Museum, where you can learn more about the history and technology behind the city’s waterworks.