• The spectacular Prado in Madrid is no mere museum, but a travel experience. It's worth a journey to Spain by itself, on a par with the Louvre, the Hermitage and New York City's Metropolitan Museum. Give a visit here a full day.
  • Museo Lázaro Galdiano: This rare collection demonstrates the evolution of enamel and ivory crafts from the Byzantine era to 19th-century Limoges. Of almost equal importance are displays of superb medieval gold- and silver-work along with Italian Renaissance jewelry. Galleries with rare paintings, include everything from Flemish primitives to works by Spanish masters of the golden age, including El Greco, Murillo, and Zurbarán. You will also encounter paintings from Goya's "Black Period," and from the English and Italian masters Constable and Tiepolo.
  • Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum: Madrid's acquisition of this treasure-trove of art in the 1980s was one of the greatest coups in European art history. Amassed by a central European collector beginning around 1920, and formerly displayed in Lugano, Switzerland, its 700 canvases, with works by artists ranging from El Greco to Picasso, are arranged in chronological order. The collection rivals the legendary holdings of the queen of England herself.
  • Museo Cerralbo: This 19th-century mansion evokes the genuine aura of a sumptuous restored residence. Formerly owned by the 17th marquis of Argüelles, it houses one of the most personal collections in Madrid. Works by Zurburán and El Greco, especially the latter's Ecstasy of St. Francis of Assisi, are among its highlights; and the upper floor contains a unique collection of Western and Oriental armor and weapons. 
  • Museo Sorolla: Visit the great Valencian artist's own house in the residential heart of the Spanish capital. Built in 1910 and bequeathed as a museum by his wife after his death, its trademark works are luminous Levante coast beach scenes, with women in white dresses backed by the azure Mediterranean Sea. You can also see his eccentrically furnished studio, complete with a Turkish sofa on which he took his siesta.
  • Reina Sofía: Spain's number one modern art exhibition features works by Dalí, Tapies, and Klein, plus an ever-interesting series of temporary exhibits ranging from anarchic to mainstream. The outside glass-walled elevator is popular with kids.
  • CaixaForum: A brave new rival to the Paseo del Prado's "Big Three" that opened in 2008, this imaginatively converted former office-cum-warehouse features an exciting range of traditional and innovative exhibitions, plus a unique vertical wall-climbing garden.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.