Madrid: Top 10 Things to do in Paseo del Prado
April 26, 2019
by Beatriz Ildefonso
The Prado Walk is one of the oldest and most important boulevards in Madrid, both for its cultural and historic value. For centuries it was one of the edges of Madrid, and it was used as a recreational space for its gardens and fountains. Nowadays it is still one of the main city’s attractions, for its high concentration of unmissable touristic points and sights.
Spread out across this boulevard of a little over one kilometer you’ll find some of the most important museums (the famous Golden Triangle of Art), iconic buildings, as well as imposing fountains and monuments.
How to reach it
Metro: Estación del Arte, Banco de Espanã
Bus: 10, 14, 27, 34, 37, 45, N8, N9, N10, N11, N12, N13, N14, N15, N17, N25, N26
Museo Reina Sofia
Originally called Centro del Arte, this museum has been opened since 1992. It was renamed after Queen Sofía in 1988. Mainly dedicated to Spanish art, it gathers artworks from famous painters such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, and others. The museum comprises many styles like Modernism, Cubism, and Surrealism and post-war artistic expression. The collection dates from the end of the 19th Century.
Most notorious pieces of art we can see there: Guernica and Woman in Blue (by Pablo Picasso), Landscapes at Cadaqués and The Great Masturbator (by Salvador Dalí)
Opening Hours: Monday, Wednesday to Saturday 10am – 9pm (closed on Tuesdays) / Sunday 10am – 7pm (box office closes at 2pm)
Price: General 10€ / Online 8€ / General + Audioguide 15,50€
Free admission: Monday, Wednesday to Saturday 7pm – 9pm / Sunday 1:30pm to 7pm
Inaugurated in 2008, CaixaForum has quickly gained iconic status next to Madrid more classic infrastructures. It is worth a visit, not only for its art exhibitions and cultural events but also for its exterior: it has a ‘green façade’ (a vertical garden 24 meters tall with around 250 different plant species!), and a structure that gives the impression of being levitating.
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 10am – 8pm
Price: General 5€ / Vertical Garden Guided Tour 3€ / Guided tour to CaixaForum 3€
Free admission: 15th May, 18th May, 9th November, CaixaBank clients, youth (under 16 years)
Museo del Prado
Founded in 1819, this museum assembles paintings from what started as the Spanish monarchs’ collection. It has the largest holdings of paintings from famous artists like Bosch, Titian, El Greco, Rubens, Velázquez, and Goya.
Most notorious pieces of art we can see there: Las Meninas (by Diego Velázquez), The Black Paintings (Francisco Goya), The Garden of Earthly Delights (Hieronymus Bosch)
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 10am – 8pm / Sunday 10am – 7pm
Price: General 15€ / Reduced (over 65 years or youth card) 7,5€
Free admission: Monday to Saturday 6pm – 8pm, Sunday and holidays 5pm – 7pm, under 18 years, students 18-25 years
Fuente de Neptuno
The Neptuno Fountain is one of the most significant fountains in Madrid, not only for its central location in one of the busiest boulevards of the city but also for its symbolism in the current days, as a place of celebration for the football team Atlético de Madrid’s victories, by its fans. The statue in itself can be described as a carriage in the form of a shell, pulled by two seahorses (symbol of storms and agitated sea) and carrying Neptuno, the god of the sea.
Free Access, all day.
Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza
Located on the Villahermosa Palace, this museum gathers pieces from the Middle Ages until the late 20th century. What gave a start to the current collection was a private collection of the family Thyssen-Bornemisza, borrowed at first, and eventually bought by the State. It has three floors, and it is generally recommended to start from the 2nd floor down to floor 0, to follow a chronological order.
Most notorious pieces of art we can see there: Harlequin with a Mirror (by Picasso), Picture with Three Spots (by Kandinsky), Dali’s Dream (by Chagall)
Opening Hours: Monday 12am – 4pm / Tuesday to Sunday 10am – 7pm / Saturdays for temporary exposition only 10am – 9pm
Price: General 13€ (Temporary + Permanent) / Permanent only 12€ / Students and +65 years 9€,
Free admission: Monday 12am – 4pm for master card owners, under 18 years, unemployed w/ certification, Youth Card holders
Monumento a Los caídos
The Obelisco or Monument to the Fallen for Spain stands in the center of the Plaza de la Lealtad (Loyalty square). Like many other monuments in Madrid, this place is a war memorial strongly linked with the 2nd of May of 1808. This historic day was marked by the rebellion of the people of Madrid against the occupation of the city by French troops. The commission resulted in numerous executions, which happened exactly on the site where the Obelisk stands. In front of this monument, a flame can be found, which is always lit up, by gas.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 9am-8pm / Sunday 9pm-2pm
Free Access, all day.
Fuente de Apolo
Known as patron of the arts, the representation of god Apolo took over 20 years to be ready. It is also called as Fuente de las Cuatro Estaciones (Fountain of the Four Seasons), due to the four effigies surrounding the fountain, representing each one a season.
You can also spot the symbol of Madrid, a bear with 7 stars above, from the Ursa Major constellation. You may have seen the bear statue of Plaza del Sol, which it is believed to be the “updated” version of the symbol: the strawberry tree, or Madronõ, was later added to the city’s seal, after a dispute between the church and the city council over the ownership of the forests and fields in the surroundings.
Free Access, all day.
This cultural center, located on the majestic Palacio de Cibeles (Cibeles Palace) since 2011, is focused on urban culture through exhibitions, conferences, and concerts. Inside you can find the operations hall, various exhibition areas, auditoriums, and the glass gallery.
Located on the 6th floor, Terraza Cibeles is the perfect place for having a drink while you enjoy the view over Plaza de Cibeles. For an even more overwhelming sight, go up to the 8th floor, where you’ll find Mirador Madrid.
• CentroCentro: Tuesday to Sunday 10am – 8pm
• Mirador Madrid: Tuesday to Sunday 10:30am – 2pm and 4pm – 7:30pm
• Mirador Madrid: 3€, children 7-14 years, seniors (+65 years) and unemployed visitors 1.5€
• CentroCentro: all day, for the majority of the temporary exhibitions
• Mirador Madrid: children (under 2 years), 2nd May, 15th May, 9th November
El Brillante is one of the many charismatic Tapas restaurants in Madrid. Located in front of the Atocha station since 1961, it serves all kinds of Spanish treats from patatas bravas, ensaladas, jamón, bocadillos, and tortilla.
The clientele is mainly local, adding to its charm. It is fairly priced for the portions served. They strongly advertise the bocadillo El Brillante, which is a piece of bread with calamares on the inside (7,5€).
Price: around 3,5 to 9€ for a tapa/ 1,6€ for a beer
Schedule: Monday to Sunday 6:30am – 2:30am
Museo del Jamón
Originally founded by two brothers in Madrid, as a convenience store in the south of Madrid, it quickly became one of the most emblematic restaurants in Madrid, and so the franchising started, being there now 10 Museos del Jamón in Madrid. It serves both as a restaurant and convenience store for cold meats and cheese. There you can eat the typical Spanish tapas, boards of cheese and cold meat, or even actual dishes, like the famous paella.
Price: around 6 to 9€ for a tapa / 7 to 16€ for a board /0,5€ bread/ 1,5€ for a beer (0,5 cl)
Schedule: depends on the location, generally open Monday to Sunday 9am – 11pm (some stay open until later)