"Everyone knows that Madrid is a great place to look at art.  But how do you get the most out of a short space of time?  The answer is usually to hire a guide.  But which guide?  There are so many to choose from and they all profess to offer the best service.  Having done art tours with a number of different guides, I would choose Almudena Cros.  

Most guides can take you though a museum and direct your attention to the major works and some of their interesting features.  The difference with Almudena begins with the depth of her knowledge: she has a PhD in Art History and knows much more about art than the average guide who is often trained to address only certain works in the collection.  Almudena's academic background lets her move seamlessly from one period to another, one movement to another, and one artist to another.  Almudena's approach to a tour is also different.  For example, when visiting the Prado with my students from the United States, Almudena began first with a short talk about the history of the royal collection and a brief introduction to some of the works we would be seeing that day.  This helped give my students a sense that a bigger more interconnected project was in store rather than just a tour of some of the Prado's "greatest hits."  The subsequent walk through the museum thus had a logic my students and I understood.  Almudena's tour emphasizes quality and depth rather than quantity.  If you want to see a lot of paintings, book her for three hours at least, wear comfortable shoes, and have something to eat before you start.   

Besides seeing and learning about art an added delight of a tour with Almudena is her warm and generous personality.  She makes even strangers feel comfortable and at home immediately, a welcome thing when you are trying to cope with a foreign city and language."

Dr. Robert Costomiris, Director of the European Council Study Abroad Program in Madrid, University System of Georgia, USA.