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Art Tour of Madrid

Popular among many types of travelers around the globe, Madrid is certainly one of the most popular destinations for all of those art lovers who cannot imagine a trip without visiting some museums, galleries and monuments that can provide a perfect glimpse into the culture of a country and the civilization that has been settled there. Besides getting to know the culture, one also gets to learn about the time that has produced the art work, and how different art movements affected artists throughout the centuries.

Madrid, the capital city of Spain, is located in the central position of the country and it has always been the place where different cultures meet and intertwine. It has also been a place where influential art movements originated, together with the painters, sculptures and architects that are now globally famous for their art works. Hence, a visit to Madrid is an amazing opportunity to see the roots of the city that nurtured the art movements from the past centuries, which is why we will suggest you several art tours of Madrid.

Huertas or the Barrio de las Letras

Known as the center of intellectual and literary life, Huertas neighborhood is a vibrant part of the city located in the central area, near the Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol. If you decide to stay in this part of the city and rent an apartment in the center of Madrid, you will love this neighborhood as it is considered to be the Heart of Golden Age of Madrid. Important figures of Spanish art and literature, such as Cervantes, Quevedo, and Góngora called this part of the city their home, which is why the neighborhood is often referred to as the neighborhood of literacy – the Barrio de las Letras. Today the district is the heart of the city’s cultural life, with lots of theatres, art exhibitions and bohemian cafes, and as you enjoy a nice stroll down the streets and pedestrian areas you will get to experience Madrid as it was in the eyes of the great names of literature and culture who have defined intellectual life of Madrid.

 

Huertas neighborhood in Madrid

Huertas neighborhood in Madrid
Image source: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Neighborhood-g187514-n7249719-Huertas-Madrid.html#photos

Francisco Goya and the 18th century Madrid

If you want to get acquainted with the life in Madrid during the 18th century, while enjoying the art works of one of the most influential Spanish artist, Franicsco de Goya, we suggest visiting several landmarks where you will get in touch with the amazing master pieces produced by Goya. Baroque church of San Francisco el Grande has an altarpiece produced by Goya, as well as San Antonio de la Florida, a small oratory, which has been decorated by this artist. Of course, the Prado Museums holds some of the major Goya’s masterpieces, so a tour around the museum is perhaps the best way to complete the tour of the exhibits that were produced by Goya. As you explore the works of Goya in Madrid, you will definitely get the idea of life and culture of the period which he managed to capture in his art works.

 

Goya’s painting The Third of May 1808, (1814) stored in the Prado Museum, Madrid

Goya’s painting The Third of May 1808, (1814) stored in the Prado Museum, Madrid
Image source: http://www.franciscodegoya.net/May-3–1808.html

A Royal Tour of Madrid

Private collections of Spanish monarch are available in some of the museum in the city, so if you are interested in seeing the life through the eyes of royals who once represented the kingdom of Spain, this type of tour will be perfectly suited for you. We start with the Prado Museum, as the most important one in the Golden Triangle of Art, and the one that preserves some of the most famous masterpieces. Walking along the museum allows you to trace Spanish history and how it affected the art collected and preserved by the members of Spanish royal family. After the tour around the Prado Museum, we suggest visiting the Royal Palace of Madrid, the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family. Today this building is used for the state ceremonies and it is open for visitors. The Royal tour of Madrid is not complete without visiting the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid, located in the Paseo del Prado, next to the Prado Museum. Designed by Francesco Sabatini and Juan de Villanueva in the 18th century, the garden represents a massive collection of thousands of plants and numerous statues and monuments placed around the garden.

 Hall of the Prado Museum

Hall of the Prado Museum
Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Grand_hall_d%27exposition_au_Mus%C3%A9e_du_Prado.JPG

The 20th Century Art in Madrid

The best place to visit in Madrid if you are interested in the 20th century art is the Reina Sofía Museum, located along the Paseo del Prado, very near the Prado Museum. The impressiveness of the collections is mirrored in the number of masterpieces produced by some of the most influential artists of the 20th century, with Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí, being certainly two most famous. Other art works stored in this museum are produced by Juan Gris, Joan Miró, Pablo Gargallo, Pablo Serrano and many others Spanish and international artists. The most famous masterpiece and the highlight of every visit is certainly Picasso’s Guernica, which is stored in the Reina Sofía Museum. Through this visit you get to experience the art as it developed throughout the 20th century, the period of huge changes and rapid development of the civilization, which ultimately left its trace on the art movements as well.

Picasso’s Guernica stored in the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid

Picasso’s Guernica stored in the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid
Image source: http://www.pablopicasso.org/guernica.jsp

Private Collection Tour in Madrid

The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is known as having the second largest private collection in the world, after the British Royal Collection. Over 1600 paintings are enough for the art lovers out there to want to visit this amazing museum, the final one in the Golden Triangle of Art, also located in the Paseo del Prado. The museum combines the art works from different time periods, so you can see a large collection of old art works, as well as some modern paintings, with masterpieces ranging between the 14th century and the 20th century modern art. The diversity of the collection comes from the fact that there have been three generations collecting the art works, that today make an impressive collection of art works exploring expressionism, cubism, baroque, impressionism, and post-impressionism. Visiting this museum shows how the collection of paintings has grown overtime and how passionate art connoisseurs managed to gather some of the most famous art works around the world.

 View of Vessenots, Auvers, by Vincent Van Gogh is stored in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

View of Vessenots, Auvers, by Vincent Van Gogh is stored in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum
Image source: http://www.museothyssen.org/en/thyssen/ficha_obra/395

Tour to The City of Toledo

Toledo is a small town around 70 kilometers of Madrid and it dates centuries back, with its winding cobbled streets of old town, which preserve the spirit of the past and the culture of people who settled throughout the centuries. It is often considered as a monument to the art and culture starting from the Roman’s settlement to the Renaissance. During that period, Toledo was under Visigoth and Muslim rule as well, and all of these cultures influence the landscape and the buildings which are preserved as a unique attraction. The impressive Gothic Cathedral located on the top of the hill is certainly worth visiting, as besides the baroque style that adorns the altar, the Cathedral also has an art gallery, featuring Rubens, Goya, and El Greco’s art works. The Museo Victorio Macho should be your next stop in the sightseeing of Toledo, as it is a small museum devoted to the local sculptor, Victorio Macho. The Alcazar, a large square building in the outskirts of Toledo, displays the presence of Roman camp. Walking around Toledo’s streets is a perfect way to get lost in the medieval culture and art, and enjoy the beautiful landscape off the city that has such a long history.

 View of Toledo’s landcapse

View of Toledo’s landcapse
Image source: http://wikitravel.org/en/File:Toledo_spain.jpg

As you explore the city of Madrid and how it has changed and developed through the centuries, you will be able to learn so much about the circumstances that lead to the city becoming what it is today, a huge metropolitan city, full of diversity and yet build upon such a strong cultural heritage that is still shaping the generations of people. And if you are still having doubts about how to organize your art tour of Madrid, we suggest combining the things you would like to see the most, with your schedule and the time period you are going to spend in the city, so that you have enough time to enjoy and admire the art works.

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/

 madrid-museum

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

madrid-museum_001

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

madrid-museum_002

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

madrid-museum_003

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/

madrid-museum_004

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

madrid-museum_005

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

madrid-museum_006

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

madrid-museum_007

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

 madrid-museum_008

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

Best Museum to Visit in Madrid

Even though Madrid has a modern infrastructure, a lot of historic buildings and works of art are preserved as a part of rich culture of this city. Today these represent the symbol of city’s history and cultural life that had been influenced by various epochs.

If you are fond of culture, you will be amazed by the large number of museums in Madrid. The first thing you should do when you arrive to the city is to find apartments in Madrid for short term. After you have found the apartment and after you have left your luggage there, you are ready to start exploring Madrid museums.

These are some of the best museums to visit in Madrid:

Prado Museum has some of the finest works of European art, dating between 12th and 19th century. The collection is based on former Spanish Royal Collection, and it has thousands of painting, as well as sculptures, drawing and prints. This is one of the most visited museums of the world as it has one of the largest collections.

The Reina Sofia Museum is the Spanish national museum with works from 20th century. The museum features mainly Spanish art, with works by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, etc. This museum also has library that specializes in art with over 100 thousand books in their collections.

The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum features the works from the second half of the 20th century with over 1600 paintings. The collection includes impressionists, expressionists, as well as European and American paintings. The collection is mainly based on large private collections.

These three museums are all located along the Paseo del Prado and comprise so called Golden Triangle of Art. These three are the most famous and the most visited in Madrid, since they feature the largest collections with works by some of the most important and most influential authors in the world.

However, Madrid has a lot of other museums, such as the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando with a collection of paintings from 15th to 20th century. The Royal Palace of Madrid features artworks with rich collection of weapons, silverware, paintings and other works influenced by baroque.

The National Archaeological Museum contains objects from various different eras, starting from pre-historic, Iberian, antique and medieval period. The Museum of the Americas is a museum that holds artistic, archaeological and ethnographic object collected from the American continent. The objects are displayed in the form of permanent exhibit divided into five thematic areas. The National Museum of Natural Science includes objects and materials from several research departments of the museum.

The list does not end here, as there are many more museums in Madrid, but these are certainly some of the most important museums you should visit during your short-term visit. The collections represent vast time period of culture and history, which will help you learn and understand about the past epochs that permanently left their trace in the works of art.