Madrid is famous as a city of art – and it has a lot of world-class museums. The Prado Museum is arguably the most famous, but Madrid has several great museums that we advise you to visit. And here is a full guide.
When you arrive in Madrid, going to a few of the museums should be near the top of your to-do list. Because the museums in Madrid are true highlights. If you are interested in art and history, you are in for some big experiences. And even if you are the type that doesn’t typically enjoy museums, you can still expect to have a great time.
Let’s have a look at the best museums in the city – with full information about price, entry, museum specialty, and so on!
The best museums in Madrid
The most famous museums are located close to Atocha – the area is known as The Golden Triangle of Art.
All of these museums are world-famous and known for their high-class exhibitions. They consist of Museo del Prado, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and Museo Reina Sofía. In this part of the article, we will describe each of them in detail. If you are already aware of these museums and have them on the list, you can also scroll down a bit further, where we take a look at additional, slightly less famous museums.
But for now – it’s time for the museums of the Golden Triangle!
Museo del Prado
Museo del Prado, or the Prado Museum in English, is probably the most famous museum in Madrid.
It has a wonderful collection of European art, dating between the 11th and 21st century. Some experts call it one of the finest collections in the world.
The museum was established in 1819 and has continued to develop since then. It is one of the most visited attractions in all of Madrid, loved by locals and travelers alike.
Here are some famous pieces that you will be able to see at Prado:
- Las Meninas – Velásquez
- The Third of March 1808 – Goya
- The Garden of Earthly Delights – El Bosco
Francisco Goya is the most represented artist at the museum. However, Las Meninas by Velásquez is the main attraction of Museo del Prado.
It is the place to go for Spanish art. In total, you are able to see over 7.000 paintings and over 8.000 drawings. The Prado Museum also has plenty of sculptures – actually more than a thousand.
Aside from typical art, Prado also has items of historic importance.
So there is plenty to see here, and you can spend hours being fascinated by everything.
Opening hours are from 10 to 20 on all the weekdays. Sundays and holidays are open from 10 to 19 unless anything else is mentioned by the museum itself.
Entry fee is 15 euros per person. However, the entry is free if you arrive between 18 and 20, the last hours of the day. There might also be special discounts for students, children and groups.
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is quite close to Museo del Prado, and it is another very famous museum in Madrid. It is relatively new, established in 1992, but has quickly gained popularity. Almost a million people visit it each year.
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza has a specific focus on European art. You will find a lot of great, historic paintings. That includes Italian renaissance paintings by Duccio, di Tommè, and others. Dutch painters are also represented well.
You will also find more modern works – for example, modernist paintings. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza has art by Claude Monet, Picasso, even Jackson Pollock.
The collection is huge, and a lot of it comes from world-famous artists.
Opening hours: 12 to 16 on Mondays, 10 to 19 all other days. Entry fee is 12 euros from Tuesday to Sunday, but on Mondays, you can get in for free.
Museo Reina Sofía
Museo Reina Sofía can be seen as a modern alternative to the Prado Museum. It is equally great, and definitely worth a visit when you are checking out art in Madrid.
It opened the same year as the Thyssen museum – in 1992. It was named after the Spanish queen Sofía and strategically placed close to Prado. It has evolved into one of the most famous museums in the world, receiving up to 4 million visitors per year.
Museo Reina Sofía has a large collection of art by Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí. Picasso’s oil painting Guernica is the main attraction. However, Museo Reina Sofía has a huge collection of interesting art, and you will find countless historic pieces.
The building itself is quite interesting – the old part of Museo Reina Sofía was originally a hospital, while another part was redesigned by French architect Jean Nouvel. To this day, the museum is enormous, with interesting art on all floors.
The museum is open from 10 to 21 Monday to Saturday: Except for Tuesday, where the museum is closed. On Sundays and bank holidays, it is usually open between 10 and 19.
Entry to Museo Reina Sofía costs 8 euros, which is cheaper than the others. On Sunday afternoons, entry is free for everybody.
Aside from the museum itself, it also has a free-entry library where you can read books about art. There are more than 100.000 to choose from!
How to get to the Golden Triangle of Art
These museums are all relatively close, so once you are in the area, it is quite easy to get around between them.
You get to the area with the metro. Take line 1 to the station called “Estación del Arte” and get off. Line 1 departs from many of the most popular metro stations, such as Sol and Tribunal.
You might even get a chance to stay in the area of these museums. They are in the Atocha neighborhood – a popular location for Airbnb holiday apartments. The area also has a decent amount of hotels and hostels, so if you love art and if it is the primary reason for your visit – then find a place around that area to stay during your trip!
Free museums in Madrid
The museums near to Atocha all have an entry fee for most days. But at the same time, they have days or occasions where you can get in for free.
The Prado Museum has free entry the last two opening hours every day.
Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum has free entry on Mondays.
And in Reina Sofía, you can get in for free on Sunday afternoons.
Take advantage of this and save some money! It’s a really good idea to go during these times.
Aside from that, you will find plenty of other museums around Madrid. The public ones are usually free. There will also be a lot of temporary exhibitions in the city where you can get in for free. Keep an eye open once you arrive in the city.
Other interesting Madrid museums
Check out the Museum of America. They have large collections of pre-Columbian art. A total of 25.000 pieces can be seen – art, objects, monuments. Very interesting stuff – and you can get in for free on Sunday’s.
The National Archeological Museum is also worth a visit. Especially if you are into archeology and you like the history of ancient civilizations. They have a lot to see here, and it’s one of the most popular museums in Madrid. It’s free to get in on Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings.
The National Library is another good idea. They have free entry at all times – plenty of great books, collections and various exhibition. The building itself is very interesting!
At last, the Museum of Romanticism should be experienced as well. It shows the daily life of the Romantic period, and it’s a very different museum compared to the others. Less crowded and always nice and classy. It is free for students and people over 65 at all times. For everybody else, visit on Saturday’s after 2 pm or all day Sunday – during these times you can also visit without paying.
This was an overview of the most important Madrid museums. There are several more, so if you have already experienced all of these and want more, then take a walk in the city and see what you find. Perhaps you will find a more unknown museum with interesting stuff that most people miss.
We hope you enjoyed this guide to museums in Madrid.
The city has a lot of world-class museums with famous art and interesting pieces. We highly recommend taking a full day to experience the museums. Madrid is a city of art, so it only makes sense!
If you have any comments to the topic, or perhaps something useful to add – then feel free to write in the comment section.