Queen Sofia Arts Center (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía)

#9 in Best Things To Do in Madrid
Queen Sofia Arts Center (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía) picture
Queen Sofia Arts Center (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía)
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Joaquin Cortes/Roman Lores/Courtesy Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia

Key Info

Calle de Santa Isabel, 52

Details

Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
3.7scorecard
  • 4.5Value
  • 1.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is Madrid's 20th-century art gallery and along with the Prado and the Thyssen-Bornemisza, makes up the city's trio of great museums. The museum contains more than 21,000 works of art, including pieces from Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró but probably the most famous work is found on the second floor. Picasso's "Guernica" is the museum's crowning jewel. 

As is the case with other modern or contemporary art museums, travelers say you'll especially enjoy Queen Sofia if you appreciate modern art. If you're not a huge fan, you might want to spend your time at the Prado or Thyssen-Bornemisza. 

The Queen Sofia Arts Center also has two exhibition spaces at Retiro Park. Tickets cost 8 euros ($9.30) if purchased in advance online and 10 euros ($11.60) at the box office. Note that you can skip out on the online admission price by visiting the museum during its free hours, which are Sundays from 1:30 to 7 p.m. (Only select spaces are open at that time.) The museum welcomes visitors from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day except Tuesday and Sunday. On Sunday, it's open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Check the museum's website for more details. On-site facilities include a cafe and museum store. You can reach the museum from the Atocha metro stop.

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Buen Retiro Park (Parque del Buen Retiro)
Plaza Mayor
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#1 Buen Retiro Park (Parque del Buen Retiro)

To the east of central Madrid, Parque del Buen Retiro (Buen Retiro Park) can be translated as "Park of the Pleasant Retreat," and that's what it is – a sprawling swath of lush greenery filled with formal gardens, lakes, cafes, playgrounds and more. This 300-some-acre park previously housed Felipe IV's palace and gardens, and didn't become open to the public until the late 19th century.

Today, you can still rent a rowboat to the Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace), which holds regular art exhibitions or stop and smell the roses in the Rosaleda (Rose Garden), which has more than 4,000 roses. Plus, for those traveling with little ones, the Teatro de Titeres hosts puppet shows most weekends. 

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