There are three main art museums that you must visit whilst in Madrid. The Prado comes top of every art lover’s list on their visit to the city. Next is the Reina Sofia where Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ resides. And thirdly comes the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum. All three are located close to one another either on or just off Paseo del Prado.
A useful tip if you you plan on visiting all three galleries is to purchase the Paseo del Arte ticket which allows entrance to these galleries at a substantial saving. The ticket is available at all three participating galleries. Alternatively, you can pre-order a Madrid Card which gives you discounted entry to the ‘big three’ museums and many other tourist attractions including a walking tour of the historic centre with a local guide.
El Museo del Prado is one of the world’s greatest galleries with a higher concentration of masterpieces than any other. It is so full of treasures that it is only possible to display around 1,500 of its 9,000-piece collection at any one time.
Tue-Sat: 9am-7pmSun. + Public Holidays: 9am-2pm
FREE on Saturday after 2.30pm and all day Sunday
Metro Station: Banco de España
Centro de Arte Reina Sofia
The Reina Sofia is home to Picasso’s ‘Guernica’. The rest of the permanent collection contains works by virtually every noted Spanish artist of this century, together with many others by non-Spanish artists. It is one of the best venues in Europe for major temporary exhibitions.
Mon. + Wed-Sat: 10am-9pmSun: 10am-2.30pm
FREE on Sat.after 2.30pm, all day Sunday
Metro Station: AtochaThyssen
Thyssen Bornemisza Museum
The Thyssen-Bornemisza displays works from just about every major figure in the history of western art installed in chronological order so that visitors can take a historical walking tour of European Painting from the 13th Century to modern times.
Sun. + Public Holidays: 9am-2pm
Metro Station: Banco de España
Aside from these three ‘essential’ galleries above there is a whole range of lesser known exhibitions in the city which offer the art lover the opportunity of an unforgettable cultural experience. One I’d particularly like to recommend is the gallery of Joaquin Sorolla, the 19th century Spanish impressionist artist. I admire his use of light in his paintings of the beaches and people of his native Valencia.
Tue-Sat: 10am-3pmSun: 10am-2pm
FREE on Sunday
Metro Station: Iglesia – Ruben Dario
Madrid Art Tours
If you’re interested in a pre-arranged private art tour whilst in Madrid you should consider the following:
Private Tour of the Prado Museum and Royal Palace
If you’d prefer a private tour of the Prado and the Royal Palace then this tour is ideal. It includes an English speaking chauffeur and official tour guide.
(Tour Ref: 1067).
Private Walking Tour of the Prado and Reina Sofia Museums
This private walking tour of two of Madrid’s great galleries includes the services of an official English speaking guide who will show you around some of the main works in each gallery.
(Tour Ref: 1206).
The Madrid Card is a travel discount card which gives you entry into more than fifty museums and art galleries. It includes priority access to the Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza and Reina Sofia museum on Madrid’s ‘Art Triangle’ as well as the Royal Palace. The card also allows you to go on a walking tour of historic Madrid with a local guide and includes Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium Tour. You’ll also get significant discounts at participating restaurants, shops and nightlife venues. Order your Madrid Card.