Madrid’s cultural life has been the influencing factors in its history, as manifested by over 60 museums covering every field of human intellectual achievement scattered around its neighborhood. Special mention is the Prado Museum which is considered one of the world's most important art gallery, houses the most comprehensive collection of 16th-, 17th- and 18th-century arts notably from the greatest works of Flemish, Italian and Spanish artists such as the works by artists Botticelli, El Greco, Fra Angelico, Goya, Hieronymus Bosch, Murillo, Raphael, Ribera, Rubens, Tintoretto, Titian, Velazquez, Watteau, Zurbarán, and many more, in addition to its impressive collections of classical sculpture. Moreover the Prado Museum offers guided private tours for groups outside opening hours making this experience an encounter with art unforgettable.
Prado Museum (Photo Courtesy of http://www.spain.info)
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, containing more than 800 paintings from the earliest Flemish artists to modern arts is home to a private collection that was bequeathed to Madrid in 1993 which was considered as exceptional in that it contains highly illustrative selection of arts from ancient works of the 13th century paintings through the 20th century modern era. Foremost of these are works from artists such as Miró, Cezanne, Dalí, Degas, Dürer, Goya, Kandinsky, Matisse, Picasso, Renoir and Tintoretto.
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Photo: www.spain.info)
The imposing 18th century hospital beautifully converted museum in 1992, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía housing the Spanish contemporary and modern art containing works of Picasso, Salvador Dali, Joan Miro and the Cubist artist Juan Gris, to name a few.
These three great art museums not only houses great arts but to sum it up, it has unfairly eclipsed all the riches and diversity of the other museums found around Madrid. But whenever time permits, there are other options visitors can choose from such as art galleries as the San Fernando Royal Academy and museums solely devoted to particular themes like the Romantic Museum, the Naval Museum, the Army Museum, the Railway Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, the National Museum of Natural Sciences and the Museum of the Americas, to name a few.
Visitors to Madrid will surely be amazed by the city’s lively nightlife, a key attraction to the Spanish capital, precisely to its diversity and invigorating ambience that will be found in its pub houses, night clubs, bars and flamenco halls. Visitors to this Spanish capital will also be amused of other daytime entertainment including time-honored outdoor dances, popular festivities and the world’s famous bullfighting in the world, the San Isidro Bullfighting Festival which are held during the months of May and June, bringing together the best bulls, bullfighters and aficionados.
There are also the greens, featuring the city’s attractive and extensively maintained parks and gardens, such as the formerly recreational estate of the Spanish sovereigns - the Retiro Park, then there’s the Casa de Campo and the Juan Carlos I Park, providing residents and visitors to frolic around enjoying the sunshine, stroll, feed the squirrels and row on its lakes. But, all does not end there. Shopping? There are the two modern and innovative avenues in the new expansion area, the Paseo de la Castellana and the Gran Via, the later was built at the start of the 20th century, an area for shopping, for leisure and hotels. The Paseo de La Castellana traversing the city from north to south offers some of the most fashionable hotels the city can offer. Its two Conference Centres - the modern-day trade fair ground in the Campo de las Naciones, plus over 80,000 other meeting places and the importance of its international airport, which receives over 1,000 flights weekly from around the world, makes the city of Madrid one of Europe's most coveted business clubs.
Although Madrid is truly the home of its outstanding architectural heritage, there’s no doubt that its great wealth lies in its artistic affluence found in its 60 museums and art galleries. But one thing that sets apart Madrid is the leisure options that it offer which is deeply rooted to infectious passion of life that finds its way out in the friendliness and openness of its inhabitants.
To discover the wide range of cultural attractions on offer in this Spanish capital is using the Madrid Card. By far this is the most convenient and simplest way because one, it includes entry to symbolic monuments and other museums around Madrid and its neighboring area and more importantly, it offers a chance to take all guided tours in the "Discover Madrid" programme offered by the City Tourist Board.