Madrid and museums, the two basically go hand in hand. When you make your way through the long pages of things to do online, you’ll see the classics like the Prado, Reina, Thyssen and even the Palacio Real. But you’re only scratching the surface, because there are more than TWENTY FIVE museums here! Here we will try to cover the biggies, some smaller ones and prove that there is something for everyone in this awesome city.
Prado Museum: The main spanish art museum, featuring one of the finest European art collections.
Address: Paseo Del Prado, s/n Metro: Atocha, Banco de España
Hours: Monday-Saturday Free Entry: Monday-Saturday
Sundays and Holidays Sundays and Holidays
Cost: General Admission - €15
General Admission (2 visits/year) - €22
What it’s all about: Considered to be one of the greatest museums in the world, Prado has over 16000 pieces in its collection, although only a fraction is on display at a time. See pieces from Goya, Velázquez, Titian, Rubens, Bosch and more. The museum is quite large and can take more than a couple of hours for the average art lover, but if you want to go during the free times, grab the museum map and hit up all the masterpieces in two hours.
Reina Sofia Museum: An 18th century hospital converted into a museum in 1992, filled to the brim with contemporary and modern art.
Address: Calle Santa Isabel, 52 Metro: Banco de España
Hours: Monday-Saturday Free Entry: Monday-Saturday
Cost: General Admission - 8€
What it’s all about: You’ve got modern art covered with everything from pop, minimal, and abstract. Big hitters like Pablo and Dali take up some serious space here as well as some lesser known artists. Another large collection, with multiple smaller galleries such as a the Palacio de Valázquez and the (in my opinion) star of the show, the Palacio de Cristal, in Retiro park. With four floors, two dedicated to temporary exhibits and two to permanent and plenty of free opportunities, this is a must see for modern art lovers.
Thyssen-Bornemisza: Besides not being able to pronounce the name properly, this is a very easily digestible museum. Beautiful pieces from the masters, spanish artists and a few modern paintings thrown in for good measure.
Address: Paseo del Prado, 8 Metro: Banco de España
Hours: Monday-Saturday Free Entry: Monday
Sundays and Holidays
Cost: General Admission - €12
What it’s all about: My favourite museum in Madrid by far. Not only do you get four full hours to peruse this enormous collection, but with everything from Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Matisse, Monet, to Picasso, Dali, Pollock and Richard Estes, it has something for everyone. Housed in a neoclassical mansion from 1806, it is considered one of the most important private collections in the world! Be sure to check out Richard Estes’ photo-realism, and tell me you didn’t think they were photographs at first glance. If you’re short on time and want something that gives you a bit of everything, this museum should be your number one stop.
Now that we have the main museums out of the way, don’t forget to leave some time for the little guys.
Sorolla Museum: Named after the spanish painter Joaqín Sorolla, it houses the best of his works, as well as his collection of sculptures, ceramics and more.
Address: Paseo General Martinez Campos, 37 Metro: Iglesia, Rubén Darío
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday Free Entry: Saturdays
Sundays and Holidays Sundays
Cost: General Admission - €3
What it’s all about: If serene beach scenes are your thing, head here. The artist built this home and it has since been converted into a lovely oasis, with a garden designed by Joaqín himself included. A small but worthy addition to your exploration of the city.
Cerralbo Museum: Another home converted into a museum. This time from the 19th century and the collection of Enrique de Aguilera y Gamba, Marquis of Cerralbo.
Address: Calle de Ventura Rodríguez, 17 Metro: Plaza España, Ventura Rodríguez
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday Free Entry: Saturday
9:30am-3pm After 4pm
Cost: General admission - 3€
What it’s all about: The collection was brought together by Enrique de Aguilera y Gamba, a collector and archeologist. The home is arranged as it would have been when it was lived in, and is a historic land mine of art, furniture and architecture. Very much like stepping into a time capsule. It is a very different museum and they try to preserve the atmosphere by allowing only 60 people enter the museum at a time. Close to the centre and great for history buffs.
Caixa Forum: A small cultural centre with various exhibitions on throughout the year. An architectural star in Madrid which includes a wall garden.
Address: Paseo Del Prado, 36 Metro: Atocha
Hours: Monday-Sunday Free: The Wall Garden
Cost: General Admission - 4€
What it’s all about: The building’s exterior is as impressive to some as the interior with its main feature, a wall garden, or vertical garden. The building was an old power plant restored and expanded by Swiss partners Herzog and De Meuron. With a small collection of 700 pieces from the 1980’s to present day, it would be smart for any visitor to check out what exhibitions are going on to get the best bang for your buck here. If you just want to see something pretty (and free), swing by the garden to get a necessary selfie taken in front of this beautiful masterpiece.
Museo del Traje - Costume Museum: A well presented collection of costumes and fashion from the middle ages to now.
Address: Avenida de Herrera, 2 Metro: Moncloa
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday Free: Saturday
Cost: General admission - €3
What it’s all about: With a focus on Spanish fashion, this museum has kept their displays well preserved and well laid out for its visitors. With around 160000 pieces on display, it’s a great value even if you don´t make it during free hours. Just outside the centre, but worth the short trek, especially for fashion lovers!
Naval Museum: As the name suggests, a museum dedicated to the highs seas and considered one of the most important naval museums in the world.
Address: Paseo Del Prado 5 Metro: Banco de España
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday Free: VOLUNTARY €3 donation, so...
Cost: €3 given ‘voluntarily’
What it’s all about: This place has some pretty cool stuff including the Mappa Mundi, from the 1500’s. What is the Mappa Mundi? It is a map that was created by the Spanish cartographer Juan de la Cosa, who accompanied Columbus on several of his trips to the americas! The map shows the discoveries made during the first three voyages including Cuba. If that's not cool, i don’t know what is!
Museo ABC: Comics and drawings and illustrations, oh my!
Address: Calle Amaniel, 29-31 Metro: Noviciado, Ventura Rodríguez
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday Free: ALWAYS!
Cost: Always free!
What it’s all about: So excited to find this place! A Great spot for anyone who loves comics or illustrations! The exhibitions change and are always showing something of interest. Keep in mind that the information is presented entirely in Spanish, so if you are really interested in some of the work, bring a translator or do some research beforehand. Not an overly big museum but great to escape the heat for an hour or so!
I´m sure you can now see why Madrid is known for its museums. They have so many, it would would be impossible to visit them all in one trip. Your options? Move here, or pick your favourites! If none of these interests you, there are many more museums in the city that cover subjects such as Spain’s natural history, the Americas, decorative arts and money! So get out there and explore!