The 7 Best Prado Museum Tours – [2021 Reviews]

See the spectacular Prado Museum with one of these skip-the-line guided tours

Officially known as Museo Nacional del Prado, this is one of the most renowned “painting” museum. Housing some of the most treasured and comprehensive collections of Spanish paintings – along with many other European countries’ – you’ll be able to see over 8000 paintings and 700 sculptures!

Collections dating back to the 12th century are located here, from artists like Velazquez, Bosch, Goya, El Greco, and more. There are tons of different tours available, however, they are not all equal.

That’s why we’re here to bring you the best Madrid Prado Museum tours to make sure you get the most out of your experience!

Best Prado Museum Tours

 2-Hour Private Prado Museum TourPrado Museum Skip-the-Line Guided Tour
Private Tour of the Prado Museum
editors choice
 Madrid: 2-Hour Private Prado Museum Tour  Prado Museum Skip-the-Line Guided Tour
 Madrid: Private Tour of the Prado Museum
Departure Point:Statue of Goya in front of the ticket sales of the museumHotel pick-up and drop offStatue of Goya in front of the ticket sales of the museum
Departure Time:Check availabilityCheck availabilityCheck availability
Duration:2 hours1.5 - 2.5 hours2 hours
Includes:Local official art historian guide, entrance fee to the Prado MuseumOfficial guide, skip-the-line entry ticketsPrivate tour with a personal guide (no other participants)

Quick Answer: The 7 Best Madrid Prado Museum Tours For 2021

  1. Madrid: 2-Hour Private Prado Museum Tour
  2. Prado Museum Skip-the-Line Guided Tour
  3. Madrid: Private Tour of the Prado Museum
  4. Madrid: Prado Museum Guided Tour
  5. Prado, Reina Sofia & Thyssen-Bornemisza Museums Guided Tour
  6. Madrid: Prado Museum 3-Hour Private Tour
  7. Madrid: Prado Museum Small Group Guided Tour

Prado Museum Tour Reviews

1. Madrid: 2-Hour Private Prado Museum Tour

 Madrid: 2-Hour Private Prado Museum Tour

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Departure: The guide will pick you up near the statue of Goya in front of the ticket sales of the museum.
  • Departure Time: Check availability
  • Includes: Local official art historian guide, entrance fee to the Prado Museum

While the museum does have quite a lot to offer, you can get quite a lot done in 2 hours. The 2-Hour Private Prado Museum Tour is a private tour where you’ll get to see all of the most popular works of art such as those from Rubens, Velazquez, Hieronymus, Raphael, and more.

With a live tour guide in Spanish, English, French, Italian, Russian, and Portuguese, there are a wide variety of options so you’ll be able to understand in a language you’re comfortable with.

Your guide will tell you all about these works, and why they became so well-known. Not only that, but they’ll place a special focus on the local art based on the former Spanish Royal Collection. You’ll get the chance to see “The Third of May 1808” which was actually finished in 1814.

The piece of art commemorates what happened around the Madrid uprising against the French occupying forces the day before.  It also comes with a companion piece which is similar, called “The Second of May 1808”. Painted by Goya, the emotion and striking colors are sure to resonate with you.

Another notable piece of work is Velazquez’ “Las Meninas” which makes you question what we consider “real” and illusion. Meaning “The Maids of Honor”, the painting revolves around La Infanta Margarita, who is tended by two of the Queen’s meninas” Maria Agustina Sarmiento and Isabel de Velasco. Velazquez himself even makes an appearance, displaying himself painting!

While meals and drinks are not included, you do get to benefit from a local official art historian guide to lead you around the museum the best way possible.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


2. Prado Museum Skip-the-Line Guided Tour

 Prado Museum Skip-the-Line Guided Tour

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 1.5 – 2.5 hours
  • Departure: Hotel pick-up and drop off
  • Departure Time: Check availability
  • Includes: Official guide, skip-the-line entry tickets

Museums can be some of the most impressive, memorable places to visit while on a trip. However, many people avoid them due to the fact that they typically have enormous lines. Avoid all of the wait, with the Prado Museum Skip-The-Line Guided Tour and enjoy all that this incredible cultural hotspot has to offer.

The 18th-century neoclassical structure itself is breathtaking and definitely makes for a great photo op. Originally, it was founded with the purpose of being an art museum back in 1819. Over the years, it’s been added on to with various little pavilions at the back of this beautiful edificio. However, there’s plenty of time to gaze after your over 2-hour tour!

This private tour allows you to see these incredible masterpieces up close and personal. Your live tour guide is there to answer your questions and tell you all about various collections of paintings and sculptures that span over 7 centuries!

We really liked how the guides manage to give you insight into the artists as well, telling stories about their work, how it came to be, and how it has influenced our culture over time.

Did you know the Prado is home to the largest collection of Italian artwork outside of Italy? You’ll be able to see that and art by Goya, Rembrandt, Fra Angelico, El Bosco, and many more!

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


#3 Madrid: Private Tour of the Prado Museum

 Madrid: Private Tour of the Prado Museum

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Departure: Goya Statue in front of the main entrance of the Prado Museum, Paseo del Prado, s/n, 28014
  • Departure Time: Check availability
  • Includes: Private tour with a personal guide (no other participants)

Next up, we have the Madrid: Private Tour of the Prado Museum. The 2-hour tour is a great way to spend a morning or afternoon, without it taking up the entire day. While it may not be a ton of time, it’s just long enough to see and learn about all of these incredible pieces of art and the people who made them.

You’ll meet your guide right next to the statue for Goya in front of the museum which is hard to miss. Your private guide, offers expert knowledge in art history and painting. In particular, they possess fascinating facts and comprehensive understanding of the artists and their works.

As only your small group will be participating, you’ll get to focus entirely on what you want to instead of just being another person in the crowd. Groups can consist of 1 to 6 people, so it’s very easy to navigate and hear your guide.

Starting from essentially the beginning of art history, through the Middle Ages, Renaissance, the Baroque period, all the way to the beginning of the 20th century. As you can imagine, there’s quite a lot to cover. Van der Weden, Rafael, Titial, Rubens, and so many other artists have their work on display at the Prado.

A crowd favorite is The Garden of Earthly Delights, which was painted by the Dutch artist, Hieronymus Bosch between 1490 and 1510! The triptych oil painting on oak panel is seen as a vision of sin and morality, sparking many scholars around the world to interpret its symbolism behind the incredible intricacy.

You’ll definitely want to set a few minutes aside to take it all in.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


#4 Madrid: Prado Museum Guided Tour

 Madrid: Prado Museum Guided Tour

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • Departure: At the Goya Statue next to El Prado Museum
  • Departure Time: Check availability
  • Includes: Professional certified guide, headphones to hear the guide clearly, all taxes, fees, and handling charges, tickets, small and monolingual group

The 1.5-hour Prado Museum Guided Tour is great if you really want something comprehensive and places attention on everyone in the group. Your certified guide knows all about the museum and what it houses, and headphones come included to ensure you can always hear what they’re saying.

As your group will be monolingual, you can also rest easy knowing that you’ll be able to understand everything which can sometimes be difficult with large tour groups when in another country.

As you explore the most important art gallery in Spain, you’ll get to see work from world-renowned artists such as Velazquez, El Greco, Goya, El Bosco, Rubens, Rembrandt, Tiziano, and much more. If you’re lucky, you may even catch the museum on a day or time where it’s quiet.

Suddenly you can almost imagine how the building was hundreds of years ago, and feel the creativity bursting from its seams.

Holding over 9,000 drawings, 8,000 paintings, almost 6,000 prints, and almost 1,000 sculptures, there’s more than enough to keep you entertained. The 1.5 hours will go by in the blink of an eye, because every second you’ll be seeing a masterpiece and learning all about it with the rest of your group.

We should mention that you probably aren’t going to be able to cover everything here, as the Prado is simply massive. However, if you are going to stay a bit longer in Madrid, you can try various tours on our guide as it’s well worth going back to see everything!

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


#5 Prado, Reina Sofia & Thyssen-Bornemisza Museums Guided Tour

 Madrid: Prado & Reina Sofia Museum Skip-the-Line Guided Tour

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 5 – 5.5 hours
  • Departure: Hotel pick-up and drop-off
  • Departure Time: Varies
  • Includes: Entrance fees, tours available for wheelchair users by request, professional art historian local guide, 2.5-hour tour of the Prado Museum in Madrid, lunch break, 2.5-hour tour of the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, guaranteed to skip the long lines, private/small group guided tour options of no more than 8 participants

With this tour, we’re changing things up. Instead of just going to the Prado, you’ll be taking a Prado & Reina Sofia Museum. This Skip-the-Line Guided Tour will make sure you make the most of the almost 6 hours you’ll spend exploring both the Prado Museum and the Reina Sofia Museum.

El Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia or “The Queen Sofia” Museum is Spain’s national museum of 20th-century art from artists like Salvador Dali, Joan Miro, Picasso, Juan Gris, and many more. As you may be able to deduce from the name, it was named for their Queen Sofia and is currently one of the most visited museums in the country.

You’ll start out at the Prado, and get to see all of the most famous pieces such as “Las Meninas”, “The Garden of Earthly Delights”, “The Annunciation” by Fra Angelico, “David and Goliath” by Caravaggio, and many more. You’ll spend 2.5 hours here, hearing all kinds of captivating stories behind the artists and their creations.

Afterward, you’ll have a well-deserved lunch break and then head over to the Reina Sofia where you’ll also spend 2.5 hours. This is where you’ll enter the more contemporary art world. You’ll get to see the infamous “Guernica” by Picasso.

The anti-war painting depicts the bombing of the city by the German Luftwaffe during World War II that left a third of its population dead or wounded. Not only that, you’ll see works like Joan Miro’s “The Man with a Pipe”, Dali’s “Face of the Great Masturbator”, and others featuring various artistic movements.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


#6 Madrid: Prado Museum 3-Hour Private Tour

 Madrid: Prado Museum 3-Hour Private Tour

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Departure: Hotel pick-up and drop off
  • Departure Time: Check availability
  • Includes: Entrance fees, local art historian guide

While the vast majority of the Prado tours tend to be less than 2 hours, this next tour is a little bit longer to offer you more time to see all of these incredible pieces of art. The Prado Museum 3-Hour Private Tour is the perfect amount of time for most people to see what they want to while listening to explanations about the artists and their works.

You can choose to meet your guide in front of the Goya statue near the museum entrance, or at the lobby/entrance of your hotel. If you choose the latter, your guide will offer a brief introduction to Madrid as you head together to the museum.

This is a great way to start off the experience, and we found the guides to be very enthusiastic and friendly. In fact, they’re so entertaining that you may even be able to get away with bringing small children on the tour without boring them!

With many tours, you may find a conversation to be one-sided where the tour guide is the only one who talks. However, with this private tour, you’ll find that it ends up being an equal give and take. The guides are educational without being overwhelming and are more than happy to answer any of your inquiries.

On the tour, you’ll get to see some of the insanely detailed anatomical drawings from Ribera or the group of 14 paintings by Goya deemed Las Pinturas Negras.

These were the result of Goya surviving two very serious illnesses, the Napoleonic Wars, the Spanish government causing chaos for its people, among so many other things. Originally painted as murals on the walls of his home, they actually were meant to remain private.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


#7 Madrid: Prado Museum Small Group Guided Tour

 Madrid: Prado Museum Small Group Guided Tour

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • Departure: Hotel pick-up and drop off
  • Departure Time: Varies
  • Includes: Entrance to the Prado Museum, English or Spanish-speaking guide (depending on the option selected)

If you are a fan of the quicker tours or are just trying to see as much of Madrid as possible, then you’ll appreciate this straight-to-the-point Prado Museum Small Group Guided Tour. Get to know all about the artists and their art pieces with a professional, experienced guide. This museum is housed in a breathtaking, 18th-century building which opened over 200 years ago.

During this time, the queen of Spain has seen the Louvre in Paris, which is arguably the most famous art museum in the world. She was unsurprisingly impressed, and wanted a massive art collection for Spain to show off, as well. The result is innumerable pieces of incredible, beautiful, unique pieces of art. They’ve since added extensions to offer even more art to be explored.

Just like with the others, you’ll see work by El Bosco, Velazquez, El Greco, Goya, and many more. These are some of the most respected artists in Europe, and throughout the world.

Instead of just going through the museum yourself, your guide will tell you more about the people behind the paintings and sculptures, along with the time at which they were created, and what was going on in the world at that time.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


Madrid Tour Guide

Best Tours of Prado Museum

Getting There

Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas is the main airport of Madrid, which is just 20 minutes or so from the city center or el centro. With 4 different terminals, it comes with quite a bit of shopping and other facilities. You can easily score a flight directly to Madrid from the vast majority of airports around the US as most of the major airlines serve this route.

The main carriers are Iberia, American Airlines, and Delta Airlines. In fact, if you’re flying from NYC or O’Hare in Chicago, you can expect direct flights in the off-season to cost you around 500 bucks!

Getting Around

The metro fares depend on which neighborhood you’re in, however, they’ll pretty consistently range from 1.50 to 2 euros (approx. $1.75 to $2.30). If you plan on using it frequently throughout your visit, you can also opt for a Tourist Card. These are either 1-day, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 7-day quantities. We did the math, and they almost always are more budget-friendly. Just remember that it is open from 6am to 1:30am.

Bus – Available from 6am to 11:30pm, Monday through Friday, and 7am to 11pm on the weekends, the bus also covers a good amount of the city. However, there are also night buses that start at 11:30pm and take over into the late hours! This is perfect if you want to catch a rave, a late-night drink and dinner, or simply want to see the city from a different view.

Taxi – Taxis are always an option, and hailing them off the street is pretty simple. Throughout various tourist destinations, you’ll also often see them lining up just waiting for customers. Remember, that the ones who have lit up green lights on the roofs are those that are available. Try to ride only with the city’s official cabs, which are white with a red diagonal stripe on the sides, along with Madrid’s emblem.

Alternatively, you can use a ride-sharing app. Uber does operate in the city, so this is an option.

Tip: Always make sure that the taximeter is on as soon as your trip starts! Some drivers will keep it off to try and scam some extra cash from you. If your driver doesn’t speak English, you can ask them to turn it on like this: “Disculpe, se puede prender el meter, por favor?”.

Where to Stay

Madrid consists of many different neighborhoods, with quite a few being very attractive for tourists. No matter what your budget is, you’ll realistically find somewhere that works for you.

  • For the luxe and plush, opt for Salamanca. In fact, the neighborhood’s Calle de Serrano is often compared to New York City’s Upper East Side, and referred to as “The Golden Mile”.
  • If you’re on a budget, head to Lavapies or Chueca. Both areas are very affordable, and are easy to navigate by foot.
  • If you’re traveling with children/the entire family, check out Barrio de Las Letras, or Sol-Gran Via. Sol-Gran Via is the area located between Puerta del Sol and Gran Via. This is the center of Madrid’s “cultural spots”. It features all kinds of theaters, boutiques, along with many very important buildings and unique architecture.
  • If you’re planning on going out to bars, clubs, and other nightlife scenes, check out Chueca, or La Latina. Chueca is a lively area full of people from all walks of life, all ages, and interests. The cafes and masterly-crafted cocktails here are incredible. La Latina is also very high-energy, and you’ll find many little markets, tapas bars, and “block parties”.
  • If you’re top priority in Madrid is to try the most delicious food possible, you can stay anywhere in El Centro. This is actually one of the safest, most pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods in the city. Not to mention, the elaborate architecture, palaces, etc. are some of the most impressive in the entire country.

Restaurants and Eating Out

As you can imagine, Madrid has some of the best food in the world. Let’s go ahead and look at some of the city’s top restaurants and eateries.

Saddle – Saddle is absolutely an artistic experience. It’s high-class, very elegant, yet intimate rather than stuffy. By combining modern-day with classic techniques, you’ll find this place to be refined yet varied. All on one floor, you’ll find private rooms and an expansive dining room with beautiful views.

Cruz Blanca de Vallecas – Consistently award-winning, Cruz Blanca de Vallecas offers Spanish food, placing tradition at the forefront of the operation. With international standards, this restaurant es made to make you feel like you’re coming home. Just make sure you book far in advance, as it can be booked up to 3 months at times!

Casa Benigna – If you go to Spain, you have to try paella. It’s just an unspoken rule. For excellent paella, make sure you head to Casa Benigna. The rice-based dish features arroz negro, squid ink, beans, meat, and more.

El Cisne Azul – Located in Chueca, El Cisne Azul is known for their wild mushrooms, with dishes that incorporate them like grilled boletus with foie gras and mushroom carpaccio. If you’re not a fan of mushrooms, you’re in the clear, as they also offer grilled meats and other dishes.

El Meson del Boqueron – El Meson del Boqueron offers basically the best callos a la madrileña we’ve had. With tripe, morcilla, and chorizo, it’s definitely packed with flavor and is perfect for any kind of weather. The restaurant itself is very captivating, with a kind of gothic flair that makes it look like it’s been around for hundreds of years.

Nightlife and Entertainment

Nightlife in Madrid is booming, and you can find everything from a flamenco club to massive electronic music raves.

Fabrik – If you’re looking for said rave, head to Fabrik. This two-floor club has a whopping 7,000-person capacity and a beautiful sound system to accommodate their world-famous DJs. Kapital is located in El Centro, and is legendary throughout all of Europe. The enormous club features 7 floors – each with a different theme. Goya Social Club is a nice alternative if you aren’t ready for 7 floors of partying. It has a capacity of just 200 people, though the more intimate environment is perfect for its house, deep house, tech house, and sometimes techno artists.

Get out of your comfort zone and into a tablao, or flamenco bar. Here, you can see or even participate in dancing flamenco while enjoying some delicious eats and fine drinks. Corral de la Moreria is our top pick, and is one of the oldest tablaos around. Torres Bermejas is another hot choice, with their traditional cuisine and famous flamenco.

For innovative cocktails, look no further than Salmon Guru. It has an interesting name, but even more interesting drinks. The neon décor is very flashy and fun for taking photos. Diego Cabrera owns this one along with Viva Madrid: another one of our favorites. Viva Madrid has an almost opposite take on Salmon Guru, being a historic tavern with classic cocktails. Varsovia Cocktail & Bar is charming, and one of the top picks for a good vermouth and tapas.

No matter where you go in Madrid, you’ll likely be able to find many pretty, outdoor bars and cafes, karaoke bars, and live music.

Weather

While many people may think that Madrid is constantly warm, this is not the case at all. Their summers are typically pretty short, hot (around 99 degrees Fahrenheit), and dry. This is great if you aren’t a fan of humidity. However, the wintertime can get very cold and cloudy, dipping down to 23 degrees Fahrenheit at times! Try visiting from late June to late August for the best weather – just remember that most other European countries also have vacation from school at this time and things can get crowded.

Attractions

If you enjoy Mother Nature and serene little getaways, you’ll love Buen Retiro Park and the Crystal Palace. El Parque del Retiro is filled with lush flora, and is preened and maintained wonderfully. Covering over 140 hectares, it will originally made for the Count Duke of Olivares back in the 17th century! El Palacio de Cristal consists of cast iron and glass, and sits in front of a flowing fountain and reflecting pool. Parques and fountains are plentiful in Madrid however, so you can really take your pick.

Aside from the Prado, Madrid has many other architectural stunners like the Royal Palace and Gardens. Drawing many similarities to Paris Versailles, this palace is still used as the official residence of the king of Spain. Here, you can also catch some artwork by Velazquez, Goya, El Greco, and the rest of the crew. However, all kinds of palaces and interesting architecture covers Madrid.

If you’re a history buff, you have to head over to Puerta del Sol, which is where the old city gate stood. It’s been the center of many important events throughout history, such as the Spanish resistance to Napoleon back in the early 1800’s, and in 1931 when the Second Republic was proclaimed! Today, it has all kinds of fun shops and trendy cafes.

Tips

Once you arrive to your destination, try and walk as much as you can (within reason). Obviously, this is counting on your area being safe to walk around, which all of the neighborhoods we’ve mentioned are. This is the best way to get a feel for the city, and you can see everything up close. Plus, if you ever get tired, Madrid has an excellent public transportation system to help you out.

Try to at least learn Spanish basics. There are tons of great channels on YouTube, and Duolingo is a handy little app to have. If you practice just a few weeks before you go, you should at least be able to speak what’s required.

Make sure to check the restaurants’ meal times, as Spanish meal times are quite a bit different from ours. Lunch usually starts around 2pm, and dinner is served around 9, which is pretty late by most of our standards.

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The 2-Hour Private Prado Museum Tour is our Editor's Choice for the best Prado tour.

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