Private Prado Tours – Alone in the Prado Museum with Walks Tours

May 14, 2024

I recently got a private tour of the Prado Museum.

(The empty Prado, before anyone else was inside. It makes a big difference.)

Here’s the story…

A couple years ago I had read an article about some famous person – I can’t remember who – visiting Madrid and paying a whole lot of money to go to the Prado after hours and spend some time with just one painting.

“Must be nice being rich and famous”, I thought, at the time.

But now, as it turns out, anyone can visit the Prado without the crowds.

My experience with Walks Tours was great! It’s a highly recommendable tour that you can do, too.

morena at the prado museum in madrid

Read on for more info…

“VIP Alone in the Prado” Tours with Walks

If you’re a fan of fine art, and a lover of Madrid, there’s something new you should know about.

Walks Tours is now offering a tour called “VIP Alone in the Prado” which lets you into the museum with a small group of people (and a guide) an hour before it opens to the public.

The price is from 69€, which isn’t bad, considering what you get.

Check out the website takewalks.com for more info, or just click here: Alone in the Prado with Walks Tours.

You can also check them out on Instagram @walkstours

Like I said, I recently went myself – Cait from Walks Tours invited me to go on one of the inaugural tours. And so, accompanied by my lovely wife Morena, I went.

We met the guide, Andrea, a bit before 9 AM outside the museum. She introduced herself and told us about some history, then took us inside. (The group that morning was only five people: Morena and I, two Australian ladies, and another American guy.)

Inside the Prado Museum, we went through the normally crowded halls, stopping at some of the “greatest hits” in the collection: “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Hieronymus Bosch, , “Las Meninas” (and more) by Velazquez, Goya’s “Maja Vestida” and “Maja Desnuda”, as well as his dark period known as the “Black Paintings”.

Andrea did a great job of explaining some of the context behind the paintings: Goya, especially, needs a lot of interpretation. (For example, I knew the history behind Goya’s paintings of 2 de mayo and 3 de mayo. But I had no idea that the Black Paintings and even the “Majas” were making a political statement about Spain’s occupation by the French in the early 19th century. Knowing the story makes them much more meaningful.)

Also included, some paintings by El Greco, Tiziano and – interestingly – a very large painting called “Doña Juana la Loca” by Francisco de Pradilla.

I’d been to the Prado a dozen times before, but never stopped for long at this piece. The story is heartbreaking: Juana, officially Queen of Castile, is accompanying her husband’s coffin to Granada. She’s taking the long way, on foot, to Granada – all this according to our guide, Andrea – because Felipe’s last wish is to be buried there. Also, she knows that as soon as her husband is in the ground, she’s considered “available” for re-marriage.

Doña Juana la Loca, by Francisco de Pradilla.

(Juana was eventually pushed off the throne by her son and her father, and spent her remaining 46 years locked up in a palace / prison in the town of Tordesillas. It’s complicated, but these days a lot of people wonder whether her reputation as “la Loca” is actually deserved, or if she was just the victim of her family’s political machinations.)

More about the “Alone in the Prado” tour

Walks Tours are currently in Europe and North America, with tours of many important locations. You can check them out online, like I said, at takewalks.com

Their whole company philosophy is that the best way to see a new place is to take a walk – a sentiment with which I agree wholeheartedly.

The VIP Alone in the Prado tour isn’t available every day – at least for now. It starts at 8:50 (with the meeting 15 minutes earlier). Check out the full schedule and further details online.

I got the tour for free, but it’s easily worth the money. The maximum group size is 20 people – for me the best part was just seeing one of the world’s best museums without a crowd. And Walks is the only company offering anything like this at the Prado.

Morena is over here saying it’s one of the best experiences of her life! (No joke.)

See you on the streets,

Daniel AKA Mr Chorizo.

P.S. For more about fine art and architecture in Madrid, check out my new article entitled Madrid is better than Barcelona. And if food tours are more your style, you can always head over to Walks’ sister company Devour Tours, founded by my friend Lauren. They’re in Madrid, Barcelona and other locations around Europe and more. Have fun!

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About the Author Daniel

How did I end up in Spain? Why am I still here almost 20 years later? Excellent questions. With no good answer... Anyway, at some point I became a blogger, bestselling author and contributor to Lonely Planet. So there's that. Drop me a line, I'm happy to hear from you.

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