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Totally Spain’s Advice for Pre-booking Top Museums & Monuments in Spain

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Travelling to Spain and want to avoid queuing for the big attractions? If the 68.1 million tourists who came to Spain in 2015 seem like a lot of people, the numbers for 2016 rose even higher to a whopping 75.3m. If you want to visit the big attractions, here at Totally Spain, we highly recommend you pre-book your tickets. It’s part of what we’ve been doing for our clients since we started our back in the year 2000. Below are the real pressure points amongst Spain’s Top Museums and Monuments where you’ll absolutely have to pre-book to avoid long waits:-

Why Pre-book?

  • It’s the best way of making sure that you get access. By pre-booking the attractions you don’t have to worry about reading up on opening hours and checking local bank holidays. If you’ve booked a place you know you’re going on a day and time when the museum is open.
  • Avoid queues. You’ll thank yourself – especially if you are travelling in high season when standing in a line means baking in the sunshine. By pre-booking you get to keep your energy for the visit!
  • Pre-booking means you know the exact time of visit so you can plan the rest of your day. Check out the nearby markets, cafes and restaurants beside the museum – you’ll have lots more time to explore the neighbourhood if you are not standing in a line.

Attractions You Should Pre-Book in Spain:

2.5 million people visited the Alhambra in Granada in 2015 (still awaiting figures for 2016). That’s an average of 6,800 per day which is a lot of people to stand behind in a line!

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A line of people waiting to visit the Alhambra in Granada. Photo credit: Lars Plougmann via photopin cc

4.5 million people visited the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona in 2016. That’s over 12,000 people every day!

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The queue in front of the Sagrada Familia. Photo credit: Matti Mattila via photopin cc

Casa Mila or La Pedrera in Barcelona has finally completed its restoration programme (50 percent of which was paid for by the advertising on its scaffolding!) Well – it’s looking better than ever and you want to be inside not in a queue waiting to enjoy this great building by Gaudi that attracted 1.2 million visitors in 2016! And Gaudi’s Casa Battlo isn’t far behind with 992,000 visitors in 2015 (we’re awaiting the numbers for 2016 still).

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Getting in line at Casa Mila also known as the Pedrera in Barcelona. Photo credit: Matti Mattila via photopin cc

Barcelona’s Park Güell started charging for entry in October 2013 and in the first full year, the visitor figures fell from 9 million visitors to 2.3 million. In 2015 it rose slightly to 2.7 million again which isn’t what the Town Hall wants to see as the park was extremely crowded before the entry charge began. Although the numbers are lower, it’s right up there with the Alhambra in terms of crowds so you really do need to pre-book. We’re still waiting for the 2016 numbers which haven’t been released yet.

queues lines waiting pre-booking online museums Spain

If you want to see some Gaudi when you come to Spain. you’ll need to plan ahead! photo credit: ClifB via photopin cc

615,000 people visited the Palau de la Musica Catalana in Barcelona in 2015. While that’s a lot less than some of the other attractions here, this is a visit that really lends itself to quiet contemplation and awe – it’s such a beautiful space. Please believe us when we say you need to pre-book this one!

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This is where you want to be – inside the Palau de Musica – not waiting in a line at the entrance. Photo credit: Samuel Santos via photopin cc

1.5 million people visited the Royal Palace or Palacio Real in Madrid in 2016. The queues are really long for this one – and it’s such a large space inside you need all the energy you can muster just to get around. Pre-booking essential…

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The queues for the Royal Palace in Madrid seem to go on for ever. Photo credit: isriya via photopin cc

The Museo del Prado or Prado Museum in Madrid received 3 million visitors in 2016 – that’s over 8,000 people a day. It was overtaken in 2016 by the Reina Sofia Museum which attracted a whopping 3.6 million visitors. Both quite a bit ahead of the Thyssen with 1 million visitors in 2016. Whichever of the three you want to see, you’ll do well to pre-book your entrance tickets!


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Long lines to see the wonderful Goyas at the Prado Museum in Madrid. Photo credit: Nathan Wind as Cochese via photopin cc

The Alcazar in Seville has always attracted large numbers but the filming of some scenes from the Game Of Thrones has increased the interest in this space which translated into a whopping 1.6 million visitors in 2016! The cathedral also attracted 1.6 million visitors also so if you are planning a trip to Seville, make sure you pre-book as much as possible!

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Avoid these long lines at Europe’s oldest royal palace still in use today – pre-book your tickets before you arrive…photo credit: ali eminov Long lines to get into Alcazar, Seville, Spain via photopin (license)

The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao attracted 1.1 million visitors in 2016. Make sure you see it in style – don’t waste your time in the queue – any time not exploring the space should be spent in the lovely cafe, the Michelin star restaurant or the excellent bookstore!


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Not the most interesting of views at the Guggenheim Bilbao so why spend more time than you need to? Photo credit: Risager via photopin cc

Picasso’s Museum in Barcelona was just shy of the 1m visitor mark in 2016. Queues snake down the Carrer Montcada every day so you are well advised to book in advance.


Picasso Museo Catalonia Carrer Montcada

If you want to avoid standing in this damp line, pre-book your ticket’s for Picasso’s Museum in Barcelona. photo credit: Riggzy Our Queue, Pablo Picasso Museum via photopin (license)

558,033 people visited the Picasso Museum in Malaga in 2016. Although it’s only been open a decade or so (which makes it one of the younger attractions) it was Picasso’s own wish to have his work exhibited in the city where he was born. Make sure you spend the time examining the 250 + works by Picasso rather than standing in a line.


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As you can see you won’t be the only one keen to see Picasso’s work in Malaga. Photo credit: Clive Hicks via photopin cc

We hope you’ve gotten the point by now and are tired of looking at photos of people in queues. There are a few more attractions in Spain that you need to pre-book for:

  • The equestrian shows at the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art in Jerez and at the Royal Stables in Cordoba especially in high season
  • Flamenco shows in Spain. Don’t walk into somewhere – it’ll be too late to find an alternative. Research and pre-book instead.
  • Michelin star restaurants. Most of Spain’s top restaurants are fully booked well in advance. If you want a table, you have to pre-book.
  • Winery tastings, winery visits and gastronomy tours. If you want to make sure you are on an English speaking tour in any of the wine regions of Spain, you have to pre-book.
  • Football matches. If you don’t book in advance, you won’t get in. Don’t waste the price of the flight and accommodation. Pre-book your ticket to avoid disappointment.
queue line Barcelona Gaudi pre-book Spain

Ok – our last photo of people queuing. You have to agree this is a beautifully captured queue outside the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Photo credit: the_ml via photopin cc

Need our help pre-booking museums in Spain (or any other tickets for that matter)? 

If you book your complete trip through Totally Spain, all the finer details including entrance tickets to the most visited monuments, popular shows and other unique experiences are included in your custom package, saving you valuable time and avoiding any unexpected disappointment.

Tempted to arrange an Insider tour of Spain’s Best Museums & Monuments?
Get in touch with the experts at Totally SpainPhone Spain on +34-942-637358, from the USA on 1-888-717-4514, and from the UK on 0871-6660214 or SEND US AN EMAIL or REQUEST A QUOTE

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Posted in Barcelona, Bilbao, General Tickets, Getting Around, Madrid, Malaga, Popular Posts, Useful Information and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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