Imposing building of the Prado museum (©David Pereiras Villagra/iStockeditorial/Thinkstock)
The Prado houses one of the world’s greatest art collections, a dazzling display of European art spanning seven centuries. When opened in 1819, it was one of the very first public art museums – apparently Queen Isabel of Braganza had been impressed with the Louvre and wanted one for Spain. The collection encompasses several thousand works of art, and the sheer scale can make it a daunting prospect. The museum’s strength is its magnificent collection of Spanish masterpieces from 12th to 19th centuries, including works by Velázquez and Goya. A contemporary extension by Rafael Moneo has added more galleries, including a striking space incorporating a 16th-century cloister. Mon-Sat 10am-8pm; Sun 10am-7pm. Adult €14, conc €7.