15 best museums in Madrid you should visit

Love art, natural science, or naval history – then you’ll love Madrid! Here are 15 best museums in Madrid including Prado, Thyssen, and…

Kevin Crain

By Kevin Crain

a beautiful madrid sunset

No matter what you’re interested in — art, natural science, naval history — there’s a museum for everyone living in Madrid. Because the capital of Spain is rich in cultural opportunities.

Relocating to Madrid for work or just visiting for a month?

Either way, take time to visit as many of these spaces as possible while you’re there.

And make moving to the city as easy as possible by staying in a furnished apartment in Madrid. It’ll be your home base for exploring all the city has to offer!

Ready to gain a better understanding of the city’s past and present?

a public square in madrid

Check out the 15 best museums in Madrid you shouldn’t miss.

1. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

A must-visit Madrid art museum, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is home to some of the best modern and contemporary Spanish art.

Located in a gorgeous, neoclassical-style building with a rich history, this museum holds a variety of pieces from famous artists such as Dalí, Miró, Juan Gris, and Pablo Picasso.

Be sure to check out its new exhibit, “Communicating Vessels.” This collection has around 2,000 works of art from 1881 to 2021. These pieces show narratives and experiences that tie past and present together.

The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is easy to access via the Atocha and Estacion del Arte metro stations.

2. Prado National Museum

One of the most famous museums in Madrid, the Prado National Museum features a huge selection of Spanish paintings.

The building was constructed under King Charles III and has been open to the public for over 200 years.

Masterpieces from different schools of art — Spanish, Italian, and Flemish — line the walls of this Madrid art museum.

In total, there are over 8,600 paintings and 700 sculptures.

So there’s always more to see!

A short walk from the Estacion del Arte metro station, it’s worth spending at least an hour or two here.

3. Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is part of the city’s “Golden Triangle of Art.” It’s a must-visit for anyone relocating to Madrid.

Located in the heart of the city, it displays almost 1,000 works of art.

Pieces in its collection are spread over a wide date range, from the 13th to the 20th century. This overview of art across the centuries gives you a panoramic view of multiple periods and schools during that time.

Here, you’ll discover masterpieces by renowned artists, including Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Degas, Monet, Kirchner, Van Gogh, and O’Keeffe.

The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is one of the top museums in Madrid. And it’s a short distance from the Banco de España or Estacion del Arte metro stations.

4. Romanticism Museum

Step back in time when you visit the Romanticism Museum. Built in 1776 and once the home of the Marquis of Matallana, this space captures the feeling of everyday life around the late 18th century and beginning of the 19th century.

In addition to a wonderful collection of art by Goya, Madrazo, Alenza, and Esquivel, you’ll find ceramics, jewelry, and furniture. Spend an afternoon exploring its 26 rooms, including the Magnolia Garden. This unique garden is landscaped after the 18th century French model.

Near the center of Madrid, the Romanticism Museum is close to the Tribunal and Alonso Martinez metro stations.

5. National Museum of Natural Sciences

Learn about the natural world at the National Museum of Natural Sciences — a favorite museum in Madrid.

With more than 10 million specimens in its collections, this space showcases local and global fauna, the history of our planet, and how Earth continues to change.

What will you see inside?

A replica of a diplodocus, an exhibit dedicated to Charles Darwin, reproductions of ancient human skeletons, and more.

The National Museum of Natural Sciences was created in 1771 to display scientific discoveries and Earth’s biological diversity.

Today, it also champions research in different scientific fields, from geology to ecology to climate change.

Situated in central Madrid, this museum is near the Gregorio Marañón metro station.

6. Museum of the Americas

With a collection of more than 25,000 objects, the Museum of the Americas is focused on showcasing American cultures from Pre-Columbian to colonial times.

This influential museum in Madrid was built in 1941. Inside, you’ll find an extensive selection of art, texts, ceramics, statues, and more, from a wide range of locations.

The Museum of the Americas is near the Gaztambide neighborhood in Madrid, so it’s close to the Moncloa metro station.

7. National Museum of Decorative Arts

Love to decorate your home? We do, too! That’s why we suggest checking out this one-of-a-kind museum in the Spanish capital.

The National Museum of Decorative Arts has five floors and in over 60 rooms. Definitely worth exploring!

Discover recreations of 15th to 19th century settings, classic ceramics, glassware, Asian art, and more.

Found in the city’s “Golden Triangle of Art,” it’s a Madrid art museum you won’t want to miss. And it’s easily accessible by the Banco de Espana or Retiro metro stations.

madrid skyline

8. Railway Museum

Moving to Madrid soon? Already there?

Either way, be sure to learn more about the history of train travel in Madrid at the city’s Railway Museum.

Located in the former Delicias train station, which was constructed in 1880, this space is an architectural marvel on the outside and has great information inside.

See how locomotives evolved, what is was like aboard old train cars, and get a better sense of the history of travel throughout Spain. Each exhibit transports visitors back in time.

Because you’ll see full-sized trains, small-scale models, and informative photographs.

Above all, the museum is right by the Delicias metro station.

9. National Archaeological Museum

There are many famous museums in Madrid, but the National Archaeological Museum is one-of-a-kind.

Founded in 1867, this museum showcases art and artifacts from the Mediterranean area, with pieces from prehistory to the 19th century.

Explore the collection of Greek ceramics, Visigoth votive crowns, and recreation of prehistoric cave paintings found in northern Spain.

Also, be sure to snap a picture of the Lady of Elche. It’s an impressive limestone bust and one of the museum’s highlight pieces.

The museum is in the Salamanca district, just a short walk from the Serrano metro station.

10. Museo Cerralbo

A lesser-known Madrid art museum, the Museo Cerralbo was the former mansion of the Marquis of Cerralbo.

Discover what it was like as a 19th-century Madrid aristocrat while exploring over 50,000 objects inside this home-turned-museum, which features ornate Neo-Baroque and Rococo decorations.

The space is a feast for your eyes. View paintings, ceramics, furniture, sculptures, and so much more!

Close to the Plaza de España, this museum is a quick walk from several metro stations in the Malasaña area.

11. Naval Museum

Ahoy! Want to learn more about the history of the Spanish navy? Check out the Naval Museum.

With galleries organized by time period, from the Middle Ages to the present day, you can easily see how Spain’s navy evolved.

There’s plenty to explore — 12,000 pieces in total. This includes model ships, navigational tools, weapons, and uniforms.

Plus, the first map of America, illustrated in 1500 by Juan de la Cosa, who visited the area with Christopher Columbus.

Found in the middle of the city, the Naval Museum is a short distance from the Banco de España metro station.

12. Matadero Madrid

Matadero Madrid is a former slaughterhouse turned into a miniature city with rich cultural experiences focused on visual and performing arts. Put simply, it’s one of the top museums in Madrid, Spain.

Stroll the grounds and explore exhibition halls, a cinema focused on non-fiction works and numerous other spaces for contemporary art.

Matadero Madrid is a great local hangout because you can eat and drink here or enjoy live concerts during warmer months.

It’s located in the Arganzuela district close to the Legazpi metro station.

13. Museo Lázaro Galdiano

When it comes to Madrid art museums, no list is complete without Museo Lázaro Galdiano.

This must-visit art gallery showcases some of former resident José Lázaro Galdiano’s private collection of over 13,000 objects. The pieces here span from the 6th to the 20th century.

Soak up the beauty of paintings by Goya, Zurbarán, and Bosch (labeled in both English and Spanish). Plus, there are textiles, ceramics, sculptures, and more.

It may be in the Castellana area, but the Museo Lázaro Galdiano is easy to get to. Take a short walk from the Gregorio Marañón or Rubén Darío metro stations.

14. San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts Museum

Proposed to Philip V in 1726, the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts Museum is one of the best Madrid art museums and galleries.

If you have an hour or more, explore the museum’s extensive collection of paintings (13 by Goya), sculptures, and drawings. There are works from the Spanish, Italian, and Flemish schools, created from the 16th to 19th century.

What was everyday life like at the time? Get a taste thanks to beautiful textiles, ceramics, furniture, and more.

To get to this centrally located museum, simply walk from the Sol or Banco de España metro stations.

15. Sorolla Museum

At one time the home and studio of Joaquín Sorolla, this fascinating museum dives deep into the evolution of his art, with over 1,200 pieces. But it’s also a glimpse into what living in Madrid was like in the early 20th century.

The Sorolla Museum was converted to a museum in 1932 by the artist’s widow. Walk the halls filled with his masterpieces, so you get a better sense of Sorolla’s life, style, and social critiques.

In addition to impressionist works by Sorolla, you’ll discover ceramics, jewelry, photographs, and more.

The Sorolla Museum is located just north of the city center. It’s near the Iglesia or Rubén Darío metro stations.

Ready to explore Madrid?

Visiting any of these museums is a great way to learn more about the art, culture, and the history of Spain’s capital.

Go by yourself or with a group of friends. You won’t be disappointed!

Kevin Crain

Kevin Crain

Kevin Crain is a writer from Dallas, Texas. He’s dedicated to helping every Blueground guest live like a local and make their apartment feel like home. His favorite topics include active experiences, bucket list essentials, and hidden gems in cities around the world.