In 1990, what is now one of the most important museums in Spain was born. Picasso, Miró, Dalí, Juan Gris, Delaunay, Yves Klein, or Francis Bacon are some of the artists whose art is shown in the Reina Sofía.
Buying tickets in advance and online is the most advisable option. It is not uncommon to find in front of the stairs of the museum a queue of visitors several meters long. Here are the best ways to visit the museum:
Tour the Prado and the Reina Sofia with an expert
The Prado Museum and the Reina Sofia are two must-sees in Madrid and knowing them with an expert guide will help you get the most out of your visit.From $ 59 at Hellotickets
The Reina Sofia and the Prado Museum are a must-see for all art lovers visiting Madrid. The Spanish art tour is not complete without one of these two museums as they both cover different periods.
On a joint guided tour of the Prado and Reina Sofia, you can have access to both with an expert guide who will explain their main works.
If you have little time to visit these museums, this is a highly recommended option: the price is about $ 27 and tickets for both museums without queues are included.
If you want more information about the wonders you will find in the Prado Museum you can check this other article: Prado Tickets.
Why I like this option: with this package you will be able to visit the two most important museums with an expert guide.
Recommended if... you want to enjoy the art of these two museums in Madrid accompanied by a guide and saving time and money, as it is cheaper than if you hire both visits separately.
No-queue tickets to the three best museums in Madrid
Madrid's Paseo del Arte is home to three of its most important museums: the Prado, the Thyssen, and the Reina Sofia. Discover all three saving time and moneyFrom $ 0 at Hellotickets
If you are organizing a trip to Madrid, you will know that in addition to its nightlife, its gastronomy and the history hidden in its traditional neighborhoods, there is a lot of culture and art spread among some of the most important museums in the country. The Prado is certainly a must-see, but the Thyssen Museum and the Reina Sofia, just a few meters from the Prado, are two other museums that have a lot to offer.
With this combined ticket to the three museums, you will save time and money: on the one hand, you will be able to skip the long lines at the ticket office to get your tickets, and on the other hand, the price is much cheaper than buying the three tickets separately.
By not including a guided tour, you can visit them at your leisure, without haste and stopping as long as you want in the works that catch your attention. In addition, when you enter each museum you can request an audio guide (at a separate cost) if you want to follow the recorded explanations to understand any of the galleries or works of the museum.
Why I like this option: it includes skip-the-line access to the three most important museums in the city and gives you the flexibility to visit the museums at your own pace, without having to stick to a guided tour.
Recommended if... you want to discover the best museums in Madrid at the best price.
If you want to see the museum in an hour and a half and without missing the main landmarks of its collection, I recommend this guided tour that includes a skip-the-line entrance. The experience of visiting the museum with a guide will make you discover the works in a much more intimate and personal way and, of course, learning important lessons about contemporary art.
A guided tour is worthwhile in any museum and certainly even more so in this one since contemporary art has behind it a cultural context rich in nuances that are not perceived at first glance.
With a group of no more than 30 people, the guide will talk about the history of the museum itself, the artistic avant-garde, this period of Art History, and techniques such as abstractionism or cubism. Of course, you will also see the main works of the museum and then you can continue touring it at your leisure for as long as you want.
Why I like this option: visiting a museum with a specialized guide to help you contextualize everything you see seems essential to me, and the Reina Sofia Museum, with the amount of art it houses, is the perfect place to visit on an experience like this
Recommended if... you want to know what is behind the essential works of the Reina Sofia with a specialized guide.
The Reina Sofia, at your own pace and skipping the queues
Perfect if you want to visit the Reina Sofia museum at your own pace, without having to join any guided tour but want to skip the queues at the ticket officeFrom $ 19 at Hellotickets
It is not uncommon to find a long line at the doors of the museum, filled with people waiting to get their tickets to the permanent collection or the temporary exhibitions and are waiting to access the ticket office.
You can save yourself the wait by booking your tickets online for the Reina Sofia: you only have to choose the day you want to visit the museum. Once you book your tickets for the Reina Sofia online you will receive a voucher to your email to exchange for your ticket at the museum on the day of your visit.
Why I like this option: this is the most economical option to visit the museum at your own pace.
Recommended if... you want to visit the museum with the minimum budget.
Tour the Prado and the Reina Sofía with an expert guide
The Prado Museum and the Reina Sofía are two must-see museums in Madrid and getting to know them with an expert guide will help you get the most out of them.From $ 59 at Hellotickets
Ticket without queues to the three best museums in Madrid
Madrid's Paseo del Arte is home to three of its most important museums: the Prado, the Thyssen and the Reina Sofia. Discover all three saving time and money.From $ 0 at Hellotickets
The Reina Sofia, at your own pace and skipping the queues
Perfect if you want to visit the Reina Sofia museum at your own pace, without having to join any guided tour but want to skip the queues at the ticket office.From $ 19 at Hellotickets
How to buy tickets for the Reina Sofia at the ticket office
If you have not booked your ticket in advance you can go to the ticket office and buy it there to access the museum directly, but you will probably have to wait in line in high season or in the central hours of the day. You will not save much by buying your ticket at the box office, but if you are going to do it, it is better to go first thing in the morning to visit the museum with more tranquility and fewer tourists.
What works to see at the Reina Sofía
The differences between contemporary art and classical art are remarkable: classical art tells a story or a point of view framed within a historical and cultural context. The case of contemporary art is different: it seeks experimentation, breakthrough, and emotion. This does not mean that the works of the twentieth century do not have a context behind them; they do and they also have a series of influences. Therefore, I recommend you go to the Reina Sofia knowing the following:
It is the most famous work of the museum and one of the most famous of the twentieth century. This huge canvas occupies a room of the museum and with its dimensions, you can appreciate in detail the historical episode it represents. It is interesting to note how the cubist technique and the black and white manage to transmit a high emotional tension. If you use the audio guide, you can reserve about twenty minutes for the commentary of this painting as it presents many of the characters and elements of the canvas.
The Open Window by Juan Gris
The author of this work is considered one of the great masters of cubism. He coincided with Pablo Picasso in Paris and it was there where he developed this technique with the variant of combining different elements on the canvas to give the final sensation of collage. This work is a good example of it.
The house of the palm tree by Joan Miró
We usually associate Miró with surrealism, but this work shows that this is not the only artistic period the artist went through. The house with the palm tree belongs to one of his early stages, when he decided to become a painter while recovering from a serious illness. Although it is an ordinary landscape, in it you can perceive a certain dreamlike air that later will lead to surrealism.
Young Woman at a Window by Salvador Dalí
Dalí also had other more conceptual stages before fully immersing himself in surrerealism and this supposed portrait of his sister is a sample of it. He made the painting during his formative years when he was still outlining his technique and to this day it remains one of the most admired of his oeuvre.
Totalizer by Francis Picabia
In the 20th century, machines and technology had an important presence in art. Picabia, after having experimented with Dadaism, applies in this work the idea of mechanization to the sexual act using circular forms.
A World by Angeles Santos
Avant-garde art was also dominated by men, which is why this artist was until recently an unknown. This canvas of three meters high and three meters wide is the result of the intuition of its author, because she did not know the new artistic trends as well as her male colleagues, perfectly integrated into the artistic circuit. To paint this picture the author said she was inspired by some verses of Juan Ramón Jiménez.
The Great Masturbator by Salvador Dalí
This is one of Dalí's best-known paintings, which was fiercely criticized by his contemporaries for refusing to fight in the Spanish Civil War and for staying in the country during the Franco dictatorship. However, Dalí's genius was recognized by all. This work aims to reflect the transformation that the appearance of his lover Gala meant for a painter always obsessed with sexuality or sanity.
Painting (snail, woman, flower, star) by Joan Miró
In this painting, we can recognize more of the surrealist profile that we associate with Miró. The joyfulness of his earlier paintings gives way in this canvas to the drama and anguish experienced during a period when fascism was on the rise throughout Europe and Spain was preparing for civil war.
People leaving a rock concert by Guillermo Pérez Villalta
Who hasn't heard of the movida madrileña? The painting of this artist from Cadiz is a tribute to this period. Using a technique closer to the narrative incorporates figurative strokes in this work in which he represents different stereotypes or characters of the Madrid nightlife.
Woman in Blue by Pablo Picasso
Picasso is best known for cubism, but we often forget that there were other stages in the artist's life. This painting, for example, belongs to his so-called blue stage, marked by the pain in which the artist is plunged after the suicide of a friend and characterized by the use of this tone in his paintings.
How to get to the Reina Sofia
The museum is located in front of Atocha station. The main entrance is in the square renamed "Juan Goytisolo", but few know it by that name. The easiest way to get there is by metro. If you get off at the Estación del Arte metro stop, you can get there by going straight on from the exit and turning right a few meters away.
The surroundings of the Reina Sofia
The museum is located in one of the most central areas of Madrid, so you will find the area very lively. I recommend that you look for Argumosa street where you can enjoy a few beers in any of its pleasant terraces belonging to the traditional neighborhood of Lavapiés.
Get ready for your visit to the Reina Sofia Museum
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When to go
The Reina Sofia Museum closes on Tuesdays. On Sundays, it is open from 10 am to 2:30 pm and the rest of the days it opens at 10 am and closes at 9 pm. As in the afternoons from 7 pm begins the free hours, there are usually many more people, so it is ideal to go early in the morning any day during the week. You will need about two hours to see the museum so, if you are going to take advantage of the free hours go around 6:00 pm or 6:30 pm in the evening to get in line.
The audio guide costs about 5 dollars, reduced for students and groups. I recommend a first visit to the museum without it to enjoy the works in general and see what each one transmits to you without being conditioned by its context. On a second visit, you can return to see the works that have most impacted you and put them in context with the information that the audio guide will give you. You'll be in for more than one surprise.
Where to eat
There are several places to eat around the museum. One of the most traditional is El Brillante, a bar where you will be served the famous squid sandwich for which the city of Madrid is famous. However, the prices are quite high, so I recommend any other restaurant in the area; you have plenty to choose from. If you finish seeing the museum at brunch time, the museum restaurant, Nubel, is a very nice place where the brunch is very good.
Going to the Reina Sofia with children
The museum has different activities to bring children closer to both the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions. Before visiting, find out how you can make the visit more accessible to the little ones of the house because you also have guides in the museum store that will help you in this task.
Other interesting museums
If you want more, don't miss the Museo del Prado. Located a few meters from the Reina Sofia, the Prado is a cultural jewel that art lovers can not miss. I tell you how in my article about Prado Tickets.
Other interesting activities in Madrid
Madrid is a big city, very well prepared for walking and touring it. That's why I can't stop recommending you to take a guided tour of the city. Well, because of that and because as you have already seen, Madrid breathes history in every corner. In this article on Madrid Tours you have all the information you need to choose the best guided tour for your trip.
And if you prefer to rest a little between walks, you can continue enjoying Madrid aboard its famous tourist bus. Although it may seem a quite touristy and unfashionable option, it is still comfortable and practical to move from end to end from the top of the bus. Here is everything you need to know: Hop on Hop off Bus Tours.
Frequently asked questions
What works of art can I see at Museo Reina Sofia?
The collection of the Reina Sofia is made of more than 22,000 works of art, including 'Guernica' by Picasso, the most prominent paintings by Juan Gris, Spanish Civil War posters, 'Face of the great masturbator' by Dalí and other highlights.
How long does it take to visit Museo Reina Sofia?
Almost every tour takes between 1 hour and 1 hour 15 minutes. However, you can stay at the museum and explore its overlooked works of art after the tour or check out its temporary exhibitions of modern art.
Can I visit Museo del Prado and Museo Reina Sofia in one day?
Yes, you definitely can. Expect to spend at least 3 hours at Museo del Prado for a complete visit of its highlights, and 1 hour 30 minutes to cover most of Museo Reina Sofia.