The Golden Triangle of Art in Madrid is one of the most important concentrations of museums of the world. The Prado Museum, Reina Sofía and Thyssen-Bornemisza are only a ten-minute walk from one another. But finding the time to traipse around each one is exhausting and difficult if you only have a few days in the city. We've complied the ultimate list to help you incorporate art into your trip to the Spanish capital, be it at the finest restaurants, botanical gardens or within the museums.
Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is a family-owned collection located in a palace on Paseo de Recoletos. Fascinating pieces dating from the Gothic and Renaissance periods right up to Hopper, Bacon and Freud are displayed in chronological order. The museum has a beautiful restaurant and bar on the upper terrace, looking onto the garden, which is delightful during the warm seasons and the perfect way to see the city as the sun sets.
If you want to have a drink or a luscious dinner, head up to Urban Hotel, very close to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. Its Glass Bar and Rooftop Terrace are always packed with beautiful people. This modern hotel, also has a private collection of very valuable Egyptian art pieces.
La Terraza del Urban
Crossing south-east towards Plaza de Cibeles, where Real Madrid supporters celebrate their victories, you will arrive at the Prado Museum. Prado is the most important Spanish museum, offering an extensive survey of Western painting, from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. Masterpieces by Velázquez and Goya, such as Velázquez's 'Las Meninas' and Goya's 'Black Paintings,' are displayed in this 18th-century building designed by Juan de Villanueva.
Just beside the Prado Museum stands the luxurious, 5-starred Hotel Ritz favourite of the Royals worldwide when visiting Madrid. We recommend lunch on its terrace, one of the most elegant and sophisticated in town. If you are craving for Italian food, Trattoria de Sant Arcangelo does a terrific pizza, ideal for restoring your energy levels after viewing the over 8,000 art pieces displayed at the Prado. The Museum is located in one of the most elegant areas in Madrid, the Jerónimos district, where many of the city jet-setters live. You will see them enjoying brunch at the lovely Murillo Café, newly renovated but first established in 1927, or a having drink at the traditional Terraza El Botánico.
Hop into the Royal Botanical Garden which will give you the chance to enjoy the peace and quiet of being immersed in nature. Founded in 1755 by King Ferdinand VI, the garden has many species, with much of the fauna over 200 years old.
The Royal Botanical Garden
On you way southwards to the Reina Sofia Museum, don't miss the Caixa Forum on Paseo del Prado. Once the Mediodía Electric Power Station, it is now a live space opening its doors to the arts, located in a spectacular building designed by architects Herzog&DeMeuron. It is now one of the landmarks of the city, exhibiting retrospectives of artists from earlier time periods and has evolved into one of the most visited museums in Madrid.
Last but not least, the Reina Sofía Museum is home to Picasso's Guernica, together with many other pieces by the artist. The museum, considered to be one of the most important modern art museums worldwide, offers the visitor a comprehensive selection of art from the 19th to 21st centuries, featuring artists such as Miró, Kandinsky, Dalí, Tápies and Antonio López. Located in a 13th-century building that was once a hospital, it has recently opened its impressive new wing designed by architect Jean Nouvel.
Reina Sofía Museum
Facing the museum you´ll find Puerta de Atocha Station which is another landmark in the city, consisting of two paired brick buildings with a steel and glass roof between them. The old platforms have been transformed into an impressive Tropical Garden, which is now the location for the colonial-style restaurant, Samarkanda, ideal for enjoying the natural surroundings.
If you are looking for low-key bite, you could try a traditional Madrid favourite, El Brillante. This bar serves superb Bocadillo de Calamares Fritos, fried squid sandwiches. A local delicacy believe it or not!