Planning to visit Madrid but do not know what to do? Trying to plan itinerary for your Madrid trip? What are the TOP things to do in Madrid?
Golden Triangle of Art
Madrid has 3 of the top 50 most visited museums in the world and they are close to one another. They are also known as the Golden Triangle Of Art. The 3 art museums are Prado Museum (Museo del Prado), Reina Sofia Museum (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía) and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. These 3 museums are near Atocha Train Station. Those who take the bullet trains to Madrid, will be able to walk to the Golden Triangle of Art easily.
Prado Museum has a collection of pre-20th century art paintings which include famous artists like Goya, El Greco, Titian, Velazquez etc. The art collections are huge and you can spend hours going through all the art works.
I remember I arrived early at Prado Museum, before the official opening hour. But I was surprised to see a queue had formed in front of the museum. So be prepared to queue.
Reina Sofia Museum is dedicated to Spanish art of the 20th century. Some featured artists are Picasso, Dali and Miro. The most famous art piece is ‘Guernica’ by Picasso.
This museum used to be Madrid General Hospital. Then in 1980s and 2000s, it has done extensive renovation and extension to the old building. After the expansion, the new extension houses temporary exhibitions, auditorium, bookshop, restaurants and administration office. From the exterior, you can see the very distinct glass panels and steel which holds 2 elevators.
I purchased Paseo del Arte card online before arriving in Madrid, redeemed the card at Reina Sofia Museum ticket counter because it was just next to the apartment that we stayed.
Thyssen Bornemisza Museum has everything from 14th century to modern-day art works. A lot of art enthusiasts loves this museum instead of Prado or Reina Sofia because it has extensive collections spanning from pre-20th century paintings to modern art works. So to all the art fans, this museum is not to be miss even though it is a lesser known museum of the Golden Triangle.
- museums have free entry for certain day and time :-
- Prado Museum free admission – Monday to Saturday from 6pm-8pm and Sunday 5pm-7pm
- Reina Sofia Museum free admission – Monday to Saturday 7pm-9pm and Sunday 2.30pm-7pm, close on every Tuesday
- Thyssen Bornemisza Museum free admission – Monday 12pm-4pm
- book tickets online if you prefer to visit outside of the free admission timing stated above. My suggestion is to buy the Paseo del Arte card, which gives you admission to the above 3 museums with a discount of 20% on the total admission tickets. Remember to redeem the card from the museum where you purchase the online tickets from, for example I bought the online Paseo del Arte card from Reina Sofia Museum website, so I had to go to Reina Sofia ticket counter to redeem the card before I can proceed to visit the 3 museums.
Buen Retiro Park
One of the largest park in Madrid, Buen Retiro Park is about 350 acres near the Golden Triangle of Art. A very popular park, you can see some street performers at the park, for instance, magician doing tricks to attract kids attention.
There is a big artificial pond in the park where you can see some people paddling the boats and sitting at the stairs in front of Monument Alfonso XII. Family brought along kids to take a stroll and teenagers skate-boarding there too.
Royal Palace of Madrid
The Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of Spanish royal but used only for state ceremonies. When I was there, it was closed. Therefore I could only admire the architecture and the park surrounding the palace. This palace was huge. Although the palace was closed, a lot of people were there to take a stroll or taking taking photos of this amazingly beautiful palace.
Atocha train station
If you are travelling by high speed train like I did, you would surely see this train station. This is the largest train station in Madrid. This train station is very near to the Golden Triangle of Art. In fact, just cross a street and you would reach Reina Sofia Museum. Because it is at a site which a few streets converged together, so it can be confusing when you exit or enter the train station.