Museo del Prado (Calle Ruiz de Alarcon, 23). Home to the world’s finest and most impressive collection of Spanish painting that spans more than 500 years, the museum and art gallery is one of the most popular destinations in Madrid. There are over 1,300 paintings, 5,000 drawings, 700 pieces of sculpture, 2,000 prints, 2,000 decorative objects and many others that are on display in its vast halls. Fans of Spanish masters Goya, El Greco, Velasquez as well as other classical artists such as Raphael, Rembrandt and Caravaggio will certainly enjoy browsing through the museum’s collections.
Museo Reina Sofia (Santa Isabel, 52). The Sofia is named for the Queen of Spain and is one of the country’s centerpieces in art collection. Home to the best of Spanish modern art, its displays include collections of Spanish masters Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali as well as Joan Miro, Juan Gris and Julio Gonzalez. The famous “Guernica” is proudly displayed in the museum.
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza (Paseo del Prado, 8). The third museum in Madrid’s “Golden Triangle of Art” (the two being Prado and Sofia Museums), it is named after the Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza de Kaszon who started the collection. There are over 1,600 paintings of Impressionists, Expressionists, as well as contemporary European and American art.
Real Academia de Bella Artes de San Fernando (Calle Alcala, 13). It is a museum, a gallery and also the official headquarters of the Madrid Academy of Art. Established in the 18th century, the Baroque-style building houses collections of artists from the 15th to the 20th century such as Goya, Pablo Serrano, Bellini, Correggio and Rubens.
Museo Arqueologico Nacional (Calle de Serrano, 13). Travel back through time and explore Spain’s rich history through the various archaeological displays. The museum was established in the 19th century and features artifacts from Pre-historic, Celtic, Iberian, Greek and Roman periods. Visitors get free entry on Saturdays from 2:30 onwards.
Museo de America (Avenida Reyes, Catolicos 6). Visitors to this museum will learn more about the continent of America and the various ethnic cultures through its various archeological and artistic displays. The collection spans a long range from the Paleolithic period to the 21st century. Interesting objects include the ancient Aztec lawbook, Tudela Codex, Mayan and Peruvian artifacts.
Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas (Calle Montalban, 12). The museum is located in a 19th century palace and has over 60 rooms holding an abundant collection of decorative pieces used in Spanish mansions and palaces through the centuries. From pottery and ceramic items, furniture, tapestries, tiles, carvings and sculptures, the items represent the evolution of minor arts in Spain as found in the houses from the Phoenician times to the present day.
Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (Calle Jose Gutierrez Abascal, 2). An excellent informative museum for children and students, this museum houses over 6 million specimens of fauna found in Spain and the Mediterranean region. Some of its interesting displays are the Stone Garden, the Megatherium and the Diplodocus.
CaixaForum Madrid (Pintor Velasquez). More of a cultural centre than a single museum, the modern building was established through the sponsorship of La Caixa Bank. Art exhibits range from modern art collection to cultural exhibits. It is one of the most visited museums in Madrid, and a popular educational venue for young children.
Museo Lazaro Galdiano (Calle Serrano, 122). Named after the Spanish entrepreneur and art collector Jose Lazaro Galdiano, the museum displays his extensive personal collection of art by famous European masters and artifacts from the 15th century onwards. Works of Spanish artists El Greco, Velazquez, Goya, Ribera and Murillo, English artists Reynolds and Constable as well as Italian painters Tiepolo, and Guardi are well-represented in the exhibits. You will need to spend more than half a day browsing through the 37 rooms of this museum.