The Reina Sofia Museum is just a few minutes walk from the Prado and right next to the Thyssen-Bornemisza. It is home to one of the most important collections of art from both the 20th and 21st centuries. The works are exhibited over several floors that are accessed either by a sleek glass lift or by the stairs. There is disabled access throughout the museum.
Don't miss Picasso's famous Guernica. This huge painting was commissioned as a statement of protest against the civil war in 1937, and is arguably the most famous single work of the 20th century.
Miró and Dalí's works are hung there. Salvador Dali's development throughout the 20s and 30s is well demonstrated, and the rooms dedicated to his talents include the well-known paintings Cenicitas (1928) and El gran masturbador (1929).
I found the Reina Sofia Museum to be full of surprises. It has a more contemporary feel to it, and there is a talking point at every turn. In addition to paintings, you can also see sculptures, and films by the director, Luis Buñuel, which were written together with Salvador Dalí.
The best idea is to pick up a plan of the museum when you enter. They are available at the information point just inside the entrance. This way you can see at a glance, how each section is laid out. Themes of the various exhibitions include: The turn of the 20th century, Avant-garde beginnings, The poetics of Surrealism, Spanish art from the twenties and thirties, Spanish sculpture, Postwar (Spanish Civil War), The beginning of Abstraction in Spain, Pop art, and a look at some more modern trends within the art world.
Don't miss out. Guided tours are available for free to the general public on Monday's and Wednesday's at 17:00 and on Saturday's at 11:00.
The building itself has had a varied history, and actually began life as a hospital back in 1566. Today it is a listed building, and stretches around picturesque central gardens in its interior courtyard. Access to each room is via sweeping corridors that have seating areas at the side, which are ideal for sitting and admiring the view through the massive windows to the pretty gardens.
Make a day of it. There is a trendy bar and restaurant on the ground floor that has a delectable menu. The bar is open during the same hours as the rest of the museum. It's more like a proper restaurant and bar than you would expect to find within a museum, I suspect many people who have seen the museum, return just to visit the restaurant.
Opening hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday: 09:00 - 13:00, Thursday: 09:00 - 14:00 and Friday - Saturday: 09:00 - 14:30
Additional services in the Reina Sofia Museum include an extensive library and archive. The library specializes in books about 20th century art, and has over 100,000 titles. You will also find magazines, videodiscs and videos.
Reina Sofia Library
Opening hours: Monday - Friday: 10:00 - 21:00
Public Holiday: Closed
The museum bookshop is well stocked, and it is hard to pass through it without succumbing to the temptation of buying something. The Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid is a colourful and educational experience.
Museo Reina Sofia
Calle Santa Isabel, 52
28012 Madrid, España.
Tel: +34 91 774 1000
Metro: Atocha (Light Blue, L1)
Timetable: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday: 09:00 - 13:00, Thursday: 09:00 - 14:00 and Friday - Saturday: 09:00 - 14:30
Entry fee: €8.00.
Free for the general public: Monday: 19:00 - 21:00
Wednesday-Saturday: 19:00 - 21:00
Sunday: 13:30 - 19:00
18 April, 18 May and 12 October: Open All Day
Reina Sofia Official website
Entry with the Madrid Card: Free
Disabled access - available
Parking available: Plaza Sánchez Bustillo. (Enter through Calle Doctor Mata.)