6 Art Museums in Spain that Every Art Aficionado Needs to Visit

Imagine yourself perusing the grand ornate halls of El Prado, surrounded by the world’s finest collection of classical European art from the 13th century. Then walking a few blocks down the street to Reina Sofia, where you’re suddenly transported through time to the late 20th century, immersed in the works of Salvador Dalí and Picasso. Sound like paradise? That’s exactly what Spain is for any art aficionado! Each city offers its own unique selection of impressive art museums, from classical and modern to abstract and interactive, each with its own story to tell. With hundreds of Spain museums to visit, how do you choose? It might be an impossible feat, but we’ve managed to limit the list down to these 6 outstanding art museums. Art lovers, get a pen and paper out because you’re going to want to add these to your bucket list! That is, if they aren’t already there. ;)

El Prado in Madrid

If you’re a true art connoisseur, you’ve probably heard about El Prado, and might even know a thing or two about its world-renowned collection. Formally recognized as the main Spanish national art museum, it was originally opened in 1819 to showcase the Spanish Royal Collection and announce to the world that Spanish art was on the same level of prestige as any other culturally revered nation. Today, it’s home to an international collection of about 7,600 paintings, 8,200 drawings and 1,000 sculptures of Europe’s most sought-after classical works from the 12th - 20th centuries.

Reina Sofia in Madrid

If you’re more into contemporary art, the Reina Sofia in Madrid will have you awe-inspired for hours...or maybe even days! One of the world’s largest and most impressive contemporary art museums, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the works of Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Juan Gris and Joan Miró amongst other contemporary art greats. While the collections are mostly comprised of Spanish art, you’ll also find some international works and pop-up exhibitions as well.

Picasso Museum in Malaga

Stepping foot into the Picasso Museum is like seeing the world through his eyes; abstract, peculiar and downright beautiful. The Picasso Museum, located in Picasso’s birthplace of Malaga, is an impressive collection of (...you guessed it!) Picasso’s greatest works throughout his life, in which 285 of the works were donated by his family. The collection goes beyond just his visual art, to documents and books about his life. The immersive museum tells the story of his formative years, and how he transformed into one the most influential artists in the world.

Bellas Artes in Seville

Ahhh, enchanting Seville; known for its traditional southern Spanish style architecture, quaint cobblestone streets, vibrant flamenco and horse and buggies. Walking through the streets of Seville feels like going back in time, and the iconic Bellas Artes museum is a portal to do just that - and truly understand Seville’s rich artistic history. Inside a beautiful Spanish-style historical building from 1594, sits a collection of the most coveted works in Sevillian history. The rich cultural history of Seville is told through pieces dating back as far as the medieval period, highlighting Seville’s Golden Age in the 17th century.

Dalí Museum in Figueras

Set in the hometown of Surrealism king Salvador Dalí, the magnificent Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueras is an incredible tribute to his artistic journey. The building in itself is a masterpiece, called “the world’s largest Surrealist object” and is deemed to be Dalí’s last great work. Once you’re done admiring the building from the outside, open the doors and enter into the fascinating world of Dalí. Start your immersive experience in the mind of young Dalí, and grow with him from room to room, each space leading to a different period of his artistic development; from surrealism and science to nuclear mysticism.

Valencia's City of Arts & Sciences

And last but not least, an artistic experience completely different from the rest - the uber-modern, gigantic City of Arts & Sciences in Valencia. Recognized as one of the 12 Treasures of Spain, it’s got everything you (or your family!) could ever want; an interactive science museum that looks like a whale? Got it. A botanical garden? Check. An aquarium? Yep, Nemo’s there too. There’s also an opera house, performing arts center and concert hall. Hence why this “museum” is actually referred to as a “city”. It’s a perfect place to get lost with your family in complete, childlike wonder.

These are a few of our favorite Spain art museums, but there are just so many more to explore! Did we miss any on this list? To discover more museums throughout the country, check out this article.

Which Spain museum will you put on your art-loving bucket list?!

Written by: Casie Tennin November 15, 2018.

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