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On the road: five must-see museums

By Sarah Barrell 23/07/2013

If you are mapping out your road trip to Europe this summer, here is our guide to the best museums to see en route.

1. Dunkirk: The Mémorial du Souvenir Museum

Dunkirk’s Mémorial du Souvenir museum features tank turrets, artillery pieces and more alongside documentary footage to build an evocative picture of the 1940 evacuation of British troops from mainland Europe. Built into the port’s fortified casemates, this atmospheric venue tells the story of the Battle of France and the events leading up to Operation Dynamo.

2. Ostend: The Amandine trawler

The Amandine trawler plied the wild waters of Iceland before coming into dock permanently as a museum in Ostend’s Fisherman’s Quay. And, just a five-minute walk away is the beautiful three-mast Mercator, which was built in Scotland in 1932 and went on to sail 54 voyages all over the world.

3. Bruges: The Groeningemuseum

The City Museum of Fine Arts (the Groeningemuseum) has some of the world’s best early Flemish paintings, notably by Jan van Eyck, who worked in Bruges in the 1400s. Along with his extraordinary realist portraits, there are some key works by Gerard David and Jan Provoost, too.

4. Rotterdam: The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen houses a serious cache of arts, from old masters to modern and contemporary conceptual works, plus applied arts and design. Its temporary exhibitions are always headline-grabbing, while the permanent collection showcases regional talent with works from Breugel to Bosch, Dali to Magritte and more.

5. Rotterdam: The Chabot Museum

Dutch expressionist Henk Chabot is treasured in his home country but little known to outsiders, which is a pity. A renowned painter and sculptor, he was a prolific artist, producing works that are as striking as the white 1930s Art Deco villa that now houses them.

Tips for the road ahead

Before driving abroad, it's a good idea to check foreign rules of the road and whether your car insurance includes European cover. There are some unusual overseas' driving laws; in France, for example, it is now a legal requirement to carry a breathalyser in your car.

Find more information in our guide to driving in Europe.

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