Visitors to Spain's bustling capital are often surprised to discover a city where old and new are seamlessly intertwined: while it posseses a thouroughly modern infrastructure and contemporary cultural sites such as the Caixa Forum or Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, the city still maintans its historic aesthetic in its older neighbourhoods and with l...
Visitors to Spain's bustling capital are often surprised to discover a city where old and new are seamlessly intertwined: while it posseses a thouroughly modern infrastructure and contemporary cultural sites such as the Caixa Forum or Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, the city still maintans its historic aesthetic in its older neighbourhoods and with landmark sites such as the Royal Palace and Opera House. Home to a 'Golden Triangle' of art museums- the Prado, Sofia and Thyssen- the city should be top of any art fan's to-visit list. The capital of a country renowed for its nocturnal living and enthusiasm for Fiesta, the city is not short of excellent places to eat, drink and dance the night away.
The imposing Teatro Real in Madrid celebrates a firm status as one of the world's most famous opera houses. Its construction was ordered by Queen Isabel II in 1818 and it stands directly in front of the Palacio Real, her official residence. It was finally inaugurated in 1850 and nowadays hosts not only a number of opera titles, but also ballets and recitals.
Plaza de Isabel II, s/n, 28013 Madrid
Metro: Lines 4 and 5 (Callao); Line 2 (Santo Domingo); Lines 1,2 and 3 (Sol).
Rail: C3 and C4 (Sol)
Famed for holding what is arguably the finest collection of Spanish art in the world, the Prado Museum boasts a collection of European Art dating from the twelfth to nineteenth centuries of exceptional quality. Highlights include an extensive collection of the works of Fransisco de Goya, including both his Maja vestida and Maja desnuda, alongside the works of Titian Rubens and Bosch. The most notable painting though has to be Velásquez's majesterial painting of Las Meninas. The Museum also aims to maximize its collection by frequently changing works on display and hosting a series of temporary exhibitions through out the year, making sure that the Prado is worth a visit every time a visitor happens to be passing through Madrid.
Paseo del Prado, s/n, 28014 Madrid
Metro: Line 2 (Banco de España); Line 1 (Atocha).
Rail: Atocha Station.
Bus: Routes 9, 10, 14, 19, 27, 34, 37 and 45.
The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reino Sofía, or the Sofía for short, is Spain's national gallery for twentieth-century art. Inaugurated in 1992 the Museum was named after Queen Sofía and forms part of the city's 'Golden Triangle' of art along with the Prado and the Thyssen- Bornemisza. This title is justly deserved for the collection features works by Spanish greats such as Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí, with the unchallenged highlight being Picasso's Guernica. The museum also hosts a range of lively exhibitions of Spanish and International exhibitions which are certainly worth a look.
Calle de Santa Isabel, 52, 28012 Madrid
Metro: Line 1 (Atocha); Line 3 (Lavapiés).
Rail: Estación de Madrid Atocha.
The third point in the 'Golden Triangle' of Madrid Art, the Thyssen-Bornemisza fills in any gaps in the Prado and Sofia's collections. Its breadth of coverage is impressive, spanning from Italian primitive art, early English, German and Dutch art to works from the Impressionist, Expressionist and Contemporary American schools. Highlights include works by Uccello, Van Eyck and Holbein's portrait of Henry VIII or, at the more recent end of the spectrum, Monet, Picasso, Dali and Kadinsky- but to name a few! The only way to get a real sense of the range of this museum's treasures is to pay it a visit, for it is guaranteed to have something to cater to every artistic preference.
Paseo del Prado, 8, 28014 Madrid
Metro: Line 2 (Banco de España).
Rail: Atocha and Recoletos.
Bus: Routes 1, 2, 5, 9, 10, 14, 15, 20, 27, 34, 37, 41, 51, 52, 53, 74, 146 and 150.
While the Royal Palace in Madrid is the Official Residence of the Spanish Royal Family, it is usually only used for state functions- or as a top tourist attraction for visitors from all around the world. The palace is surounded by the beautiful Sabatini and Campo del Moro parks and contains furniture, tapestries, paintings and ceramics as well as other important works of art and frescos by Tiépolo, Velázquez, Goya, Giordano and Mengs.
Calle de Bailén, s/n, 28071 Madrid
Metro: Lines 2, 3 and 10 (Plaza de España).
Bus: Routes 3, 148, 39 and 25.
It is hard to miss the two clashing halves of red-brick wall and a 'vertical garden' aesthetic that make up the CaixaForum's main façade, a clash which speaks for the aims of the museum as a whole: to mix past and present in art and architecture.
Throughouut the museum, which is in itself a majestic work of a work of art, visitors can find a mixture of contemporary and retrospective exhibitions from a range of eras and styles.
Paseo del Prado 36, 28014 Madrid
Metro: Line 1 (Atocha).
Bus: Routes 0, 14, 27, 34, 37 and 45 (Paseo del Prado); Routes 26, 32 and 6 (Calle Atocha).