- Museo de América, Avenida Reyes Católicos 6 (Metro: Moncloa (lines 3 and 6). An excellent museum that many tourists miss. Houses thousands of artifacts from the Americas. The exhibit displays objects from many native cultures from before European conquest to colonial times and beyond. Don’t miss the Tesoro (Treasure) de los Químbayas, a collection of gold objects that was given as a gift by the Colombian government. Also of interest is the Tudela Codex, an Aztec law book from the 1500’s.
- Museo de Lazaro Galdiano, Calle Serrano 122 (Metro: Gregorio Mariñon (lines 7 and 10). This museum houses the stunning collection of Spanish entrepreneur José Lázaro Galdiano (1862-1947) and is considered to be one of the best private collections in Spain. Not only will you find works by Goya, Velázquez, El Greco and others, the museum is also filled with jewelry, furniture, sculpture and ceramics. This is an excellent museum that is usually not crowded and well worth the price of admission.
- Museo Sorolla, General Martínez Campos, 37 (Metro: Iglesia (line 1) or Rubén Darío (line 5). This museum is in what was the impressionist painter’s house and features fine furniture and porcelain as well as his paintings.
- Museo del Traje (The Costume Museum), Avenida de Juan de Herrera 2. Offers a wide selection of historical and more temporary costumes (from the early 1200s to now) which shows the aspects of different cultures and Spain. The museum also organizes many activities and events.
- National Archeology Museum, Calle Serrano 13 (Metro: Serrano (line 4). This well designed museum houses an incredible collection of archaeological finds from across the peninsula. It leaves the visitor with a sense of the chronology of civilization in Spain (Iberian, Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Visagoth, Arab, and into the modern age). The famous Dama de Elche, an Iberian (pre-Roman) fertility goddess statue, is in this museum. There are also a few pieces from ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.
- Real Academia de Bella Artes de San Fernando, Calle Alcalá 13 (Metro: Sevilla or Banco de España (line 2). Highly impressive art collection with paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints. Several Goya masterpieces.
- Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, José Gutiérrez Abascal 2 (Metro: Gregorio Marañón, Nuevos Ministerios; Renfe: Nuevos Ministerios). The national museum of natural sciences, containing a large collection of fossils and minerals, plus educational exhibits (mostly in Spanish).
Circulo de Bellas Artes, Calle Marqués de Casa Riera 2. A non-profit cultural center located a short walk from Sol, the CBA offers up a wide variety of events and shows including film, music, art displays, dance, theater and more.
Toledo – An UNESCO World Heritage site. Medieval walled city and former capital of Spain. It’s about a 30 minute train ride from Madrid Atocha station, with plenty of art (del Greco) and architecture (one of the best cathedrals in Europe) so very worthy of a day trip but more worthy of a night. But it is on the late spring and the early summer nights that it reaches its beauty peak, simply breathtaking, do not miss it.
How to Get There
By plane – Madrid Barajas International Airport is located 13km from the city center. It is one of the largest airports in Europe and is serviced by many airlines, as well as being the homebase for Iberia Airlines.
The airport is connected to the city by Cercanias commuter train (line C-1) and Metro (line 8 pink). From Terminal 4, the simplest option to get to Puerta del Sol (the center of Madrid) is to take the commuter train (look for Renfe Cercanias) to “Nuevos Ministerios” and then transfer to line C-3 or C-4 southbound on platform 8; Sol will be the first stop. Alternatively, you can also take the Metro to Nuevos Ministerios from any terminal but it will probably take a bit longer.
By train – Renfe operates train service to/from Madrid. Frequent trains operate between Madrid and Barcelona(2h 40min), Seville (2h 20 min), Malaga (2h 30 min), Zaragoza, Tarragona, Lerida, Huesca, Ciudad Real, Puertollano, Lisbon,Milan, the French coast, Paris, with continuing journeys to most of Europe.
Madrid has two train stations: Chamartín and Atocha, both of which have excellent Metro and Cercanias commuter train connections. Most northbound and international trains arrive and depart from Chamartín station, while trains to Barcelona, Valencia and southern Spain depart from Atocha. If you need to get between the two stations, Metro line 1 or Cercanias lines C3 and C4 offer the most direct connection.
Chamartín station is on the north side of the city and is served by the Metro stop of the same name on Metro lines 1 and 10. Atocha is on the southern side of the city center and is divided into two main sections, an area for Cercanias trains and one for long-distance trains. The long-distance side is set inside the towering old station, where you will find a tropical garden with a pond full of small turtles as well as a number of shops. A memorial to the victims of the terrorist attack of March 11, 2004 is in the Cercanias portion of the station near the Metro stop.
By bus – Madrid has eight enormous international and intercity bus stations. Information on where buses to a particular destination depart from can be found at the Tourist Office. Many of the international buses, and those headed south of Madrid, arrive at and depart from Estación Sur de Autobuses which is accessible by metro.
Buses to and from Barcelona and Bilbao operate from the Avenida de América bus terminal, also accessible by Metro.
By car – There are car rental facilities available at the airport, train stations, and other main travel sites. Always be sure to have a street map handy! The roads within Madrid are difficult to navigate as there are no places to stop and consult a map or check your route.
Also, if you are relying on GPS navigation, be aware that there are several consecutive junctions underground near the centre and your GPS may not get a signal underground. Plan your turns before you enter the tunnels.
The Studios of Pablo Picasso • Locations & Activities