Museo Nacional del Prado.
The Prado Museum is Madrid's top cultural sight, and one of the world's greatest art galleries. Located in the eponymous street, El Paseo del Prado, its dazzling display of works by the great European masters such as Velázquez, Goya, Raphael, Rubens, and Bosch (among other major Italian and Flemish artists), is housed in an 18th-century Neo-Classical building hat opened as a museum in 1819.C/ RUIZ DE ALARCÓN, -23 28014 Madrid TEL.0034913302800
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
Madrid's 18th century hospital was beautifully remodelled and converted into a museum in 1992, with two panoramic glass lifts standing out in the façade. In 2005 it added an extension designed by French architect Jean Nouvel. Its official name is the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
Many of its art works were transferred from the nearby Prado, and it's now a treasure-house of contemporary and modern art. Two of the floors are devoted to temporary exhibits, while the other two are for the permanent collection which also covers Abstract, Pop, and Minimal Art movements.C/ SANTA ISABEL, 52 28012 TEL. 0034917 74 10 00
Occupying a Neo-Classical mansion from 1806, many critics see this museum as the world's most important private art collection. Assembled by Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza and his son Hans Heinrich, it illustrates the history of Western art from the primitive Flemish and Italian painters, to 20th century Pop Art.
The Spanish state bought it in 1993, and today this museum is a strong complement to the Prado and Reina Sofia museums, adding 20th century international artists to the Spanish ones you may have already seen at Reina Sofia. With this museum, you can truly apreciate the entire evolution of the history of art without leaving Madrid.Paseo del Prado, 8 28014 TEL. 0034902 76 05 11
CaixaForum is Madrid's latest cultural and architectural star. It is one of those sights where the building is as much of an attraction as the content found in the interior, with its exuberant façade featuring a vertical garden by the French botanist Patrick Blanc.
It consists of 15,000 plants from 250 species, attracting large crowds that then proceed to the exhibitions and other events inside.
Once through the doors visitors are then drawn to another curious sight, a staircase that could easily be mistaken for a Gaudi creation found in Barcelona. In reality however, the entire extraordinary building is by the famous Swiss duo Herzog and De Meuron, best known for designing the Tate Modern in London that led to their Pritzker Award win.
The location chosen by La Caixa Foundation for its new Madrid home naturally had to be in the vicinity of the Prado, the Reina Sofia, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza museums, so for that an old power plant had to be restored and expanded. It is now one of the Spanish capital's best examples of industrial architecture, and one of its must-see sights.
Paseo del Prado, 36 28014 TEL. 0034913 30 73 00