Best museums in Madrid (Top 3)

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 just in the most famous museums in Madrid which should be essential for every traveler.

  • The Prado, Reina Victoria, and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museums contain priceless works of art and paintings. They are just a few of the numerous art collections available in the city.

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

Keep on reading this post to find out the top 3 best museums in Madrid that are worth a visit. 

Some of them can be quite busy, especially during the tourist peak season, so I recommend you to 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 its importance worldwide, and I include one or two more that draw my attention. For example, I love Natural History museums.

  • The 3 best museums in Madrid offer free entrance on certain days, so take it into consideration when planning your vacations in Madrid. Keep on reading to discover which days are free for visitors.
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.

In my opinion, every tourist visiting Madrid should save some time in the planning for the visit to these extraordinary museums.

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

The Art Walk is located in Paseo del Prado avenue, in the Madrid city center. 

Visitors will enjoy a beautiful route where other amazing 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. In general, all of them apply to the best museums in Madrid, but in case of doubt ask on the information desks:

  • Foods and drinks are not allowed, except in specific areas (cafeterias and restaurants).
  • Smoking is forbidden, even in outdoor spaces.
  • Touching the artworks is not allowed.
  • Taking photographs or videos with flash or tripod.
  • Medium and big size bags need to be stored in the individual lockers or the Cloakroom, as well as sharp objects.
  • No animals are allowed, except guide dogs.
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult during the visit.
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:

  • Keep your ticket in a safe place during the whole visit, as you could be asked for it.
  • Don’t speak loudly and silence your mobile phone. This way, you’ll contribute to creating the best atmosphere to enjoy the artworks.
  • The Museums’ Information desks have free useful brochures in multiple languages with practical information for visitors on all aspects of the collection, a floor plan, and the facilities available.
  • Audio guides and multimedia guides: Make the most of your visit to the best museums in Madrid with an audio guide or a guided tour. There are specific audio guides for children.
  • There is free Wifi available in case you need to check some additional information about the Madrid museums or the artworks online.

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

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

  • Location

Ruiz de Alarcón 23

  • Metro

Banco España | Estación Arte

  • Price

€ 15 (regular price)

  • Famous for

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

  • Opening hours

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

  • Days Closed

January 1st, May 1st, December 25th

  • Free Entrance

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.

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.

  • The proposal of 15 masterpieces for the 1-hour visit to the Prado Museum includes the world-famous pieces such as:
  • "The Crucifixion" by Juan de Flandes (1509-19)
  • "The Nobleman with his Hand on his Chest " by El Greco (ca. 1580)
  • "Las Meninas" by Diego Velázquez (1656)
  • "Jacob’s Dream" by José de Ribera (1639)
  • "The 3rd of May 1808 in Madrid” or “The Executions” by Goya (1814)
  • "The Annunciation” by Fra. Angelico (1425-26)
  • "The Cardinal" by Raphael (1510-11)
  • "Emperor Charles V at Mühlberg" by Tiziano (1548)
  • "The Immaculate Conception" by Tiepolo (1767-69)
  • "The Descent from the Cross" by Weyden (before 1443)
  • "The Garden of Earthly Delights Triptych" by H. Bosch (1490-1500)
  • "The three Graces" by Rubens (1630-35)
  • "Self-portrait" by Durero (1498)
  • "Judith at the Banquet of Holofernes" by Rembrandt (1634)
  • The sculpture of "Castor and Pollux" (ca. 10 b.C.)

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 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 to get an overview of this excellent art gallery:

Reina Sofía Museum

  • Location

Santa Isabel, 52

  • Metro

Estación del Arte

  • Price

€ 10 (regular price)

  • Famous for

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

  • Opening hours

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

  • Days Closed

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

  • Free Entrance

During the last two hours before closing on Mondays and from Wednesday to Saturday. Sundays after 13:30. Always for under-18-years-old, students with ages 18-25 (valid ID required), and visitors with physical disabilities.

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” 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 which 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 much more than “Guernica” by Picasso. “The Great Masturbator”, “The Memory of the Woman-Child”, and “Young Woman at a Window” and “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 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

  • Location

Paseo del Prado, 8

  • Metro

Banco de España

  • Price

€ 13 (regular price)

  • Famous for

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

  • Opening hours

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

  • Days Closed

Jan 1, May 1 and Dec 25.

  • Free Entrance

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.

Within the most outstanding artworks you will find:

  • "Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening" by Salvador Dalí
  • "Swaying Dancer" by Edgar Degas
  • "Portrait of Giovanna degli Albizzi Tornabuoni" by Domenico Guirlandaio
  • "Les Vessenots en Auvers" by Vincent Van Gogh
  • "Charing Cross Bridge" by Claude Monet
  • “Saint Catherine of Alexandria” by Caravaggio
  • “Mata Mua” by Paul Gauguin

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 and save 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.

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