A visually stunning city to visit, art and architecture intertwine delightfully in Barcelona. As such, it comes as no surprise that the city is also home to so many fantastic museums. With numerous artists of great renown hailing from the city, the galleries and exhibitions on offer explore the works of Catalan masters such as Dali, Miro, and Tapies, among a myriad of other brilliant artists. As well as its awe-inspiring painters and sculptors, works by world-famous architect Antoni Gaudi have impacted and changed the face of Barcelona’s streets like no other; the Gaudi Exhibition Centre is a must-see for visitors looking to learn more about his unique designs.
An ancient city with a rich cultural heritage, Barcelona also has numerous institutions where you can learn more about Catalonia, its people, culture, and traditions. Whether it is art and architecture you are after or science, history, and culture, Barcelona certainly has the perfect museum for you, just waiting to be discovered.
Very minimalist in both outlook and style, the Museo de Arte Moderno de Barcelona opened in 1995. Its airy and light galleries are dedicated to the exploration of modern art. With over 5,000 pieces on display, visitors to the museum will find that the majority of the art was created by Catalan and Spanish artists and the emphasis is placed firmly on works produced after 1945. While it can be quite difficult to decipher the meaning behind some of the modern art on show, wandering around this splendid collection is a very rewarding experience as there are so many remarkable, thought-provoking pieces to enjoy.
Dedicated to the life and works of the famous architect, the Gaudi Exhibition Centre is a brilliant exploration of the achievements of a man who has come to be synonymous with the city of Barcelona itself. Located in the Museu Diocesa, the center marvelously conveys the genius and uniqueness of Gaudi’s architecture through the designs and models on show. With digital recreations featured alongside a mesmerizing virtual-reality guided tour by none other than Gaudi himself, it’s fair to say that the exhibition center packs quite the punch. Whether it is looking at recreations of La Sagrada Familia or exploring some of the fantastic monuments and mansions that Gaudi designed, a trip here is a rewarding experience; it allows you to step into the mind of one of the all-time architectural greats.
Located in the oldest neighborhood in the city right, next to the Museu Picasso, this wonderful museum may be small but it’s certainly impactful. MEAM has an ever-changing catalog of exhibitions on show, with most of the artists hailing from Spain. The aim behind the museum is to find meaning in the fantastic works on display. Often called a ‘living museum’, the MEAM is unlike many other institutions in that it regularly hosts live music events, theatre courses, and sculptures workshops, and really attempts to engage with its community – something that it certainly achieves. From provocative paintings and hyper-realistic photo portraits to daring sculptures and more, the Museu Europeu d’Art Modern will astound and delight art lovers with all that there is to see and do.
Offering a fascinating look at the history of Catalunya, the museum is appropriately set in the Old Port: one of the oldest parts of Barcelona. The region of Catalunya has a long and tumultuous history that is proudly displayed, educating future generations about the culture and customs of its people. Covering an incredible expanse of time, it is an interesting museum to wander around; Paleolithic findings are on show alongside temporary exhibitions that highlight what life is like in modern times.
Any visitor to the Museu d’Historia de Catalunya will come away with a greater understanding of what it is to be Catalan and a greater appreciation for the region’s culture. After exploring the exhibitions, head to the nearby beach for a lovely walk in the sun along the beachfront.
Located in the Gothic Quarter of the city, the Barcelona City History Museum – as it is known in English – is a fascinating place to visit; it really will help give you a better understanding of Barcelona’s history. Covering a huge expanse of time, the exhibitions on show range over two thousand years of history; you can even visit some Roman ruins which are located in the museum’s cellars. Featuring lots of ancient artifacts, objects, and artworks from across the centuries, perusing its extensive catalog is a fun way to spend the day. The museum also owns and looks after numerous archaeological and historical sites around the city. While the headquarters of the museum are at Placa del Rei, be sure to check out some of its other great sites such as El Call, Santa Caterina and Roman Domos of St Honorat. All of them are worth visiting and they’ll give you a greater insight into how various communities, people and cultures shaped the city over the ages.
The second-most popular museum in the city – the Museu del Futbol Club Barcelona – is an absolute must for football fans, who will absolutely love the experience. While it can now only be visited if you book the Camp Nou Experience – which also includes a tour around FC Barcelona’s famous stadium – it is well worth doing, even if you are not into football. There is a great local art exhibition within its confines that features works by Dali and Tapies, among others. Focusing on the history of the team, visitors delve into the club’s rich history through countless artifacts and memorabilia. The interactive glass wall technology allows you to learn more about FC Barcelona through engaging touch-screens, videos, and photos.
Renovated and reopened in 2004, the CosmoCaixa Barcelona was once known as Barcelona’s Science Museum. To all intents and purposes, it still is, as its fantastic exhibitions focus on our natural world, scientific discovery and evolution. With an awesome planetarium also on offer alongside the numerous interactive installations and hands-on features, it is a great place for the whole family to visit; there is so much for everyone to see and do. A firm favorite amongst guests is the ‘Flooded Forest’ exhibition, which offers visitors a look into the environment of the Amazon rainforest. With over one hundred living species on show, wandering around the exhibit is an eye-opening affair and it is as educational as it is entertaining.
Designed by architect Josep Lluís Sert, the building in which the Fundacio Joan Miro is housed is absolutely mesmerizing. Beautifully blending art and architecture together, the sweeping arches and dazzling white walls make this modernist and minimalist edifice a soothing and relaxing place to visit – the perfect setting for Joan Miro’s spectacular artwork. Home to a huge collection, Miro’s large body of graphic work is delightfully exhibited, while his sculptures are tastefully dotted about. In addition to his fabulous artwork, through a lovely series of photos, the Joaquim Gomis Archive documents Miro’s artistic process and how he was inspired to produce the art on display.
2. Museu Picasso Tours & Activities
A fascinating place to wander around, Museo Picasso’s extensive collection is remarkably spread around five elegant palaces, which are themselves a large part of why the museum is so stunning to visit. The Gothic archways seamlessly give way to beautiful courtyards, which in turn merge into lavish rooms and studios where the painter produced some of his seminal paintings. With over 3,800 pieces on display, the museum offers an amazing look at Picasso’s art, focusing on the fantastic series of work that the renowned artist produced between 1890 and 1904. Wonderfully presented, the permanent exhibits explore his development as an artist and explain how his style evolved from classical art to the Cubist masterpieces for which he is remembered today. While many of his most famous pieces are actually exhibited in other museums around the world, the Museo Picasso and its stunning setting is definitely worth a visit.
With over a thousand years of art on display, this delightful museum is perched atop of Montjüic hill and is a must-see when in Barcelona. Dedicated to Catalan art, the galleries are full of amazing paintings, objects, and artifacts that range from murals and carvings to frescoes and furniture. A beautiful collection, some of the art dates all the way back to the 12th century, with more recent additions dating to the 20th. The four zones of the museum are very well laid-out and each tells its own story. Whether you are interested in Gothic or Renaissance art or prefer Romanesque and Modern, the MNAC will never disappoint. With numerous masterpieces by such Catalan masters as Gaudi and Picasso, it really is a fascinating collection to explore. Set in the national palace, the museum is exquisitely designed and the architecture on show is the piece de resistance of what the MNAC has to offer.