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The Ultimate Guide to Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid

The Reina Sofia Museum, or Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, is a National Art Museum in Madrid, Spain.

This museum attracts millions of visitors annually and was ranked eighth on the list of
most-visited art museums worldwide in 2021.

It is a museum of 20th-century art and is mainly dedicated to Spanish art.

The museum’s highlights include excellent collections of Spain’s two greatest 20th-century painters, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali.

The Reina Sofia Museum’s extensive collection makes it the world’s largest modern and contemporary art museum.

It was named after Queen Sofia and hosts a free-access library specializing in art with a collection of over 1 lakh books.

This guide covers everything from its arts, history, opening hours, the best time to visit, and ticket details.

Where is the Reina Sofia Museum located?

Location: C. de Sta. Isabel, 52, 28012 Madrid, Spain Get Directions

The Reina Sofia Museum is near the Atocha train and metro stations.

It is at the southern end of the Golden Triangle of Art, along the Paseo del Prado (art district), which comprises the Prado Museum and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.

About Reina Sofia Museum

Inaugurated: September 10, 1992

Address: C. de Sta. Isabel, 52, 28012 Madrid, Spain

Opening Timings:
10 am to 9 pm (Closed on Tuesdays.)


Ticket Price: €12

Best Time to visit: June–July and late afternoon (After 3 pm)

Annual Visitors: 1.5 Million

Closest Station: Atocha train and metro station

What to See at Reina Sofia Museum

There are over 20,000 paintings in the Reina Sofia Museum. Seeing them all in a day is impossible.

Here are some well-known paintings at the Reina Sofia Museum that you simply must see.

1. Guernica by Pablo Picasso

Painter: Pablo Ruiz Picasso
Location: Room 205.10

Guernica is a large oil painting by the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. 

It was created in response to the bombing of the Basque town of Guernica by German and Italian warplanes during the Spanish
Civil War in 1937.

The painting is a powerful anti-war statement divided into three main sections.

In the center section, a woman
screams in anguish as she cradles
her dead child. 

To the left of the center section, a bull stands stoically, representing the world’s indifference to the suffering of others.

To the right of the center section, a horse writhes in agony, representing the pain and suffering of all the victims of war.

2. The Face of the Great Masturbator

Painter: Salvador Dalí
Location: Room 205.13

“The Great Masturbator” is a surrealistic painting created by Salvador Dalí in 1929.

Dalí painted the picture after
spending a few days with a
a woman named Gala, who was
married to another man
named Éluard. 

Éluard had gone back to Paris,
but Gala stayed with Dalí in
Cadaqués.

He may have been feeling guilty
about their affair, or he may
have been worried about
the consequences of it.


In addition to a distorted human face at its center, this artwork displays nude female figures, suggestive elements, and ants that symbolize sexual anxiety.

Dalí’s conflicted views on sexuality and his fascination are reflected in this intriguing piece of art.

3. The Open Window, by Juan Gris

Author: Juan Gris
Location: Room 204.03 

In Reina Sofia, Juan Gris’ “The Open Window” belongs to the window views series he is working on.

The painting captures Bandol sur
Mer by the Mediterranean Sea,
offering a unique still life with
multiple scenes on one canvas.

Gris painted the still life and
the landscape in a Cubist style,
which means that he broke
down the objects into
geometric shapes and
arranged them in a
non-traditional way. 

The Open Window, by Juan Gris
Image: Wikipedia.org

The landscape in the background is painted in a more muted palette of blues and greens. The mountains are jagged and angular, and the clouds are swirling and wispy.

The result is a painting that is both realistic and abstract.

4. The House of the Palm Tree by Joan Miró

Author: Joan Miró
Location: Room 207.02

Joan Miró’s “La Casa de la Palmera,” created in 1918 during his stay in Montroig, is celebrated as one of his early masterpieces.

The painting holds a special place in Miró’s artistic journey. It is a
significant milestone before he
delved into the surrealist
movement, which began in 1923.

This painting depicts a simple
house with a palm tree in front
of it. 

The house is painted a bright yellow color, and the palm tree is painted a bright green color. The sky is blue,
and a few clouds are in the distance.

House of the Palm Tree by Joan Miró
Image: Wikipedia.org

It is very simple in its composition but also very striking. The bright colors and bold shapes create a sense of energy and vitality. 

The house and the palm tree are both slightly tilted, which gives the painting a sense of movement.

5. Girl at the Window, by Dalí

Painter: Salvador Dalí
Location: Room 205.06

Dalí’s “Girl at the Window” portrays his sister Ana María rather than Gala, challenging the typical perception.

This masterpiece showcases Dalí’s versatility as an artist, demonstrating his mastery of diverse painting styles beyond his surrealistic fame.

The painting depicts a young woman standing at a window. She is looking out at a landscape of sea and sky. 

The woman is wearing a white dress, and her hair flows in the wind.

Girl at the Window, by Dalí
Image: Wikipedia.org

Dalí painted the woman in a realistic style, but he also incorporated some surrealist elements into the painting. 

For example, the woman’s shadow is elongated and distorted. The landscape in the background is also slightly surreal.

Other Paintings to Watch 

Reina Sofia Museum Tickets

The Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid is one of Spain’s most popular tourist destinations, with over ten thousand visitors a day. 

Hence, ticket lines can be long, especially during peak season. That’s why booking your tickets online in advance is a good idea. 

Booking online can save up to 30 minutes of waiting time at the ticket counters.

Plus, your tickets will be emailed to you immediately, so you can show them on your phone at the museum entrance and walk right in. No need for any printouts!

Here are two types of Reina Sofia Museum experiences you can book online:

Reina Museum Skip the Line tickets

Reina Museum Skip the Line
Image: Tripadvisor.com

This ticket gives you access to both the permanent and temporary collections, so you can see everything the museum offers. 

And because you’re skipping the lines, you can spend more time enjoying the art.

Your ticket is valid all day, so you can take your time and explore at your own pace. 

If you need to cancel your ticket for any reason, you can do so within 24 hours for a full refund.

These Reina Sofia Tickets only cost €12 and give you skip-the-line access.

With these tickets, you can watch all the artwork inside the museum at your preferred time slot.

Ticket price

Adult ticket (18+ years): 12 Euros
Child ticket (up to 18 years): Free

Guided tour of Reina Sofia

Guided tour of Reina Sofia
Image: Museoreinasofia.es

This exclusive tour will help you get up close and personal with the museum’s most iconic works of art with an expert guide. 

Your guide will lead you through a 75-minute tour of masterpieces by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, and other renowned artists.

You’ll learn about the history and significance of each work, and your guide will share their insights and expertise to help you appreciate the art on a deeper level.

After the tour, you’ll have plenty of time to explore the museum at your own pace.

This tour costs 32 euros for adults aged 18 and above, and children (3 to 17 years old) need to pay a reduced price of 29 euros.

While kids under two can enter the museum for free. 

Tour price

Adult ticket (18+ years): €32

Child ticket (3 to 17 years): €29

Infant ticket (up to 2 years): Free

On the booking page, you can also choose a more private tour option that starts at 64 euros.

Combo tour of Reina Sofia Museum and Prado Museum

Combo tour of Reina Sofia Museum and Prado Museum
Image: Getyourguide.com

For just 63 euros, you can get a four-hour guided tour of two of Europe’s most prestigious art museums.

Your tour will start at 9.45 am at Velazquez’s Statue in front of the Prado Museum, where you’ll meet your expert art guide. 

From there, you’ll start a guided tour of the Prado Museum, home to masterpieces by Velázquez, Goya, El Greco, and other renowned artists.

After exploring the Prado Museum, you’ll head to the Reina Sofia Museum, where you’ll see iconic works of art by Picasso, Dali, Miró, and other modern and contemporary masters.

Your guide will lead you through both museums, providing insights and commentary that will help you appreciate the art on a deeper level. 

You’ll learn about the history and significance of each work and have the opportunity to ask questions and better understand Spanish art.

This combo tour is a great way to see the best Spanish art in one day. It’s perfect for art lovers of all levels and a great value for your money.

Combo price

Adult ticket (12+ years): €63

Child ticket (3 to 11 years): €53

Infant ticket (up to 2 years): Free

Paseo del Arte Card

Paseo del Arte Card(1)
Image: Tiqets.com

The Paseo del Arte Card gives you skip-the-line admission to Madrid’s most iconic art museums: the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, the Prado Museum, and the Reina Sofia Museum.

This pass is perfect for art lovers who want to experience the best of Madrid’s cultural offerings. 

With the Paseo del Arte Card, you save 14% on entrance fees.

The three museums are located within walking distance of each other, so you can easily explore all three in one day. 

Each museum has its unique collection, and the pass is a hit with art enthusiasts.

Here’s what you can see with the Paseo del Arte card:

  • Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum: A world-renowned museum with a collection that spans from the Middle Ages to the present day
  • Prado Museum: Home to masterpieces by Velázquez, Goya, El Greco, and other renowned artists
  • Reina Sofia Museum: A museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art, with iconic works by Picasso, Dali, Miró, and other masters.

The Paseo del Arte Card is valid for one year from the date of purchase. 

Pass Price

Per Participant: 35 Euros

Museo del Reina Sofía Audio Guides

Museo del Reina Sofía Audio Guides
Image: Viator.com

Audio guides are available inside the Reina Sofia Museum in the Sabatini and Nouvel buildings. 

However, you can also purchase the audio guide online. They cost six euros per person.

This information guide will list the six top masterpieces that have made the Reina Sofia Museum a global treasure of modern art: Guernica, Picasso, and Miró.

Audio guides are a great way to learn more about the museum’s collection and better understand the artwork. 

They are available in various languages, including Spanish, English, French, Italian, German, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.

If you are visiting the Reina Sofia Museum for the first time or want to learn more about specific artworks, we highly recommend buying an audio guide

However, if you have booked a guided museum tour, you will not need an audio guide. 

The guided tour will give you all the information you need about the museum’s collection and the artwork.

What is the Reina Sofia Museum famous for?

The Reina Sofia Museum is famous for its impressive collection of 20th-century art, particularly highlighting the works of Spanish masters Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí.

It’s renowned worldwide as one of the largest museums exclusively dedicated to modern and contemporary art.

History of Reina Sofia Museum 

The Reina Sofia Museum’s history is fascinating.

Initially, Madrid’s first general hospital was built in the 18th century to centralize scattered hospitals under King Philip II. 

Later, King Ferdinand VI recognized the need for a new hospital due to unfulfilled needs. 

In 1980, extensive modern renovations began, turning the old hospital into an art museum.

By 1988, it had officially become the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia.

2005 French architect Jean Nouvel expanded the building with exhibition spaces, auditoriums, a bookshop, restaurants, and office space.

How to Reach Reina Sofia Museum

How to Reach Reina Sofia Museum
Image: Sustainable-bus.com

The Reina Sofia Museum location is well-connected and easily accessible with all kinds of transportation.

By Bus

Various bus lines serve the area. You can check the local bus routes to find one that stops near the museum.

The following EMT Line bus routes will take you to the museum:

6, 10, 14, 19, 26, 27, 32, 34, 36, 37, 41, 45, 59, 85, 86, 102, 119, C1, C2, and E1.

By Train /Metro

Atocha-RENFE station is the station for the Reina Sofia Museum.

You can take Line 1 (the light blue line) and get off at the “Atocha” station. From there, it’s just a short walk to the museum.

By Taxi/Car

Taxis are readily available in Madrid. You can easily catch one to take you directly to the museum.

To reach the Reina Sofia Museum by car, exit Avenue del Mediterráneo and enter Paseo de la Infanta Isabel.

Reina Sofia Museum Hours

The Sabatini and Nouvel Buildings are open from 10 am to 9 pm throughout the week, except Tuesdays.

The venues, Parque del Retiro, Palacio de Velázquez, and Palacio de Cristal, have different times depending on the month of the year.

MonthsTimings
April to September 10 am to 10 pm
October and March 10 am to 7 pm
November to February 10 am to 6 pm

Reina Sofia Free Hours

If you’re on a budget, you’re in luck! The Reina Sofia Museum offers free admission to all visitors from Monday to Saturday, from 7 pm to 8.30 pm.

Free tickets are not available online, so you’ll need to pick them up on the day of your visit at the museum entrance. 

If you’re visiting Madrid on a Sunday, you can still enjoy a free visit to the Reina Sofia Museum. 

The ticket office stopped issuing paid tickets at 1.30 pm, but they continued to issue free tickets until 2.15 pm.

This is an excellent opportunity to see some of the world’s most famous modern and contemporary artworks, even if you’re on a budget.

Just arrive at the museum before 2.15 pm to get your free ticket.

How long do you need at the Reina Sofia Museum?

On average, most visitors like to spend 2 to 3 hours exploring the museum.

However, if you are an art enthusiast or want to appreciate the extensive collection thoroughly, you may need more time, possibly up to half a day.

Also, 60-minute or 90-minute guided tours are available.

Planning your visit based on your preferences and the specific artworks or exhibitions you wish to see is a good idea.

Best Time to Visit the Reina Sofia Museum

If you want to avoid the crowds, the best time to visit is from 3 pm to 5 pm on weekdays. 

This is when most tourists take a break for lunch.

If you can’t make it during these hours, the next best time to visit is between 11 am and 12 pm. 

This is before the museum gets too busy but after most school groups have arrived.

The best month to visit the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid is during the summer months of June and July.

During this season, the sun sets late, around 9.40 pm, which gives you enough time to explore the museum. 

To make the most of your visit, consider arriving early to avoid peak crowds and enjoy a more tranquil experience. 

After your museum tour, you’ll still have plenty of daylight to venture into the city and explore further locations like the Prado Museum and Thyssen Museum.

FAQ’s

Are photos allowed in Reina Sofia?

Yes, photos are allowed in the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, but without flash, tripods, or selfie sticks.

Do you need tickets for the Reina Sofia Museum?

Yes, you need tickets to enter the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid. The ticket price starts at 12 euros for adults over 18.  

However, there are specific times (7 to 8.30 pm) from Monday to Saturday when the museum offers free admission.

Where are Dali paintings in Reina Sofia?

The permanent collection at the Museo Reina Sofia is displayed on the second and fourth floors of the Sabatini building and the ground and first floors of the Nouvel building.

How long to spend in Reina Sofia?

The Reina Sofia Museum is so huge that you could easily spend 2 to 3 hours or more.

Plan to spend at least half a day there to experience the main highlights and a few of its hidden gems.

What not to miss in Reina Sofia?

Guernica by Pablo Picasso, The Musician’s Table by Juan Gris, and Visage du Grand Masturbateur by Salvador Dalí Blau.

And Amb quatre barres rogues by Antoni Tàpies are some arts that you must not miss at Reina Sofia.

What day is Reina Sofia free?

Visiting the Reina Sofia Museum is free of charge on April 18, May 18, October 12, and December 6.

Also, on Monday and Wednesday to Saturday, you can enjoy Reina Sofía’s free entry period from 7 pm to 9 pm and on Sundays, from 1.30 pm to 9 pm.

Can I leave the museum and come back in again?

Yes, you can leave the museum and come back again.

The admission ticket is valid for the whole day and must be shown upon each re-entry to the museum.

Who are the most famous artists in Reina Sofia?

The museum’s highlights include excellent collections of Spain’s two greatest 20th-century masters and most famous artists, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí.

Is Reina Sofia worth seeing?

Yes, the Reina Sofia Museum is worth seeing. With millions of visitors annually, it is considered a must-visit for art lovers.

Reina Sofia was also ranked eighth on the list of most-visited art museums worldwide in 2021.

Featured Image: Museoreinasofia.es

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