Updated: September 21, 2023Published: September 15, 2023
Spain is a treasure trove of culture and art that can easily top the World’s best destinations like France and Greece.
With offerings such as Classical, Renaissance, Baroque, Modern, Gothic, Islamic art, and more, trust me, these are the places where you’ll want your next adventure to unfold!
Visiting Museums in Spain is like taking a journey through time, where every step immerses you in a unique atmosphere.
Now, let me be your friendly guide, bringing you the crème de la crème of Spain’s museum scene. But hold on, we’re not just talking about your ordinary museums; we’re diving deep into a vibrant landscape of history and a lot of creativity!
First, here’s a complete guide to the finest and lesser-known museum experiences in Spain by city,just in case you’re looking for more niche places.
1. L’Oceanogràfic, Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias
Carrer Eduardo Primo Yúfera, 1B, 46013 València, Valencia
The Oceanogràfic of the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències is the largest aquarium in Europe. The animals are well-taken care of, the place is very clean, and it is one of the best family-friendly activities to enjoy in Valencia. Kids love this place as you can also see a dolphin show where they teach you about the latest technology for research.
In addition, L’Oceanogràfic is in the famous City of Arts and Sciences, one of the 12 Marvels of Spain (I know!), it is Valencia’s most important modern tourist destination, inaugurated in 1998 and designed by the well-known architect Santiago Calatrava.
Opening Hours: From Monday to Sunday: 10:00 to 18:00. Saturdays: 10:00 to 20:00. | From June 18 to August 7: Monday to Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (ticket office closes at 7:00 p.m.) | From August 8 to August 28: Monday to Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (ticket office closes at 9:00 p.m.) | From August 29 to September 10: Monday to Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (ticket office closes at 9:00 p.m.) | From September 5 to June 17: Monday to Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (ticket office closes at 7:00 p.m.) Saturdays: 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (ticket office closes at 5:00 p.m.)
With more than 3 million annual visitors, The Prado Museum is a must-see attraction in the city. It is the most famous museum in the country’s capital and a worldwide reference.
The Prado Museum houses the most extensive collection of Spanish paintings, which makes it an art lover’s dream. It has the most famous paintings by Velázquez (Las Meninas), El Greco, Goya (Third of May 1808), Titian, Rubens, and Bosch.
Also, 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.
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.
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.
It 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.
I really think viewing the entire Reina Sofia collection in just one day is impossible. Still, there are a few artworks you can’t miss, which are Pablo Picasso’s masterpiece Guernica, Man with a Pipe by Joan Miró, and Visage du Grand Masturbateur by Salvador Dalí.
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
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.
It 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.
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
If you wonder how important football is in Spain, I think it might give you an idea to know that the Real Madrid Museum in the renowned Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is the fourth most visited museum in Madrid!
The 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 Bernabéu.
You can come with your kids. I’m sure they will love the interactive screens during the visit with the most emblematic moments of the club such as its 14 Champions League titles, the Champions Cup, and access the Real Madrid Official Store.
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€
From stunning architecture to impressive exhibits, the museum is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting the North of Spain. It has an outstanding collection of contemporary art, and only the building itself is worth the visit, as it was designed by Frank Gehry.
It is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the 20th-Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. (The collection of Wright sites means the first modern architecture designation in the country on the list.)
Absolutely the best experience for culture and art in Bilbao. I really recommend taking a guided tour to make the visit more meaningful and efficient. Also, buy tickets in advance!
Opening Hours: From Tuesday to Sunday: 10 AM – 7 PM. Closed on Mondays.
Palacio de Buenavista, C. San Agustín, 8, 29015 Málaga
Visiting the Picasso Museum in Málaga is the dream of every art enthusiast! I mean, Málaga is the hometown of this renowned artist.
You can really appreciate the evolution of Picasso’s work, along with his beautiful sculptures. Even if you’re not an expert, the place offers informative guides and a diverse collection that is genuinely enjoyable for all.
Personally, the Picasso museum in Málaga seems more impressive to me; it is much more modern and maybe better displayed, and I loved it. The one in Barcelona, also incredible, has other types of works and is set in a wonderful Gothic palace-building. Still, the incomparable historic center of Málaga, his hometown, as a setting is a very charming complement.
The Sorolla Museum is one of Madrid’s most charming small museums. It is the best-preserved house museums in all of Europe, and was done in honor of the Valencian painter Joaquín Sorolla, where he lived and worked.
Back then, it was the house of 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.
This unique artist is known for representing the Spanish people and the landscape transformed by mixing Italian and Andalusian styles as a tribute to the Mediterranean.
The 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.
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
Designed by the prestigious architect Rafael Moneo, the National Museum of Roman Art was inaugurated in 1986, and it has an extraordinary collection of artistic material from Roman times!
If you’re interested in ancient Roman history, you should explore the museum and the whole city of Mérida, a world heritage site thanks to its rich historical inheritance. (Read more)
You’ll find stunning artifacts, art, coins, mosaics, paintings, utensils, dishes, statues, and everything you could imagine. It even includes a great part of the Visigothic collection of the town.
You can also get the guided tour, which will help you understand better; make sure you book in advance.
Opening times: Tuesday to Saturday: From 1 April to 30 September, from 9:30 am to 8:00 pm. | From 1 October to 31 March, from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm. | Sunday and Public Holidays: from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. The museum is closed: Mondays, 1 and 6 January, 1 May and 24, 25 and 31 December.
Palau Nacional, Parc de Montjuïc, s/n, 08038 Barcelona
The National Museum of Art of Catalunya has a bit of everything. From Romanesque to Modern Art, this museum in Barcelona offers an extensive exhibition of over 260,000 pieces, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative art.
It is located in the Palau Nacional (the same palace you see when you visit the Magic Foutain of Montjuïc), built for the International Exhibition of 1929. One unique piece in the museum is the 12th-century Apse of Sant Climent de Taüll, which shows one of Spain’s most outstanding examples of Romanesque art.
Jimena Bolívar is a seasoned travel writer with a unique passion for Spanish Food & Recipes. With a background in business and marketing, she brings a strategic and innovative approach to her writing, making her the perfect guide for those looking to truly experience the Authentic Spain. Jimena is also a Mother of 4, and is a huge fan of knitting her own clothes.