10 Madrid Museums That You Can Visit for Free
Bask in some culture while in the Spanish capital.
(SPOT.ph) When Filipinos visit Europe, they almost always stop in Spain’s capital city, Madrid. And for good reason: Every corner is picturesque, hearing locals speak Spanish puts a romantic vibe in the air, and there are so many things you can do in the city alone. One thing you should definitely add to your to-do list? Museum-hopping!
Madrid alone has quite an impressive selection of museums among all of Spain's cities, plus several of the history’s most famous artists—like Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso—were Spanish themselves, making at least one museum visit an absolute must. The good news? There’s a chance to view their collections for free!
Here are 10 museums in Madrid that have free-admission days and hours:
Museo Nacional del Prado
Calle Ruiz de Alarcón, Madrid, Spain
Free admission from Monday to Saturday (6 p.m. to 8 p.m.); and every Sunday and during holidays (5 p.m. to 7 p.m).
The Prado Museum (or Museo Nacional del Prado) is arguably one of the best museums in Europe, containing the largest collection of Spanish art and one of the finest collections of 12th-century to 20th-century European art. Its greatest work on display is called "Las Meninas" by Diego Velasquez, plus several of his notable works. The museum also carries art from famous artists including Francisco Goya, Hieronymus Bosch, Peter Paul Rubens, and El Greco. Plus, if you're planning to visit soon, you can catch special bicentenary celebrations and exhibits just for this year!
Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza
8 Paseo del Prado, Madrid, Spain
Free admission to the Permanent Collections every Monday (12 p.m. to 4 p.m.) for Mastercard holders
Located along the same boulevard as the Prado Museum, it won’t be difficult to plan a stop at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza. It houses more works from Italian, English, German, and Dutch artists than the Prado Museum, so if you want to get a more complete look at European art throughout history, you can fill in the gaps here. The museum has a lot of rotating exhibitions every few months, but you’ll be able to visit masterpieces by Rembrandt van Rijn, Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi), Salvador Dali, Francis Bacon, Pablo Picasso, and Vincent van Gogh in their Permanent Collections anytime.
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
52 Calle de Santa Isabel, Madrid, Spain
Free admission every Monday and from Wednesday to Saturday (7 p.m. to 9 p.m.); every Sunday (1:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.); and every April 18, May 18, October 12, and December 6
Together with Museo Nacional del Prado and Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is the last institution that makes up the Golden Triangle of Art in Paseo del Prado in Madrid. Unlike its two companions, the Reina Sofia Museum is mainly dedicated to Spanish art, with impressive collections by Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso (his most famous masterpiece in the museum is the “Guernica”). If you’re lucky, you might also catch limited-run exhibitions featuring international and contemporary artists.
37 Paseo del General Martínez Campos, Madrid, Spain
Free admission every Saturday (2:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.); every Sunday (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.); and on April 18, May 18, October 12, and December 6
The Sorolla Museum is named after famous Spanish artist Joaquín Sorolla and features many of his works as well as those of his family’s. One notable thing about the museum is that this used to be the artist’s home, so stepping inside will transport you back in time. You can explore his room and studio exactly as they were furnished when he was alive, so you not only see his magnificent works but also get a glimpse of how Sorolla once lived.
17 Calle Ventura Rodríguez, Madrid, Spain
Free admission every Saturday (2 p.m. to 3 p.m.); every Thursday (from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.); every Sunday (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.); and on May 18, October 12, November 16, and December 6
At Museo Cerralbo, you’ll find bits and pieces of the art and collections of the 17th Marquis of Cerralbo and archeologist Enrique de Aguilera, giving you a glimpse of exactly how it was to live in a palace of a European aristocrat family in the late 19th century. The Cerralbo Museum has preserved beautiful European furnishings and collectibles like medals, coins, clocks, drawings, ceramics, and more. You can even see some works by famous artists including El Greco and Tintoretto.
Museo del Traje
2 Avenida Juan de Herrera, Madrid, Spain
Free admission every Saturday (2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.), every Sunday (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.); and on April 18, May 18, October 12, and December 6. Admission is always free for temporary exhibitions.
If you’re into fashion and fashion history, the Museo del Traje (or Garment Museum) is your best bet. This museum in Spain is dedicated to fashion pieces in history, and may sometimes feature contemporary designs by current Spanish fashion designers. It's fairly new—only founded in 2004—but the award-winning building and beautiful collections make it a must-visit spot. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a free event in the building.
Museo Lázaro Galdiano
122 Calle Serrano, Madrid, Spain
Free admission from Tuesday to Saturday (2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.) and every Sunday (2 p.m. to 3 p.m.)
If you want to immerse yourself in Renaissance art, you’ll want to put the Lázaro Galdiano Museum on your list. You’ll see plenty of important Renaissance painters’ works here, including Francisco de Goya, El Greco, and Diego Velasquez. Plus, you’ll also spot notable works traced back to the early medieval times of the Visigoths. Because of its contribution to housing important collections of art and manuscripts, the museum was proclaimed a Spanish Property of Cultural Interest in 1962.
Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando
13 Calle de Alcala, Madrid, Spain
Free admission every non-holiday Wednesday (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.); and on May 18, October 12, and December 6
Spanish for the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, this museum has a rich history you’ll want to brush up on before visiting. Back in the 18th century, Spanish royalty decreed that an academy for fine arts would be established, but it was only 20 years later during the reign of King Charles III that the academy moved to its permanent palace home. Today, it serves a dual purpose: a gallery that hosts works of important European artists and the headquarters of the Madrid Academy of Art. Fun fact: Our very own Juan Luna is an alumnus of the academy!
Museo del Romanticismo
13 Calle San Mateo, Madrid
Free admision every Saturday (2 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.); every Sunday (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.); and on April 18, May 18, October 12, and December 6
Spain’s Museum of Romanticism only takes up two floors of an 18th-century building, so you can easily see all the exhibits inside. As its name suggests, the museum focuses on the daily life and customs of the elite during the Romanticism movement in Europe from the 18th to the 19th century. It was inaugurated in 1924, and features works by its founder Benigno de la Vega-Inclán y Flaquer as well as donated furniture and historic objects. This includes two paintings by Romantic artist Leonardo Alenza y Nieto and personal effects of literary figures like Mariano José de Larra, José de Zorrilla, and Juan Ramón Jiménez.
Museo de America
6 Avenida de los Reyes Catolicos, Madrid
Free admission every Thursday (2 p.m. to 7 p.m.); every Sunday (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.); and on April 18, May 18, October 12, and December 6
The Philippines isn’t the only country that Spain colonized. You might remember that many Latin American countries today were explored and Christianized by Spanish conquistadors—so the Museo de America is dedicated to all the artifacts they’ve preserved like Aztec codices and indigenous armor. Some artifacts even date back to as early as the Paleolithic period!