Madrid is famous for its art. The “Golden Triangle” of the Prado, the Reina Sofia, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza attract millions of visitors a year.
But there are plenty more places to see art than those famous three. One of my favorites is the Conde Duque, an 18th century barracks that has been turned into an art and educational space. Behind an elaborate Baroque gate are three large courtyards. The high, thick walls muffle the sound of the busy city outside and a sense of calm reigns.
There are three major exhibition spaces, although all aren’t always showing something at the same time. Conde Duque has recently reopened after a major remodel. While it’s lost some of its decaying charm, the building seriously needed work because termites were eating away at the old beams.
Entrance to the exhibitions is free. Evening concerts of classical music are often held in the courtyards and these charge for tickets. This is a popular nightspot for madrileños so book well in advance.
Right across the street from Conde Duque is Blanca Berlin, one of the best photo galleries in Madrid. They have a constantly changing collection of photos for sale from established and up-and-coming photographers from all over the world. They also have a permanent stock of photos you can look through. Unlike some of the snootier galleries in Madrid, they don’t mind people coming in just to browse.
These two spots are at the edge of Malasaña, a barrio famous for its international restaurants, artsy shops and pulsing nightlife.
Still haven’t satisfied your art craving? Check out five more overlooked art museums in Madrid.
[Photo courtesy Luis García]