I think you’ll agree that thoughtless beach escapes in a puddle of booze are plenty in Barcelona, but what about the moments of reflection and poignant realisations that come only after a visit to a good museum?
I guess that’s why you’re here.
Whether you’re looking for classic artists, modern art, history, science, photography, or just an air conditioned building you’ll find them all in my list of the top Barcelona museums.
The Best Museums in Barcelona
With so many Barcelona museums it’s hard to choose but here’s my top 9 – with variety in mind.
Remember: all of these museums can be discounted up to 20% or included free in many tourist passes. I’ve included a little discount section below on how to save money. Any questions please write me in the comments.
Make sure you book your museum tickets online using the buttons to avoid line ups.
The Picasso Museum
With more than 3500 pieces of art you’ll see one of the most important Picasso collections in the world, with a primary focus on his formative years as a budding sketch artist. Among the most famous works of art here are the Arlecchino, Margot, and El Loco.
Prices: €11.00 for adults, €7.00 for children (18-25), free for students with valid ID.
Museu del Temple Expiatori (Sagrada Familia)
It would be truly a shame not to understand the intricacies of Antoni Gaudi‘s genius found in every detail of the world’s most amazing cathedral. So make sure you see the museum first, which is included in all ticket options.
Highlights are the 3-D models of the church’s main features, something Gaudi preferred to drawings. There are also great photos of 90+ years of construction. Through a window in the museum you’ll fittingly look down on Gaudi’s tomb.
It’s a bit hidden downstairs on the opposite end of the main entrance, but outside of Ticketbar’s educated English guided tour it’s the only way you’ll truly get it.
Prices: €16.00+ depending on ticket.
MACBA Contemporary Art Museum
The lego-like confines of the Barcelona art museum house over 5000 works of art from some of the world’s most celebrated artists like Antoni Tapies, Cristina Iglesias, Xavier Miserachs, Öyvind Fahlström, and more.
Throughout the building you’ll find spaces dedicated to photography, painting, and sculpture. With a variety of constantly changing exhibitions you’ll be able to come back again and again.
Apart from being the contemporary art museum in Barcelona it’s well known for hosting a ton of skaters and breakdancers in the outside square, which naturally attracts some of the best street art in the city.
€10.00 €9.50 adults (online), €8.00 for students (ticket windows).
The Camp Nou Experience
Football lovers and lovers of sport in general will be overwhelmed with this one for the sheer amount of trophies found at the world’s second biggest association football stadium.
The football museum itself traces Barcelona FC triumphs including multiple Champions League trophies, the Golden Boots of the Messi Room, and an interactive space to play around in or stand in awe.
Then you get to tour the stadium. From walking out of the player’s tunnels onto the pitch, to fooling around in the visitor’s dressing room, to interviewing in the announcer’s booth you’ll be a millionaire footballer for a day for the price of a paella.
Prices: €25.00+ depending on ticket.
The CCCB (Centre de Cultura Contemporània Barcelona)
Those with a passion for all types of culture will feel in their element here.
I fell in love with this culture museum last year during the very impressive World Press Photo exhibition – all the best photos of the past year were blown up in super high quality and put on display. There was also a very impressive exhibition about the future of our species called Humans.
The Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona isn’t just a space for its travelling exhibitions. It’s a creativity space, and a place to investigate, expose, debate important contemporary issues.
Prices: €6.00 for one exhibition, €8.00 for two exhibitions, kids under 12 free.
The Fundació Joan Miró
Set foot in this Barcelona art museum and feel the ghost of surrealism follow you to every corner.
To understand Joan Mirò and his approach to the arts all you have to do is read a mantra found on his paintings: “Conquering freedom means conquering simplicity. In the end, one line or even one color can make a painting.”
The Joan Mirò Foundation opened in 1975 not only to display works of the man himself but also as a discussion, inspiration, and exhibition space for future Barcelona artists.
The museum collection of paintings, designs, drafts, and sculptures is one of the most comprehensive Mirò collections in the world and covers virtually every second of his artistic life.
Prices: €13.00 for adults, €7.00 for students, free under 15.
MNAC (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya)
You’ll find the MNAC in one of the most beautiful buildings in Barcelona, the Palacio Nacional, built for the Barcelona World’s Fair in 1929 and situated just above the magnificent Magic Fountain.
Starting from the main room (that looks like some crazy Renaissance living room) the museum is divided in 7 rooms each dedicated to a different period: there’s the Gothic room, the Baroque and Renaissance rooms, one room dedicated to photography, and another to coins.
What makes the MNAC one of the most famous museums in the world though is the Medieval and Romanticism room that holds sculptures and paintings from the 11th to 13th centuries.
A bonus? The amazing bar with a terrace with some of the most spectacular views of Barcelona.
Prices: €12.00 for adults, students get a 30% discount, under 16 go free.
This is the Barcelona science museum that is extremely popular when visiting with kids. The truth is though that any adult with the slightest interest in science will love the opportunities here to learn science in a fun way.
The museum offers a multitude of interactive exhibitions: the ones that stood for me were the Toca Toca (‘Touch Touch’), where you can touch reconstructions of a variety of natural habitats with your bare hands, learning to understand and respect them.
Then there’s the Bosque Inundado (‘Inundated Forest’) that’s the recreation of a rain forest complete with rain storms falling from above. You also can’t miss the Planetarium, a space dedicated to the observation of the sky, stars, and planets.
€5.00 €2.50 adults (online), under 16 free.
The Barcelona Pavilion
To tell you the truth I’d never heard of this pavilion; in fact, as soon as I arrived at the museum I went right through the entrance without even buying a ticket until an old woman seated on a stool asked me to buy a ticket.
This building was built by legendary architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as the German Pavilion for the Barcelona World’s Fair in 1929.
It’s a very important building in the history of modern architecture and famous for its ‘spectacular minimalism‘ and use of extravagant materials like onyx, red marble, and travertine.
Prices: €5.00, students €2.60, children under 16 free.
Free Museums in Barcelona
Due to popular demand I’ve created a list of the best free museums in Barcelona. No more excuses for those lazy Sundays in Barcelona before flying out, OK?
- Montjuïc Castle: every Sunday from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
- MACBA: every Saturday from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
- The Picasso Museum: Thursday afternoons from 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm. First Sunday of the month from 9 am to 7:00 pm. Starting in 2017 free entrance must be booked in advance through this link. Tickets subject to availability and can only be booked up to 4 days in advance.
- MNAC: the first Sunday of the month and Saturdays from 3:00 pm.
- CCCB: every Sunday from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
- Hospital de Sant Pau Recinto Modernista: first Sunday of the month from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm.
- MUHBA: the Barcelona History Museum. Those really into history, especially Roman history, will love this one. The museum is divided into 7 sections and every Sunday from 3:00 pm the locations at Plaça del Rei (probably the best one), Via Sepucral Romana, and MUHBA El Call are free.
- El Museu Blau: The Natural Science Museum of Barcelona. Free every Sunday from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm and the first Sunday all day.
- The Barcelona Maritime Museum: discover the history of the ships used over Spanish history. Another good one for kids. Free all day the first Sunday of the month and from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm the other Sundays.
- Jardin Botanico: these botanical gardens showcase plant life from all over the world at the legendary Montjuïc Park. Free all day the first Sunday of the month and from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm the other Sundays.
Barcelona Museum Discounts
This Barcelona museum pass can save more than 50% on entrance to 6 museums. It also allows you to skip lines at ticket windows. If you’re thinking of visiting three or more of these top museums it’ll pay for itself.
Just print out your voucher and redeem it for a cool passport and see how many you can get stamped. Included in the €28.50 price tag are the following:
- Picasso Museum
- Fundació Joan Miró
- Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
- The CCCB
- Fundació Antoni Tàpies
You’ll save 5% buying online from the official Barcelona Tourism Office clicking the button below.
The Barcelona Card
You’ll also get free entrance to 25 museums including the CCCB, MACBA, the Picasso Museum, Cosmo Caixa, the Fundació Joan Miró, and the MNAC. On top of this you’ll take advantage of discounts on shopping, restaurants, and all sorts of shows like flamenco.
Ticket options range from 48 hour to 120 hour passes (€19.00 – €57.00).
You’ll save 10% buying online from the official Barcelona Tourism Office clicking the button below.
Still not sure? Check out the full list of discounts.
The Barcelona City Pass
The city’s new discount card kingpin: it’s almost a given if you’re planning to visit museums at the Sagrada Familia and Park Guell. It also gives you a ride on the super informative and convenient Bus Turistic.
The best part? You’re given 20% off vouchers for almost your entire itinerary including museums:
- Picasso Museum (and tour options)
- The Camp Nou Experience
- Catalan National Art Museum (MNAC)
- Modernism Museum
- Wax Museum
In addition you’ll get 20% off guided tours, excursions, shows, nightlife and more. And you’ll skip lines doing it.
For more information click the button below:
Let Me Hear it in the Comments Below
Help me help you. I put a lot of work in to make sure the article is as informative as possible, but am I missing something crucial?
Of all the best museums in Barcelona which one did you enjoy/are looking forward to the most?
I’m here for any questions you have about your Barcelona holiday – get at me in the comments below!