With the Rio Olympics upon us, I thought you might enjoy a couple of the world’s best Olympic museums – including one museum that’s one of the best I’ve ever enjoyed.

Start in Barcelona, the home of the 1992 Summer Olympics, for the Barcelona Olympic Museum (Museu Olimpic i de l’esport). While not solely focused on the Olympics, the sports not represented in the Summer or Winter Olympics are acknowledged and celebrated.


It’s not every day you see a race car mounted to a wall… There’s plenty of English on the panels, by the way.


Just a few of the Olympic torches over the years.


…followed by some large examples of the licensed mascots.


…and then there’s this guy. The ‘sun’ character was part of Barcelona’s opening ceremony…. but egad that’s a crazy looking face mask…


One of the interactive parts of the museum – race against the figure, or let your kids try the long jump!


One section shows a bunch of the old Olympics logos – this one was especially trippy.


And then there’s the bicycle built for 12 after the escalator. Produced and ridden by the Sisquillo family, the bicycle must have been a sight when a dozen people rode by…

Overall, it’s a sports museum first and an Olympics museum second. There’s an excellent representation of women (though calling Mia Hamm ‘the best football player in history’ might be taking it a bit far) and .

Name: Olympic Museum (Museu Olimpic i de l’esport AKA Museo Olímpico Y Del Deporte Joan Antoni Samaranch)
Address: Av. de l’Estadi, 60, 08038, Barcelona 93 292 35 79  (GPS: 41.366176, 2.157540)
Directions: Funicular train station (Parallel), cross road and take bus 150 to the Olympic stadium on your right.
Hours:10am-8pm (April-September) 10am-6pm (October-March), 10am-2:30pm (Sundays from Oct-Mar), free on Sept 24th.
Admission: 5.10 €, 3.20 € for students, free under 7 (free with Barcelona card)
Phone: +34 932 92 53 79
Website: http://www.museuolimpicbcn.cat

Ratings out of 5 globes (How do I rate destinations?)

Ease to arrive:




Convenience facilities:


Worth the visit:


And then there’s the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland…


Switzerland is far from the cheapest European destination (I’ve covered how to handle that, though), but the Olympic Museum in Lausanne is a don’t-miss-out chance to appreciate the century-plus set of Olympics. Go on, get your picture taken with this trio from yesteryear…


…then try to name all the various sports by just their icons.


Another collection of Olympic torches, accompanied by some touchscreens with more details.


Where this Olympic Museum excels are the original tools used in previous games – naturally, the Swiss are only happy to show a bobsled.


Some of the previous figure skating costumes of gold medal winners of 1984 and 1988.


The highlight here – and some seriously world-class highlights at that – is the interactive stuff. The simulated biathlon shootings is harder than it looks!


Supposedly, a training game – on ‘go’, hit the light up button wherever it appears. The buttons from knee-level (for most adults) to a decent reach over your head. Meant for flexibility and quick reaction, it’s a decent way to loosen you up. Seen along the left side is a series of athletes across dozens of disciplines – a reminder that big, small, tall, and short people have gone onto Olympic glory.


You may not be in a position to win one for yourself, but you can at least see them all. Look for a very well done montage of opening ceremonies.

Overall, this is not a museum, but an experience that ends up being one of the very best muiseums I’ve ever enjoyed. Beyond the presentations, video, sound, and touchscreens, it’s also a well-designed building. You’ll enjoy a well-curated selection of history, superb interactive elements. It’s a gold standard for what a museum that never dreamed of a budget can be like.

Name: Olympic Museum (Le Musèe Olympique)
Address: Quai d’Ouchy 1, 1006 Lausanne, Switzerland  (GPS: 46.508732, 6.634088)
Directions: While bus 8 or 25 stops closest to the museum, you can walk here from the Délices metro station in about 600 meters (8-10 minutes). After exiting, head east on Avenue de Cour (later called Avenue de l’Elysee), pass the Musee de l’Elysee, then look for the museum on the right.
Hours: 9am-6pm (May-Oct 14), 10am-6pm (Oct 15 – April 30th, closed on Mondays)
Admission: 18 CHF (14 CHF with discount card)
Phone: +41 21 621 65 11
Website: www.olympic.org/museum

Ratings out of 5 globes (How do I rate destinations?)

Ease to arrive:

4.5 globes



Convenience facilities:

4.5 globes

Worth the visit:


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