The naval museum in Madrid shows in chronological order the most important historical pieces procured by the navy from the Catholic Monarchs (1474 - 1517) to the present day. Exhibited are nautical instruments, artillery pieces, maps, ship models and paintings portraying vessels and historical naval scenes. The homepage of the Museo Naval has an English section.
Take your passport or the driver's license with you! You need to identify yourself when entering the museum building.
We were there in May 2009 and found it a very fine, interesting museum with fascinating exhibits. However, there was one serious drawback: all ship models and many other exhibits were behind glass, and they used a poor glass with high reflection. It was very difficult to get a clear view, and with large objects we had to permanently shift position to view area by area. Taking photographs was difficult, too, but I show two exhibits I was very impressed by.
One is a model of the "Nuestra Senora de la Conception y de las Animas", most probably the first three-decker the Spanish Navy launched in 1688. The ship and its construction were very well documented in the shipbuilding manuscript Arte de Fabricar Reales by Antonio de Gaztañeta Yturribalzaga, written in 1688.
The other one is a model of the three-decker Real Carlos of 1766.
In the Trafalgar section there was a portrait of Federico Gravina, the admiral of the Spanish fleet in 1805.
Of course there was a room focussing on the famous Spanish achievements in the age of discovery, with very fine exhibits, like the models of Columbus' ships. However, light reflections of the show case glasses were too bad to take photographs there.
If you click on a photo you will get that photo in high resolution.