From Madrid's 'golden triangle' of the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen to Bilbao's iconic Guggenheim, Spain is an ideal destination for culture vultures.
But when you get sick of gazing at Goya, marveling at Miro and peering at Picasso, why not visit some of Spain's more, how shall we put it, specialized museums.
From a warehouse dedicated to funeral carriages to they garden full of explicit stone sculptures, The Local walks you through Spain's ten weirdest museums.
MUSEUM OF FUNERAL CARRIAGES, BARCELONA
If you tire of the traditional touristy sites of the Catalan capital and feel you’ve had enough of Gaudi architecture, modern art, and even shopping then why not take a break from culture and pop into this dusty old warehouse full of funeral paraphernalia.
THE TOILET MUSEUM, CIUDAD RODRIGO
It is worth a trip to the pretty walled city just to visit this very special museum dedicated to the toilet. Nowhere in the known world will one come across such a vast collection of chamber pots, the result of an obsessional local landlord who gifted his bizarre collection to the town in 2006. Visitors are not required to spend a penny while there.
The little town of Zugarramurdi, in northern Spain has the dubious honour of being the epicentre of the occult activity that led to the infamous Basque Witch Trials during the Spanish Inquisition. The museum recounts how dozens of women were ripped from their homes and put on trial, so if you’re looking for a Halloween day out, look no further.
THE VALLEY OF THE FALLEN, EL ESCORIAL:
It may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but this sinister epitaph to Dictator General Francisco Franco was carved out of rock by political prisoners. But don’t expect to learn anything about Spain’s darkest period in history because, apart from the name above Franco’s tomb, there is no information whatsoever.
This museum might even make some Fifty Shades of Grey fans blush. From guillotines, to clubs, to chastity belts, the torture museum explores all the sickening ways people were tortured and publicly humiliated in the Middle Ages and beyond.
Photo: Mike Mozart / Flickr
There’s nothing better than biting into a slice of juicy melon…or is there? What about a visit to the only museum in the world dedicated to the fruit and its farmers? The town of Villaconejos is home to generations of melon farmers and every Autumn celebrates its very own melon festival.
CAN GINEBREDA, GIRONA
Photo: Luis Reverter/Can Ginebreda
The “erotic wood” of Can Ginebreda features the work of sculptor, Xicu Cabanyes, whose work leaves little to the imagination. Maybe not the best place to take the kids on a day out, but a good chance to shake off your inhibitions and marvel at everything from giant phalluses to naked women carved from stone.
RATON PEREZ MUSEUM, MADRID
Photo: Cesar Ojeda/Flickr
While Spaniards may not have the tooth fairy, they do have a little mouse who does more or less the same job. Ratoncito Perez, the creature beloved by all Spanish children, first appeared in a story by Spanish author Luis Coloma in 1902. Now the mouse has his very own museum in Madrid, where you can find out all about him and his family (he has a wife and three children of course).
MUSEUM OF SALT AND PEPPER SHAKERS, GUADALEST:
Kitschy salt and pepper shakers are a staple of mom-and-pop shops and the kitchen decor of your great aunt Sue, but who would think that such innocuous seasoning-containers deserved their own museum? Spaniards do, or at least those in Guadalest. Marvel at all the strange ways that one can add flavour to their dinner.
MICROMINATURE MUSEUM, GUADALEST
Photo: Museo de Microminiaturas
Ever wanted to see a flea dressed as a bullfighter? Well now you can! The Microminature Museum, in Guadalest showcases some of the finest works of Manuel Ussá, one of the world’s best ‘microminaturists’. Marvel at the Statue of Liberty in the eye of a needle and Goya’s famous painting The Shootings of the 2nd of May painted onto a grain of rice. If you like your culture in small doses, this is the museum for you.