Madrid’s Reina Sofia museum is now free every day

Here’s some good news for budget travelers in Madrid. Following the lead of the Museo Nacional del Prado (which has been offering free hours each day it is open since 2007), the Reina Sofia will now offer a few hours of free admission every day as well.

Previously, the museum had charged €6 admission, except for Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings, when the fee was waived. But now it will offer free admission for a portion of each day that it is open, which is every day except Tuesday. Free hours will be from 7pm to close (9pm) on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, from 2:30pm to 9pm on Saturday, and from 10am until the 2:30pm closing time on Sunday. If you’re looking for just a small sampling of the modern and contemporary art housed at the Reina Sofia, swing by for a few free hours of browsing. If you’re a dedicated art-lover, spread your visit out over a several evenings to get your art fix without spending a single euro. Either way, you’ll get more art for less money, almost any day of the week.

Travel to Spain is down this year, except in Madrid, where it actually increased by about 6%. With cheaper opportunities for viewing art, Madrid’s tourism numbers may continue to increase, especially among travelers on a smaller budget.

Visit the Prado Museum from your computer

Okay, people, Super Budget Travel time.

You may not get that great museum smell, and you won’t see Madrid out the windows, but you can now see hi res images of 14 of the artworks at the Prado Museum (Museo Nacional del Prado) on Google Earth. You can even see brushstrokes.

Click here to try it. The video above shows you how they did it and how it all works.

Kudos to the Prado for making their art so available. Even if you bought a big coffee table book of these works, you wouldn’t see detail this fine. This is an all-new idea.

The masterpieces the Prado allowed Google Earth to photograph include paintings by Rembrandt, Raphael, and El Greco. See them all really close without leaving your desk.

Want to get around the Prado Museum line?

I promise I will stop writing about the painfully long lines everywhere you look in Madrid, starting with the lottery lines to the King’s cake line, but seriously…look at this line at the Museo Nacional del Prado. People as far as the eye can see! I haven’t seen a line of art lovers this long even at the Louvre.

Granted, Prado is an amazing museum featuring one of the finest art collections in the world and I understand people want to see it. What I cannot understand is why everyone is waiting in line (for up to 8 hours, I hear) to purchase tickets if you can get tickets online and bypass the line entirely.

Please, do Velazquez a favor, and do not give up on him. Next time you are in Madrid, go to an internet cafe, buy a ticket in advance and get around the people who clearly enjoy queuing up.