The Museo del Prado is an art museum in central Madrid, founded in the year 1819. The Prado is considered to have one of the world’s finest European art collections, with paintings and sculptures from the 12th century to the early 20th century. The museum currently has around 8,200 drawings, 7,600 paintings, 4,800 prints and 1,000 sculptures, and a large number of other art works and documents.
The Prado is located near the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Museo Reina Sofía, the three museums from Madrid’s Golden Triangle of Art. The closest metro stations to the Prado are Banco de España and Estación del Arte. Banco de España is on metro line 2 and Estación del Arte is on metro line 1. The Prado is also near the Retiro Park, one of the biggest parks in Madrid.
The Museo del Prado is open from 10:00 to 20:00 on Monday to Saturday, and from 10:00 to 19:00 on Sunday and public holidays. The museum also offers free access to all from 18:00 to 20:00 on Monday to Saturday, and from 17:00 to 19:00 on Sunday and public holidays. The Museo del Prado offers free entry to students under 25 years old with a student ID.
Most of the weekends during my first few weeks in Madrid were spent wandering around museums. As the Prado happens to be one of the biggest museums in Spain, it was easy to spend whole afternoons there looking at paintings and sculptures.
One of my favorite ways to spend my weekends is to sleep in and have brunch, then head out to a museum in the afternoon. I wasn’t particularly familiar with European artists before coming to Spain, only having heard of the most famous artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.
The Prado offered me a great chance to learn more about great Spanish painters and sculptors like Francisco de Goya and Diego Velázquez. I later found out that many of Madrid’s metro stations are named after famous artists, including these two.
After spending your whole afternoon in a museum, you’ll probably be looking forward to sitting down for dinner, but unfortunately Spanish restaurants usually don’t open until 20:00 or 20:30! So before dinner, a walk at the Retiro Park, which is right next to the museum, is a nice way to pass the time.
Around Retiro there are a lot of restaurants to choose from, both Spanish and non-Spanish, including one of my favorite restaurants in Madrid – Level Veggie Bistro. It offers a wide selection of vegan food that’s both healthy and delicious. Be sure to bring along a few friends because you will want to try everything on the menu! The raw lasagna on the menu is my personal favorite. It is made with zucchini and other vegetables. They have an English menu and the waiters there speak good English as well.
Madrid is a very walkable city and in Spain sunset is usually around 21:30 in summer. This means you may be able to swing by a park after dinner to watch the sunset before walking home, which makes for a lovely end to your day.