It’s not easy picking the best museums in Madrid. Since it was named 1992 European City of Culture, the Spanish capital has become one of the top ten destinations for art lovers across the world. And not only because of its museums! Madrid also boasts lots of Unesco World Heritage Sites. Discover them for yourself by booking one of our holiday apartments in Madrid.
Museum tour of Madrid
A museum tour of Madrid can take in a wide range of fascinating places, including the Biblioteca Nacional, Museo de la Casa de la Moneda, Museo de América and Museo Africano, to name just a few! To make things easier, we’ve put together a list of what we think are the six best museums in Madrid.
If you want to discover some of the lesser-known museums, why not put together your own museum tour in Madrid by checking out the official website for Museums in Madrid, where you’ll find information on which days you can get free admission to museums in Madrid and even download your tickets.
The best museums in Madrid
These top six of the best museums in Madrid will take you through the Golden Triangle, which includes the Paseo del Prado and some of the city’s most famous museums.
1. El Museo del Prado
Since it was built in the early 19th century, the Museo Nacional del Prado has remained not only at the very top of the list of the best museums in Madrid but also one of the most visited museums in the whole world. There are usually some 7,000 works on display in its galleries, but its general collection comprises more than 27,000 pieces, including sculptures, maps, coins and paintings in storage.
The Museo del Prado specialises in 16th- to 18th-century art y and contains leading examples of Spanish and European art from this period, especially Flemish and Dutch. Make sure you see the best self-portrait of Alberto Durero, Caravaggio’s David and Goliath, Fra Angelico’s The Annunciation, Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights, El Greco’s The Nobleman with his Hand on his Chest, Velázquez’s Las Meninas, and Goya’s The 3rd of May 1808 in Madrid.
2. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza
The Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza is owned by the Thyssen-Bornemisza family, who have made it one of the top 100 museums in the world. It is now home to 940 pieces that make a perfect fit with the Museo del Prado, covering the Baroque and Rococo periods and reaching as far as Impressionism, the Avant-gardes and Pop Art.
Don’t miss the following paintings if you visit: Hans Holbein the Younger’s Portrait of Henry VIII of England, several sculptures by Auguste Rodin and masterpieces such as Claude Monet’s Charing Cross Bridge, Edward Hopper’s Hotel Room and Roy Lichtenstein’s Woman in Bath.
3. Museo Reina Sofía
Another of the best museums in Madrid is the Reina Sofía, a must for lovers of modern and contemporary art. And if you’re travelling as a family, this is one of the best museums in Madrid to visit with kids, as they run a lot of children’s activities.
The crown jewel is Picasso’s Guernica. But don’t leave without seeing other great works as well, including Picasso’s Woman in Blue and Salvador Dalí’s Figure at the Window, Joan Miró’s House with Palm Tree and gems of contemporary Spanish art, such as Antonio López’s Madrid From Tío Pío Hill.
4. Caixa Forum Madrid
La particularidad de Caixa Forum Madrid es que es un museo que siempre tiene exposiciones temporales, por eso, en cada visita ¡hay nuevas sorpresas! Por sus salas han pasado exposiciones del Antiguo Egipto, de la civilización asiria, o de arte moderno y gráfica publicitaria como la de Toulouse-Lautrec. Si visitas este museo, no te olvides de pasear por sus patios, en los que podrás admirar las esculturas de Miquel Barceló y el primer Jardín Vertical construido en España.
Caixa Forum destaca también como otro de los mejores museos de Madrid para niños gracias a su programa para visitas en familia llamado Educaixa.
5. Espacio cultural de Tabacalera
If you’re a fan of contemporary art, dance and the visual arts, don’t leave Madrid without checking out the activities and exhibitions at the Centro Social Autogestionado de La Tabacalera de Lavapiés, another of the best museums in Madrid. You’ll find shows by different groups of photographers and contemporary art workshops.
But it’s not just inside that’s worth a look. Every year the sides of the building host the Muros de Tabacalera Festival, where some thirty artists from around the world create urban art murals. If you want to see more street art, head over to the nearby Galería Swinton&Grant, where you can buy original artworks and books on the leading urban artists in Spain.
6. Museo Arqueológico Nacional (M.A.N.)
Feel like a real-life Indiana Jones at the Museo Arqueológico Nacional, home to some of the most important archaeological treasures in Spain!
The MAN collection includes stunning examples of Iberian art, such as Roman mosaics, the famous Dama de Elche and Dama de Baza, the monument to Pozo Moro and an exquisite selection of Visigoth crowns, including the Corona de Recesvinto.
What’s more, the MAN is one of the best museums in Madrid for kids, especially on Sundays, when they run workshops for the whole family.
Come to Madrid and explore all the fascinating art and history the city has to offer!