Updated: April 14, 2023Published: February 6, 2023
Did you know that Madrid has some of the most visited museums in Spain?
Although the Prado Museum and the Reina Sofia are ranked among the best and highest-rated museums in the world, the list is much longer. Madrid does not only hide art and painting; you will also find museums that hide other relics that will blow your mind!
In this post, I will also share interesting information about each museum, such as which are the best to go with children and even which days you can access the museum for free without having to pay a single euro!
If you decide to visit the capital, take advantage of its unparalleled cultural offer by visiting some of its best museums. You will rarely have the opportunity to contemplate so many works of art of such importance in one city! So read carefully and write down the ones that catch your attention the most so you don’t miss them on your next visit to Madrid!
P.S.: The list of museums is ordered from the most visited annually to the least visited. BEWARE! All the museums mentioned in this list are 100% worth a visit!
Table of Contents▼▶
1. The Prado Museum - Museo Nacional del Prado
With more than 3 million annual visitors, the Prado Museum is a must-see in Madrid; you can’t miss it! This museum is considered the most famous museum in the capital, but also in the country, and it’s a worldwide reference.
The Prado Museum houses the most extensive collection of Spanish paintings, which makes it an art lover’s dream. As a consequence, it’s the most visited museum in Madrid.
Here you will travel in time, dating back over 200 years. You will admire works of art from the 16th to the 20th century, with paintings from the Renaissance to the time of Picasso.
The museum has the most famous paintings by painters such as Velázquez, El Greco, Goya, Titian, Rubens, and Bosch. It has the largest collection of Goya in the world. The most famous works are “Las Meninas” by Diego Velazquez and “Third of May 1808” by Francisco Goya.
The Prado Museum is a beautiful Neoclassical building commissioned by King Charles III and designed by the architect Juan de Villanueva in 1785. The museum’s origin comes from rulers’ and kings’ art, painting, and sculpture collections.
Address: C. de Ruiz de Alarcón, 23
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday, from 10 am to 8 pm | Sundays and holidays, from 10 am to 7 pm
Tickets: General: 15€ | Reduced: 7,5€ | General access + The guide of Prado 24€ | People younger than 18 years old, students under 26 years old
Free Access: Monday to Saturday, from 6 pm to 8 pm | Sundays and holidays, from 5 pm to 7 pm
2. Reina Sofia Museum - Museo Nacional Reina Sofía
If you want to visit the Reina Sofia museum, you should know that you will only have time to see some things in just one day.
The Reina Sofia has paintings from the 20th century of some of the greatest artists in the world, such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, and Joan Miró.
The Museum also has a spectacular collection of surrealist art, with paintings and pictures of René Magritte, Oscar Dominguez, and Yves Tanguy.
Cubism is present in a collection of Picasso, Juan Gris, Georges Braque, Robert Delaunay, and expressionists such as Francis Bacon or Antonio Saura. The Museum’s collection is divided into three sections:
Collection 1 (works from 1900-1945)
Collection 2 (1945-68)
Collection 3 (1962-82)
As I said before, viewing the entire Reina Sofia collection in just one day is impossible. Still, there are a few artworks you can’t miss. These are Pablo Picasso’s masterpiece Guernica, Man with a Pipe by Joan Miró, and Visage du Grand Masturbateur by Salvador Dalí.
The Museum was founded by King Felipe II and designed first by José de Hermosilla and then by Francisco Sabatini. Before the Reina Sofia Museum, this place was the General Hospital of Madrid. It was a neoclassical building from the 18th century.
Address: C. de Sta. Isabel, 52
Opening Hours: Monday from 10 am to 9 pm | Wednesday to Saturday, from 10 am to 9 pm | Sundays from 10 am to 2:30 pm
Tickets: General box office/online: 12€ | Two visits, on different days over one-year box office/ online: 18€ | Paseo del Arte Card box office/0nline: 32€ (valid for visits to Museo Reina Sofía, Museo Nacional del Prado, and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza)
Free Access: Monday 7 am to 9 00 pm | Wednesday to Saturday 7 to 9 pm | Sunday 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm
3. Santiago Bernabeu Museum - Museo Santiago Bernabéu
Real Madrid is one of the best football teams in the capital, together with Atlético de Madrid.
Holder of multiple European and international titles, the white club opens its doors 363 days a year for those who love soccer. If you come to Madrid, you can’t miss visiting the Santiago Bernabeu museum.
The experience is almost unbelievable, see it by yourself:
The Bernabeu Tour provides access to one of the most emblematic sporting venues, through which you will learn about the glorious history of the world’s most successful club and experience first-hand the historic transformation of the Santiago Bernabeu.
You can come with your kids. I’m sure they will love the interactive screens distributed during the visit with the most emblematic moments of the club and relive glorious nights.
The tour includes access to an incredible panoramic view of the stadium. You will be able to see t-shirts from the most famous players, its 14 Champions League titles, take a picture with the Champions Cup, and of course, you will have access to the Real Madrid Official Store. A must-see!
Address: Av. de Concha Espina 1
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday from 9:30 am to 7 pm | Sundays and public holidays from 10 am to 6:30 pm
Tickets: General admission 12€
4. Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum - Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza
The third most important museum in Madrid is the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. In the museum, you can find foreign painters that are not in the Prado or Reina Sofia museums.
The Thyssen has been Spain’s fifth most visited museum in recent years.
The museum contains the most important works of art collected by the Thyssen-Bornemisza family for more than seven decades. Since 1993 it has been part of the Government of Spain.
There are almost 1,000 paintings, starting in the 13th until the 20th century. Some works date back to the Medieval period, others to the 19th-century American paintings, and interesting modern pop art.
This museum is a must-see for anyone. You will find paintings from the greatest artists such as; Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso, Dalí, Duccio, and Richard Estes, among many others.
The Thyssen Museum has an enormous collection of European art. Additionally, throughout the year, there are several temporary exhibitions that you can attend.
It’s an 18th-century neoclassical palace designed by the great architect Antonio López Aguado; it’s located alongside the Prado Museum.
Address: Paseo del Prado, 8
Opening Hours: Monday from 12 pm – 4 pm | Tuesday to Sunday 10 am to 7 pm
Tickets: Full-Access Ticket General 13€ | Ticket + audio-guide Fee + 5€ | Ticket + menu at the museum cafe fee + 15,50€ | Visitors over 65 and pensioners 9€ | Students 9€ | People younger than 18 years old, students under 26 years old
Free Access: Monday from 12 pm – 4 pm
5. National Archaeological Museum - Museo Arqueológico Nacional
If you are an archaeology lover, the national archeological museum is your museum. You will find more than 13.000 historical pieces ranging from Prehistory to the Modern Age. It has so many things that it is one of the most noteworthy antique collections in the world.
It contains an impressive collection of decorative art and archaeological pieces from royal families. All are 100% archaeology works, and you will find pieces from Ancient Greece or even Egypt. There are, for example, Mudejar pieces representing the Muslim presence in Christian Spain, bronzes from Mesopotamia and Persia, and Greek vessels from the Mycenaean period to the Hellenistic era.
If I were you, I would not miss the Orante de Gudea, the Bicha de Balazote, the Dama de Baza, and of course, the Dama de Elche. Of course, you should see the restored Mudejar ceilings of the Andalusian collection on the first floor, as well as see the most famous piece, “La Dama de Elche.”
The museum was built in 1867, but in the past, it had to close for six years due to renovations.
It’s a neoclassical museum adjacent to the national library on one of the most beautiful streets of Madrid.
Address: C. de Serrano, 13
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 9:30 am to 8 pm | Sundays and public holidays from 9:30 am to 3 pm
Tickets: Adults: 3€ | Reduced entrance: 1,50€ | Free: People younger than 18 years old, students under 26 years old, and people over 65 years old
Free Access: Saturday from 2 pm and Sunday mornings
If you want to visit a museum but don’t want to spend your entire day in a museum, I’ve got a solution. It would be best to visit the CaixaForum museum as it will not take you more than 2 hours.
It hosts various events, such as music, poetry festivals, debates on current affairs, and workshops. CaixaForum also houses a huge variety of exhibitions covering topics such as pop art, surrealism, and art from ancient Egypt.
CaixaForum wants to bring culture closer to every audience and to do it, so they have a wide variety of initiatives and proposals. There have been exhibitions from the most traditional painters to more controversial topics such as the story of refugees in Spain. This museum is worth looking at, so don’t miss it!
This cultural exhibition center is owned by the not-for-profit banking foundation “la Caixa.”
Before a museum, this place was an old power station from the 1900s. After a massive renovation by the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, it became one of Madrid’s most prominent urban landmarks.
The innovative art center opened its doors in 2008, just across the street from the Prado. It’s a modern space with rotating exhibitions and has the city’s first vertical garden.
Address: Paseo del Prado, 36
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday and holidays from 10 am to 8 pm
Tickets: General entry 6€
Free Access: May 15, May 18, and November 9
In Madrid, we have many museums worth visiting, and The Sorolla Museum is one of those.
It’s one of the best-preserved house museums in all of Europe. This museum was done in honor of the Valencian painter Joaquín Sorolla. The museum is set in his house, where the artist lived and worked.
In 1931 it was considered a private charitable-educational foundation, and in 1932 it was inaugurated. When the son of Joaquin Sorolla passed away, it became part of the Government.
Sorolla is known for his colorful Spanish landscapes. He became famous thanks to his representation of the Spanish people and the landscape transformed by the effect of the Mediterranean light.
This museum has a selection of more than 1200 paintings and drawings. You will also see rococo mirrors, Spanish ceramics, alluring sculptures, jewelry… and many other relics from the artist.
Remember visiting the garden that Sorolla designed himself by mixing Italian and Andalusian styles as a tribute to the Mediterranean. You will be able to see the museum in just one hour, so it is not going to take you much time.
Sorolla’s house is located in the Chamberi neighborhood; it has been converted into one of Madrid’s most charming small museums.
Address: P.º del Gral. Martínez Campos, 37
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 9:30 am to 8 pm | Sundays & public holidays from 10 am to 3 pm
Tickets: General admission 3€ | Reduced entry: 1.50€ | Annual pass: 25€ | Free: People younger than 18 years old, students under 26 years old, and people over 65 years old
Free Ticket: Saturday and Sundays
If you are a person that likes antiques, I’m sure you are going to LOVE this museum!
The Cerralbo Museum has many pieces and antiques of the 17th-century Marquis of Cerralbo. Marquis of Cerralbo was a historian and archaeologist during the 19th and 20th centuries. In this museum, you will feel like you were back in those centuries.
When the Marquis of Cerralbo died in 1922, he gave part of his works to the National Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Natural Sciences. Nevertheless, there was a massive part of his art collection that he decided to leave in his palace, where the museum is now.
In this spectacular museum, you will find more than 50.000 objects, including antiques, sculptures, various period furniture, decorative arts, and drawings from his travels around Spain and Europe. There are even paintings from El Greco, Zurbarán, Bronzino, Tintoretto, and Van Dyck.
The museum is a classical-style hidden gem in Madrid’s cultural scene. The palace preserves things from the 19th century. It’s fully decorated with Neo-Baroque and Rococo elements, which makes it one of the most important private collections in the country.
Address: C. de Ventura Rodríguez, 17
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 9:30 am to 3 pm | Thursdays, 5 pm to 8 pm | Sundays and holidays, 10 am to 3 pm
Tickets: General admission 3€ | Reduced entry: 1.50€ | People younger than 18 years old, students under 26 years old, and people over 65 years old
Free Access: Thursdays from 5 pm to 8 pm | Every Sunday
9. National Museum of Romanticism - Museo del Romanticismo
In this museum, you can see masterpieces from the Romanticism period.
Most of the historical pieces here are generally dedicated to the 19th century, but more especially to the current of Romanticism.
This palace was owned by the Marquis of Matallana. You will find paintings, imperial furniture, jewelry, 15 pianos, and decorative art, which will transport you to the glorious days of Madrid. There is a selection of legendary works from the romantic movement from artists like Goya, Leonardo Alenza, and Federico de Madrazo.
This palace recreates the daily life and customs of the high bourgeoisie during that time. On this visit, you will learn what society was like and the main protagonists of this cultural movement in Spain.
One of the most beautiful things in this unique museum is the Magnolia Garden, which follows the structure of a French model from the 18th century. It has different trees, among them the magnolia tree (that is why the garden it’s called like that). In this garden, there is a small café where you can enjoy coffee and a wide variety of homemade cakes.
The neoclassical palace it’s located in the center of Madrid, occupying the palace of the Marquis of Matallana, built-in 1776.
Address: C. de San Mateo, 13
Opening Hours: Winter: Tuesday to Saturday from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm | Summer: Tuesday to Saturday from 9:30 am to 8:30 pm | Sundays and public holidays from 10 am to 3 pm
Tickets: General admission 3€ | Reduced price 1.50€| People younger than 18 years old, students under 26 years old, and people over 65 years old
Free Acess: Saturdays after 2 pm and Sundays
10. National Museum of Natural Sciences - Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales
In the National Museum of Natural Sciences, you will find an important collection of specimens. They have thousands of interesting collections intending to promote a more complete knowledge of the diversity of the natural world, and all this knowledge can be applied to the conservation of the environment.
In the collection, you will see pieces of minerals, algae, plants, animals of all kinds, and bezoar stones of physiological origin. On the other side, you will also see utensils and weapons of various cultures and ages, artistic objects of porcelain, glass, precious minerals from all continents, and ancient bronzes.
There are also sculptures, medals and tombstones, paintings by famous painters of various schools and countries, and many different drawings, among other things.
Today, the National Museum of Natural Sciences is one of the country’s most important scientific research institutes in the field of natural sciences.
Nowadays, the museum is part of the Palace of Arts and Industry. It was created by King Charles III, in 1771, as the Royal Cabinet of Natural History.
Address: C. de José Gutiérrez Abascal, 2
Opening Hours: From Tuesday to Friday from 10 am to 5 pm | Saturday and Sundays from 10 am to 8 pm
Tickets: General admission 7€ | Reduced price 3,5€ | People younger than 18 years old and people over 65 years old 3,5€
The Naval Museum is a perfect plan to go with kids. There are thousands of artistic and scientific collections and pieces that refer to the maritime history of Spain.
You will learn many interesting facts about Spain in this Museum and see an entertaining and enlightening mix of artifacts and historical items from Spain’s maritime pursuits.
The collection consists of about three thousand works, including paintings, graphic works, and sculptures. Most of them depict scenes of naval combat, views of Spanish, European, and American ports and cities, ships and boats, and portraits of the great protagonists of the Navy’s history.
Remember! Don’t miss the Juan de la Cosa map, considered the earliest preserved map of the Americas.
The Museum’s mission is to acquire, conserve, research, communicate, and exhibit for different purposes, such as study, education, contemplation, pieces, sets, and collections of historical, artistic, scientific, and technical value related to naval activity, to disseminate the maritime history of Spain.
It’s located in the current Spanish Army Headquarters. This is an excellent stop for families. I’m sure your kids will love the boats and weapons in many of the galleries.
Address: Paseo del Prado, 3
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 7 pm | August: from 10 am to 3 pm
Tickets: Free access for everyone | Voluntary contribution of 3€
The Museum of Garment is one of my favorite museums.
You will be able to see the evolution of clothing from the 16th century until nowadays. It has a wide variety of historical and contemporary collections.
From the 18th century, they have an excellent collection of men’s costumes, such as the large and rich collection of “chupas” and vests, but also the incredible collection of women’s jackets and traditional garments of the “majismo.”
Through the museum, you will walk through the aisles where you will contemplate jewelry and accessories, historical costumes, and contemporary clothing from the work of several designers, such as Mariano Fortuny, Balenciaga, Pedro Rodriguez, Pertegaz; jewelry, lace, embroidery, and 26.500 religious objects including prints, rosaries, medals…
The museum also has a section dedicated to traditional clothing, with a rich collection of regional costumes.
The building that houses the museum was built around 1971 and housed the Spanish Museum of Contemporary Art.
It’s the work of architect Jaime Lopez de Asiain, who won the National Architecture Prize in 1969. But in 2019, the museum closed for two years. This has allowed a change in the permanent exhibition, a unique event in the history of a museum.
Address: Juan de Herrera, 2
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 9:30 am to 7 pm | Sundays & public holidays from 10 am to 3 pm
Tickets: General entry 3€ | Reduced entry: 1.50€ | Free: People younger than 18 years old, students under 26 years old and people over 65 years old
Free Ticket: Saturday from 2:30 pm, Sundays and holidays
The Wax Museum of Madrid is perfect for spending a fun afternoon, especially if you go with your kids.
This is much more than a wax museum with figures. It has a recreation of environments with a combination of spaces. You will learn part of the history of more than 450 figures.
This museum has more than 450 figures of incredible personalities! You will see people from all eras and all disciplines and professions, where we will see famous athletes, politicians, celebrities from many years ago, and celebrities from the present day, as well as historical figures such as Cleopatra, Napoleon or the Kings of the Austrian and Bourbon dynasties.
The museum has put a lot of interest and effort into representing the favorite images of children with the presence of the Simpson Family, Harry Potter, Mortadelo y Filemón, Snow White, or Frodo from “The Lord of the Rings.”
There is a trendy section; not only kids love this gallery, but also adults. There is also a crime gallery and a horror room, where you will find the most famous and bloodthirsty characters, such as Count Dracula, the Mummy, or Freddy Krueger, among many others.
The museum also has three attractions:
The Simulator that has icy tunnels, the center of the earth, and the space
The Terror Train, which takes us from Jurassic park to the Galactic Tavern,
The Multivision room offers a fascinating vision of the History of Spain with 27 projectors.
The Wax museum of Madrid was inaugurated in 1972, and since then, it has been incredibly popular among tourists and citizens.
Address: Pl. de Colón, 1
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday from 11 am to 7 pm
Tickets: General admission 18€ | Reduced entry: 14€
Free Access: Thursdays from 5 pm to 8 pm | Every Sunday
The Railway Museum will allow you to immerse in a journey through Spanish railway history. This is the oldest station built with a classic and monumental character in Madrid.
The oldest station opened in 1880 to serve the railroad line to Ciudad Real. If you come to this museum, you will be able to see a complete collection of historical railway material, from vehicles (from locomotives to passenger carriages) to all kinds of pieces, elements, photographs, or recreations that illustrate the different professions related to the railroad throughout its history in Spain.
The building of the museum is the other main protagonist of the visit. A magnificent example of the 19th century with an iron architecture created by the French engineer Émile Cachelièvre, following the European advances that innovated in the use of iron and glass for construction, and an example of modernity and progress for the Madrid of the last third of the nineteenth century.
In the museum, there are different thematic rooms. It also hosts temporary exhibitions and has various activities for children and families, such as educational workshops, theatrical performances, or garden train rides.
What are you waiting for to come to this incredible museum?! You are not going to regret it.
Address: Paseo de las Delicias, 61
Opening Hours: From June to September: 10 am to 3 pm | October to May: Monday to Friday, from 09:30 am to 3 pm. Saturdays and holidays, from 10:00 to 19:00 hours |
Sunday, from 10:00 to 15:00 hours
Tickets: General admission 6€ | Reduced entry: 4€ | Saturdays and Sundays: general 3 €
Inigo Navarro is a seasoned travel writer with a deep understanding of Spain's cities, culture, people and language. Born and raised in Spain, he has spent years exploring the country and is currently one of the most-read Travel Bloggers about Spain. Inigo is also an experienced digital marketer, a father to 4 beautiful children and a huge Real Madrid Fan. ¡Hala Madrid!