Art fans should feel at home in Madrid, where three of the best museums in Europe are located within a ten-minute walk of each other: Museo del Prado, Centro de Arte Reina Sofia and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza.
Madrid's Golden Triangle of Art Museums
Madrid is most famous for its 'Golden triangle' of art museums, the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza.
The most important of the three is the Museo del Prado, which houses the definitive Spanish art of the past 500 years - Goya, El Greco and Velázquez in particular.
But if you'd struggle to name three Spanish artists (getting stuck after Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso) then the Reina Sofia might be more up your street, with excellent modern art from these two titans of contemporary art and many other examples of weird and wonderful art from the past 100 years.
If you are an art newbie and don't know what you want, many would still say you should see El Prado (it is that good, they say). However, I'd say that Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza might be a better compromise, as it covers art from medieval times up to the present day.
An excellent modern art collection, the most important piece being Picasso's Guernica, the painter's graphic portrayal of the massacre of an entire village by the Germans during the Spanish Civil War. Also some excellent Dali pieces. Some of the greatest 20th century art you are ever likely to see.
Address: Santa Isabel 52, 28012 Madrid. Tel: (+34) 91 774 10 00
Opening Times: For current opening times, see Reina Sofia Opening Times.
Closed Tuesdays, Dec 24, 25, 31, Jan 1, 6, May 1, 15, Nov 9
Entry 10€ (8€ online; free for students with ID, under-18s, over-65s, and many others)
Free on Sundays (1.30pm-7pm) and on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 7pm to 9pm.
Perennially vying with the Alhambra in Granada for title of most visited tourist attraction in Spain, the Prado has all the good art work from before Dali and Picasso - by such luminaries as Goya, Velazquez and El Greco. But one always gets the impression that many of the visitors are there because they have to go, not because they actually want to.
Address: Museo Nacional del Prado, Calle Ruiz de Alarcón 23, s/n. 28014 Madrid, Tel.: (+34) 91 330 28 00
Opening Times: 10am - 8pm, Monday - Saturday, 10am to 7pm Sunday
Closed Jan 1, May 1, Dec 25
Entry 15€. (7.50€ for over-65s). Or take a Prado Guided Tour.
- Mondays to Saturdays from 6pm to 8pm
- Sundays from 5pm to 7pm
- Always with the Madrid Card and students 18-25, under 18s, and the disabled
Completely the triumvirate of great art museums located around the Paseo del Prado, this used to be one of the biggest private collections in the world.
Read more about this Madrid art museum: Thyssen-Bornemisza
Modern art museum with temporary exhibitions.
More on this Madrid art museum: CaixaForum Madrid
Various temporary exhibitions at this cultural space.
Read more about the Casa Encendida.
Outdoor museum of abstract sculptures.
See more on the Abstract Sculpture Museum in Madrid
Madrid's Contemporary Art Museum
Madrid's Contemporary Art Museum can be found at the Conde Duque former barracks. The grounds themselves are great to walk around.
Read more on this Madrid art museum: Conde Duque
Convento de las Descalzas
A convent with a famous art collection.
Museo Lazaro Galdiano
Private art collection belonging to José Lázaro Galdiano.
Read more about this Madrid art museum: Museo Lazaro Galdiano