Indagare Madrid Museum Matchmaker

Spain’s capital draws in travelers from all over with its enormous parks, vibrant energy and mouthwatering tapas—what visitors will also find is easy access to some of the most celebrated works of art in the world. The Prado Museum, Reina Sofía and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum neighbor each other along the same street, with Madrid’s other major cultural attractions not too far away. Here, we outline Indagare’s favorite Madrid museums for every traveler's passion—from Spanish Contemporary art to archaeological wonders. Read on to discover your museum match!

Contact Indagare or email your trip designer for assistance planning a trip to Spain. Our team can match you with the accommodations and activities that are right for you and provide information on transportation options, hotels, guided touring and more.

For the Greatest European Collection: Prado Museum

One of the most renowned museums in Madrid (and quite possibly the grande dame), the Prado Museum is a source of national pride—so much so that it was declared “the most important museum in the world for European painting” by art historian Jonathon Brown. First-timers to Madrid will likely have plans to visit the Prado's massive collection of Spanish and international artworks, including European art ranging from the 12th to the 20th centuries. With over 2,000 paintings, sculptures and drawings, there is much to be seen; however, some of the most celebrated artists to watch for are Diego Velazquez (one of the most important Spanish painters of all time), Francisco Goya and Hieronymus Bosch, whose The Garden of Earthly Delights triptych oil painting is widely recognized as one of the world's most phenomenal works of art.

Don’t Miss: Las Meninas by Velazquez; The Black Paintings by Goya; and The Garden of Earthly Delights by Bosch
Open: Monday to Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Sundays and holidays, 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

For Contemporary Spanish Art: Matadero Madrid

Former slaughterhouse and livestock-market-turned-cultural-center, Matadero Madrid is unlike many other museums. Its location makes it more of a watering hole for locals, who enjoy evening exhibitions and concerts a little ways out from Madrid's city center. Visitors who stroll off the beaten path for contemporary art paired with a late afternoon drink will find themselves delighted by the laid-back vibes and lack of tourists. The highlights of the collection rotate, but overall, visitors can expect literature, modern art and photography, as well as temporary exhibitions featuring emerging artists. Check the website to see what's on.

Open: Open spaces are open daily, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.; Exhibitions are open Tuesday to Thursday, 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., and Friday to Sunday, 12:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (closed on Monday); Immersive Experience Center is open Mondays to Sundays, 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. (check schedule for summer visits, as times vary)

For a Cohesive Collection of American Cultures: Museum of the Americas

The Museum of the Americas is divided by theme—including communication, religion and social life—with galleries displaying over 25,000 items that follow the evolution of the Americas, specifically surrounding the Age of Discovery. The pieces found here consist of archaeological, ethnographical and colonial pieces from as far back as prehistoric times, many of which were sent as proof of success by explorers to the then-reigning monarchs. Those interested in history and archaeology could easily spend an entire day diving into each section of the museum.

Open: Tuesday to Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (with extended hours Thursday until 7:00 p.m. ); Sunday and holidays, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

For 20th-Century Masters: Reina Sofía Museum

Reina Sofía’s glass addition to its otherwise historic facade foreshadows what visitors will experience inside: a wealth of amazing 20th-century Spanish art with themes ranging from feminism to revolution. In addition to showcasing works by two of Spain's greatest 20th-century masters, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí, visitors should keep an eye out for Joan Miró, Eduardo Chillida, Pablo Gargallo and Julio González (among many other Spanish and international artists). For those deeply interested in modern art, start at the museum in the morning and let yourself wander; others may choose to locate the pieces most important to them before enjoying the outdoor spaces, accompanied by works from Alexander Calder and Roy Lichtenstein. Split into three parts, the collection is organized thematically rather than by artist, so some jumping around may be necessary—the most famous highlights are located on the second floor of the Sabatini building.

Don’t Miss: Guernica, Woman in Blue and Bust of a Smiling Woman by Picasso; Figure at the Window and Face of the Great Masturbator by Dalí; House with Palm Tree by Miró
Open: Monday and Wednesday to Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.; Sunday, 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.; Closed Tuesdays

For Decorative Art & Archaeological Treasures: National Archaeological Museum

Lovers of history, decorative art and Ancient Greek and Roman artifacts will find that Madrid's National Archaeological Museum does not disappoint. With the Altamira replica in the outdoor courtyard and the stone verracos (animals) of the interior courtyard, there's no shortage of treasures, whether you're seeking pieces from the prehistoric era or the ancient cultures on the banks of the River Nile.

Don’t Miss: The restored Mudejar ceilings, the treasure of Guarrazar, the crucifix of Ferdinand and Sancha, and La Dama de Elche
Open: Tuesday to Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Sunday and public holidays, 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.; closed Monday

For a Melting Pot of Masterpieces, From the 14th to the 20th Centuries: Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Stepping into the encyclopedic Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum can be likened to attending a gathering at the home of your art-enthusiast friend. This is due both to it being situated in a former aristocratic mansion and to the museum's beginnings—the Spanish state loaned 775 works from Hans Heinrich (of the Thyssen family of art collectors) and his wife, Carmen Cervera's private collection. One of the most prestigious collections in the city, the Thyssen holds must-see Western paintings spanning the 14th to the 20th century. The fact that this vast number of masterpieces were purchased over just two generations makes the collection that much more spectacular. The set-up of the museum is extremely easy to follow, and as visitors weave through the living-room sized spaces, they will stumble across famous paintings by Jan van Eyck, Titian, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Canaletto, Monet, Degas, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Picasso, Kirchner, Kandinsky, O'Keeffe, Hopper, Dalí, Pollock and more.

Don’t Miss: Any of it—making it through the Thyssen is relatively easy, and for those who love Western paintings, this collection contains many recognized masterpieces.
Open: Mondays, 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.; Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.; Check the website for hours of temporary exhibitions

For Rotating Cultural Exhibitions: CaixaForum Madrid

Just across the street from the Prado, CaixaForum Madrid (pronounced kai-shuh) is a beautiful cultural exhibition center which rotates its exhibitions regularly and hosts events from concerts and workshops to conferences and meetings with artists. Topics range widely; for example, the current exhibits are The Star of Miró, featuring an amazing tapestry by Joan Miró and Josep Royo, and Print3D: Reprinting Reality, showcasing the revolution and scope of 3D printing. Once an electric factory, the building itself is a piece of art—the original materials (like the rusty metal cover) were kept to contrast the modern structure, including its vertical garden and steel interior staircase.

Open: Monday to Sunday and holidays, 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

For a Glimpse into Habsburg Power: The Royal Palace of Madrid

The largest royal palace in Europe (with 3,418 rooms), the Royal Palace of Madrid is on most travelers’ lists when visiting Spain's capital. While it is the official residence of the Spanish royal family, the building is now used only for state ceremonies and tourism. There is so much to see that visitors may want to plan out a tour of their own. Some highlights include Halberdiers' Hall, where the royal guard was placed; the Throne Room, also known as the Hall of Ambassadors; Gasparini Hall, famous for its ornate Rococo style; the Hall of Mirrors; the Royal Chapel, with a ceiling painted by Sachetti and Ventura Rodriguez; and the Royal Armory, a museum in itself that showcases the Royal Palace's collection and armor and war objects. Strolling through the palace rooms will leave travelers with a glimpse into Habsburg power.

Open: Monday to Saturday, 10:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.; Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

For Impressionist Works by Joaquín Sorolla: Sorolla Museum

The former home of Spanish artist Joaquín Sorolla has been transformed into a boutique museum where visitors can wander through Sorolla's sunny Spanish landscapes. This visit is rather quick, but the pieces that have been preserved are worth seeing for those who appreciate Impressionism. The current temporary exhibition traces the last years of Sorolla's life and sheds light on the impact his death had on the cultural world.

Open: Tuesday to Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Sunday and public holidays, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.; Closed Monday

Contact Indagare or email your trip designer for assistance planning a trip to Spain. Our team can match you with the accommodations and activities that are right for you and provide information on transportation options, hotels, guided touring and more.

Published onApril 13, 2023

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