Industrial tourism has seen renewed interest in recent years, with a substantial rise in the popularity of attractions that enable visitors to explore manufacture and production processes.
10 of Europe’s industrial tourism hotspots
From traditional craftsmanship to cutting-edge technology, this month we’re showcasing just some of Europe’s many factory tours, industrial museums, and brand visitor centres which provide an insight into manufacturing heritage and modern production processes.
Throughout history, Europe has played a pivotal role in industrial revolution and innovation and remains a world-leading manufacturer in sectors as diverse as food and beverage, transport, and luxury goods:
1. Volkswagen Autostadt Factory & AutoMuseum – Wolfsburg, Germany
With up to 4,000 vehicles produced daily, visitors to the Autostadt site can witness a car being fully assembled in approximately two hours. In addition, there is also themed exhibitions, the ZeitHaus Museum, and the spectacular Car Towers – a 48-metre-tall glass structure designed to store brand new cars.
2. Guinness Storehouse – Dublin, Ireland
Voted World Travel Awards’ leading European tourist attraction, at the iconic Storehouse visitors can discover the history of Guinness before enjoying a tasting session in one of the bars, with epic views over the Dublin skyline.
3. Murano Glass Factory & Museo Vetrario – Murano, Venice, Italy
Artisans have been producing glass in Murano since the 13th century and several factories offer guided tours and glass-blowing demonstrations, including the traditional Murano Glass Factory. Tourists can also explore the Museo Vetrario – or the Museum of Glass – to learn about the history of Venetian glassmaking while witnessing examples of precious glassware dating back to the Egyptian era.
4. The Heineken Experience – Amsterdam, Holland
With an interactive tour through the former brewery of one of the world’s largest beer producers, the Experience showcases the brand’s history, brewing process, and technological innovations, culminating with a drink in the Heineken Museum bar.
5. Parfumerie Fragonard & museum – Grasse, South of France
Constructed in 1782, a tour of the historic Fragonard factory demonstrates perfume production while taking in the perfume workshops, laboratory and distillery. The
museum features scent bottles and cosmetic relics dating back to ancient times.
6. Cadbury World – Birmingham, England
Located on the brand’s Bournville manufacturing site, the multimedia experience showcases Cadbury’s heritage, production and packaging processes as well as a gift shop and chocolate-themed café.
7. Airbus Assembly & Aeroscopia Museum – Toulouse-Blagnac, France
Visitors can take a guided tour of the expansive Airbus final assembly plant – including the production line of the world’s largest passenger airliner, the A380 – before exploring the museum of aviation.
8. BMW World / BMW Welt – Munich, Germany
At Bavaria’s most popular attraction, visitors can learn about the brand’s history and future; see BMW Group’s latest products in a state-of-the-art showroom; and discover Germany’s automotive heritage in the nearby museum.
9. voestalpine Stahlwelt – Linz, Austria
The innovative manufacturer offers an exhibition at the visitor centre and an exciting plant tour, on multimedia buses, for a behind-the-scenes look at the steel-making process.
10. Swarovski Crystal Worlds / Kristallwelten – Innsbruck, Austria
Best-known for producing crystal jewellery and collectables – in addition to optical instruments, such as telescopes and binoculars, and tools and machines – Swarovski’s Crystal Worlds is a dazzling series of gardens and Chambers of Wonder featuring crystal-inspired art installations.
Please get in touch to speak to one of our European travel experts about a tailor-made industrial tourism itinerary for your clients.