Museums to Visit in Madrid

Although internationally famous for many things, Madrid is certainly one of the first cities you think of when thinking about museums and art. In fact, Madrid has some of the most visited and most popular museums in the world, which is why you simply must not leave without visiting at least one of the museums in the city. Not only do they represent the artistic life of Spain’s culture, but they also some of the most famous masterpieces of art, such as Las Meninas by Velázquez, Picasso’s Guernica and many others. The museums are the hearth of the art and culture movements that cherish the master pieces created by numerous artists from Spain, as well as from abroad. As you walk around a museum, you get to experience an entire epoch that produced the remarkable art works still preserved today.

Madrid has a lot of museums, several of which are located in the central area of the city, which will be quite convenient to visit if you are planning to rent an apartment in the center of Madrid. We have made a selection of the most interesting museums to visit in Madrid.

As a general rule, most of the museums in Madrid are closed on Mondays, so you should always check the opening hours for the museum you want to visit.

Museo del Aire (The Aviation Museum)

If you are fond of aviation and want to see all of the amazing aircrafts used over the years by Spanish Air Force, this museum is a great choice. It is located in the outskirts of Madrid, so you might need a while to get there if you are staying in the apartment in the center of Madrid. The museum includes both indoor and outdoor displays, with more than 66,000 square meters of spaces. An exciting display of aircrafts and helicopters, as well as other instruments used by the Spanish Air Force, is a perfect way to spend a day out while you are in Madrid. The museum visitors can also enjoy hundreds of miniature models of uniforms, aircrafts, weapons, etc.

Location: Cuatro Vientos Airport, Madrid. You can use metro line 10 to get there.

When to visit: The museum is opened between Tuesday and Sunday from 10 am until 2 pm. The museum is closed on Mondays and special days, such as public holidays. The entrance is free for all the visitors.

Website: http://www.ejercitodelaire.mde.es/EA/ejercitodelaire/en/

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Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Museo_del_Aire_panorama.JPG

Museo de América (The Museum of America)

This is a National museum in Madrid, featuring an extensive collection of items brought from the American continent during the colonization of the continent. The museum was founded in 1941 and its permanent exhibit is divided into five areas which all represent a certain part of American culture and society. Those areas are: the awareness of America, the reality of America, society, religion, and communication. Artistic and archaeological treasures featured in this museum date centuries back allowing us to learn interesting things about the past.

Location: Avenida de los Reyes Católicos , 6. Metro lines 3, 6,  and 7 can be used to reach the museum.

When to visit: The museum is opened between 9:30 am and 3 pm every day, except on Thursdays, when it is opened until 7 pm. On Sundays, the museum opens at 10 am. The museum is closed on Mondays, and during local holidays. The general admission is 3€, while groups can pay reduced admission fee, which is 1,50€. The museum offers free admission every Sunday, and on special holidays in Spain: 18th of April, 18th of May, 12th of October, and 6th of December.

Website: http://www.mecd.gob.es/museodeamerica/en/el-museo.html

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Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Museo_de_Am%C3%A9rica_(Madrid)_03.jpg

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

The first of the three extraordinary museums, collectively called the Golden Triangle of Art, is the Reina Sofía Museum, devoted to the 20th-century modern art. The museum mainly features the artworks of 20th-century geniuses such as Picasso and Salvador Dalí, as well as other modern Spanish painters, but you will also find some works produced by international artists. Besides the permanent and temporary collections featured in the museum, there is also a library specialized in contemporary art with over 100,000 books, as well as thousands of recordings and videos.

Location: Calle Santa Isabel, 52. Metro lines 1 and 3 have stops near the museum.

When to visit: The museum consists of several venues, which sometimes have different opening or closing times. You might also need a different type of ticket, depending on the type of the exhibition and the venue. In general, the museum opens around 10 am and closes around 7 pm or 9 pm, and the tickets are between 4 and 8 Euros. The museum is closed on Tuesday, and free entrance is allowed every day between 7 pm and 9 pm and from 1:30 pm and 7 pm on Sundays.

Website: http://www.museoreinasofia.es/en/visit

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Image source: http://www.museoreinasofia.es/en/museum/venues

Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza (The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum)

The second museum, in the group of the three museums generally known as the Golden Triangle of Art, is the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, and it features one of the largest private collections in the world. The artworks housed in this museum are mainly from the 19th and 20th century period, including many European artists. The movements such as Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and Cubism are all present through the art works featured as a part of permanent and temporary collections. The museum also houses some of the North American paintings. In total, there are over 1,600 paintings stored in the museum, which you can explore during your visit in Madrid.

Location: Paseo del Prado, 8. You can use metro line 2 to get to the museum.

When to visit: The museum is opened every day from 10 am until 7 pm, except on Mondays, when the museum is opened between 12 pm and 4 pm, and during this day the entrance is free for the permanent collection. Otherwise, admission fee is between 10 and 17 Euros, depending on the type of exhibition you are going to visit.

Website: http://www.museothyssen.org/en/thyssen/home

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Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Museo_Thyssen-Bornemisza_(Madrid)_08.jpg

Museo del Prado (The Prado Museum)

The third, and perhaps the most popular museum in the Golden Triangle of Art group, and certainly the most famous museum to visit in Madrid, is the Prado Museum. In fact, this is one of the most visited museums in the world. It contains one of the fines art collections of European art, from the period between the 12th and the 19th century, making this collection the most comprehensive representation of the Spanish history and culture and the way they changed over the course of centuries.

The collection includes approximately 7,600 paintings, over 1,000 sculptures and thousands of prints, drawings and other historic documents that are preserved in the museum and put on display to all visitors interested in seeing the imprints of the past. Artists like Francisco de Goya, Diego Velázquez, El Greco, and Peter Paul Rubens should be mentioned as some of the numerous artists whose work you will find the Prado Museum, featured in permanent or temporary exhibits.

Location: The museum is located in the Paseo del Prado, but there are four entrances to the museum. The best way to get to the museum is to use metro line 1.

When to visit: The museum is opened every day between 10 am and 8 pm. On Sundays and holidays the museum closes one hour earlier, at 7 pm. This museum is only closed three days during the year, and those are the 1st of January, the 1st of May and the 25th of December. General admission fee is 14€, but groups and special categories can get discount. Admission is free every day two hours before the museum closed.

Website: https://www.museodelprado.es/en/

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Image source: https://www.museodelprado.es/en/la-institucion/historia-del-museo/

Museo del Traje

This museum represents a modernist view of the culture and how the fashion changed over the years. The museum is devoted to fashion and costume, and it features collection of clothing dating from the Middle Ages up to modern times.  The extensive collection includes 160,000 pieces of clothing and documents relevant for this industry.

Location: Avenida de Juan de Herrera, 2. Metro lines 3 and 6 will take you to this museum.

When to visit: The museum is opened between 9:30 am and 7 pm from Tuesday to Saturday. You can visit the museum between 10 am and 3 pm on Sundays and public holidays, while the museum is closed on Mondays. General admission fee is 3 Euros, while free admission days are Saturdays after 2:30 pm and Sundays.

Website: http://museodeltraje.mcu.es/index.jsp?lang=eng

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Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Museo_del_Traje.JPG

 

Museo Nacional de Antropología (The National Museum of Anthropology)

Another National museum, located near the Golden Triangle of Art in the Parque del Buen Retiro is the National Museum of Anthropology where you can visit the exhibits devoted to cultural anthropology allowing you to understand different cultures that influenced and came in contact with Spanish culture at some point in the past. The culture of the Philippines, the culture of Equatorial Guinea, and the exhibit of the culture of Americas are the collections of all sorts of artifacts preserved from the time when Spanish colony was spreading its influence on these cultures.

Location: Calle Alfonso XII, 68. Metro line 1 is the best way to get there.

When to visit: The museum is opened from Tuesday to Saturday between 9:30 am and 8 pm. On Sundays and public holidays, the museum is opened between 10 am and 3 pm. General admission fee is 3€. Free entrance is available on Saturdays after 2 pm, and on Sundays.

Website: http://mnantropologia.mcu.es/index.html

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Museo Arqueológico Nacional (The National Archaeological Museum of Spain)

If you are fascinated with centuries-old objects and you want to see what has been preserved from the Pre-historic, Egyptian, Celtic or Iberian times, you should visit the National Archaeological Museum of Spain. Besides ancient times, the collection of this museum features the artifacts up to medieval times, providing a very inspirational collection of numismatic, archaeological and decorative arts dating back from different epochs that created the civilization and culture we know today.

Location: Calle Serrano, 13. Metro lines 2 and 4 can be used to reach the area around the museum.

When to visit: Opening hours between Tuesday and Saturday are between 9:30 am and 8 pm. On Sundays and public holidays the museum is opened between 9:30 am and 3 pm. The museum is closed on Mondays. General admission fee is 3€, while groups and volunteers are offered reduced admission fee. You can visit this museum for free on Saturdays after 2 pm and on Sunday mornings.

Website: http://www.man.es/man/home

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Image source: http://www.man.es/man/en/museo/historia.html

Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (The National Museum of Natural Sciences)

Gathering together archaeology, botanic and zoology, the National Museum of Natural Science offers an amazing display of natural history of Spain. Apart from the exhibitions area, the museum also has a research center exploring the diversity of species around the world. The following departments are part of the museum: biogeography and global change, biodiversity and evolutionary biology, environmental biology, evolutionary ecology, geology, paleobiology. Extensive documentation, library and archive are available to the researchers. The permanent collection is divided into three main sections: natural history section (presenting evaluation, humans and their environment), Mediterranean section (devoted to biological and ecological features of this particular area), and Royal Cabinet of Natural history (showing the development of the research). The total number of specimens preserved in the museum is estimated to be over 6 million, including different kinds of birds, mammals, reptiles, etc.

Location: José Gutiérrez Abascal, 2

When to visit: If you are visiting between Tuesday and Friday, and on Sundays, you can visit the museum between 10 am and 5 pm. The museum is opened until 8 pm on Saturdays and on each Sunday before a public holiday. The museum is closed on Mondays. General admission fee is 7€, while elderly, children, groups and families can enter by paying a reduced fee.

Website: http://www.mncn.csic.es/index.jsp

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Image source: http://www.mncn.csic.es/Menu/Elmuseo/Eledificio/seccion=1178&idioma=es_ES.do

Short Holiday in Madrid

Most of people around the world anticipate weekend with joy, hoping to get well-deserved rest. Having to get up early and go to work can sometimes be stressful and tiring, so one is counting days until the rest is finally there. Although spending a weekend in your cozy home in front of the television set, with a large cup of coffee or tea might sound appealing, you can always be adventurous and plan a short trip. If you leave on Friday evening, you will have two days for the adventure you have planned, and you will be back home by Sunday evening, to prepare yourself for another busy week ahead of you. Organizing a trip on short notice might seem impossible, as there are so many things to think of and plan. However, with everything you need available on the internet, you can easily plan and book a short trip whenever you seem to find time to travel. This is why we want to recommend you this guide, which could be a great travel resource that will help you to organize a short holiday in Madrid.

Get to the city

Depending on where you are from, one of the easiest ways to get to Madrid is to use air transport. Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport is the main international airport in Madrid, with available flights to numerous destinations around the world. You should find tickets through an online portal specialized in selling plane tickets, or you could also go through the website of the airline company you have chosen to fly with. The website of the Madrid’s airport also features some useful information in terms of how to get to the city from the airport, how to rent a car, etc. In case you have not visited Madrid yet, this is quite helpful to find your way and get to the city in the most comfortable way.

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http://www.aeropuertomadrid-barajas.com/eng/home.html

Find your apartment in Madrid

It is advisable to book your apartment in Madrid before you arrive to the city. Since you are on a short holiday, you absolutely do not want to end up looking for an apartment on the spot. This way you would waste a lot of time, that would otherwise would be spent on sightseeing. Therefore, you should go through the online offer of apartments and other types of accommodation, and book an apartment in Madrid that would be perfect for your short stay.

It would also be great if you could find an apartment that is located in the center of the city. There are two reason why this is the best option for tourists, especially those whose visit is rather limited. First of all, the center of the city is well-connected to the airport, as this is the tourist hub of the city, so there are city buses, as well as shuttle buses, allowing you to easily get to the city from the airport. Secondly, most of Madrid landmarks are located in the central area, so if you find apartment in the city center, you will be near all of the points of interests you wish to visit while you are in the city. With short holidays, saving time on any unnecessary activities is needed in order to take the most out of your holiday.

Late dinner or an evening out

In order to maximize the time you have on your short holiday, arriving to Madrid in the evening would be perfect. Even though it would be too late for sightseeing, you could still have time to explore the city and have dinner in one of Madrid’s restaurants. Additionally, if you like going out and partying late into the night, the central area of Madrid is perfect for you. Lots of Madrid’s cafes and bars are open until early morning hours, and the central area is especially famous as the party zone.

Day one of sightseeing

Having arrived on Friday in the evening enables you to have the entire Saturday to spend sightseeing. Obviously, you will not be able to visit absolutely every landmark of Madrid during your short holiday, so here is how you can plan a day of sightseeing in order to see the most important sights in the city of Madrid.

Start at the Paseo del Prado, Madrid’s main boulevard and major tourist attraction. As you walk along the street, you can enjoy the Spanish architecture and different styles that influenced architects that created some of the most famous pieces of Spanish architecture and Madrid’s scenery. The three most well-known museums in Madrid, also called the Golden Triangle of Art, are located in the Paseo del Prado, so make sure to visit at least one of them. Whether you choose the Prado Museum with its pre-20th century art collection, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum with the large collection ranging between historical art to contemporary art, or whether you decide to visit the Reina Sofía Museum with its amazing art collection featuring the 20th century modern art, this visit will allow you to embrace the culture and art of many different epochs and influences from around the world. Since all of the museums offer quite extensive collections, the best advice is to choose one that you would like to visit the most during your short visit. As you walk around the museum of your choice you will be able to enjoy some of the most famous master pieces of the Spanish art, as well as some internationally famous art works.

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http://www.museoreinasofia.es/en/collection

As you continue your walk along the Paseo del Prado, you will also see the Plaza de Cibeles, the Fuente de Neptuno, and the Plaza Murillo. Each of these places is important part of Madrid’s history, as well as the history of Spain, as they were the places of great importance in the past.

Having in mind the number of landmarks in this area and their popularity among million of tourists arriving from the entire world during the year, it is no wonder that this part of the city is developed in terms of infrastructure to welcome such a large number of visitors. This is why, you will find lots of restaurants and cafes along the Paseo del Prado or in the nearby streets, so this would be a perfect timing to take a break and have lunch. Enjoy Spanish paella, patatas bravas, cocido madrilène or other typical Spanish dishes, and do not forget to try out the desserts, such as churros con chocolate. This would be a glimpse of how tasty Spanish cuisine is, and it will recharge you before you continue with the sightseeing of the central area of Madrid.

The next stop in your day of sightseeing should be the Retiro Park in Madrid. This park is the largest one in Madrid, as it is considered to be a great oasis in the city, hence the name, Parque del Buen Retiro, which is Spanish for Park of the Pleasant Retreat. Besides being a wonderful retreat in the heart of a busy city, the Retiro Park has great historical importance, which is why as you are exploring the park, you will learn about the Spanish history, the Spanish aristocracy life and the unique style in architecture that shaped certain parts of the park, some of which date centuries back. The Palacio de Velázquez, a large neoclassical building with the interior decorated with red brick and tiles, covered with iron vaults and glass, and the Palacio de Cristal, shaped like a Greek cross, made mainly out glass set up on the iron framework, are two most important buildings in the park, both built in the second half of the 19th century. Nowadays, both of them serve as exhibition halls, and you can visit them during your short holiday in Madrid.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Parque_del_Buen_Retiro_PalacioCristal03.jpg

A lot of small plazas, monuments, fountains and gardens are scattered around the park, which is why the walk in the Retiro Park in Madrid is an amazing experience for anyone visiting Madrid. Additionally, there are two lakes in the park, and a boat ride around the lake as you enjoy the sunset is perhaps the best way to wrap up your first day of sightseeing.

Day two of sightseeing

As you short trip slowly comes to an end, you will still have time to spend on sightseeing of the central area, in case you choose a late afternoon or an evening departure. This way, you will have a lot of time to explore the city, and here are some places to visit on your second day of exploring Madrid.

The Plaza Mayor should be your first location for the second day. This amazing square has been the central point of historical events in the past, and still is the location where major city events are held, such as the celebration for San Isidro, patron saint of Madrid. The square is completely surrounded by three to four-story residential buildings, most of which have that recognizable red-colored façade with balconies decorated with colorful flowers. The Plaza Mayor is a perfect place to have your morning coffee in one of the cafes around the square, which is especially enjoyable if the weather is sunny and warm.

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http://www.lonelyplanet.com/spain/madrid/sights/squares-plazas/plaza-mayor

You should continue your walk and get to another important building in the neighborhood, which is one of the recognizable symbols of the Spanish history. The Palacio Real de Madrid, meaning the Royal Palace of Madrid, is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, but the main purpose of the building is to host official ceremonies. What is remarkable about this building is the fact that it is the largest palace in Europe by floor area. It occupies impressive 135,000 square meters, with almost 3500 rooms. Regardless if you choose to visit the interior of the palace, for which you will need more time, or if you choose to admire from afar and take photos of the impressive exterior design, this is an astounding landmark of Madrid, and it is worth visiting it, even though your visit might be short.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Madrid_May_2014-35a.jpg

As long as you are in the neighborhood and in case you have a little bit more time, you should also visit the Plaza de Oriente, located opposite the Palacio Real de Madrid. The Plaza de Oriente is a rectangular square in the historic center of Madrid, with gardens and an astonishing sculpture collection.

We should also mention an alternative, for all of travelers who like to do some shopping when on holiday. After visiting the Plaza Mayor, you can actually head to the nearby Puerta del Sol, one of the busiest places in Madrid. Besides the historic importance of the Puerta del Sol square, this is also favorite place for locals to meet, and it is also the place that hosts the New Year celebration.

The area around the square is famous shopping area, with lots of designer shops, souvenir shops, and the most famous department store in Spain, El Corte Inglés, located in the vicinity. If you enjoy shopping, this is the place where you should head during your second day of exploring Madrid. Additionally, lots of cafes and restaurants in this area allow you to choose a place where you will once again be convinced why Spanish cuisine is internationally famous.

After you sightseeing or shopping spree is over, you can go back to your apartment in Madrid and pack up so you can be home on time to prepare yourself for the next week. Having experienced the joy of traveling and exploring different scenery, culture and cuisine, you will be much eager to handle your daily tasks and enjoy being back in your routine. You need these short holiday breaks once in a while to help you recharge and distance yourself from the tasks that might have become monotonous, and might be having negative effect on your state of mind. Traveling allows you to create memories that will fulfill your life.