The Prado Museum, Madrid is popular with both tourists and residents of Madrid. It contains one of the most important art collections in the world, and the museum also puts on regular temporary exhibitions. It is well worth a visit even if you are not totally familiar with the art world, as many of the paintings there are impressive and tell interesting stories.
The paintings inside date from between the 12th and 19th centuries.
Famous artists including Goya, Rubens and Murillo have their works inside, amongst many other artists. Also, some of the exhibitions are always changing, so there's always more to see. The sheer scale of some of the paintings is impressive, and even if you are not an avid art lover; I would say there is still enough in the Prado Museum to keep you interested for a couple of hours.
Entry on a Sunday is free. The following fiesta days also permit free entry: 12 October (Hispanidad Day); 06 December (Constitution Day); 02 May (Official Day, Region of Madrid); 18 May (International Museums Day).
If you want to know more about the masterpieces you are looking at, audio guides and guide books are on sale within the Prado museum. You'll find some original paintings here that you will have seen a million times, like 'Saturn devouring one of his sons' by Goya. This painting is rather gruesome, but captivating. There are many works from Goya's 'dark period' that do manage to send a tingle up and down your spine.
Another famous piece is the work by Francisco Rizi in 1683 which depicts the Spanish Inquisition taking place in the Plaza Mayor. This attractive square was once used for hearings and trials of those who refused to convert to Catholicism. If you're at all interested in Madrid's history, I recommend taking a long look at this vast and immensely detailed painting.
The Prado museum is large, and if you are a true appreciator of art, then you will have no trouble remaining inside for most of the day. Refreshments are available in the café and restaurant, and there is also a book shop.
Make time to stop in one of the many nearby coffee bars. There are several within a few minutes walk, and they serve a delicious variety of coffees from all over the world.
Did you know that the Prado is open for longer hours than any other major museum in the world? It has recently increased opening hours, and is now open 66 hours a week.
The Prado runs an informative and educational program of conferences and at times, even small scale theatre shows. Up to date information about the latest activities is available on the official Museum website.
Official Prado website.
If you are looking for somewhere to stay in style near to the Prado Museum, there's the Ritz Hotel, which is just a couple of minutes walk away.
The Prado Museum was originally intended to function as a science museum, where natural history would be studied. Because of this, next to the Prado Museum, botanical gardens were designed. The gardens still remain today, and are just a few metres from the Prado Museum's exit. They make a pleasant place to go for a stroll, although I visited in winter and not much was in bloom. I imagine that they are much more impressive during the summer. There's an entry charge of €4.00.
Museo del Prado
Ruiz de Alarcón, 23
28014 Madrid, España.
Tel: +34 91 330 2800
Official website for Prado Museum
Metro: Banco de España (Red Line, L2) or
Metro: Atocha (Light Blue, Line 1 ) plus ten minutes walk.
Monday - Saturday: 10:00 - 20:00
Sunday and Public Holiday: 10:00 - 19:00
06 January, 24 December, 31 December: 10:00 - 14:00
01 January, 01 May, and 25 December: Closed
The galleries are cleared 10 minutes before closing.
Entry fee: €15.00
General admission + official guide book: €24.00
The ticket allows the holder to visit the museum collection and temporary exhibitions on the same day
Free entry with the Madrid Card.
Disabled access available.
Free entry for Over 65s, EU students under 25, unemployed, disabled, teachers and official guides.