Madrid is the ideal city for art and culture lovers. Not only it is a big European capital full of history and vitality, but over the last decades it has become a point of reference for those looking to visit the most interesting museums in Spain.
Madrid is an unmissable place both for those looking to discover the best of Baroque art and for those interested in contemporary art. Therefore, in this article I am going to tell you about five museums in Madrid that you cannot miss. In this top 5 I suggest you museums which are worth visiting, what you can see in them and everything you need to know before visiting them. Let's begin the tour!
1. Prado Museum
Undoubtedly, the Prado Museum is the museum par excellence of the Spanish capital. This gallery has over 200 years of history and it encompasses the royal collections gathered by powerful and wealthy monarchs such as Charles V, Philip II and Philip IV. You won't be able to see it all in one day, at least not with the detail it deserves, so I recommend you to focus on a period or just to see some of its rooms, and leave the rest for your next visits. Keep in mind that we are talking about more than 14,000 square meters of exhibition and more than 1,700 works on display.
The Museo del Prado is known as a museum of painters rather than paintings, since we can focus on the works of some of the greatest exponents of pictorial art: Velázquez, Rubens, El Greco and Goya, among others. You can travel between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries and discover great jewels of European painting without leaving Madrid.
An extra fact: this museum also has rooms dedicated to decorative art, drawings and engravings, and sculpture as well (from Ancient Greece to the nineteenth century).
2. National Archaeological Museum
If you are a curious person and you like history, this is the place for you. The National Archaeological Museum is located in the Salamanca neighborhood, very close to the Retiro Park. It has been reformed during the last years, so now it has rooms which are accessible to all audiences and all of them are adapted to the new ways of learning. It is ideal if you go with children.
New technologies guide us throughout the visit (videos, interactive screens, audio guides, etc.), during which we can see how the first settlers of the Iberian Peninsula lived, how they became part of the Roman Empire and also makes you travel to the fascinating Medieval times in the Peninsula.
As if all of this were not enough, you can also visit the rooms dedicated to Greece, Ancient Egypt or the world of numismatics. The best: the price of admission: 3 euros (except on Saturdays from 14hs and Sunday mornings, in which case admission is free).
3. Reina Sofia Museum
The Reina Sofia Art Center is the museum for lovers of modern art and, of course, for the followers of the work of Pablo Picasso, the master of XX century painting. The flagship of this museum is the Guernica, the breathtaking painting of the painter from Malaga. The painting was inspired by one of the bloodiest attacks of the Spanish civil war.
Many visitors from all over the world come to contemplate this mural painting. They seek to admire the work up close, but also to understand its importance and symbolism for Spanish people. For this reason, the Reina Sofia Museum organizes guided tours (in small groups) that focus on the presentation of the collection, and in particular, of this iconic work. The best part: guided tours are also available in English.
If you want to take a tour of the art of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, do not miss this museum where you will find artists such as Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró and Juan Gris among others.
4. Museum of America
If we talk about museums in Madrid, there are hidden treasures that do not usually appear as first choice in tourist guides. One of these secrets is the Museum of America, the place you have to visit if you want to know and be awestruck by Pre-Columbian American culture.
In this museum you can learn more about the different civilizations that occupied the American territory before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors and how their heritage lives on today in Hispanic American culture.
What can you find in this museum? Ethnography, fine arts, archeology, and decorative art. The evolution of the American peoples up to the present day and their relationship with Spain. A museum that will surprise young and old alike.
An extra advantage: the museum is located near the Faro de Moncloa, the tower from which you can have one of the best views of Madrid. This can be the crowning touch to an unforgettable visit.
5. Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum
Along with the Prado Museum and the Reina Sofia, the Thyssen-Bornemisza is part of the Art Triangle. This museum stands out for its large and eclectic collection of paintings, thanks to which you can enjoy a varied array of European art from the thirteenth century to the late twentieth century.
Some of the highlights of the permanent collection are the works from the Dutch school and works by Durero, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh, among others. If the Prado is the cathedral of the Baroque, the Thyssen is the gallery where you can admire different artistic styles and meet the main representatives of each of them.
In addition, this museum usually hosts temporary exhibitions of great interest. The museum carries out throughout the year many cultural activities, such as visits, lectures, workshops, etc.
Finally, I just want to suggest you that before approaching any of these museums, you should visit their website or their social networks to learn a little more about their exhibitions and how they work. Surely this will help you choose the most appropriate time to visit each of them. In particular,the Prado Museum and the National Archaeological Museum stand out for the quality of their content on social media.
And this is my list of the five museums in Madrid that you must visit, but it is just scratching the surface of the list. There are other museums that I hope to tell you about later, but in this article, I have selected for you those that give you a glimpse of the best, the unknown and the authentic. These are museums where you are not just a passive being in front of an artwork; instead, through their exhibits they make you feel part of the world that is around you.