Practical tips for visiting the Prado Museum in Madrid

The Prado Museum in Madrid is one of the best museums in the world and one of the most visited. Therefore, after having enjoyed it on several occasions, I leave you some tips to visit the Prado Museum:

Tips for visiting the Prado Museum

When is the best time to visit the Prado Museum?

Read carefully, because this is one of the best tips for visiting the Prado Museum. One of the most feared things about it is the long queues that so often form at the doors of the main entrance. They remember that almost 3 million people pass through here every year.

If you want to avoid that queue, then I’ll give you another piece of advice, but if, in addition, you don’t feel like admiring the best works of European masters surrounded by hordes of tourists, the best thing is to plan your visit for early in the morning or during the time of siesta (between 2 and 5, approximately). Those are the optimal intervals in terms of the influx of people.

When there are more people, as is always the case, it is in the time zone that entrance to the Prado Museum is free for everyone. That is to say, from 6 to 8 pm from Monday to Saturday, and from 5 to 7 on Sundays and public holidays.

When is the entrance to the Prado Museum in Madrid free?

As I mentioned in the previous council, the Museo del Prado in Madrid, unlike many other museums in the world, distributes its free admission schedule in narrow time slots every day of the week.

Today, free admission to the Prado Museum can be enjoyed between 6 and 8 p.m. from Monday to Saturday, and from 5 to 7 p.m. on Sundays and public holidays.

In addition, you can also enter the Prado Museum for free on 19 November (museum anniversary) and 18 May (International Museum Day).

How to avoid queues at the Prado Museum in Madrid

The queues…The enemy number one of those impatient to witness any kind of spectacle.

The best way to avoid the usual long queue at the Museo del Prado is to buy, in advance, one of the tickets without a queue. You can do it on this link. When you arrive, you show the entrance voucher and in less than a rooster crows you will be amazed at the magnificent paintings by Titian, El Greco, Velázquez and Goya.

Take a guided tour of the Prado Museum in Madrid

The Triumph of Bacchus, by Velázquez

Visiting the Prado Museum without any kind of guide is like eating only the cookie of a Prince. You’re leaving the best part: the chocolate.

Although it is true that each painting in the museum is accompanied by an explanatory plaque, the truth is that this is not enough.

The Museo del Prado gives you the option of renting an audio-guide at the entrance (there are also special ones for children). Its price is 4€ for the general area and another 3,5€ if you want one that explains the temporary exhibitions. There is a combined offer of 6€ for both.

However, in the name of truth, this is not enough either. One of my tips for visiting the Prado Museum is to hire, at least once, the services of a professional guide. They will tell you the story behind every painting, the building, the 200 years of the museum… Everything. And he won’t do it with a robotic voice you can’t ask anything about.

After a first guided tour, you can walk around the Prado without a guide whenever you want, as it is a place where you feel good wandering often.

If you don’t want to miss any of your visit to the Prado Museum, here you can book a guided tour directly with the best professionals:

What are the opening hours of the Prado Museum?

The opening hours of the Prado Museum are as follows:

Monday to Saturday: from 10:00 to 20:00 hours.
Sundays and public holidays: from 10:00 to 19:00.

The Prado Museum will be closed to the public on 1 January, 1 May and 25 December. In addition, the 24th and 31st of December will have a reduced schedule: from 10:00 to 14:00 hours.

What to see in the Prado Museum

If you have limited time, it will be important to organize your visit to the Prado Museum. Among so many masterpieces, it will be really difficult to decide what to see in depth. Besides, it will depend on each person’s personal taste.

Some of the Prado Museum’s most famous paintings are Velázquez’s ‘Las Meninas’, El Bosco’s ‘El Jardín de las Delicias’, El Caballero de la Mano en el Pecho’ by El Greco or Goya’s ‘Los Fusilamientos del 3 de mayo’. These are some of the works you can’t miss, as well as the works of the following artists: Hieronymous Bosch, Rogier van der Weyden, Tiziano, Velázquez, Goya or El Greco.

If you want to delve deeper into Hispanic art, don’t overlook the area that houses the works of José de Ribera, Francisco de Zurbarán and Bartolomé Murillo. While the Italians Rafael, Tintoretto and Veronese delight a large part of the visitors.

Nor should we forget that the Prado Museum has one of the world’s best collections of Flemish painters, Rembrandt being its great star.

As you can see, this advice for visiting the Prado Museum is quite ambiguous. However, don’t forget to establish a “plan of attack” according to your tastes. Consult the map of the museum in advance, and go for your goals.

Rent a car with a discount of up to 15%:

How to get to the Prado Museum

Being in the heart of Madrid, the best way to get to the Prado Museum is by public transport. For this you will have 3 options:

Train and suburban trains: Atocha and Recoletos stations are the closest.
Metro: from the Banco de España (line 2) and Atocha (line 1) stations are ideal for visiting the Prado Museum.
Bus: You can get to the museum by taking any bus between numbers 9, 10, 14, 19, 27, 34, 37 and 45.

How to visit the Prado Museum with children

Visiting a museum with children (except for some toys and the like) can be an arduous task. If it can take adults three or four hours to walk down the aisles to see pictures, it is a challenge for children that neither David nor Goliath.

For this reason, you can prepare the visit with the multimedia games that you will find available on the official website of the museum. In addition, children’s audio guides are available and family activities are organised a good number of weekends a year.

In terms of pure logistics, the Prado Museum has free baby carriages, a breastfeeding room and changing tables.

And now that you have the best tips for visiting the Prado Museum, I’ll tell you a little about its history and legacy:

How the Prado Museum of Madrid was born

The Garden of Delights, by Bosco

What experts say is the world’s most important museum of European painting opened its doors on 19th November 1819. In other words, this year it will celebrate its second centenary.

Although its strong point are the magnificent paintings in it, the history of the Prado Museum is worthy of appearing in a book.

Conceived by the great benefactor of Madrid, King Charles III, at the end of the 18th century, the great magnitude of the work on the building would cause it to be delayed by several decades. Finally, it would be raised under the reigns of Charles III and Charles IV, but the arrival of the French invasion in the early nineteenth century prevented its opening.

The French used the building that today houses the Prado Museum as a cavalry barracks and even melted the metal sheets from the ceiling to make ammunition.

For all these reasons, the Prado Museum was not inaugurated until the end of 1819, due to the great insistence and commitment of Fernando VII’s wife, Isabel de Braganza.

During the rest of the 19th century and part of the 20th century, the Prado Museum lacked sufficient investment to fully develop. In addition, as a good and important museum, it also suffered thefts (and attempted thefts) of films.

Today, together with the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, it forms the so-called “Triangle of Art” in Madrid.

What is the origin of the paintings at the Prado Museum in Madrid?

The Prado Museum contains, above all, an invaluable treasure in the form of paintings by European masters from the 16th to the 19th centuries. These paintings were treasured by the kings of Spain for generations. Many of them were painted on behalf of the monarchs.

When the Prado opened its doors, the museum was no more than a modest collection, in terms of the number of works (just over 300), but intense, in terms of their quality.

Today, the Prado Museum’s wardrobe has more than 35,000 objects, including paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, decorative art pieces, coins, photographs, books, maps and even weapons and armor. However, due to space limitations, only 1,700 of them are exhibited, most of them paintings.

What are you waiting for to enjoy the Prado Museum?

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