Museums are considered to be the best Madrid attractions that are very popular with tourists. This is especially true for art fans. It would take you several days (or maybe the whole week) to explore all the galleries and museums in Madrid.
If you’re short on time, narrow down the list of must-visit museums to the four most popular ones. Let’s review the best museums in Madrid!
The Reina Sofía houses about 20,000 artworks and paintings in the massive collection. Most of these masterpieces have been created by famous Spanish artists and sculptors like Miró, Pablo Ruiz Picasso, Salvador Dalí, and Julio González. Their collections are stored in separate rooms. Additionally, some foreign artists’ works have recently been included too.
Together with the Thyssen-Bornemisza and Prado, Reina Sofía makes Madrid’s Art Triangle. It is one of the national museums that showcase the modern art of the 20th century. The museum is situated in the vicinity of the metro stations and Atocha train.
It was designated in 1978. In addition to offering exhibitions in several galleries, the Reina Sofía hosts an impressive library that includes more than 100,000 books.
This magnificent museum possesses a wide variety of paintings and other artworks in its extensive collection. It includes everything from Flemish and Italian works of art to world-renowned paintings of Diego Velazquez and Francisco Goya. There are more than 7000 paintings. With so many must-see paintings and artworks, it is tricky to decide what to see and where to start.
Museo Nacional del Prado is designed as a neoclassical gigantic building that can catch the imagination of every passerby. The museum was first opened in 1819 as a public art gallery. Today, Prado is one of the most venerated and best-known museums not only in Madrid but also in Spain and Europe. Furthermore, it is considered a must-visit attraction in Madrid.
The next museum you should visit while in Madrid is the National Museum of Natural Sciences. Packed with over ten million amazing specimens, it exhibits a diverse collection consisting of everything from DNA and tissue to plants and prehistoric animals like dinosaurs. The fascinating evolution of humans is also included.
After visiting this impressive museum, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the natural world on our planet and its diversity. There are a couple of research departments, including:
- Evolutionary Ecology
- Biodiversity & Evolutionary Biology
- Paleobiology, and
Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales is located near the Paseo de la Castellana in the city center. The museum was established by Charles III in 1771. Nowadays, it’s managed by CSIC (the Spanish National Research Council).
As the name implies, these paintings belong to Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza — a famous art collector and industrialist who lived in Madrid. This stunning museum is situated in a 19th-century palace. The building was reconverted 30 years ago and it’s now one of the most delightful constructions in the city.
What can you see in the museum? Van Gogh, Dürer, Caravaggio, Carpaccio, Van Eyck, Duccio, Rubens, Gauguin, Monet, Sargent, Mondrian…the list goes on and on.
In addition to these famous names, you will be able to see artworks of many other painters in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. Nearly 900 paintings are housed in the private collection of this awesome museum.
Museo Arqueológico Nacional was founded after Queen Isabella's royal decree in 1867. The museum was reopened after a remodeling process in 2014. It houses a precious antique collection that includes archaeological and decorative art pieces which belonged to Spanish royal families.
Comprising artworks and implements that have characteristics of Mediterranean cultures, the exhibits are spanning from Bronze Age to the nineteenth century.
This large neoclassical museum is positioned in the center of the Salamanca District near the national library. Its courtyard is awash with natural light. Once you get in, take a look at an informative panel near the entrance.
As a visitor, you will be able to touch replicas and mockups. Don’t worry, it is allowed. Head to the first floor and check renewed Mudejar ceilings.
Located in the heart of the city by the river, this amazing museum draws tourists and locals as well. Once this building was a livestock market and abattoir. After its reconstruction, the complex was repurposed and became an important cultural center in Madrid. Matadero Madrid is now divided into 3 sections, each of which has a variety of collections. These collections include photos, books, works of art, video games, and so on.
Visitors can also enjoy evening concerts, which are especially popular in the summer. This is a great place in which visitors can enjoy dining, drinking, and soaking in modern art to their heart's content. While you can visit it in the morning or afternoon, most concerts and exhibits are held at night.
You will come across this museum if you pass by Army Headquarters in Madrid. It was moved to this location 90 years ago. Naval Museum is an engaging mixture of historic items and artifacts.
Its collection boasts more than 13000 different items, such as naval charts, models of ships, jewelry, coins, uniforms, weapons, flags, maps, as well as paintings of naval battles and seafarers.
All of these items are actually prized loot of famous explorers. Juan de la Cosa map is probably the most valuable piece of this huge collection. It is one of the earliest preserved maps of America.
The next museum that is worth reviewing is Museo Sorolla. This stunning museum boasts Joaquín Sorolla’s artworks - he was a famous Spanish artist - and the work by his daughter Elena. Sorolla Museum features colorful landscapes that resemble the Andalusian gardens.
The building itself contains a large studio with canvass-filled walls and several rooms with plenty of landscape paintings. Most of them serve as galleries that display awe-inspiring paintings, while some of the rooms are occasionally used for special exhibitions.
CaixaForum Madrid doubles as a cultural center and gallery. In fact, it is a cultural exhibition center that features rotating exhibitions as well as a vertical garden. The building has been designed by Herzog & de Meuron architects.
Located in the vicinity of Prado, it sports contemporary interiors with a steel shiny stairway. Despite the modern design, most exhibitions showcase artworks of traditional painters. While CaixaForum is not deemed to be one of the top museums in Madrid, it’s still worth visiting.
Last but not least, you shouldn’t miss the Museum of the Americas during your cultural trip to Madrid. Museo de America was built in 1941. This national museum holds ethnographic, artistic, and archaeological collections that are all dedicated Americas (as its name suggests). In addition to antique items, the collections contain acquisitions from storage and donations.
Galleries display over 25,000 pieces. There are five different themes. They cover a long period from Native Americans to the present-day Americas, illustrating the religion, social life, and culture of the Americas. The most popular themes include Colonial Art, Ethnography, and pre-Columbian Archaeology.
If you plan to travel to Madrid be sure you have plenty of time to enjoy any moment of that destination. There are many things to do in Madrid, among other attractions, museums are such a good choice for those who love history and arts.
There is a variety of themes to explore in each one recommended so you can find everything about any taste and interest. Even if you have limited time, try to visit some of those above and you will not regret it at all!