Best Museums in Madrid you must Visit

Looking for the best museums in Madrid?

Considered one of the most artistic and cultural cities in Europe by art experts, Madrid houses some of the most interesting and renowned museums and art galleries worldwide.

Madrid, a worldwide reference in art and culture

I know that most visitors have a tight schedule and spend limited time in Madrid. 

That’s why I want to focus in this post only in the most famous museums in Madrid which should be essential for every traveler.

Museo del Prado is usually pretty busy with long queues

The artistic and cultural offer is so wide in Madrid that there really is something for everyone, no matter which are your preferences.

Some of the best museums in Madrid can be quite busy, especially during the tourist peak season, so I recommend you purchase your tickets in advance to save time and beat the long lines.

It always depends on how tight is the planning of a trip but I don’t usually visit every single museum when I travel. I find out which ones are essential for their importance worldwide, and I include one or two more that draw my attention.

best museums in Madrid

The Art Walk

Madrid’s Art Walk is unique in the world, housing three of the most remarkable museums in Europe in less than one mile, these are the Prado, the Reina Sofia National Art, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museums.

The exceptional location of these three top galleries in Madrid is also known as the Art Triangle.

The Art Triangle is especially convenient for art lovers with limited time, offering three exclusive art collections within a walking distance from each other.

Pictures inside Museo del Prado rooms

Visitors will enjoy a beautiful route where some of the best Madrid´s landmarks are present such as the Cibeles and Neptune fountains, the Royal Botanical Garden, the Puerta de Alcala, and the Retiro Park.

If you are planning on visiting these excellent Madrid museums, you can do it at a reduced price with the Art Walk ticket, which offers a 20% discount on the combined price of individual tickets to the three museums and a priority access which will allow you to skip the regular long lines.

You can purchase the Art Walk ticket online in each museum website or in the ticket offices. The ticket is valid for one visit to each museum within 1 year from the date of purchase. Once the ticket has been redeemed, the museums can be accessed directly, without passing through the ticket offices.

General rules to access the best museums in Madrid

As it happens in all the top art galleries, there are some general rules you need to know when you visit the best museums in Madrid. For any doubt, ask on the information desks:

Prado Museum is one of the top museums and art galleries in Spain

Besides, I include some additional recommendations to fully enjoy your visit to the top Madrid museums:

» Check out my popular post: Best things to do in Madrid

Entrance to Reina Sofia museum in Madrid with 2 elevators

Best museums in Madrid (Top 3)

These are the top 3 art museums in Madrid, which are a must-see for every traveler visiting Madrid:

Prado Museum

Ruiz de Alarcón 23

Banco España | Estación Arte

€ 15 (regular price)

“Las Meninas” by Diego Velázquez, among many other masterpieces.

Mo-Sa 10:00–20:00. Sundays and holidays 10:00-19:00.

January 1st, May 1st, December 25th

Daily during the last two hours before closing. Always for under-18-years-old, students with ages 18-25 (valid ID required), and visitors with physical disabilities.

Housing one of the most extensive art collections in the world, the Prado Museum is probably the most important gallery in Madrid and one of the most famous worldwide. And it’s one of the best things to do in Madrid in winter or when it’s raining!

Prado Museum houses a wide collection of art from the 12th to the early 19th centuries by outstanding painters like Titian, El Greco, Rubens, Diego Velázquez, and Francisco de Goya.

Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez

No matter if you have a tight schedule, I strongly recommend that you save at least 2-3 hours to explore Prado’s collection. The Museum receives millions of visits every year I highly recommend getting your Skip the line-Ticket to save time and optimize your trip to Madrid.

You can spend a whole day in the museum so planning is again essential. You should get to the Museum with at least a general idea of the minimum artworks you want to contemplate and go straight to them to not waste much time.

The Prado Museum is aware of how time-consuming can be a full visit, so they propose several alternatives to visitors to enjoy the gallery no matter the time they stay. For example, the Museum recommends a selection of 15 masterpieces for a 1-hour visit, 30 for 2 hours, and 54 for a 3-hour stay.

Fusilamientos 2 Mayo

So, in case you have just one hour to visit the Prado Museum, these masterpieces are a must.

If you decide to visit the Prado museum for free, this is during the last two hours before closing, be aware that you could find a pretty long line.

Take a look to the following video by Prado Museum and discover why this is one of the best museums in Madrid:

Reina Sofía Museum

Santa Isabel, 52

Estación del Arte

€ 10 (regular price)

“Guernica” by Pablo Picasso, among many other masterpieces.

Mo and from We to Sa 10:00-21:00. Sundays 10:00-19:00.

All Tuesdays. Jan 1 and 6, May 1, May 15, Nov 9, and Dec 24, 25 and 31.

During the last two hours before closing on Mondays and from Wednesday to Saturday. Sundays from 12:30 to 14:30. Always for under-18-years-old, students with ages 18-25 (valid ID required), and visitors with physical disabilities.

Image of The Great Masturbator by Salvador Dalí

The Reina Sofia Museum is one of the most renowned art museums in Spain. It is located at the bottom of El Paseo del Prado, quite close to the other top museums in Madrid, Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza.

Although the Museum is mainly dedicated to Spanish art, Reina Sofia offers a wide collection of national and international artworks, making it one of the world’s largest museums for modern and contemporary art.

The Reina Sofia’s permanent collection includes excellent pieces of the most remarkable 20th-century painters in Spain, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí. The most famous masterpiece in the Reina Sofia Museum is “Guernica” by Picasso.

Guernica by Picasso

“Guernica” is one of Picasso’s most recognized works, and art experts consider this large oil painting on canvas as one of the most remarkable anti-war paintings in history. The painting reflects the suffering of people during the bombing of Guernica.

Guernica is a small town in the north of Spain that was seen as the northern bastion of the Republican resistance movement during the Spanish Civil War. 

On Monday, 26 April 1937, the town was bombed for more than three hours by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, it is believed that at the request of the Spanish Nationalists led by Franco.

As most of the men were away, fighting on behalf of the Republicans, at the time of the bombing the town was inhabited mostly by women and children.

“Guernica” has become a universal and powerful symbol warning humanity against the suffering and devastation of war.

But Reina Sofia is one of the top museums in Madrid not only because of “Guernica”. “The Great Masturbator”, “The Memory of the Woman-Child”, “Young Woman at a Window” “House with Palm Tree” by Salvador Dalí, and “Man With a Pipe” by Joan Mirò, are just a few other masterpieces available. 


Reina Sofia has become of the most visited museums around the world because of its famous and extensive art collection.

Although the museum is quite large, the visit is extremely entertaining since its exhibitions are very varied. It’s not uncommon for visitors to get lost in the Museum, so try to follow a predetermined itinerary by looking at the room numbers.

If you are an art lover and want to discover the paintings of Spain’s most remarkable artists, then you can’t skip one of the best museums in Madrid, the Reina Sofia Museum.

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Paseo del Prado, 8

Banco de España

€ 13 (regular price)

“Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening” by Salvador Dalí, among many other masterpieces.

Mondays, 12.00-16.00. Tuesday to Sunday, 10.00-19.00.

Jan 1, May 1 and Dec 25.

Mondays 12.00-16.00. Always for under-18-years-old and visitors with physical disabilities.

The Thyssen Museum is located on the opposite street side of the Prado Museum and is the 3rd of the Madrid Art Triangle and on my list with the best museums in Madrid.

This museum houses the largest and best selection of pictures collected by Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza. The most important group of paintings gathered together by the Thyssen-Bornemisza family was acquired by the Spanish State in July 1993 and spans a period dating from the 13th century to the present day.


You’ll discover one of the most distinguished art collections consisting of more than 1,500 masterpieces spanning seven centuries of art. 

Rubens, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Monet, Degas, Renoir, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Titian, Kandinsky, and Picasso are some of the renowned artists whose works are present in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.

The Permanent Collection is distributed over three floors with a suggested tour beginning on Level 2 with the Italian Primitives and examples of Renaissance and Baroque art.

Level 1 displays artworks from the Dutch school, Impressionism, PostImpressionism, and German Expressionism, being this last section one of the Museum’s most brilliant due to the high quality of the works it brings together.

Level 0 is reserved for the 20th century with outstanding examples of Cubism, abstract art, Surrealism, Pop Art and European post-war figurative art.

Woman staring at pictures inside Thyssen-Bornemisza museum

Within the most outstanding artworks you will find:

Thyssen Museum in Madrid

The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is one of the top museums in Madrid, save your time for the visit when you plan your trip to Madrid.

Purchase tickets now to save time and money

Remember that if you are planning on visiting these three excellent Madrid museums, you can do it at a reduced price with the Art Walk ticket, which offers a 20% discount on the combined price of individual tickets to the three museums.

Besides, since these galleries are extremely popular, booking the Art Tickets in advance is even more necessary. Once the Art Walk ticket has been redeemed, the museums can be accessed directly, which will allow you to save valuable time on your trip to Spain by skipping the regular long lines.

Purchase your tickets now to enjoy three of the most famous art Museums in the world at the best price.

Final Words

In conclusion, Madrid boasts an exceptional collection of museums that truly captivate art enthusiasts from around the world. Among the city’s vast cultural offerings, the Prado Museum, Reina Sofia Museum, and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum stand out as the 3 best museums in Madrid.

Each of these museums has its own distinct charm and offers a rich and immersive experience for art lovers. Whether you’re drawn to classical masterpieces, contemporary expressions, or a blend of styles, Prado Museum, Reina Sofia Museum, and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum undoubtedly rank as the top 3 museums in Madrid.


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