It’s hard to know where to start with a title like ‘museums in Spain’. There are over 1,500 of them and no post on any blog can begin to pay justice to the variety that are available to the interested. Here, I can only touch on some of the best known and leave you to explore the others.
Art museums are very popular in Spain and with so many famous artists to boast of, it’s not surprising. Madrid and Barcelona, in particular, command some very prestigious collections. However, the smaller, more local and specialised museums are also well worth a visit.
Here are some that come highly recommended:
- The National Art Museum of Catalonia in Barcelona houses some very famous art work as well as being situated in a stunning location in the centre of Barcelona. It includes work from the collections of El Greco, Fortuny, Gaudí, Dalí and Picasso.
- Reina Sofía National Art Museum in Madrid is an internationally renowned art museum. It contains Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ and has rooms dedicated to the collections of a number of famous Spanish painters. It also has exhibitions by up and coming artists in the area ‘Espacio UNO’.
- Prado museum in Madrid has the most complete collection of Spanish painting from 11th – 18th centuries and is home to many masterpieces.
- Dali Theatre-Museum in Figueres, Girona is a showcase of Salvador Dali’s art ranging from his first to last works.
- Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao contains a range of modern and contemporary art as well as some activities for visitors who want to improve their art knowledge. Collections include those of Kandinsky, Klee, Mondrian, Picasso and Cézanne.
- Valencia Institute of Modern Art (IVAM) Museum in Valencia includes Abstract and Pop Art and offers a programme of activities with temporary exhibitions, lectures, courses and workshops
The science museums in Spain, reverse many of the rules we assume apply in a museum. They do want you to touch and get close to their exhibits. Interaction is usually a high priority.
In some cases the building the museum is housed in will demand extra attention itself. For example, the Príncipe Felipe Science Museum is one of the extraordinary buildings that form part of the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia. With a skeletal-like structure its external appearance is almost as interesting as what’s inside.
Another very hands-on museum, this time in Barcelona, is CosmoCaixa. This museum houses a large number of interactive exhibits including some real Amazonian rainforest complete with giant catfish. There are daily shows in the planetarium and lots of children’s and family activities.
The Museo Domus or Museum of Mankind in Coruña takes you on a trip of the workings of the human body and has some fascinating interactive exhibits.
The Museu d’Arqueológia de Catalunya is based in Barcelona and includes relics from the Stone Age to the time of the Visogoths. You can see what Barcelona (Barcino) used to be like through the collections of tombstones, statues and friezes.
It’s not only Spanish history that is explored in some of these museums. You can also see for example, a selection of Egyptian artefacts in the Museu Egipci de Barcelona. This includes some examples of cat mummies and figurines.
Wherever you are based it is worthwhile finding out more about the museums in your area. Most towns and cities have their own particular museums that may be based around a specific characteristic of the area. For example, the Fuente Vaqueros Lorca museum in Lorca’s birthplace includes a selection of Lorca memorabilia.
Take time to do your research, check the opening times and admission arrangements and enjoy delving into some of Spain’s artistic and scientific past.