Museums in Madrid
Madrid, the cultural capital of Spain, is known for its regal architecture, characteristic tapas bars and vibrant nightlife – but most of all, it lays claim to the best museums in Spain. Steep in history, culture and colors, these museums represent the best of what Spain has to offer. Ranging from contemporary art pieces to bullfighting memoirs, the array of museums in Madrid is impressive. These museums are enough to fill up an itinerary for 3 days in Madrid. Whether you are a culture vulture or simply a tourist in search for something different, these museums will make your trip to Spain worthwhile.
The Museo del Prado art museum is a phenomenal structure with some of Europe’s highest regarded works from well-known names such as Francisco Goya, El Greco, Rembrandt, Caravaggio and Botticelli, to name a few. This site even has the famous “Garden of Earthly Delights” painting by Heironymous Bosch, which you could literally examine for hours, and you very well might. Even for those who are true art lovers, seeing the entire collection at the Prado Museum would be nearly impossible in one go – the museum boasts an inventory of more than 5,000 drawings, 2,000 prints, 1,000 coins and medals, 700 sculptures; and more than 1,300 paintings are actually on display on the museum’s walls.
El Reina Sofia Art Museum
El Reina Sofia art museum is a tribute to Spain’s greatest artists, although it does house a few foreign names. Some of the better-known works shown here include Picasso’s “Guernica” and Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory”, which if seen in person, puts all those mass-distributed dorm posters to shame. The museum itself is also quite stunning including a glass elevator for an entrance and modern architecture that plays with the elements of natural lighting.
Royal Palace and Gardens
Madrid’s Palacio Real, or Royal Palace, is the official residence of the King and Queen of Spain but part of it has been converted into a museum and opened to the public. The Royal Armoury Museum displays a collection of historical armoury that the royal family had used in past centuries. Each salon in the palace is different and usually has some kind of magnificent fresco either on the wall or ceiling, in addition to velvet and gold adornments at immense heights above your head. The palace is white on the outside and surrounded by beautiful gardens, kept perfect throughout the year. This site is definitely worth stopping by and a self-guided tour around the grounds is highly recommended.
Museo Taurino, or the Bullfighting Museum, is housed inside the world-famous bullring of Madrid, Plaza de Toros las Ventas. A visit to the museum is an essential prerequisite for all who want to watch a real bullfight and understand it. The exhibitions focus on the origin and history of bullfighting and it also showcases artefacts from various eras, including present day. The most frequent objects are paintings depicting bullfighting scenes, portraits of bullfighters, bullfighters’ suits, sculptures, engravings and even a few bull heads. One of the most impressive exhibits in Museo Taurino is Goya’s ‘Tauromachy’, a series of bullfighting posters from the end of the 18th Century. Other famous artists, whose works are shown in the museum are Eugenio Lucas and Roberto Domingo. Admission is free.
Naval Museum (Museo Naval) in Madrid
Within the museum you will find a collection that focuses on the Spanish naval history as well as collections comprising an overview of the navies of other countries. The museum also has an ethnographic collection which displays, in chronological order, stamps, medals, scientific instruments, weapons and manuscripts. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 2 PM and is closed on Mondays. The admission is free.