The Best Virtual Museums in Spain to Visit Online at Home
Updated: Dec 14, 2020
Here's my artsy wanderlust guide to the best virtual museums in Spain for at home culture vultures.
Do you need some digital destination inspiration for a future trip to Spain? Or just an injection of online Spanish culture? No problem! You can virtually tour Spain's best museums even if you're at home, right from your couch or computer.
Many of Spain's museums have partnered with Google Arts & Culture or have stand out online collections. Still others provide virtual tours, have added special online exhibits for virtual viewers, or can be visited via YouTube. You can take a delightful DIY tour of virtual Spanish museums without ever leaving your home.
The Best Virtual Museums in Spain To Explore At Home
1. The Prado Museum Virtual Tour, Madrid
The Prado is special. It's Spain's cultural jewel, boasts one of Europe's finest and most sensuous painting collections, and is a must see site in Madrid.
The Prado opened in 1819 as the Royal Museum of Paintings. The artistic anchors of the Prado are Francisco Goya, Diego Velázquez, and Peter Paul Rubens. But there are also masterpieces by Titian, Bosch, and El Greco.
Now you can Prado in your PJs. If you want to take a virtual tour of the Prado, you can. The Prado recently broadcast a live video in which its director, Miguel Falomir, gave a 20 minute talk on Tintoretto’s famed Christ Washing the Disciples’ Feet.
The Prado also has a 360 virtual tour of its Rubens exhibition and an impressive online collection of over 10,000 works of art. Smarthistory has a large cache of YouTube videos exploring many of the Prado's best works. The Prado also does a live one hour show on Instagram, also posted on Facebook, every morning at 10:00 am.
2. The Dali Theater Museum Virtual Tour, Figueres
The Dali Theater Museum is a delightfully eccentric single artist museum in Salvador Dali's hometown of Figures Spain. Designed by Dali himself, the pink bread encrusted museum is itself a surrealistic object. I've written a complete guide to the Dali Museum.
But you can also see some of the museum's most famous pieces online. Check out the Mae West Room, the Labyrinth, the Rain Taxi, the courtyard of golden Oscar statues, and the painting of Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea (a clever double image). Google Arts & Culture also has an online exhibit about Dali in Spain.
3. The Reina Sofia Virtual Tour, Madrid Spain
Opened in 1992, the Reina Sofia is Madrid’s fantastic modern art museum. Its collection is comprised entirely of art work from 1900 to the present.
There's a special focus on Spain's favorite sons, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali, and their respective schools of Cubism and Surrealism. The iconic star of the Reina Sofia is Guernica, Picasso’s grim depiction of the Nazi bombing of Guernica Spain in 1937.
The Reina Sofia recently tweeted a video showing the array of content it has online.
You can also take a virtual tour of the museum on Google Arts & Culture. If you want an online education about Guernica, watch this YouTube video.
4. Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum Virtual Tour, Madrid Spain
Housed in the Villahermosa Palace, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is named after art collector Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza. It's one of Madrid's foremost museums.
The museum covers every major period in Western art, from 13th century Italian Renaissance to 20th century Pop Art. It also has an important collection of 19th century American paintings not found elsewhere in Europe.
The museum offers virtual visits to both its permanent collection and temporary exhibits. You can also browse through thematic tours that center on fashion, food, love, and wine. You can also take a virtual tour of the Thyssen-Bornemisza on Google Arts & Culture.
5. Picasso Museum Virtual Tour, Barcelona
Founded in 1963, the Picasso Museum in Barcelona was launched with a donation of 574 works by Picasso’s secretary, Jaime Sabartés. In 1970, Picasso himself donated 800 more pieces to the museum.
In this museum, you'll find one of the most extensive collections of Picasso's work, 4000 pieces, certainly the best collection in Spain. The museum is housed in five beautiful adjoining medieval palaces.
You can browse the highlights of the Picasso Museum's online collection here, though the images are rather small. You can take a virtual tour of the palaces here. The palace tour takes you on a private guided tour of the museum's architectural elements.
The museum is also posting daily on its Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. On Saturdays the Museum is presents audiovisual archives of museum performances and places them on its on the Youtube channel.
If you'd like more Picasso info, here's my guide to all the Picasso museums in Europe and my extensive guide to the Picasso Museum in Paris.
6. Guggenheim Bilbao Virtual Tour, Bilbao
Who can argue with the emblematic Guggenheim Museum? Inaugurated in 1997, Frank Gehry's twisting shimmering museum is the star of Bilbao Spain. The space age building is an awe-inspiring blend of titanium, glass, and limestone. The scaly exterior evokes a silvery fish and the wings of the building reimagine the wind-filled sails of a ship.
Outside, there's a veritable sculpture museum. Inside, the Guggenheim's modern art collection is on par with Europe's best modern art museums. You'll find works by Robert Motherwell, Yves Klein, Andy Warhol, Eduardo Chillada, Richard Serra, and Anselm Kiefer.
Via Google Arts & Culture, you can virtually explore the Guggenheim Bilbao. The interactive online offering includes cinematographic photos, videos, and guided tours of masterpieces from the collection. The Guggenheim Bilbao also has its own online collection with images and analyses of its seminal works.
7. Picasso Museum Malaga Virtual Tour, Malaga
Opened in 2003, the Picasso Museum in Malaga is housed in the Buena Vista Palace, a pretty combination of Renaissance and Mudejar architecture. Small but sweet, the museum holds 285 works donated by Picasso’s family members or held on permanent loan. Mostly from his grandson Bernard.
The collection spans Picasso's lifetime and gives a good overview. You won't find any masterpieces here. But highlights include Picasso's early academic studies, cubist pieces, and some of his last paintings from the 1970s.
The museum website provides virtual tours of Picasso's different creative periods and virtual tours of its current exhibitions. The museum also has a YouTube video that takes you through its collection.