Madrid's 10 Best Museums

Prado Museum
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Travel is all about learning something new, and there's no better place to do so than a museum. Luckily, museums are something that Madrid has in droves. Its world-class art galleries are perhaps what's put the Spanish capital on the culture map, but that's just the beginning. No matter what your interests may be, there's sure to be a Madrid museum that will fascinate you.

Ready to explore? Be sure to add these 10 Madrid museums to your itinerary.

01 of 10

Museo del Prado

Prado art museum, Madrid, Spain

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Address
Calle de Ruiz de Alarcón, 23, 28014 Madrid, Spain
Phone
+34 913 30 28 00

Let's start with perhaps the most famous of all the museums in Madrid.

For more than 200 years, the Prado has been the Spanish capital's reference for artistic excellence. And with big names under its roof such as Velázquez, Goya, and El Greco, it's easy to see why. Come for the iconic works such as "Las Meninas;" stay for the underrated gems such as Giambattista Tiepolo's "Immaculate Conception."

02 of 10

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia

Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid, Spain

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Address
Calle de Santa Isabel, 52, 28012 Madrid, Spain
Phone
+34 917 74 10 00

While the Prado showcases art from centuries past, contemporary works shine at the Reina Sofia. With a collection encompassing the whole of the 20th century, it provides a pleasant contrast to its traditional counterpart.

The big draw here is Picasso's "Guernica," a massive abstract depiction of the brutal bombing of a Basque village during the Spanish Civil War. You'll also find a sizable selection of works by other big-name Spanish artists from the past century, such as Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró.

03 of 10

Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza

Exterior view of the Thyssen-Bornemisza art museum in Madrid, Spain

Luis Garcia/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Address
Paseo del Prado, 8, 28014 Madrid, Spain
Phone
+34 917 91 13 70

As the third piece of Madrid's iconic "Golden Triangle of Art," the Thyssen is also perhaps the most overlooked. While it is the smallest of the three major art museums, it still manages to pack a big punch.

Its permanent collection is comprised of more than 1,600 works, making the Thyssen one of the largest private art collections in the world. Works span an impressive seven centuries, ranging from Italian medieval art to modern abstract pieces created mere decades ago.

04 of 10

National Archaeological Museum

Statue in front of the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid, Spain

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Address
Calle de Serrano, 13, 28001 Madrid, Spain
Phone
+34 915 77 79 12

Let's switch gears from art to archaeology. Founded in 1867 by Queen Isabella II, Madrid's National Archaeological Museum is one of the best of its kind in the world—and once you spend a few hours exploring it for yourself, you'll see why.

Treasures here date from prehistory and encompass some of the most iconic civilizations to ever walk the earth, from the Ancient Egyptians and Greeks to the medieval period and so much more. You'll leave with a greater understanding of how everyday humans have lived throughout history.

Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10

National Museum of Natural Sciences

Exterior façade of the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid, Spain

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Address
Calle de José Gutiérrez Abascal, 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain
Phone
+34 914 11 13 28

Want to learn more about the natural wonders that surround us? Madrid's National Museum of Natural Sciences is calling your name.

Perfect for both kids and adults alike, this museum makes science more fun than ever through interactive, informative exhibits. Whether you're interested in biodiversity, human evolution, geology, or anything in between, this fascinating world of wonders has something for you.

06 of 10

Museo de Real Madrid

Trophy room at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, home of the Real Madrid soccer club.

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Address
Acceso por Torre B, Av. de Concha Espina, 1, 28036 Madrid, Spain
Phone
+34 913 98 43 70

Soccer in Spain is arguably a more adhered-to religion than Catholicism, and no team is more highly revered than Real Madrid. And no experience will get you under the skin of this iconic club quite like a tour of their home turf, Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

In addition to stepping into the locker room, press room, and out onto the pitch itself, you'll also visit the team's impressive museum. As the third-most visited museum in Madrid, it's home to jerseys, memorabilia, posters and more relics from the team's past, including more trophies than you've likely ever seen in one place.

07 of 10

Museo del Ferrocarril

Exterior of the Railway Museum in Madrid, Spain

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Address
Paseo de las Delicias, 61, 28045 Madrid, Spain
Phone
+34 915 39 00 85

Located just south of the city center in the old Delicias station, Madrid's railway museum offers a fun, off-the-beaten-path alternative to the typical tourist track.

The museum is the largest of its kind in Europe and offers guests an up-close look at the crucial role that Spain's railroad system has played in the country's history. You'll see real old locomotives up close, and even have the chance to step into vintage train cars for yourself. If you get hungry, the museums café is housed in a beautiful refurbished dining car from the 1930s.

08 of 10

Platform 0, Metro Station Chamberí

Old turnstiles at the Chamberi metro station in Madrid, Spain

DAVID HERRAEZ STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY / 500px/Getty Images

 

Address
Plaza de Chamberí, s/n, 28010 Madrid, Spain
Phone
+34 902 44 44 03

In its heyday, the Chamberí metro station was one of the busiest on Madrid's extensive public transportation network. Sadly, it fell into disuse in the 1960s and remained abandoned for several decades.

That is, until 2008. That year, the old Chamberí station was restored to its former glory, looking much the same as it did in the 1920s and '30s complete with vintage advertisements and old-school turnstiles. Known as Anden 0 or Platform Zero, the station serves as a sort of miniature museum of the history of the Madrid metro.

Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10

Royal Armoury of Madrid

Madrid Royal Palace

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Address
Palacio Real, Calle de Bailén, s/n, 28013 Madrid, Spain
Phone
+34 914 54 87 00

After you visit Madrid's spectacular Royal Palace, don't leave until you've checked out the Royal Armory as well. (And with entrance to the armory included in your palace ticket, there's no excuse not to go!)

The collection of weapons and armor here dates back to the 13th century and spans several generations of monarchs from there on out.

10 of 10

CaixaForum Madrid

Exterior of the Caixaforum exhibition center in Madrid, Spain

Marco Pagni/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

Address
Paseo del Prado, 36, 28014 Madrid, Spain
Phone
+34 913 89 65 45

A sociocultural center for the modern age, Caixaforum provides fascinating temporary exhibitions on everything from art to music to architecture. It's likely you'll never see the same thing twice here, no matter how many times you visit Madrid and come back—and that's exactly what makes it so interesting.

The center also provides special exhibitions and programming for children, so if you're traveling with little ones in tow, it'll keep them interested as well.

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The 10 Madrid Museums You Have to Check Out