Monday, 5 January 2015

Madrid Monday: Monuments & museums with permanently free entry

Free admission to monuments and museums in Madrid part 3

January: the budget month of the year. After the lavish Christmas presents, party frocks and seasonal travel expenses, January is a time for spending small. In honour of everyone's limited funds, here's the third and final part of my guide to free entry at museums and monuments in Madrid: those that are always free to enter.

Whether you're on a weekend break to the capital or are a longtime resident, there are bound to be a few charge-free sights you haven't heard of, never mind experienced. Given the lack of price tag, there are some fairly quirky choices in this category, so whether you're into firemen or fossils, Madrid's got you covered.

Click the links to read part 1 and part 2 and find out which sights offer free admission on specific days of the week or year, most commonly Sunday.

Matadero Madrid: Always free to visit


Casa Museo Lope de Vega  – Spanish playwright's former home. Advance booking essential.
Museo del Aire (Air Museum) – Located at the Cuatro Vientos airbase
Museo de Bomberos (Firefighter Museum) – Closed for refurbishment until October 2015
Museo del Escritor – within the Centro de Arte Moderno
Museo de Historia – Reduced display as currently under refurbishment
Museo Geominero (Geomineral Museum)
Museo de la Guardia Civil (Civil Guard Museum)
Museo de Homeopatía (Homeopathy Museum) – booking required, tours in Spanish
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo – closed temporarily; check website for reopening information
Museo de San Isidro – Also known as the Museo de los Orígenes, exhibits detail the city's early history)
Museo Nacional de Ciencia y Teconologia (National Science & Technology Museum) – Located in Alcobendas
Museo Naval
Museo Tiflológico (Typhological Museum) –  Run by the ONCE, the Spanish Association for the Blind, this museum is aimed at visually impaired visitors but can be enjoyed by all. Also shows temporary exhibitions by blind artists.

Other sights

This list includes monuments, cultural centres and more.
Anden Cero – Consists of two Madrid Metro exhibition centres, the old Chamberí Metro station and the Pacífico Engine Shed
La Casa Encendida – Cultural centre with lots of exhibitions and activities
Centro de Arte Moderno  
Centro Centro – also known as the Palacio de Cibeles, this impressive building hosts several changing exhibitions. There's also a mirador (viewpoint –  advance booking recommended), restaurant, bar and shop.
Conde Duque Cultural Centre – Military headquarters turned cultural centre; home to the Contemporary Art Museum and various archives. Hosts lots of activities, from ice skating in winter to outdoor cinema in summer
Ermita de San Antonio de Florida – Pretty little church with frescoes by Goya, which is also the artist's final resting place.
Espacio Fundación Telefónica – Exhibition space in the cool Telefónica building on Gran Vía, mostly shows photography exhibitions including an Instragrammers' gallery.
Fundación MAPFRE – Two different spaces in the Salamanca area showing art exhibitions from different eras. Recent exhibitions include one focusing on Sorolla's works.
Matadero Madrid – The coolest cultural complex in town, this former cattle market and abattoir contains industrial-chic exhibition spaces, the Casa del Lector ('House of the Reader') and a cinema. Often hosts events, concerts and arts festivals.

If you're having trouble choosing, I'd recommend Centro Centro for impressive architecture (even if there aren't any exhibitions you fancy), Fundación MAPFRE for top art on the cheap and Matadero for the cool factor. With its high-tech video exhibitions of woolly mammoths and the like, plus a high level of visual content, the Museo de San Isidro is good for kids, who will also love exploring the now-closed Chamberí Metro station. If you're into all things scientific, the MNCYT (Museo Nacional de Ciencia y Teconología) opened in December 2014, so is likely to be a cut above Spain's usual fusty science museums.

Read more:


  1. I visited the Naval museum earlier this month, and while technically free there is a woman sitting at the entrance that makes you pay a 3€ "donation". I heard they do it this way so that they don't have to pay taxes since it's a donation, not an entry fee.

    1. Interesting, thanks for letting me know. That's quite cheeky - they should make that clear on their website & tourist info. A few UK museums do this, but it usually is voluntary, whereas this doesn't sound it! Will update the info.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...