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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 07 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

This outstanding art collection – accumulated by Swiss industrialist Baron Hans-Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza – tells the story of 800 years of art history, from 13th-century Italian Gothic paintings all the way up to 20th-century Pop Art. One of the world’s largest private collections, this treasure trove of nearly a thousand paintings is housed in a grand 18th-century neoclassical palace

Major highlights include paintings by Ghirlandaio, Durer, Titian, Raphael, Degas and Kandinsky. There’s usually at least one temporary exhibition on, too, and a lovely terrace bar on the rooftop.

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Price from: £10
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The nearest metro station is Banco de Espana.

The collection is overwhelming and requires several visits. If you’re just going once, check out the section on the website listing the main masterpieces, so you know the ones to look out for. There are also themed sections.

There are numerous local operators offering expert-led guided tours (see our recommendations below) – these have the advantage of taking you to all of the masterpieces, and giving insights and background to the paintings and their artists. If you prefer to go it alone, you can purchase an audio guide at the entrance to download to your phone (ideally bring your own headphones), or the museum’s own device. There’s also an online virtual guide of each gallery you can access as you go.

The bar-restaurant in the courtyard is pleasant but pricey. In summer, the excellent open-air Las Terrazas restaurant opens up on the rooftop.

If you’re planning on seeing lots of art, the Paseo del Arte joint ticket gives a 20% discounted entry to the PradoReina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums. The pass is available at any of the three museums, which can be visited on different days.

When to do it

The museum is open all year round, seven days a week. Arrive first thing in the morning at 10am, or mid-afternoon, and you’ll be more likely to beat the crowds. It gets very crowded between 11am and 2pm, and also after 6pm (when admission is free on most days). These free admission hours will save you a buck, but don’t expect to have the place to yourself.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Radisson Blu Madrid Prado

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain[0.2 miles]

A comfortable, well-equipped and reasonably stylish boutique hotel – superbly located close to the big art museums and great shopping.

Official star rating:

Mandarin Oriental Ritz Madrid

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain[0.2 miles]

Right next to the world-famous Prado Museum, Madrid’s grand old dame pairs old-school opulence with first-class service for a memorable stay.

Official star rating:

Gran Hotel Ingles

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain[0.4 miles]

This swanky, pampering Art Deco hotel in the heart of Old Madrid has a rich history and design to die for.

Official star rating:

Room Mate Alicia

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain[0.5 miles]

A funky design boutique in the buzzing heart of Madrid, packed with restaurants, bars and nightlife. Excellent value for the central location.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience


Madrid Region, Spain

Spain’s sunny capital offers up world-class art, super shopping, renowned tapas and late, late nights.

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Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Prado Museum

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain[0.3 miles]

Madrid’s most renowned museum, home to the single best collection of Spanish art and arguably the world’s finest collections of European art, dating from the 12th century to the early 20th century.

Best for ages: 18+ | £13

Reina Sofia National Museum

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain[0.9 miles]

Spain’s National Museum of 20th-century art is the third of Madrid’s world-class art museums. Reina most famously contains Picasso’s Guernica, and outstanding collections of Spain’s two greatest 20th-century masters, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali.

Best for ages: 18+ | £8

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