It goes without saying that Madrid is home to some of the most remarkable art pieces in the world. Even some of the most world-famous artists in history have come from Madrid or have found their inspiration here. You’d be surprised at the kinds of artwork that are exhibited at each museum in the city. In fact, the Prado, Thyssen, and the Reina Sofia make up the Golden Triangle of Art, due to their close proximity to each other.
There’s plenty of art to go around and enjoy, but you may be wondering which museum is right for you. Everyone has their own taste and aesthetic, so different museums complement different styles. Of course, all museums in Madrid have fascinating art and are incredible in their own way. But if you find yourself with limited time and need to decide on one museum, I will be your guide to finding the museum most suitable for your preference!
Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza
The Thyssen museum displays art from the history of the Western world – from the Middle Ages to the late 20th century. It has early European paintings, with styles ranging from Renaissance to Baroque to Rococo, and many more. If you’re fascinated by European history, the Thyssen has paintings that represent most periods from countries all over Europe. The beauty of the Thyssen is seeing the transformation of different styles of art through different periods in time.
Address: Paseo del Prado, 8, 28014 Madrid Nearest metro station: Banco de España
Price: General admission €12, free entry with student card or transportation pass
Notable artists: Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Juan Gris
The CaixaForum is uniquely constructed in a contemporary architecture style with a magnificent, giant garden wall in front, designed by French botanist Patrick Blanc. This museum is well known for its exhibition galleries, and also serves as a popular location for conference meetings and film screenings. There are a ton of unique and diverse exhibits that are presented here. Currently, the CaixaForum has an incredible Disney exhibition that reveals the art of storytelling and the process of Disney animation. Compared to other museums, CaixaForum is quite small, but that just means you’ll be better able to absorb the art and see more of what it has to offer.
Address: Paseo del Prado, 36, 28014 Madrid Nearest metro station: Atocha
Museo del Prado
The great thing about the Museo del Prado is that it essentially tells the story of Spanish history through its artwork. Each section in the Prado has intertwining art pieces that somehow interconnect with one another. The first time I actually visited the Prado was with my Spanish culture class. As my professor guided the class around and told us facts about different pieces of art, I was incredibly fascinated to learn that behind every painting was an entire story waiting to be told. If I were to have come to the Prado without prior knowledge of Spanish history, I would have just thought that the paintings were beautiful but not know how they came to be. And so, if you are a lover of Spanish history, the Prado is the place for you.
Address: Paseo del Prado, s/n, 28014 Madrid Nearest metro station: Atocha
Price: General admission €15, free entry with student card, free admission Monday-Saturday from 6-8pm & Sunday 5-7pm
Notable artists: Diego Velázquez, Francisco de Goya, El Greco
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
The Reina Sofía museum is phenomenal for its wide display of modern and contemporary artwork. It includes Impressionists, Expressionists, and European and American art pieces from the 20th century. For those looking to deviate from conventional styles of painting, the Reina Sofía museum exhibits mind-blowing surrealism artwork that will pique your curiosity. Other types of art include videos and short films that really make you wonder about the significance behind it. I would recommend this museum to those who want to be intrigued by artwork outside of the norm.
Address: Calle de Santa Isabel, 52, 28012 Madrid Nearest metro station: Atocha
Price: €10 general admission, free entry for youth & students under 25
Notable artists: Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, Salvador Dalí