Famous Museums in Madrid That You Won’t Want To Miss

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.

If you like visiting museums, Madrid will be your dream city! But with so many to choose from, how do you decide? Check out our definitive guide to the famous museums in Madrid that are a must for any visit!

The Prado

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.

There are some famous statues outside the Prado, including this one of Velázquez. The Prado is one of the famous museums in Madrid that you must visit while in the city!
Make sure to say “Hello!” to Velázquez and Goya before you enter the Prado.

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

The sprawling brushstroke that stands outside the Reina Sofia museum is a symbol of this building, one of many famous museums in Madrid
The famous brushstroke outside of the Reina Sofía is a symbol of this museum. Photo Credit: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

The Thyssen

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 Sorolla Museum is one of the famous museums in Madrid that is worth a visit. You'll see paintings like this one, which depicts life in Sorolla's native Valencia.
One of the most remarkable things about Sorolla’s art is his knack for re-creating the Mediterranean light. Photo Credit: Google Cultural Institute

Caixa Forum

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

With the elephant statue and the vertical garden outside it, the Caixa Forum quickly became one of the most popular and one of the most famous museums in Madrid.
The eye-catching vertical garden of the Caixa Forum. Photo Credit: Jean-Pierre Dálbera

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.

When you're looking for famous museums in Madrid that are worth a visit, don't forget about the Museo del Romanticismo! You'll see rooms that are beautifully decorated like this one.
The Museo del Romanticismo is room after room of beautiful artwork, furniture, and decorations. Photo Credit: Un Sereno Transitando La Ciudad

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!

12 Comment

  1. Chris says: Reply

    Just from a personal perspective : the best collection of Reina Sophia Museum is “The Irruption of the 20th Century: Utopias and Conflicts” http://www.museoreinasofia.es/coleccion/coleccion-1_en.html

    If you can’t stay more than half an hour in a museum, then it’s THE collection to look for!

    1. Lauren Aloise says: Reply

      Thank you so much for the recommendation. It’s so useful to know what to look at, as these museums can be overwhelming!

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  4. […] The Prado and the Reina Sofia Museums are the showstoppers on the Madrid art scene but why not explore one of Madrid’s smaller collections? For a winter afternoon escape, try the Museo del Romanticismo. Set in a restored 19th century mansion, this museum is filled with paintings, musical instruments, housewares, whimsy and more from the Romantic period in Spain. […]

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