Spain is an ideal destination for culture vultures. Madrid’s ‘golden triangle’ of the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen, Barcelona’s Picasso Museum and Bilbao’s iconic Guggenheim are some of the places that many national and foreign tourists add to their itinerary.
But when you get sick of gazing at Goya, marvelling at Miró and peering at Picasso, why not visit some of Spain’s more, how shall we put it, ‘specialised’ museums.
From a warehouse dedicated to funeral carriages to a garden full of explicit stone sculptures, The Local walks you through Spain’s nine weirdest museums.
The Urinal Museum, Ciudad Rodrigo
A trip to this pretty, walled city in Salamanca province is worth it just to visit this very special museum dedicated to urinals.
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.
Photo: Luis Rogelio HM/Wikipedia
Museum of Funeral Carriages, Barcelona
If you tire of the traditional touristy sites of the Catalan capital and feel you’ve had enough of Gaudí 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.
Photo: Cementiris de Barcelona/Wikipedia
Forest of Naughty Sculptures (not official name), Girona
The “erotic forest” 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 in Catalonia, but a good chance to shake off your inhibitions and marvel at everything from giant phalluses to naked women carved from stone.
Photo: Lara B. Gómez/Flickr
The Witch Museum, Zugarramurdi
The little town of Zugarramurdi in Navarre (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.
Photo: Carla Vidal/Flickr
Torture Museum, Santillana del Mar
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.
Melon Museum, Villaconejos
Spring is well on its way here in Spain and there’s nothing nicer 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 near Madrid is home to generations of melon farmers and every autumn celebrates its very own melon festival.
Photo: Malopez 21/Wikipedia
Tooth Mouse Museum, Madrid
While Spaniards may not have the tooth fairy, they do have a little mouse who does more or less the same job. Ratoncito Pérez, 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 the Valencian town of Guadalest. Marvel at all the strange ways that one can add flavour to their dinner.
Microminiature Museum, Guadalest
Ever wanted to see a flea dressed as a bullfighter? Well now you can! The Microminiature Museum in Guadalest (clearly a global leader when it comes to unusual museums) showcases some of the finest works of Manuel Ussá, one of the world’s best ‘microminiaturists’. 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. Unbelievably, it’s not the only microminiature museum in the Iberian peninsula, with a competitor in the town of Ordino in the microstate of Andorra.
Photo: Nicolaï Syadristy/Wikipedia