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How much time at the Prado on Day 3 of the Best of Spain tour?

This is what the edited itinerary says:

Day 3: Masterpieces of Madrid
After breakfast we'll take ... (the AVE) to Madrid. We'll tour ... the Prado — where you'll see paintings by Velázquez, Goya, El Greco, and others. Later we'll stroll the lively streets of our neighborhood and enjoy dinner together. ... Train: 3 hours. Bus: 2 hours.

With all that transportation time, I'm concerned that the Prado visit will be too short for me.

For those who have been on this tour:

  1. How long were you there?
  2. Did the time feel short for you?
  3. Was there time to see more before the "Later we will stroll" bit?

The Prado is open until 20:00, but I see no way to spend more time there without missing other parts of the tour, unless there's a break before the strolling.

Posted by
10344 posts

Having just been to the Prado, I can certainly understand your concern about having enough time. Have you asked this question of the Rick Steves Europe folks who presumably know the most about the details of this upcoming tour?

Posted by
1752 posts

I took a look at Day 4 and it says you will have the afternoon and evening free. I wonder if you would have time to go back to the Prado then? I agree with you that Day 3, given the transportation timing, seems short on time for the Prado. One of the world's great museums, I would want more time there as well.
Day 5 is a day trip to Segovia.
I would call the RS office and ask for more information. They are always very helpful.

Posted by
717 posts

If you get your Prado admission ticket stamped, it is good for the entire day with re-entry privileges.

Posted by
3451 posts

Thanks Blue. I hoped that was still the case. I've been there before, but I've never had enough time there.

I will call the office, but I know there can be a difference between a plan and its execution. That's why I was asking for people's in the galleries experience.

Posted by
3 posts

We had our tickets stamped two days ago with re-entry privileges without any problems. We really enjoyed all the great paintings.
Thanks for all the tips we received from everyone at this Forum!

Posted by
3451 posts


According to the RS tour folks, the tour at the Prado starts at 16:00 (later than I expected). The group dinner is at 20:00 (earlier than I expected). She had no idea when the strolling started or how long it lasts, but it is missable.

The Prado guided tour lasts about 1 to 1.5 hours, with some free time built in after the tour. Soooo, unless something strange happens, there's a potential of decent extra Prado time.

Posted by
1520 posts

My advice is to ask the guide where you will be dining and meet the group there, so you have plenty of time to look at art and skip the strolling. My recollection is the guided tour covered the major highlights, and I used a handy guide to find the rest that I wanted to see in the "free time" (maybe an hour?) at the end of the tour. Personally, I enjoyed the Thyssen-Bornemisza more than the Prado (I went back to Madrid for a day before flying home at the end of the tour).

My experience on the Spain tour was the dinners were "early" by Spanish standards (8:00), but the restaurants liked to have these early tour groups seated and fed and out before the locals arrive for the normal dinner time.

Posted by
4536 posts

Just looked up the Prado's hours, as this will be an issue for me too on this tour next fall. It's open till 8:00, or 7:00 on Sundays. They clear the galleries ten minutes before closing. So there should be enough time to see a lot, after the tour, if you don't mind skipping the strolling and can find the dinner place on your own (which I know Lo can).

Posted by
10344 posts

IMO, 1 to 1.5 hours is not enough time. We're talking about what many experts call the world's greatest art museum of European painting. 1.5 to 2 hours would be more like it. We spent 3 hours, including a short water break (you can't bring water into the galleries). 3 hours was all we could do in one visit, at our age, but I could have easily done a 2nd day of about 2 hours.

But 1 to 1.5 hours, that's hard to understand for this museum. Take the time from the group dinner!

Posted by
3451 posts

Good news!

The hotel list for the tour became available for printing today. Our Madrid hotel is about a 10 minute walk from the Prado, so our neighborhood's lively streets and our dinner spot are probably close by as well. And the hotel is within about 550 meters of where I stayed 10 (gasp) years ago.

Thank you, Google Maps.

Posted by
37 posts

Did the Best of Spain Tour last year. It was amazing! If you love art, you will definitely need more time at the Prado. You may want to include a stop at the Reina Sophia to see Picasso's Guernica. It's powerful. Last year we stayed at the Hotel Europa which was within walking distance to both museums. We opted to meet the group at the restaurant for dinner to give us the extra time we needed. Most of the group members went for wine tasting before dinner, but I wasn't willing to give up my art time. Still not enough time.