Ten fascinating museums in Spain you REALLY must visit

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Ten fascinating museums in Spain you REALLY must visit
The weird and wonderful Cesar Manrique Museum on Lanzarote. Photo: 123_456/ Flickr

While millions of tourists flock to Spain every year to visit amazing galleries like the Prado and the Reina Sofia, the country is also home a wealth of other lesser-known museums you may not know. Here are ten of the best.


Fancy visiting a tranquil artist's villa full of astonishing paintings in the middle of busy downtown Madrid?

Or how about a contemporary arts centre built onto a bed of volcanic rock in the Canary Islands?  

Check out these amazing Spanish museums you might never have heard of but should visit at least once in your life.

César Manrique Fundacion, Lanzarote

Photo: Dr_zoidberg/Flickr

On the volcanic Canary island of Lanzarote, the César Manrique Foundation is an eye-catching architectural and aesthetic tribute to the late local artist and environmentalist of the same name, with exhibitions of his painting and others' work among avant-garde gardens, all built out of the suggestive forms of five bubbles in the volcanic rock.

Museo Nacional de Arte Romano, Mérida

Photo: Trevor Huxman/Flickr

The National Roman Art Museum in Mérida, one of the most important cities in Roman Hispania, was designed by architect Rafael Moneo to replace an older version. It was opened in 1986 and is a must-see for ancient history buffs.

Museo de Evolucion Humana, Burgos

Due to the discovery of Atapuerca outside the city, one of the most important human fossil sites in the world and a Unesco World Heritage attraction, Burgos is now home to a very modern Museum of Human Evolution, conceived by architect Juan Navarro Baldeweg as a huge box of light.

Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona

Photo: Matilde Martínez

High up on Barcelona’s Montjuïc, which overlooks the old city, the Joan Miró Foundation houses a valuable collection of the great 20th-century artist's abstract works, as well as excellent temporary exhibitions in a building which is highly modern but yet has great charm in a green setting.

Museo de Bellas Artes, Bilbao

Photo: Clar Gueibol

These days Bilbao is known for its Guggenheim, but the city’s Fine Arts Museum is a more than worthy companion to its more famous neighbour. Notable artists among its permanent collection include Francisco de Zurbarán, El Greco, Francisco de Goya and Francis Bacon.

Museo Sorolla, Madrid

Photo: Alejandro/ FlickrNear Madrid’s downtown business district there is an oasis of calm and beauty in  a villa where the Valencia-born painter Joaquín Sorolla (1863-1923) made his home. His widow, Clotilde García del Castillo, decided it should become a shrine to the artist and some of his most luminous and sensual paintings. The gardens alone, modelled on those at Seville's Alcázar Palace, make this museum worth a visit.

READ ALSO: Off the beaten track: Eight Madrid museums you've probably never heard of

Museo Vostell Malpartida, Cáceres

Photo: MichaelDeVos

This museum known as the MVM is one of the strangest museums in Spain, the brainchild of Wolf Vostell (1932-1998), a Spanish-German artist who was a co-founder of the anarchic Fluxus movement.

Oceanogràfic, Valencia

Photo: zx6r92/Depositphotos

Going some way to justify the massive expense of Valencia’s Arts and Sciences complex, the Oceanogràfic de la Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias is Europe’s biggest aquarium, and it is genuinely spectacular to boot. Look out for inquisitive Beluga whales and funny penguins.

Micromundi, Besalú

Photo: Museum of Miniatures

In the picturesque medieval town of Besalú, in the Catalan province of Girona, Micromundi is a miniature museum that strains the eyesight and beggars belief. Not just one camel passes through the eye of a needle, but a whole caravan finds space to camp there.

NMAC Foundation, Cadiz

Photo: Guillermo Varela

Between Cádiz and Tarifa in southernmost Andalusia, the NMAC Foundation sculpture park outside Vejer is well worth a stroll all year round, featuring, among other works, a James Turrell skyspace.

READ ALSO: These are Spain's ten weirdest museums


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