We took an early morning train (Renfe) from Barcelona to Madrid. We then checked into our hostel, which was centrally located and walking distance to the attractions we wanted to visit. We had a day and half to see things in Madrid and decided to check out:
Now I am not an art expert or art lover but we had no fixed plan on sightseeing so we decided to check out the art museums. I honestly did not know what to expect and how much time to spend at the museums. Out of the many museums that are there, we visited two of them - Renia Sofia (Modern Art museum) and Prado museum (Art museum).
Reina Sofia Museum
It is one of the largest contemporary art museums in the world and has collections of Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Joan Miro among many other Spanish modern artists. But the highlight of this museum is the 20th century's most famous painting, Picasso's "Guernica". It definitely leaves an impression on you and is a must see when in Madrid. Besides modern art we also saw some temporary exhibitions. The collections were wide ranging with variety of styles that were interesting and thought provoking while some were just abstract.
Established in 1819 this is an Art Museum which has the world's richest and comprehensive collection of Spanish, Italian, Flemish and masterpieces from other schools of European paintings. We bought the audio tour, which took us through important paintings and masterpiece and it was engaging experience.
Although I thought trip to art museums maybe boring as I don’t understand much of classic or modern art but by the end of the museum tour I was quite, as in totally silent maybe in contemplation mode because my mind was reeling with impressions, colours and images. We spent almost the whole day between the two museums. And I would definitely recommend a trip to art museum when in Europe because its an experience and brings a whole new perspective about how you see things. There is no photography allowed inside the museum.
Renia Sofia Museum in Spain
Temporary exhibition in Renia Sofia Museum... I totally got this!! Every woman needs shoes in all possible colors
Photography is not allowed inside but could not resist clicking this one!
The Plaza Mayor is Madrid's main plaza, a huge enclosed square that over centuries was used for bull fighting, executions, political events then as a market place etc. There are nine passageways connecting to the square. The plaza is surrounded by restaurants and souvenir shops. When we went to visit, some work was going on so we did not see much happening here, although it’s a nice place to sit and enjoy evening coffee & famous Spanish Churros .
One of the passageways connecting to the square
We went in early next morning and found long lines and lots of tourists waiting to visit the Royal Palace. It is not used as a royal residence any more, but some official functions do take place here. On most days it is open to public and one can see the throne room, the king's private apartments, the impressive dining room, the royal chapel, the armoury and the royal pharmacy. The furnished rooms of the Palace are quite beautiful with exquisite furniture and decor befitting a royal residence. There is no photography allowed inside.
Royal Palace of Madrid
Attractions: We did not estimate that we would spend almost a whole day visiting the museums (although it was an interesting experience) and since we did not have much time left we could not cover the other attractions in Madrid - parks, other plazas, flamenco dance show or bull fighting.
Traveling to Madrid: Madrid being the capital of Spain is very well connected by trains and buses to/from all other parts of Spain. The train from Barcelona to Madrid was just a three hour journey and from Madrid we head to Granada.
Stay in Madrid: There are lots of options available, we chose to stay in centrally located hostel close to the Plaza Mayor. It was clean and comfortable, well connected, we had many options of dining around the place.
Admission tickets: Museums had entrance tickets (on certain days and times there is free entrance) and the audio tour is additional but worth it. Royal Palace also has entrance tickets.