Any art lover visiting Madrid has surely heard of their world-class museums, such as the Reina Sofia, the Prado, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza. While these museums are all fantastic and filled with important works of art, the Madrid art scene has exploded in recent years, giving locals and visitors alike a wide variety of options. If you’re looking for something a little different, these five alternative museums are a great place for art enthusiasts to begin their exploration of all Madrid has to offer.
CaixaForum, opened in 2007, offers a variety of different kinds of art for your consideration, spanning from works of historical value to more recent avant-garde pieces. CaixaForum sees itself as a “cultural space open to all”, and it truly is, with free admission encouraging people to visit again and again. Besides art, CaixaForum also plays host to seminars, conferences, classes, performances, and other special events designed to promote education, discussion, and cultural exchange.
Museo del Ferrocarril
You may be thinking that a museum about railways and trains might be boring, but you couldn’t be more wrong. The Museo del Ferrocarril is located in Delicias Station, which features ironwork by the designer of the Eiffel Tower, Gustave Eiffel. The station stopped train services in 1968, but its elegant 19th century architecture and interesting displays make it a great place to visit. Inside the museum, you’ll find locomotives that you can tour, railway equipment, a theatre showing video footage of the trains of yesteryear, an old railcar that offers food and drink, and a room full of clocks, including one that kept time when Spain’s first train travelled from Barcelona to Mataró.
Located inside of several buildings that were formerly used as a slaughterhouse, Matadero Madrid is now the city’s largest complex focused on contemporary art. Inside, you’ll find artistic creations that aim to broaden your horizons and challenge your own way of thinking. Matadero Madrid also focuses on theatre, music, design, visual arts, urbanism, and architecture, to name a few. The complex is constantly changing and no matter how often you return, you’re sure to see something innovative and bold.
La Casa Encendida
La Casa Encendida is home to one of the best views of Madrid from its rooftop, and that alone would be enough to visit. Fortunately, this cultural centre has so much more to offer. It boasts contemporary artwork encompassing a variety of different styles, from paintings and photography to sculptures and installations. Additionally, the centre also offers performance art and music from up-and-coming artists, as well as a venue to host debates, seminars, and film screenings. La Casa Encendida has a library on the premises, as well as a place to take classes in a number of interesting subjects, such as foreign languages and art.
Metro: Atocha or Lavapiés
Museo del Traje
The Museo del Traje or “Clothing Museum” in English is, as the name suggests, a museum dedicated solely to clothing. The museum has over 160,000 pieces in their collection, with about 600 pieces on display at any given time. The Museo del Traje rotates these 600 pieces, so it doesn’t matter if you’ve visited one time or a hundred times – chances are, there will be multiple pieces on display that you have never seen. The clothing spans more than six centuries, and has displays featuring Spanish haute couture. The Museo del Traje also features temporary exhibits from around the world.
This is just a small selection of alternative museums the Spanish capital has to offer and there are plenty of additional temporary and permanent exhibits that are held throughout the year. So once you’ve booked your flights and accommodation, make sure you take a look at the local events happening during your time in Madrid.