The capital of Spain is also a world capital for art

Why Madrid?
  • The Old Master paintings in the Prado Museum
  • The 20th century art at the Reina Sofia Museum
  • The amazing private art collection of the Thyssen Museum

The capital of Castile and center of all Spain, Madrid is a museum lover's paradise.

This is where you'll find Picasso's Guernica, Velázquez's Las Meninas, and works by Goya, El Greco, and hundreds of other European artists lining the halls of the Prado.

But Madrid is not just about art.

As capital of Spain, it's also the capital of the evening pre-dinner stroll, called the paseo—or, if you pause in countless little bars serving the bite-sized morsels called tapas, it's called a tapeo.

You can spend the morning at the royal palace, the afternoon in an 18th-century art gallery, the late afternoon at the bullfights, the evening having a 10pm dinner, the night attending a Flamenco show, and then dance until dawn at one of Madrid's hopping clubs.

Tips & Links

How long should I spend in Madrid?

If you're into art and museums in general, spend four to five days in Madrid.

If not, give Madrid at least two days, with another two thrown in for day trips to Toledo and Segovia.

Useful links & resources
Get the Madrid Card

There is a sightseeing pass called the Madrid Card which covers more than 50 museums and attractions in and around Madrid, including most major sights and skip-the-line priority access at the biggest attractions.

There is also a pass for unlimited rides on all forms of public transportation called the Madrid Tourist Travel Pass.

Madrid tours

Tours Under $995 G Adventures

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This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in December 2011.
All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.