Prado Museum Tours | Explore the National Museum of Spain With an Expert Guide
Originally built as a house of science, the Museo Nacional del Prado or the Prado Museum is one of the most iconic and distinguished art museums in Spain housing the world’s richest collection of Italian, French, and Spanish art ranging from the Renaissance and Baroque periods to the era of Picasso. The museum is home to over 20,000 artworks including prints, drawings, paintings, sculptures, and historical documents.
Known as a museum of painters rather than paintings, here’s your chance to admire the works of noted artists like Picasso, Salvador Dali, Velazquez, El Greco, Juan de Juanes, Bartolome Bermejo, Hieronymous Bosch, Francisco de Goya, and Rembrandt, among others. Read on to know more about why a Prado Museum tour would be the perfect way to explore this fine art gallery!
Why Take a Prado Museum Tour?
Prado Museum is one of the most popular and most visited museums not just in Spain but also in the world. Here are a few reasons why you should take a Prado Museum tour.
Highlights Covered on Your Prado Museum Tour
Prado Museum boasts a huge collection of 2800 Spanish paintings from the 12th to 19th centuries. It has focused on displaying extensive works of individual artists. For instance, there are 140 art pieces by Goya and 48 artworks by Velazquez on display at the museum. The seven galleries on the ground floor of the museum are home to several artworks of other iconic Spanish painters like Greco, Juan de Flandes, Luis Meléndez, Pedro Berruguete, and Luis de Morales, to name a few.
Italian and French Paintings
Italian and French paintings made it to the Prado Museum only during the 16th century. Until then, the Spanish monarchs were not too keen on commissioning Italian, Venetian, and French painters except Titian whose works dominate the collection at the museum. Other painters whose artworks are on display at Prado Museum include Caravaggio, Luca Giordano, Guido Reni, Paolo Veronese, Tintoretto, Antonello da Messina, Jacopa Bassano, and Georges de la Tour, among others.
Flemish Paintings and Northern Schools
Prado Museum’s collection also includes over 1,000 Flemish paintings. Notable artists like Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony Van Dyck, Raphael, Rogier Van der Weyden, and Pieter Bruegel the Elder, to name a few. Between the 15th and 17th centuries, the oil painting technique flourished. A joint rule made it easy for the Spanish monarchs to get their hands on the best Flemish paintings and exhibit them at the museum. Some of the prominent and iconic artworks include Descent from the Cross, Adoration of the Magi, The Triumph of Death, and Saint George and the Dragon, among others.
19th Century Paintings
The Villanueva building inside the museum houses a large collection of almost 2700 19th-century artworks that were borrowed in 1971 from Museo de Arte Moderno, the Spanish National Museum. Displayed across 12 galleries, the artworks include themes ranging from neoclassical to romanticism. A few prominent works of art include Boys on the Beach by Joaquin Sorolla, Nude Boy on the Beach at Portici by Mariano Fortuny, and The Death of Viriatus by Jose de Madrazo, to name a few.
Sculptures and Decorative Arts
Made on the orders of the Spanish monarchs, Museo Nacional del Prado is home to 1000 pieces of sculpture and around 3500 pieces of decorative arts, including some from the Baroque and Renaissance periods. Some must-see pieces include Charles V and the Fury (a sculpture of Emperor Charles V), Epimetheus and Pandora (made of wood and painted with oils), and The Dauphin’s Treasure (a group of vessels made of hardstones like gold, diamonds, silver, and other precious gems).
Photographs, Prints, and Drawings
Another collection worth admiring at the museum is that of their prints, drawings, and photographs. Prado Museum has a massive collection of 10,000 photographs, 9,000 drawings, and 6,000 prints. In 1931, Spanish aristocrat Pedro Fernandez Duran bequeathed about 2,000 drawings from the 16th to the 19th centuries, including the preparatory drawings of the Last Judgment fresco by Michelangelo. The Spanish and Italian drawings, the Goya collection of prints and letters, and Juan de Villanueva’s Ground Plan and Elevation of the Museum drawings are a few must-see works of art at the museum.
Guided Tours vs Non-Guided Tours
What to Expect on a Prado Museum Tour?
Prado Museum is huge and boasts an extensive collection of over 20,000 works of art. You might feel a little overwhelmed or find it difficult to navigate the museum all by yourself, which is why booking a Prado Museum tour is recommended. A guided tour includes an expert with in-depth knowledge of the attraction. Find out information about the history of the museum and its interesting stories and artworks on display. Such a tour enhances your experience of the visit because you get to learn so much more about the attraction.
Once you meet your group at the designated meeting point, you will be taken inside the museum where you will get to see all the famous and iconic works of art by noteworthy artists like Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Diego Velazquez, El Greco, Francisco de Goya, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Titian, Hieronymus Bosch, and many others.
Visit the different galleries and admire over 7500 paintings, 8000 drawings, 1000 sculptures, 4800 prints, and several historical documents from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Learn about the artworks and the lives of the artists on display at the museum.
- Book your Prado Museum tickets online and in advance.
- Wear comfortable footwear because you’ll have to walk quite a bit.
- Read up about the museum, artists, and artworks on display if you’re not taking a guided tour.
- Photography inside the museum is strictly prohibited.
- The best time to visit the museum is around 10 AM when it opens to the public or between 2 PM to 4 PM when it is comparatively less crowded.
- You can keep your coats, bags, camera, and other important items in the cloakroom for free once you get past security. Umbrellas and large bags are not allowed inside the museum.
- Visit the Prado Museum souvenir shop after your tour and buy yourself a few collectibles and books.
- The museum is accessible to disabled people. It provides free wheelchairs and canes for those with reduced mobility.
- Wearing masks is mandatory inside the museum.
Frequently Asked Questions About Prado Museum Tours
A. Prado Museum tours are priced at €35 and above.
A. There are two types of Prado Museum tours available – the Prado Museum Guided Tour and the Royal Palace of Madrid and Prado Museum guided tour.
A. The Prado Museum guided tours are available in two languages – English and Spanish.
A. It depends on the type of Prado Museum tour you book. The small group guided tour will have no more than 10 people while the other guided tours have a maximum capacity of 25 guests.
A. Yes. The Prado Museum tour is worth it because it is one of the most iconic and important art museums in the world. Their collection comprises over 20,000 artworks of legendary artists like Velazquez, Picasso, Salvador Dali, Francisco de Goya, and Rembrandt, among others.
A. Yes. The Prado Museum tours include skip the line access.
A. The Prado Museum guided tour is 2 hours long.