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Madrid's Top 10 : Museums and Galleries

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  1. Museo del Prado

    The world famous gallery is housed in Juan de Villanueva’s Neo-Classical masterpiece – an artistic monument in its own right. The relief over the Velázquez Portal depicts Fernando VII as guardian of the arts and sciences – it was during his reign that the Prado opened as an art gallery. Its strongest collection, unsurprisingly, is its Spanish artworks, particularly those of Francisco de Goya .

    Museo del Prado
  2. Museo Thyssen Bornemisza

    The setting for this outstanding collection is the Palacio de Villahermosa, remodelled in the 1990s. Carmen Thyssen Bornemisza, widow of the preceding baron, was responsible for the salmon pink colour scheme inside. The museum covers international art from the 14th century onwards .

  3. Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

    This treasure house of modern Spanish art was designed as a hospital by Francisco Sabatini in 1756. The conversion to art gallery was completed in 1990. The glass elevators offer panoramic views .

    Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
  4. Museo de América

    While the fabled treasures shipped back to Spain by Cortés, Columbus and Pizarro were exhibited as early as 1519, most of the items disappeared or were melted down. These fascinating ethnological and ethnographical exhibits originate from Carlos III’s “cabinet of natural history”, founded in the 18th century, and now embrace the entire American continent .

  5. Museo Cerralbo

    This astonishingly diverse collection – paintings, sculptures, tapestries, glassware, porcelain and more were originally the property of the 17th Marquis of Cerralbo. The museum’s 30,000 artifacts are housed in his palace and the rooms offer a fascinating window onto the life of Spanish aristocracy at the beginning of the 20th century .

  6. Museo Arqueológico Nacional

    Founded by Queen Isabel II in 1867, the archaeological museum contains treasures from most of the world’s ancient civilizations with an emphasis on the Iberian Peninsula. Highlights include the carved sculpture, the “Lady of Elche”, a noblewoman from the 4th century BC .

    Museo Arqueológico Nacional
  7. Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando

    The Academy of Fine Arts was founded by Fernando VI in 1752 and moved into the Goyeneche Palace 25 years later. Among the highlights are works by Spanish artists El Greco, Velázquez, Murillo, Zurbarán and Goya, as well as an array of European masterpieces .

  8. Casa Museo de Lope de Vega

    Spain’s greatest playwright lived in this house between 1610 and 1635. Now an evocative museum, the rooms are furnished in the style of the period, based on an inventory made by the dramatist himself .

  9. Casa Museo Sorolla

    The home of Valencian artist Joaquín Sorolla (1863–1923) is now a delightful museum displaying his work. Sorolla won international recognition after his paintings were exhibited in the Exposition Universelle in Paris (1901). His impressionistic canvases are brilliant evocations of Spanish life.

  10. Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas

    One of the many pluses of the Decorative Arts Museum is that it sets Spanish crafts in a European context. Highlights include the Gothic bedroom, Flemish tapestries and a collection of 19th-century fans .

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