Top 12+1 Free Museums in Madrid

Madrid offers culture and art for all preferences and budgets. Continue reading this post to discover the best free museums in Madrid and enjoy the best of Spain’s culture completely free.

While the capital boasts a plethora of museums, I have curated this list to feature only those truly worth visiting for tourists with limited time in Madrid. All the museums and galleries on my list are free to the public at some or all times.

Interior of the Prado Museum

Best free museums in Madrid

In the initial section of this post, I have listed the top 5 free museums in Madrid that provide permanent free admission to guests.

In the second section, you will discover the other 8 best museums in Madrid, along with the specific days and hours when admission is complimentary.

Top Museums in Madrid with permanent free entry

1. Espacio Fundación Telefónica

        Fuencarral, 3

Gran Vía

From Tuesday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

All Mondays and on the following days: December 25, January 1 and 6.

Permanent free entry

The main goal of Espacio Fundación Telefónica is to disseminate knowledge through exhibitions, meetings, and activities that connect innovation, creativity, and technology within society

The Espacio is a multipurpose facility that offers a diverse and inclusive program, free of charge, catering to adults, young people, and children alike.

Espacio Fundacion Telefonica

This cultural space is located in one of Madrid’s most emblematic buildings. Recognized as the first skyscraper built in Europe, it has been one of the symbols of the city since its construction in 1929. 

During the Spanish Civil War, the building was an important target due to its height, proximity to the front line, and status as the country’s primary communications center. Its basements served as shelters against bombings.

Telefonica building

Guided tours, lasting approximately 50 minutes, are available. No prior reservation is required; simply arrive at the reception and sign up between 5 to 30 minutes before the tour. Each tour is limited to 30 people.

Free audio guides are also available and you can access them on your mobile device. if you are looking for the best free museums in Madrid, this is a must.

2. Naval Museum

        Paseo del Prado, 5

Banco de España

From Tuesday to Sunday 10:00-19:00 (August: 10.00-15.00)

All Mondays and on the following days: January 1 and 6, May 1, December 24, 25 and 31.

Permanent free entry (voluntary 3 € donation)

The Naval Museum serves as a hub for research and conservation, aiming to narrate Spain’s maritime history. It stands as one of the most interesting free museums in Madrid.

The museum offers various visit programs adapted to the interests of the visitors. While entry is free, a voluntary donation of 3 € is encouraged for maintenance purposes.

It is located on the Paseo del Prado, close to El Retiro Park, and other renowned galleries in Madrid such as the Prado, Reina Sofia, and Thyssen-Bornemisza.

Naval museum

The building, featuring a blend of classical and neo-Gothic architecture, boasts an impressive grand staircase crafted from Carrara white and ochre marble. It is adorned with a tower atop the main facade.

You will explore the Navy’s evolution from the time of the Catholic Monarchs. It encompasses astronomical, scientific, and navigational instruments; models of ships and naval structures; fine and decorative arts; weaponry, flags, ethnographic artifacts; and memorabilia belonging to distinguished sailors.

Best museums in Madrid Spain

The map of Juan de la Cosa is on permanent display and stands out among the most interesting historical pieces of the museum. It is the earliest preserved map of the Americas

For the first time, the African continent is depicted with a north-south orientation. In contrast, the representation of Asia exhibits notable inaccuracies, as it relied on less scientific sources such as Ptolemaic theories and chronicles gathered from Italian travelers like Marco Polo.

3. San Isidro Museum. The Origins of Madrid

        Plaza San Andres, 1

Latina | Tirso de Molina

From Tuesday to Sunday 10:00-20:00 (Summer 10:00-19:00)

All Mondays and on the following days: January 1 and 6, May 1, December 24, 25 and 31. 

Permanent free entry

The San Isidro Museum presents Madrid’s archaeological legacy, showcasing the material, social, and spiritual remnants of the cultures that once inhabited this region of Spain. 

Additionally, it highlights the art and customs associated with San Isidro, the patron saint of MadridIt is a meeting pointfor those interested in the history of Spain’s capital and ranks among the must-visit free museums in Madrid.

San Isidro Museum in Madrid

The building dates back to the early 16th century and once served as one of the Villa’s most prominent palaces.

The Well of the Miracle sits adjacent to the courtyard and, according to legend, is where San Isidro rescued his son from drowning when the waters surged up to the edge.

4. Matadero Madrid

        Plaza de Legazpi, 8

Legazpi

From Moday to Sunday 9:00-22:00.

All Mondays. December 25 and January 1.

Permanent free entry

Matadero Madrid, formerly a slaughterhouse, underwent a transformation in 2006 when the Madrid City Council decided to repurpose it into an arts and cultural center for contemporary artistic endeavors.

It is located close to the Madrid Rio area, a huge recreational and cultural space adjacent to the Manzanares River, and one of the most popular green areas in MadridIf you are on the lookout for popular free museums in Madrid, Matadero is a must-visit.

Matadero Madrid gallery with free entry

More than just a museum, Matadero Madrid is a dynamic creative space that accommodates various forms of artistic expression, including performing arts, cinema, music, design, architecture, urban planning, and landscape design.

It has become one of the main channels of promotion for artists and collectives in Madrid. There is always something going on in El Matadero, so make sure to check their activities’ calendarMoreover, you will find several areas to grab a drink, enjoy a bite, and unwind.

5. Geological and mining museum (Museo Geominero)

Calle de Rios Rosas, 23

Ríos Rosas

9:00-14:00.

December 24, 25 and 31, January 1 and 6.

Permanent free entry

A visit to the Geological and mining museum is highly recommended, especially if you are traveling with kidsFor many locals, this museum is regarded as one of the top museums in Madrid that offer free admission.

The museum’s primary aim is to conserve, research, and share the wealth and variety of geological, paleontological, and mineralogical heritage. It offers extensive collections of minerals, rocks, and fossils from across Spain, former colonies such as the Philippines or Cuba, and other notable sites worldwide.

Geominero

The extensive museum collection is showcased in 250 display cases on the ground floor of the building and across three perimeter balconies. 

The permanent exhibition comprises several collections, including mineral systematics, mineral resources, rocks, meteorites, and fossils. Also beautiful gems, highlighting ruby, sapphire, emerald, and aquamarine, in addition to 14 replicas of famous diamonds.

Best Museums in Madrid with free entry days

6. Prado Museum

Ruiz de Alarcón 23

Banco de España | Estación Arte

Monday to Saturday 10:00–20:00. Sundays and holidays 10:00-19:00.

January 1, May 1 and December 25.

Free entrance: Mon-Sat 18:00-20:00. Sun & holidays 17:00-19:00.

What days is the Prado Museum free for the general public?

Free entry times to Prado Museum are from Monday to Saturday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and on Sundays and holidays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Is the Prado Museum free for students?

Yes, Prado Museum is one of the free museums in Madrid for students between 18 and 25 years old.

Prado Museum is probably the most relevant art gallery in Madrid and one of the most famous worldwide, housing unique masterpieces by outstanding painters like Titian, El Greco, Rubens, Velázquez, and Goya. 

Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez
Visit Prado Museum

However, being one of the most significant museums in Europe, it is no surprise that long lines are common during free admission hours.

Therefore, if you want to avoid wait times, you may consider purchasing Skip-The-Line tickets.

7. Reina Sofía Museum

  Santa Isabel, 52

   Estación del Arte

Monday and Wednesday to Saturday 10:00–21:00. Sunday 10:00-14:30.

All Tuesdays. January 1 and 6, May 1 and 15, November 9, December 24, 25 and 31.

Free museum days: Mon & Wed-Sat 19:00-21:00.  Sun 12:30 to 14:30. All day: April 18, May 18, October 12, December 6.

Close to the Prado Museum, the Reina Sofia Museum is one of the 3 most renowned art museums in Madrid. 

The Reina Sofia’s permanent collection includes excellent pieces of the most remarkable 20th-century painters in Spain, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí.

Guernica by Picasso

“Guernica” is one of Picasso’s most recognized works, and it is probably the most famous masterpiece in the Reina Sofia Museum.

The painting reflects the suffering of people during the bombing of Guernica, and experts consider the canvas one of the most remarkable anti-war paintings in history. 

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

8. Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

  Paseo del Prado, 8

Banco de España

Monday 12:00–16:00. From Tuesday to Sunday 10:00-19:00.

January 1, May 1 and December 25

Free entry: Mondays, and Saturdays 21:00-23:00

The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum boasts one of the most outstanding art collections, featuring over 1,500 masterpieces spanning seven centuries of art.

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

Thyssen Museum in Madrid

Here are some of the most remarkable artworks in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum:

Woman staring at pictures inside Thyssen-Bornemisza museum

The Thyssen Museum is situated across the street from the Prado Museum and completes the trio known as the Madrid Art Triangle, alongside the Prado and Reina Sofia. 

9. Royal Palace of Madrid

   Bailén, s/n

Ópera

April to September: 10:00-19:00. October to March: 10:00-18:00. Sundays 10:00-16:00.

January 1 and 6, May 1, October 12, December 25

Free admission: May 18 and October 12. From Monday to Thursday, 17:00-19:00 (16:00-18:00 in Winter), for European Union citizens.

The Royal Palace stands as one of the city’s most stunning landmarks, located near the Royal Opera and overlooking the Sabatini Gardens. When looking for the top-rated free museums in Madrid, the Royal Palace is a must!

While the Royal Palace of Madrid serves as the official residence of the Spanish Royal family, it is predominantly used for official ceremonies nowadays.

It holds the distinction of being Europe’s largest functioning royal palace and boasts over 3,000 rooms adorned with exquisite paintings, sculptures, and decorations.

Front side of the The Royal Palace, one of the best landmarks in Madrid

The Painting Gallery contains countless works of art, including Virgin with Child by Luis Morales, Portrait of Isabella the Catholic by Juan de Flandes, Salome with the Head of John the Baptist by Caravaggio and works by such artists as Velázquez, Goya, and Sorolla.

The Royal Armory is one of the most significant collections of its kind, housing weapons and armor worn by the kings of Spain and other members of the Royal family since the 13th century. 

The splendid Royal Kitchen is one of the oldest and best-preserved kitchens in a royal residence, notable for its size and the excellent condition of its accessories.

Change of Guard
Changing of the Guard

The Solemn Changing of the Guard lasts almost an hour and, in total, 400 people and 100 horses take part in the spectacle. It takes place the first Wednesday of the month at noon (except January, August, and September).

The weekly Changing of the Guard ceremony is a much smaller, but just as meaningful, tradition. It takes place every Wednesday and Saturday at 11:00 (in July and August from 10:00 until noon).

Additionally, every 10 minutes the mounted sentinels march in front of the palace.

Campo del Moro gardens offer a great view of the Madrid´s Royal Palace
Campo del Moro Gardens

The Palace Gardens, also known as the “Campo del Moro,” are a must-visit when exploring the Royal Palace. Situated just behind the Palace, entrance is always free and open to the public during the same hours as the palace.

10. National Archaeological Museum

      Serrano, 13

Serrano | Retiro

From Tuesday to Saturday 9:30-20:00. Sundays & holidays 9:30-15:00.

All Mondays. January 1 and 6, May 1 and 15 , December 24, 25 and 31.

Free entrance: Saturday from 14:00 and Sunday mornings.  All day: April 18, May 18, October 12, and December 6.

The National Archaeological Museum is a must for all those interested in ancient civilizations, and one of the free museums in Madrid on Sundays.

The museum aims to provide the general public with an engaging interpretation of objects from various cultures that inhabited the Iberian Peninsula and the Mediterranean region, spanning from Prehistory to the Early Modern Age.

Moreover, it houses collections from outside of Spain, particularly from Ancient Greece and Ancient Egypt.

Lady of Elche

One of the most outstanding items is the Lady of Elche, an Iberian sculpture renowned for her lovely features, rich attire, and mysterious identity. 

Other valuable pieces on display are the Lady of Baza, the Treasure of Guarrazar, the Bull of Osuna, Mausoleum of Pozo Moro, and a collection of Greek vases, considered by specialists to be one of the best in the world.

11. Cerralbo Museum

  Ventura Rodríguez, 17

Plaza de España

From Tuesday to Saturday 9:30-15:00 (also 17:00-20:00 just on Thursdays). Sundays & holidays 10:00-15:00.

All Mondays and on January 1 and 6, May 1, December 24, 25 and 31.

Free entrance: All Sundays, Thursday 17:00-20:00. April 18, May 18, October 12, and December 6.

The Cerralbo Museum stands out as one of the few examples of a 19th-century mansion that has preserved its original décor. 

Visitors will be amazed by the impressive collection, which encompasses over 50,000 pieces, including antique numismatics, bibliographic materials, and documents.

Cerralbo Museum in Madrid

The extensive array of objects includes European paintings, sculptures, drawings, clocks, coins, medals, archaeological artifacts, weapons and armor, as well as bibliographic collections. 

Additionally, there is a wide representation of decorative arts spanning various eras and styles, such as watches, lamps, jewelry, ceramics, furniture, rugs, and tapestries.

In order to respect the original appearance, there are no elements in the rooms with information on the objects on display. For this reason, a guide with information is provided for the visit.

12. Sorolla Museum

Paseo General Martínez Campos, 37

Iglesia | Rubén Darío | Gregorio Marañón

From Tuesday to Saturday 9:30-20:00. Sundays & holidays 10:00-15:00.

All Mondays and on January 1 and 6, May 1, November 9, December 24, 25 and 31.

Free entrance: Saturdays 14:00-20:00 and Sundays 10:00-15:00.

The Sorolla Museum aims to increase awareness and appreciation of Joaquín Sorolla’s legacy by showcasing the majority of the objects he collected throughout his lifetime.

The museum primarily features Sorolla’s artworks, comprising mainly paintings and drawings, making it the most comprehensive and representative collection of the artist’s work.

Sorolla Museum

The museum is housed in the former family home of the artist, where collections are exhibited throughout the perfectly preserved space. 

In addition to being one of the top free museums in Madrid, it boasts one of the best-preserved artist studios still in existence. Visitors can view Sorolla’s original work utensils and some of his most renowned artworks on display.

12+1. Museum of Romanticism

  San Mateo, 13

Alonso Martínez | Tribunal

Winter (1 Nov – 30 Apr): From Tuesday to Saturday 9:30-18:30. Sundays & holidays 10:00-15:00. Summer (1 May – 31 Oct) From Tuesday to Saturday 9:30-20:30. Sundays & holidays 10:00-15:00.

All Mondays and on January 1 and 6, May 1, November 9, December 24, 25 and 31.

Free entrance: Sundays, and Saturdays from 14:00. All day: April 18, May 18, October 12, and December 6.

Built in 1776, the former palace of the Marquis of Matallana now hosts a captivating collection of 19th-century paintings, furniture, and decorative art. This collection beautifully encapsulates the cultural, political, and everyday life of Madrid during that era.

Museo Romanticismo

The collection features works by Goya, ceramics, jewelry, porcelain dolls, pianos, imperial and Isabelline furniture, and even the pistol Larra used to commit suicide.

The Magnolia Garden is particularly noteworthy, featuring four avenues with different trees, including a magnolia, and a circular fountain in the center.

Visitors will also discover the Museum’s Café, an exceptional spot to unwind and indulge in a wide variety of homemade cakes.

What Madrid museums are free on Sundays?

Certainly, visiting Madrid museums during the weekdays, from Monday to Friday, is more convenient when most locals are at work. However, it can also be an enjoyable indoor activity for the weekends.

Moreover, as mentioned in my previous list, the following Madrid museums offer free admission on Sundays for the general public:

In my opinion, these are the best free museums in Madrid, so make sure you save some time in your planning to visit them. 

However, the capital of Spain is much more than culture, check the best things to do in Madrid section and my comprehensive Madrid travel guide to save time and money, and make the most of your vacations in Spain.

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