The 3 Best Museums in Madrid

Looking for the best museums in Madrid?

Regarded as one of Europe’s foremost hubs of art and culture by experts, Madrid is home to some of the world’s most fascinating and renowned museums and art galleries.

Madrid, a worldwide reference in art and culture

Many visitors have limited time in Madrid and need to prioritize their activities. 

That’s why in this post, I want to focus solely on the most renowned museums in Madrid that are essential for every traveler to experience.

Museo del Prado is usually pretty busy with long queues

The artistic and cultural offerings in Madrid are so diverse that there’s something for everyone, regardless of your preferences.

Some of the top museums in Madrid can get quite crowded, especially during peak tourist season, so I recommend purchasing your tickets in advance to save time and avoid long lines.

best museums in Madrid

The Art Walk

Madrid’s Art Walk is unique in the world, hosting three of Europe’s most remarkable museums within less than a mile: the Prado, the Reina Sofia National Art, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museums.

This exceptional concentration of top galleries in Madrid is also known as the Art Triangle.

The Art Triangle is especially convenient for art lovers with limited time, as it offers three exclusive art collections within walking distance of each other.

Pictures inside Museo del Prado rooms

Along the Art Walk, 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 Alcalá, and the El Retiro Park.

The Art Walk Pass

If you are planning to visit these excellent Madrid museums, you can do so at a reduced price with the Art Walk ticket

This ticket offers a 20% discount on the combined price of individual tickets to the 3 best museums in Madrid and provides priority access, allowing you to skip the regular long lines.

You can buy the Art Walk ticket online or at the ticket offices of the museums. The ticket is valid for one visit to each museum within one year from the date of purchase. Once the ticket has been redeemed, you can access the museums directly without having to go through the ticket offices.

General rules to access the best museums in Madrid

As is the case with all top art galleries, there are some general rules you need to know when visiting the best museums in Madrid. If you have any doubts, feel free to ask at the information desks.

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

Additional recommendations

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

» Check out my popular post: End-to-end Madrid Travel Guide

Entrance to Reina Sofia museum in Madrid with 2 elevators

Best museums in Madrid (Top 3)

Here are the top 3 art museums in Madrid that are a must-see for every traveler visiting the city:

Prado Museum

Ruiz de Alarcón 23

www.museodelprado.es/en

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 aged 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 significant gallery in Madrid and among the most renowned worldwide. 

It’s also one of the best activities to enjoy in Madrid in winter or or on rainy days!

The museum houses a wide collection of art from the 12th to the early 19th centuries, featuring masterpieces by renowned painters such as Titian, El Greco, Rubens, Diego Velázquez, and Francisco de Goya.

Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez

Even if your schedule is tight, I highly recommend allocating at least 2-3 hours to explore the Prado’s collection. With millions of visitors annually, I strongly suggest getting your Skip the line-Ticket to save time and make the most of your trip to Spain.

The museum is quite large, so planning is essential once again. Arrive with a general idea of the key artworks you want to see and head straight to them to avoid wasting time.

Best artworks at the Prado Museum

The Prado Museum is aware of how time-consuming a full visit can be, so they offer several alternatives for visitors to enjoy the gallery regardless of the length of their 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

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

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

Reina Sofía Museum

Santa Isabel, 52

www.museoreinasofia.es/en

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 aged 18-25 (valid ID required), and visitors with physical disabilities.

Image of The Great Masturbator by Salvador Dalí

The Reina Sofia Museum stands as one of Spain’s most renowned art institutions. It’s conveniently close to other prominent museums in Madrid, such as the Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza.

While the Reina Sofia Museum primarily focuses on Spanish art, it boasts a diverse collection of both national and international artworks, solidifying its position as one of the world’s largest museums dedicated to modern and contemporary art.

Among its permanent collection are outstanding works by some of Spain’s most prominent 20th-century painters, including Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí. The museum’s most famous masterpiece is Picasso’s “Guernica”.

Guernica by Picasso

Guernica by Pablo Picasso

“Guernica” stands as one of Picasso’s most iconic works, revered by art experts as one of the most remarkable anti-war paintings in history. This large oil painting on canvas vividly captures the agony and anguish of the people subjected to 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, purportedly at the request of the Spanish Nationalists led by Franco.

With most of the men away fighting for the Republicans, the town was predominantly populated by women and children at the time of the bombing.

“Guernica” has transcended its historical context to become a universal symbol, serving as a reminder of the atrocities and devastation wrought by warfare.

Best paintings at the Reina Sofia Museum

But Reina Sofia is one of the top museums in Madrid not only because of “Guernica”.

Masterpieces such as “The Great Masturbator”, “The Memory of the Woman-Child”, “Young Woman at a Window”, and “House with Palm Tree” by Salvador Dalí, along with “Man With a Pipe” by Joan Mirò, are just a few of the other remarkable artworks on display.

Dali

The Reina Sofia has become one of the most visited museums in the world thanks to its renowned and extensive art collection.

For art enthusiasts keen on discovering the works of Spain’s most remarkable artists, a visit to the Reina Sofia Museum is a must. It is one of my favorite museums in Madrid.

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Paseo del Prado, 8

www.museothyssen.org/en

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 sits directly across the street from the Prado Museum, completing the trio of institutions known as the Art Triangle and earning its place on my list of the most important museums in Madrid.

This museum boasts the largest and most impressive assortment of paintings amassed by Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza. The collection, which represents a significant acquisition by the Spanish State in July 1993, encompasses works dating from the 13th century to the contemporary era.

Gauguin

You will discover one of the most distinguished art collections, featuring over 1,500 masterpieces that span seven centuries of artistic history.

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.

Best paintings at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

The Permanent Collection is divided across three floors, with the suggested tour starting on Level 2, featuring Italian Primitives and examples of Renaissance and Baroque art.

On Level 1, you’ll find artworks from the Dutch school, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and German Expressionism. The German Expressionism section is particularly notable for the high quality of the works it showcases.

Level 0 is dedicated to the 20th century, showcasing exceptional examples of Cubism, abstract art, Surrealism, Pop Art, and European post-war figurative art.

Woman staring at pictures inside Thyssen-Bornemisza museum

Among the most remarkable artworks, you will find:

Thyssen Museum in Madrid

The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is one of the top museums in Madrid, so be sure to allocate time for your visit when planning your trip to Madrid.

Purchase tickets now to save time and money

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

Since these galleries are extremely popular, booking the Art Tickets in advance is even more necessary. Once the ticket has been redeemed, you can access the museums directly, saving valuable time 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

Madrid boasts an exceptional collection of art galleries that truly captivate art enthusiasts from around the world. 

Among the city’s extensive cultural offerings, the Prado Museum, Reina Sofia Museum, and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum stand out as the top 3 museums in Madrid.

Each of these museums has its own unique charm and offers a rich and immersive experience for art lovers.

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