Meet your private guide outside Madrid’s Prado Museum and head straight inside with your skip-the-line entrance ticket. As Spain’s national art museum, this mesmerizing gallery contains some 9,000 paintings, and that’s not even mentioning its array of sculptures, prints and drawings. Knowing where to start can be daunting, so let your guide introduce you to its highlights on your 1.5-hour tour.
As you walk around admiring the artwork, hear of the museum’s history from your guide. Housed in an ornate Neo-Classical complex, the architecture of the building is as grandiose as the works of art inside it. After starting out as the brainchild of King Charles III in the late 18th century, the original building soon was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of art it amassed, and so two further annexes were added to hold the growing collection.
As you walk through all the Prado’s buildings, your guide will point out Spanish masterpieces like Velazquez’s Las Meninas, as well as creations by the famous Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch. See influential pieces of artwork by Italian supremos, like Fra Angelico’s The Annunciation and Tinteretto’s Christ Washing the Disciple’s Feet, and learn how to spot the differences between the different artistic periods, like Renaissance and Baroque.
Your tour finishes inside the museum, and you can continue exploring independently if you wish.