by Katie Goldstein
The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía houses the modern art portion of Madrid’s Golden Triangle in a former hospital. The mostly 20th-century Spanish art collection is well suited to the vast spaces of the hospital: the Reina Sofía may be Madrid’s most accessible and well-organized major art museum.
I’d recommend whizzing up to the second floor in one of the über-modern glass elevators to begin your tour. This is where you’ll find Picasso, Dalí, Miró, and Gris: the heart of the permanent collection. One of my favorite rooms on the second floor, though, is beyond Guernica in the tiny sala 8, which is home to photos of Madrid taken during the Guerra Civil—the Telefónica building barricaded with sandbags and the like. If you have the time and energy, swing through the fourth floor to catch works from the latter half of the 20th century to present day.
Don’t forget to check out what’s on in the temporary exhibits in the expansion of the museum—they could be well worth it. And keep in mind that there’s plenty to do besides looking at paintings: the courtyard garden of the main building is a lovely place to sit on a nice day, and the cafeteria/restaurant Arola (in the expansion) offers food and drink in a decidedly 21st-century setting. You also shouldn’t miss La Central, the museum’s excellent bookshop.
Free entry: Sat. 14.30-21.00 and Sun. 10.00-14.30. General admission at other times: 6 euros. Closed Tuesdays. More details
Metro: Atocha. Calle Santa Isabel, 52. See map below: