Spain is a marvel of heritage and a mosaic of cultures with some of the best museums in Europe.
With millennia of artifacts, a feature progression of artistic aesthetic, and a captivating collection of artists from across Europe, Spain hosts elaborate galleries representing pieces of the past and contemporary masterpieces.
Whether focusing on prehistoric drawings, Greek vases, gigantic paintings, or intricate sculptures, these must-see museums display Spain’s layered opulence.
The Prado Museum is one of the world’s premier art galleries and can easily overwhelm and inspire you with a collection of more than 7,000 paintings and 700 sculptures. The architecture embodies the artwork, reflecting masterpieces that span 100 rooms. You can view works dating back to the 12th century with galleries dedicated to religious paintings, regal opulence, and civil life, as well as works by famous artists like El Greco, Goya, and Velázquez.
Highlights: Las Meninas | Portrait of Charles V | Garden of Earthly Delights | El Ters de Mayo
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum captures the wide breadth of European artistic mastery with works spanning the 13th to the 20th centuries. With approximately 1,000 paintings on display that feature medieval religious works and Renaissance portraits, Baroque glamour and Rococo prestige, as well as vibrant Pop Art, you can find a variety of art that embodies greater European heritage and culture. Whether looking for Degas or Van Goh, El Greco or Buoninsegna, you can find incredible art in a single space.
Highlights: Venus and Cupid | Saint Catherine of Alexandria | “Les Vessenots” in Auvers | Mata Mua
Contemporary art takes center stage in the Reina Sofia Museum, which displays Picasso’s Guernica, one of Spain’s most famous art pieces. The primary collection captures the sentiments and shifting perspectives of the 20th century leading into the 1980s, featuring the likes of Dalí and Miró. With works embodying the avant-garde and the modern accentuated by a charming garden and inner courtyard, the Reina Sofia possesses more than 23,000 works with a true representation of Spanish art and spirit.
Highlights: Barre de bois cubique | Vetro di Murano e seta indiana | Water-Mirror of Granada | Interrupted Solitude | Guernica
Versatility and vitality exude from the five medieval stone mansions that house the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. The unique setting imitates the distinctive properties of one of Spain’s best-known contemporary artists with galleries that provide a timeline to the formative years of Picasso’s life. With courtyards and staircases that affect the ambiance of the artwork, you can quickly experience the innovation of the space in addition to the originality of Picasso as a brilliant artistic mind.
Highlights: Retrato de la tía Pepa | Ciència i caritat | Woman with Bonnet | Terrats de Barcelona
The City of Arts and Sciences represents a feeling of the future on the edges of the city. As an impressive center dedicated to reflecting, sharing, and exploring cultural and scientific exhibitions, the center spreads across more than a mile of the Turia River with elements of avant-garde design, panoramic views, and interactive galleries immersing you in the environment, technology, and oceanography. Indulge in the fascinating worlds on display or simply stroll along the promenades and pools that surround the buildings.
Highlights: L’Hemisfèric | Palau de les Arts | Umbracle | Oceanografic
The luxurious neo-baroque facade of Palau Nacional crowns the summit of Monjuïc and with an interior boasting an exceptional collection of Catalan art that spans centuries. From the Middle Ages to the 20th century, with celebrated Romanesque frescoes, the galleries explore artistic history but also reflect on symbols of Catalan identity through the ages. Whether looking at Spanish masters like Velazquez or finding art in local names like Gaudi, every step provides a new perspective of Catalonia.
Highlights: The Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew | Christ in Majesty | Virgin Mary and Christ Child | Martyrdom of St Vincent and Santa Eulàlia
History has a way of taking on artistic perspective with enticing lines and alluring stories captured in the preserved artifacts in the National Archeological Museum in Madrid. Exhibits display rare ancient coins and ethnographic utensils, decorative arts, and spectacular archeological finds from across the Mediterranean. The sweeping accumulation of relics reveals Spain’s historical depths connected to greater Europe, with touches of ancient Rome to intricate Moorish jewelry.
Highlights: Cave Paintings of Altamira | Lady of Elx | Visigoth Votive Crowns | Crucifix of Ferdinand
There is no greater representation of Salvador Dali than the museum in Figueres. The castle supports giant eggs and regal statues, as well as plaster-covered croissants that embody a surreal immortality. The museum offers an assortment of creative expressions from Dali and several famous masterpieces representing the larger-than-life spirit of the contemporary artist.
Highlights: The Spectre of Sex-appeal | Soft self-portrait with grilled bacon | Poetry of America—the Cosmic Athletes | Basket of Bread
The grandeur of the Fine Arts Museum of Seville stems from the vast collection of paintings that cover work from the Gothic period to the 20th century. The evocative historic convent that houses the museum galleries adds to the alluring ambiance in which the artworks are displayed. With an emphasis on grand religious paintings and canvases depicting scenes of typical Sevillian life, it is easy to experience the wonders in the collection that make for one of the finest museums in Spain.
Highlights: Virgen de la Servilleta | Portrait of D. Cristóbal Suárez de Ribera | San Hugo en el Refectorio, Jesús crucificado | Sculpture of Saint Jerome
A Spain tour lets you experience ancient beauty, golden discoveries, and contemporary culture. Masterpieces of art and architecture line the streets and demonstrate the distinctive history of the country and a Spain travel specialist can customize your trip to create a more personal experience. From exploring celebrated museums to indulging in world-famous tapas, you can find inspiration for your vacation with our Spain Travel Guide. Planning a trip? You can speak with a Spain travel specialist by filling out a Trip Request or by calling 1-888-265-9707.