Your day will begin with a city sightseeing tour of Madrid and will continue with a visit to the Prado Museum.
Panoramic Tour of Madrid
Madrid shows the multiple contrasts in architecture and culture, inherited throughout history. In the course of the day, you'll be able to discover the medieval origins of the city, like the Arabic fortress, at the Barrio de la Morería, characterized by the antiquity of its buildings and the unique taste of the food in its typical restaurants. The tour also covers the Hapsburg Madrid of Felipe II, with its Renaissance and Baroque buildings, and the Calle Mayor, Plaza Mayor, Plaza de la Villa.
Next, you'll be taken to see the Bourbon Madrid and the urban layout made by Carlos III, the Royal Palace, the Cibeles Fountain, Neptune Fountain and the Puerta de Alcalá. You'll get to know contemporary Madrid in areas such as Gran Vía, Paseo de la Castellana, Barrio Salamanca, Plaza de Castilla and Parque del Oeste, as well as the commercial and financial areas of modern Madrid, like the emblematic Ventas Bullring or Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.
Prado Museum Tour
The building that today houses the Museo Nacional del Prado was designed by architect Juan de Villanueva in 1785. It was constructed to house the Natural History Cabinet, by orders of King Charles III. However, the building's final purpose - as the new Royal Museum of Paintings and Sculptures - was the decision of the monarch's grandson, King Ferdinand VII, encouraged by his wife Queen Maria Isabel de Braganza. The Museo Nacional del Prado opened to the public for the first time in November 1819.
The museum's first catalog, published in 1819, included 311 paintings, although at that time its collection comprised just over 1,510 pictures from the various Reales Sitios (Royal Residences). The exceptionally important royal collection, which represents the foundation of the museum's collection as we know it today, started to increase significantly in the 16th century during the time of Charles V and continued to thrive under the succeeding Habsburg and Bourbon Monarchs. It is thanks to them that nowadays we can contemplate in the museum masterpieces so great as The Garden of Earthly Delights by Bosch, The Nobleman with his hand on his Chest by El Greco, Las Meninas by Velázquez and The Family of Carlos IV by Goya.
The visit will take place in chronological order, starting with the exhibit hall where the masterpieces of J. Bosch (El Bosco) (1450-1516): The Table of the 7 Deadly Sins, The Hay Wain, The temptations of San Antonio, The Stone of Madness and The Garden of Delights. It will then continue with the rooms devoted to the Greco (1540-1614): The gentleman's hand on his chest, The Trinity, Christ embraced the cross and The Annunciation. You will also see works of Velázquez (1599-1660) such as: The Worship, Drunkards, Equestrian Portraits, the Forge of Vulcan, The Christ, The spinners, Spears and Las Meninas. At the end of your visit, you'll get to enjoy a number of important paintings by Goya (1746-1828): The family of Carlos IV Pictures, The Shootings of May 2, Pestles and Black Paintings.