This blog post was originally posted on February 5, 2013 and was updated on March 3, 2017.
Madrid is full of amazing museums and galleries, and there are some you simply cannot miss!
Though you may think that we spend all of our time eating tapas and drinking vermouth, we love to partake in the other cultural activities Madrid has to offer. There are plenty of things to do in Madrid beyond its bars and restaurants because—let’s face it—you can only eat so much.
If you want to dig a little deeper into the fine arts world of Madrid, there are countless places for you to turn to. Here’s our definitive guide to the most famous museums in Madrid.
It goes without saying that the Museo Nacional del Prado is one of the famous museums in Madrid — in fact, it’s the most famous, and for good reason. The permanent collection spans multiple styles, time periods and artists, and the temporary exhibitions never fail to impress. Make sure to visit the Goya paintings downstairs, including the room of his Black Paintings. You can also find art by Velázquez, El Greco and Hieronymus Bosch in the Prado—just to name a few!
Address: Paseo del Prado
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10:00 – 20:00; Sundays and bank holidays, 10:00 – 19:00
Price: 15 euros for general entry; free entry daily during the last two hours before closing
With over 1,000 works on display at any time, it’s easy to get overwhelmed in the Prado. Join us on the Behind-The-Scenes Botin Lunch & Prado Museum Tour for a 1.5 hour tour of the Prado with an expert guide.
When we get to the museum, you’ll skip the line with us and we’ll go straight in. We’ll visit about 20 of the Prado’s most famous artworks and our guide will put you on firm footing to appreciate and understand each painting. After the museum, our exclusive group of six will head to a century-old tavern for an aperitif and then sit down for an three-course meal at Botin, the oldest restaurant in the world! Join us on this tour for the essential Madrid experience.
The Reina Sofía
The Museo Reina Sofía is perhaps the second-most-famous museum in Madrid. Think of it as the modern art counterpart to the Prado. The building can be divided into two sections: the old and new wings. The former houses the permanent collection and the latter, the temporary expositions. The old building used to be a hospital and is designed as a square that surrounds a tranquil center courtyard. Every floor has its own gems, but the must-see piece is Picasso’s famous Guernica.
Address: Calle Santa Isabel, 52
Hours: Monday, Wednesday – Saturday, 10:00 – 21:00; Sundays and bank holidays, 10:00 – 19:00; closed on Tuesdays
Price: 8 euros for general entry; free entry Sundays after 13:30
Another one of the famous museums in Madrid that cannot be ignored is the Museo de Arte Thyssen-Bornemisza. The Thyssen, Prado and Reina Sofía together make up Madrid’s “Golden Triangle of Art.” During the 1990s, Madrid acquired a collection of 775 paintings from art collector Heinrich Freiherr Thyssen-Bornemisza. These pieces, some from artists as famous as Picasso and El Greco, hang in chronological order throughout the Thyssen. The collection is described as filling in the gaps in the Prado’s and Reina Sofía’s collections, and it provides visitors with more incredible artwork than they may have bargained for!
Address: Paseo del Prado, 8
Hours: Monday 12:00 – 16:00; Tuesday – Sunday, 10:00 – 19:00
Price: 12 euros for entry including access to temporary exhibits; free entry on Mondays
The Sorolla Museum
The Museo Sorolla near the Iglesia Metro stop houses a collection of artwork by the impressionist painter Joaquin Sorolla Bastida. In fact, the museum used to be his home, and many of the paintings inside are hung in their original locations. Each room is filled with the original furniture and paintings, and descriptive plaques outline the history of each room and the artist’s life within it. Outside, a beautiful courtyard with flowers and fountains serves as a peaceful haven from the noise of Paseo de la Castellana. This museum is becoming more and more popular, but many people still consider it one of the lesser-known museums in Madrid.
Address: Calle General Martínez Campos, 37
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 09:30 – 20:00; Sunday, 10:00 – 15:00; closed on Mondays
Price: 3 euros for general entry; free entry on Saturday after 14:00 and all day Sunday
The up-and-coming Caixa Forum museum sits just down the street from the Museo del Prado. If you get a little lost, all you have to do is look for the impressive vertical garden attached to the side. This museum has to be included in the list of famous museums in Madrid for that reason—even those who haven’t been inside have definitely seen the garden! Caixa Forum is an art exhibition space within a repurposed electrical plant. Inside you’ll find a cool and funky collection of modern art pieces and temporary exhibits. Make sure to visit this museum and take the time to sit and have a bite to eat in their Vertical Caffè.
Address: Paseo del Prado, 36
Hours: Monday – Sunday, 10:00 – 20:00
Price: 4 euros for general entry
The Romanticism Museum
The Museo del Romanticismo is another one of the famous museums in Madrid. It showcases the various art forms from the Romantic period of Spain, including paintings, models, decorative arts, stamps, drawings and photography. Each room looks like a different part of a fabulous home, some in shades of light blue, others in pinks and tans. The museum also hosts various concerts and events as well as temporary exhibits. The courtyard café is a secret oasis in the city center which you don’t have to enter the museum to visit.
Address: Calle San Mateo, 13
Hours: November – April: Tuesday – Saturday, 9:30 – 18:30; Sundays and bank holidays, 10:00 – 15:00. May – October: Tuesday – Saturday, 9:30 – 20:30; Sundays and bank holidays 10:00 – 15:00. Closed on Mondays.
Price: 3 euros for general entry; free entry Saturday after 14:00 and all day on Sunday.
No visit to Madrid is complete without taking in the art, history, and delicious food that the city has to offer. Enjoy all three in our Behind-The-Scenes Botin Lunch & Prado Museum Tour. Waltz past the line at the Prado and jump straight in to a tour of the most important works, sip a cold vermouth in a historic tavern and enjoy an incredible meal at the oldest restaurant in the world. Join us—we would love the chance to share these Madrid institutions with you!