If you’re looking for an enlightening and educational experience while in Spain, then you should check out some of the best museums the country has to offer.
Spain is a country with a rich and fascinating history, dating back to the time of the ancient Romans. Over the centuries, it has been ruled by several different empires and leaders, each of which has left its mark on Spanish culture.
This is evident in the country’s many museums, which showcase everything from ancient Roman artifacts to modern art.
From the world-renowned Museo del Prado in Madrid to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, there’s something for every art enthusiast to enjoy. So if you’re a fan of art or history, or just want to learn more about the culture and people of Spain, be sure to add these Spanish museums to your itinerary.
Let’s get into the top Spanish museums to visit during your trip to this amazing country.
Best Museums in Spain for Art, History, and Culture
1. Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias
Address: Av. del Professor López Piñero, 7, 46013 València, Valencia, Spain
The City of Arts and Sciences is a cultural and architectural attraction in Valencia, Spain. It is the most significant modern tourist destination in the city of Valencia and one of Spain’s 12 Treasures.
The City of Arts and Sciences is located on the site of the former riverbed of the Turia River, which was drained and rerouted after a devastating flood in 1957. A picturesque sunken park was created from the old riverbed, which you can explore on a guided tour.
Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela oversaw the design of L’Hemisfèric, an IMAX cinema, and a planetarium shaped like a giant eye. They also oversaw the Museo de las Ciencias Príncipe Felipe, a science museum, the Umbracle, a landscaped walkway, and sculpture garden, the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, an opera house and performing arts center! The Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, the last significant component of the City of Arts and Sciences, was opened on 9 October 2005 as Valencian Community Day.
The most recent structure in the complex, L’Àgora, was opened in 2009. Originally planned at the equivalent of €300 million in 1991 for three buildings, it has cost over €1.5 billion and only two structures have been completed to date. The City of Arts and Sciences is one of the most visited museums in Spain and is the fourth most visited tourist attraction in Spain.
2. Museo Nacional del Prado
Address: C. de Ruiz de Alarcón, 23, 28014 Madrid, Spain
The Museo Nacional del Prado was the first museum and most famous one in all of Spain, and it’s easy to see why. As the main Spanish national art museum, it is home to one of the most extensive collections of art that spans Spanish masters like El Greco and Velázquez, to Italian masters like Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael. The Museo del Prado is a must-see for any traveler to Madrid, and you could easily spend an entire day wandering its of fine art halls.
The Museo del Prado is now well-known for its collection of Spanish art, particularly the work of Diego Velázquez. Francisco Goya, El Greco, and Peter Paul Rubens are also represented at the museum. To explore the museum get a direct entrance ticket or book a guided tour.
If you only have a short amount of time, there are a few paintings that you must see. Among them is Velazquez’s “Las Meninas,” as well as Goya’s “The Third of May 1808.” The Museo del Prado is an amazing museum, and it will undoubtedly make an impression on those who visit.
Museo Nacional del Prado, in Madrid, is recognized as one of the world’s greatest art museums. The origins of this national art museum date back to 1819, when the Spanish King Charles IV decided to open the royal collection of European paintings to the public. Tickets to the museum are 7.50 € for reduced admission, and 15 € for general admission.
See Related: Best Places to Visit in Spain
3. Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Address: Abandoibarra Etorb., 2, 48009 Bilbo, Bizkaia, Spain
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is more than just a museum; it’s an out-of-body experience. You can’t help but be impressed by the size of it. As you walk into the Guggenheim Bilbao, the first thing that hits you is the scale of the place. It’s enormous! And it’s all art.
The Guggenheim Bilbao is a museum of contemporary and modern art designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry and located in Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain. The museum was inaugurated on 18 October 1997 by King Juan Carlos I of Spain, with an exhibition of 250 contemporary works of art.
The Guggenheim Bilbao is one of several museums belonging to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and features permanent and visiting exhibits of works by Spanish and international artists. It is one of the largest museums in Spain and one of the most-visited tourist attractions in the country.
There are a lot of things to see at Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; from Andy Warhol paintings and sculptures to installations and video art. You could easily spend a whole day here and still not see everything at this mammoth museum! You can book the Guggenheim museum tour here.
4. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Address: C. de Sta. Isabel, 52, 28012 Madrid, Spain
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, or Queen Sofía National Museum Art Centre, is Spain’s national museum of 20th Century art. You can find it in Madrid, at the southern end of what’s known as the Golden Triangle of Art. This area also contains the Museo del Prado and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza.
The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is one of the largest museums for modern and contemporary art, making it a must-see for any traveler to Madrid. To visit the museum get a skip-the-line entrance ticket, you can also book the Reina Sofía Museum Tour.
The Queen Sofía National Museum Art Centre is mostly dedicated to Spanish art from the early 20th Century onwards. It first opened its doors on September 10, 1990, and has since become one of Madrid’s most popular tourist destinations.
Whether you’re a fan of art or just looking to kill some time, this museum is worth a visit. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed!
The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is home to some of the world’s most famous works of art, including Pablo Picasso’s Guernica. Visitors can explore the museum’s many galleries, which feature a mixture of national and international exhibitions.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to do in Costa del Sol, Spain
5. Dali Theatre-Museum
Address: Plaça Gala i Salvador Dalí, 5, 17600 Figueres, Girona, Spain
The Dali Theatre-Museum, or Teatro Museo Dalí, is a must-see for any fan of the mischievous surrealist artist Salvador Dali. Dali was born and raised in Figueres, Catalonia, and the museum (which was once a theatre) is located in the center of his hometown.
Salvador Dali is buried in a crypt below the stage, making this an especially fascinating place to visit! The museum offers an assortment of creative expression from Dali and several famous masterpieces including optical illusions such as the Lincoln in Dalivision.
The museum houses a large collection of Dali’s work, as well as some of his personal belongings. It’s an incredible place to learn more about one of the most influential artists of the 20th Century.
If you’re lucky enough to visit during one of the special exhibitions, you’ll be able to see even more of Dali’s work on display. The entry fee ranges from 10 € to 25 €. For tours, you can book a day tour here.
6. Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum
Address: P.º del Prado, 8, 28014 Madrid, Spain
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is one of the best museums in Spain for art lovers. It has an impressive collection of European and American art, from the Renaissance to the present day. It’s also part of the “Golden Triangle of Art”, which includes the Prado and the Reina Sofía National Galleries.
The Thyssen-Bornemisza fills the historical gaps in its counterparts’ collections: in the Prado’s case, this includes Italian primitives and works from the English, Dutch and German schools, while in the case of the Reina Sofia it concerns Impressionists, Expressionists, and European and American paintings from the 20th Century.
Here are some travel tips to make the most of your visit: Plan and choose which paintings you want to see. The museum has an online collection database that you can use to research the paintings in advance; Give yourself plenty of time to explore.
With over 1,600 paintings on display, you could easily spend a whole day at the museum; Pick up a map when you arrive and follow one of the suggested routes. This will help you make the most of your time and see a variety of different paintings; Ask the staff for help if you can’t find something or need more information.
They’re always happy to help! You can also book a private Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum tour.
See Related: Best Military Museums in Europe
7. Museu Picasso de Barcelona
Address: Carrer de Montcada, 15-23, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
You can’t come to Barcelona and not pay a visit to the Picasso Museum. The museum has the largest collection of Picasso’s work, with over 4,000 pieces.
As one of the most influential artists of the 20th Century, Picasso’s art is certainly of incredible value. The Museum is located in the building where Picasso himself lived from ages 14 to 24. It’s truly the place where his art was born.
The museum offers a mixture of national and international temporary exhibitions in its many galleries, making it one of the world’s largest museums for modern and contemporary art. With over two million visitors each year, it is one of the most visited art museums in the world.
The museum is located on the west side of the city center, in the fashionable district of Thyssen-Bornemisza. The area is home to several other museums, as well as upscale shops and restaurants. It’s a short walk from the Prado Museum and the Reina Sofia, making it easy to visit all three museums in one day.
If you’re a fan of Picasso, want to see his unique works from his blue period, or even if you’re just interested in learning more about him, this is a stop you won’t want to miss. Even if you’re not particularly familiar with his work, the Picasso Museum is worth a visit. Trust us, after spending some time here, you’ll be a Picasso fan for life! You can book a skip-the-line guided tour here.
8. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
Address: Palau Nacional, Parc de Montjuïc, s/n, 08038 Barcelona, Spain
The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, or MNAC for short, is a must-visit for anyone interested in Catalan culture. This museum, located in Barcelona, houses an amazing collection of art from the region, ranging from the medieval period to the present day.
Situated on Montjuïc hill at the end of Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina, near Pl Espanya, the museum is especially notable for its outstanding collection of romanesque church paintings, and Catalan art and design from the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.
The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Barcelona, and it’s easy to see why. The museum is housed in the Palau Nacional, a huge, Italian-style building dating to 1929. To enter the museum you have to get an entrance ticket in advance.
The Palau Nacional, which has housed the Museu d’Art de Catalunya since 1934, was declared a national museum in 1990 under the Museums Law passed by the Catalan Government. That same year, a thorough renovation process was launched to refurbish the site, based on plans drawn up by the architects Gae Aulenti and Enric Steegmann, who were later joined in the undertaking by Josep Benedito. The result is a stunning museum that blends seamlessly into its lush surroundings.
Visitors can explore three floors of galleries devoted to Catalan art from the Romanesque period to the early 20th Century, as well as an expansive temporary exhibition space. With its rich collection and beautiful setting, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya is a must-see for any traveler to Barcelona. This National Art Museum Tour will help you explore the museum better.
See Related: Best Museums in Europe to Visit
9. Picasso Museum Málaga
Address: Palacio de Buenavista, C. San Agustín, 8, 29015 Málaga, Spain
Museo Picasso Málaga, located in Málaga, Andalusia, Spain. This museum houses a collection of 285 works donated by members of Pablo Picasso’s family. The museum is based in the home on Málaga’s Plaza de la Merced which was Picasso’s birthplace, and is now the Museo Casa Natal or “Birthplace Museum.”
The Museo Picasso Málaga is a must-see for any traveler to Spain. The museum houses an incredible collection of artworks by one of the most influential artists of the 20th Century.
The museum is also located in the home where Picasso was born, making it a truly special place to visit. If you’re interested in art, or the life and work of Pablo Picasso, the Museo Picasso Málaga is a place you won’t want to miss. This Picasso Museum Tour will help you explore better.
10. National Archaeological Museum
Address: Calle de Serrano, 13, 28001 Madrid, Spain
The National Archaeological Museum is one of the most popular museums in Spain, and for good reason. It contains a vast collection of artifacts from across Greece, dating from prehistory to late antiquity. This makes it an invaluable resource for anyone interested in ancient Greek history and culture.
Additionally, the museum is housed in a beautiful building in the center of town, making it a convenient stop for tourists exploring the city. If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Spain, the National Archaeological Museum is a must-visit. Get your ticket with an audio tour here.
See Related: Best & Most Beautiful Cities in Europe to Visit
11. Castell de Bellver
Address: Carrer Camilo José Cela, s/n, 07014 Palma, Illes Balears, Spain
While not exactly a museum, Castell de Bellver, on the island of Mallorca, is an important tourist attraction for several reasons. Firstly, it is a beautiful castle, and one of the few circular castles in Europe, that is well worth exploring.
Secondly, it has a rich history first serving as the residence of the Kings of Majorca, and afterwards long used as a prison. Simply fascinating to learn about.
Finally, it is located in a convenient location near the city center of Palma – and Palma is one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. If you are interested in visiting this castle, consider doing so on a day when the weather is nice, take an audio tour, and have plenty of time to explore. You will not be disappointed!
See Related: Real, Magical Castles in Fairytales to Visit
12. Sorolla Museum
Address: P.º del Gral. Martínez Campos, 37, 28010 Madrid, Spain
The Sorolla Museum is a museum located in Madrid, Spain that is dedicated to the work of Joaquín Sorolla. It was originally the artist’s house and was converted into a museum after the death of his widow.
The museum features work by the artist, as well as members of his family such as his daughter Elena. The building was designed by Enrique María Repullés and was declared Bien de Interés Cultural in 1962.
The principal rooms continue to be furnished as they were during the artist’s life, including Sorolla’s large, well-lit studio, where the walls are filled with his canvasses. Other rooms are used as galleries to display Sorolla’s paintings, while the upstairs rooms are a gallery for special exhibitions.
In 2014, these rooms held an exhibition of David Palacin’s photographs of the ballet Sorolla produced by the Spanish National Dance Company. Visit the museum on a guided tour.
See Related: Best Gardens in Europe to Visit
13. Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art
Address: Plaça dels Àngels, 1, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
The Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) is an art museum situated in the Plaça dels Àngels, in El Raval, Ciutat Vella, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. The museum opened to the public on November 28, 1995. It is considered one of the most important museums of contemporary art in Europe.
The museum contains a permanent collection of over 5,000 artworks by artists such as Joan Miró, Antoni Tàpies, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, and many more. The MACBA also has a library with over 60,000 books and exhibition catalogs.
In addition to the permanent collection, the MACBA hosts temporary exhibitions. These exhibitions are usually focused on a specific artist or theme. Get your skip-the-line admission ticket here.
14. Seville Museum of Fine Arts
Address: Pl. del Museo, 9, 41001 Sevilla, Spain
The Museum of Fine Arts of Seville, or Museo de Bellas Artes de Sevilla, is an important museum for travelers to visit because it contains a large collection of Spanish visual arts from the medieval period to Spain’s Golden Age to the early 20th Century.
This includes a choice selection of works by artists from the so-called Golden Age of Sevillian painting during the 17th Century, such as Murillo, Zurbarán, Francisco de Herrera the younger, and Valdés Leal.
The building itself is also interesting, as it was originally home to the convent of the Order of the Merced Calzada de la Asunción, founded by St. Peter Nolasco during the reign of Ferdinand III. Extensive remodeling in the early 17th Century was led by the architect Juan de Oviedo y de la Bandera.
The general entry fee to the Museo de Bellas Artes is 1.50 €, with free entry for citizens of the European Union. You can explore the museum on a 1.5-hour guided tour.
See Related: Best Warm Winter Destinations in Europe
15. Museum of Fine Arts of Bilbao
Address: Museo Plaza, 2, 48009 Bilbo, Bizkaia, Spain
The Museum of Fine Arts of Bilbao is an art museum located in the city of Bilbao, Spain. The building of the museum is located entirely inside the city’s Doña Casilda Iturrizar park. It is the second-largest and most visited museum in the Basque Country, after the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum, and one of the richest Spanish museums outside Madrid.
It houses a valuable and quite comprehensive collection of Basque, Spanish and European art from the Middle Ages to the contemporary, including paintings by old masters like El Greco, Cranach, Murillo, Goya, Van Dyck, Ruisdael, and Bellotto.
There are also 19th Century and modern art collections featuring works from Sorolla, Mary Cassatt, Paul Gauguin, Henri Le Sidaner, James Ensor, Peter Blake, and Pablo Picasso to name a few. Book a Bilbao guided tour here to see the museum’s highlights.
What are two famous museums in Spain?
The Museo Del Prado and the Reina Sofia Museum are two of the most famous museums in Spain. The Prado is a world-renowned art museum, while the Reina Sofia is a modern art museum. Both museums are located in Madrid and are worth a visit if you are in Spain.
What are the most visited museums in Spain?
The most visited museums in Spain are the Prado Museum, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, and the Reina Sofia National Art Center. Nevertheless, all of the museums in this article are extremely popular among tourists and locals.
What are the best museums in Spain to visit?
The list of the best museums in Spain includes some of the most popular and well-known museums in the country. These are The Prado Museum in Madrid, The Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, and the Picasso Museum in Barcelona.
What is the best time to visit museums in Spain?
The best time to visit these museums is during the weekdays, as there are usually fewer crowds. How long do I need to spend at each museum? Depending on your interest, you can spend anywhere from 1 to 2-plus hours at each museum, but places like Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum could take the whole day!