The Best Museums, Art Spaces, and Galleries in Madrid

Some of the world’s best are here in the Spanish capital. With the grand flagship collections like the Prado and smaller private museums, galleries carved out of repurposed warehouse space, art collectives, and funky public art, exploring Madrid’s cultural side may leave you breathless.

Calle de Santa Isabel, 52, 28012 Madrid, Spain
Life reflects art? The Reina Sofia museum in Madrid is home to Picasso’s famous Guernica, and many works by other Spanish artists, including Miro and Dali. A fabulous place to discover the art, artists, and ideas of the 20th century.
Paseo del Prado, 36, 28014 Madrid, Spain
Anyone with an iota of interest in art will certainly visit the Prado while in Madrid. But be sure to save some time to visit another nearby museum, where there’s something wonderful to see before you even get inside. Just a 5-minute walk down Paseo del Prado you’ll find the CaixaForum Madrid, with its awe-inspiring vertical garden. From a distance, you might even think you’re looking at a mural there on the wall, but as you approach, the lush greens and earth tones come to life with varying textures that are luscious and welcoming. A masterpiece where nature is the medium!
Paseo del Prado, s/n, 28014 Madrid, Spain
Madrid’s Prado Museum, home to Goya, Velazquez, Murillo, El Greco, and numerous other greats, has so much to see that just one visit isn’t enough! If you have a few days in Madrid, drop into the museum in the afternoons (after 5pm) when there is no charge, rather than attempting to see the entire collection in one visit. If you only have time for one trip to the museum, stop by the gift shop to pick up a mini guide, which serves as cheat cheat to the museum’s highlights. Photo by vanOrt/Flickr.
Paseo de la Chopera, 10, 28045 Madrid, Spain
There’s no shortage of architecturally-interesting museums and performance spaces in Spain but few come by their intrigue as honestly as Matadero Madrid (which was once the city’s abattoir). Built in a neo-Moorish style, the sprawling center hosts all kinds of creative endeavors today, from a Bicycle Film Festival to concerts to design exhibitions.
Calle de Bailén, s/n, 28071 Madrid, Spain
No trip to Madrid is complete without a tour of the Royal Palace, home to many of the kings and queens of Spain since the 1500s. Inside, every wall, ceiling, and floor either is a work of art, or hosts works of art. One room is made entirely of sculpted and painted porcelain. Any one of the many paintings by Goya and others, deserves a long perusal. Even the wall paper is not paper but hand embroidered material. Photos are not permitted inside, but photos of the many rooms on the tour can be seen at various sites on the web. Outside, to the east, are formal gardens with statues of kings going back to 830 AD. The entire area around the palace is exquisite with beautifully kept old buildings and gardens.
Calle de Bailén, 10, 28013 Madrid, Spain
After paying your patriotic fee of 10 Euro to enter the Royal Palace, you will notice the Almudena Cathedral beyond the courtyards gates. While I was too late in the day to be graced with the inner divinities of this structure I did in fact, get into its reticent crypt. This Church intially desired by King Philip II in 1561, didn’t not receive approval for building until 1868. Yes, obviously King Philip never saw his desires come to fruition but I am almost positive he would have been happy with the outcome. In 1883 construction for the church had finally began but one year later Madrid becomes a diocese thanks to Pope Leo XIII and a-not-so-simple church was transformed into a cathedral. Construction, still staggering in its progress, came to a halt in the 30’s during Spain‘s civil war. Then in 1944 they had to stop construction altogether as the cathedral’s neo-gothic style clashed with its neighbor, the royal palace’s soon to be neo-classical design. Only 383 years in the making at this point anyhow. Consecrated by John-Paul II in 1993 the cathedral was finally considered complete after its redesign. Its crypt however still displays unearthed Moorish and medieval city walls.
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