Lonely Planet review
A block south of Plaza de la Cibeles, this museum will appeal to those who love their ships or who have always wondered what the Spanish Armada really looked like. On display are quite extraordinary models of ships from the earliest days of Spain’s maritime history to the 20th century. Lovers of antique maps will also find plenty of interest, especially Juan de la Cosa’s parchment map of the known world, put together in 1500. The accuracy of Europe and Africa is astounding, and it’s supposedly the first map to show the Americas (albeit with considerably greater fantasy than fact). Also of interest is the wall-sized map showing Spanish maritime journeys of discovery from the 15th to 18th centuries. Littered throughout this pleasant exhibition space are dozens of uniforms, weapons, flags and other naval paraphernalia. Admission is officially free but they do ask for a donation.