We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Admissions for major museums

Which Madrid hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Milford, Connecticut
Level Contributor
168 posts
35 reviews
Save Topic
Admissions for major museums

Please help this novice traveler. I plan to see Prado, Sofia, Palacio Real, Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales and Thyssen. I am interested in spending only a couple of hours at each place since I am not an art lover. I see Sofia is free on the 12th of October. I understand Prado is free at certain times. Am unclear when it is free and how much admission would be if I paid.Do any others have free times? Going next week and we are able to get museums when they open if needed to avoid rush. We don't like to plan to exaclty the times. Are there group tickets? Thank you very much.

Malaga, Spain
Destination Expert
for Malaga, Andalucia, Madrid, Zaragoza, Valencia, Seville
Level Contributor
57,578 posts
3,576 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Admissions for major museums

Joanne:

I would not go to museums when they are free. There are so many people who go there that the lines are very long. It is not worth it and you have little time to see the museum. I would advise you to pay for the entrance. Senior citizens get a discount.

London, United...
Level Contributor
16,688 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Admissions for major museums

I agree with Benny: pay the entrance fees and enjoy what you see in - relative - peace and quiet.

For the Prado in particular, which gets very busy, you should try to arrive a few minutes before 10 am, when it opens. It used to open at 9, which assured you of a quiet hour before the tour groups landed. That's probably not the case any more, but it should still be quieter then than later. Another slightly less busy time is lunch time: if you aren't having lunch yourself, the early afternoon may be a good time. I believe the free hours are between 6 and 8 pm - but that is usually when it is most crowded, for obvious reasons, and you may have to spend a long time queueing.

Note that the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales allows a limited number of people in at a time. Perhaps someone else can give you an idea of the best time to go, to avoid a very lengthy queueing experience. Having experienced that once in the rain I wouldn't want to do it again - but it is definitely worth seeing. It isn't free at any time, or is the Thyssen.

All the museums you're interested in have websites which give details of opening times and entrance fees: just do a little googling and you'll find them. That's what we would have to do, to answer your question!

(Note: Reina Sofia, not Sofia.)

Edited: 05 October 2012, 12:52
Milford, Connecticut
Level Contributor
168 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Admissions for major museums

Thanks so much for the helpful advice.

Madison, Wisconsin
Destination Expert
for Madrid
Level Contributor
8,111 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Admissions for major museums

Flora and Joanne,

Benny posted this the other day.

On Sunday 7 October the Museum will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary with a free entry day. Opening hours will be the normal ones: 10.00 to 19.00

That's this Sunday. Flora, get there. Joanne, don't know if you'll be in Madrid by then. Anyone else in Madrid....this is a second heads-up.

Chicago
Level Contributor
98 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Admissions for major museums

Question of interpretation on "lines are long".

I will be in Madrid in December. Do "long lines" mean a 30 minute wait to get tickets or a 3 hour wait or somewhere in between? Any guesses???

I've experienced "long lines" at the Vatican Museums, the Louvre, and the Metropolitan recently. The wait time in each situation was vastly different. Can anyone guess how the Prado's lines will compare?

Also, my son has an international student ID that we think will get him in free to the Prado. I expect to buy the 3 museum (Prado, Thyssen, Reina Sophia) for myself. Do you have to use any particular entrance at the Prado in this situation?

Looking forward to this - visiting the Prado was the original impetus behind this trip!

Madison, Wisconsin
Destination Expert
for Madrid
Level Contributor
8,111 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Admissions for major museums

If you want to avoid lines, buy online. It's simple and lets you go in a faster/shorter line. However, I have never had to wait in lines in the Prado for any amt. of time compared to the Vatican, for example. 30 minutes would be typical...but if you know the date you want to go...get the ticket now. Absolute time-saver!

London, United...
Level Contributor
16,688 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Admissions for major museums

How long is a piece of string? :-)

I think any line is long, and that's why I always arrive at the Prado ten minutes before opening time. So I've never had to stand in line to get into the Prado, and that's why I can't answer your question. I can tell you, though, that when walking past the Prado I've seen lines that stretched around the building, from the Goya entrance all down the long side of it, almost as far as the Murillo entrance, and moving very, very slowly. The ticket-issuing arrangements have improved in recent years, so I would imagine the lines move faster, and I'm sure you can trust Hola's estimate of 30 minutes. That's probably better than the Vatican (certainly it's better than the Louvre) but it would be too long for me.

Buying on line is one answer, but not the one I'd choose, because I'm almost as reluctant to commit myself weeks ahead to going to the Prado (or anywhere else) on a particular day at a particular time as I am to wait in line to see paintings. So for me the solution is to get there a few minutes before opening time, knowing I will get straight in, and knowing I will have quiet time there. At least, I knew that when the Prado opened at 9 am: it may no longer be true, but I hope it still is true, because that, for me, is as important as not shuffling along in a line. So if the Prado is your main destination, or one of them, in Madrid, as it always is mine, that's what I'd advise you to do too.

The Prado gets very crowded, as crowded as the Louvre, and when it's crowded it's also very noisy, with tour guides shouting, and their shouts and every other sound magnified by bare floors and high ceilings. It makes concentrating on what one is seeing very difficult. I've found that as long it's peaceful and quiet when I get started, I can cope with the crowds and noise for as long as I stay. On the few occasions when I've gone in during the day, I've found it almost impossible to concentrate.

So there is my very personal take on the Prado, one of my two favourite museums. If you want to look at another great collection of paintings in uncrowded silence, you've got to visit my other favourite, the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin.

Have a great time in Madrid - and enjoy the Prado. It really is wonderful.

Edited: 06 October 2012, 08:07
London, United...
Level Contributor
16,688 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Admissions for major museums

Another consideration is when in December you will be there. The closer it gets to Christmas, the more visitors there will be - until 6 January, Epiphany, when most of the Spanish tourists go home and it quiets down.

London, United...
Destination Expert
for Costa de la Luz
Level Contributor
19,389 posts
271 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Admissions for major museums

If you have time and in the area ( Paseo del General Martínez Campos, 37, Madrid ) the Sorolla Museum is worth a visit. http://museosorolla.mcu.es/index.html

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
1,410 posts
158 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Admissions for major museums

We went to the Prado yesterday. I'd say there were maybe 2 or 3 people ahead of us so no line at all. We got there around noon.