If you’re like me the name Picasso really rings a bell.
Not everybody though has such a great understanding one of the most influential artists of the 20th Century – luckily one of the best ways to learn is right here in Barcelona.
By visiting the world’s largest collection of Picassos.
Whether you’re just stopping in for a couple hours or going for the full Picasso Museum Tour you’re going to want to do this right with local tips. Without lining up.
Here’s my guide to the Picasso Museum Barcelona.
1 – What you’ll see
2 – Picasso Museum prices
3 – Free entrance days
4 – Buying Picasso Museum tickets in advance online
5 – The Picasso Guided Walking Tour
6 – Hours
7 – Location
8 – Picasso Museum Barcelona hacks
9 – Where to eat near the Picasso Museum
What You’ll See
Though the building alone is worth the price of admission, you’ll find a permanent exhibition of more than 4,000 Picassos. Most of the works are from his early years and showcase the maturation of an artist.
The majority were donated to the museum by Picasso himself as a thanks to his friend Jaime Sabartés, the founder of the museum.
The Barcelona Picasso museum is located in a historic building off Calle Montcada in the trendy Born district and its many rooms are each dedicated to a stage of Picasso’s youth.
Picasso’s Formative Years
It begins with a fascinating cross-section of Picasso’s first academic years, featuring some of his darkest works created over the winter at the Madrid Academy.
You’ll also see more cheerful work created during his vacations to the village of Horta de San Joan.
There is some very impressive academic demonstration of light and shadow that’s hard to believe he created while still just a boy. The adolescent age continues to be told later in other joyous paintings from his hometown of Malaga.
The Blue Period
The financial difficulties experienced by Picasso in this era meant he couldn’t even afford to buy colours. His solution? Not using them!
Here you notice the economical approach to his frescoes of the time – and it’s clear his state of mind made it impossible to create anything cheerful.
The period was prompted by the death childhood friend Carles Casagemas. Casagemas shot himself because of an unrequited love for one Germaine Pichot – later one of the five subjects of Picasso’s The Young Ladies of Avignon.
The Barcelona connection? All the ladies were all prostitutes on the city’s famous Carrer d’Avinyó.
Under the Influence
Continuing the tour you’ll see and admire copies of Velazquez, who Picasso considered a blueprint of sorts, and many other copies of the old masters who influenced Picasso.
You’ll especially see the artistic kinship between Picasso’s work and that of Velazquez, though Picasso always maintained his own personal touch.
The Barcelona Years
During his stay in Barcelona Picasso’s paintings would absorb the latest trends of a modern city. You’ll even find some humour, like the fake newspaper clippings depicting his friend Sabartes in erotic exploits with several women.
The Rose Period
Here Picasso used cheerful reds, oranges, and pinks to depict clowns, harlequins and circus performers. Professional growth and maturity marked his move to Paris.
It was there that he realized he needed to use a stage name and his signature (which normally included two first names) became simply PICASSO. This is Picasso’s Pink Period.
You’ll end the tour passing through the Pigeon Room (which apparently Picasso painted because his terrace in California was infested) to the Meninas Room, where you’ll find an extravagant variety of works from Velazquez.
How Much Does the Picasso Museum Cost?
- General admission (adult): €12.00.
- General admission (18-25 and 65+): €7.50.
- General admission (under 18 + university students): free.
- Audio guide in English: €5.00.
General admission tickets include access to the regular collection + any temporary exhibitions.
For all discounted tickets ID must be shown – visitors under 14 must be accompanied by a paying adult.
I recommend booking your Picasso museum tickets in advance online – more info below.
All tickets are non-refundable and single-entry.
You can print your tickets or show them on your phone.
Temporary Exhibition Prices
Again, the Barcelona Picasso Museum is home to some interesting temporary exhibitions which are included in the general admission ticket.
Some examples of past temporary exhibitions include Mythologies, Cubism and War, Jacqueline (Picasso’s wife), and Picasso: Photography and Ceramic.
You can also see the temporary exhibitions independently for the following prices:
- Temporary exhibition only (adult): €7.50.
- Temporary exhibition only (18-25 and 65+): €4.50.
- Temporary exhibition only (under 18): free.
Again, make sure to bring ID for discounted Picasso Museum tickets.
How long should you leave for the visit? Expect to spend about 20-30 minutes on the temporary exhibition.
A full audio guide in English is available describing 51 of the works in depth and giving great context to the collections and the eras they were created.
The prices are as follows:
- General collection audio guide: €5.00.
- Temporary collection audio guide: €4.00.
- General + temporary combo: €7.00.
General collection audio guides are also available in Catalan, Spanish, French, Russian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, German, Italian, and Korean.
Temporary audio guides are also available in Catalan, Spanish, and French.
Picasso Museum Free Days
If you’re in town at the right time you’ll be happy to know that the Picasso Museum Barcelona participates in free museum Sundays – in my opinion the best of all the free things to do in Barcelona.
You’ll find the museum free of charge on the following dates:
- The first Sunday of every month from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm.
- Thursday afternoons from 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm.
- Open Door Days (February 12th, May 18th, and September 24th)
Careful! Starting in 2017 free day entrance times must be booked in advance.
Free tickets are subject to availability and can only be booked up to 4 days in advance.
Picasso Museum Advance Tickets Online
Since tickets often sell out before closing it’s recommended to buy them in advance online.
Just select your type of ticket, a date, and your entrance time (times are staggered about every 15 minutes) to guarantee your spot at the museum.
An added bonus: if you’ve already got your Barcelona Picasso museum tickets you won’t have to wait in line. You’ll go straight in at the Calle Montcada 17 entrance.
Book your advance tickets clicking the button below:
University students looking for free entry cannot book online. They must present their student IDs at ticket windows.
Careful! Online advanced tickets can be made for up to 9 people. For groups bigger than 10 you’ll need to contact the Picasso museum directly at [email protected]
The Barcelona Picasso Guided Walking Tour
Sometimes a basic ticket just isn’t enough and it’s better to have a licensed local guide take you through.
There’s no better way to trace Picasso’s Barcelona life than with this 90 minute tour in English. Along the way you’ll stop at some of Picasso’s favourite haunts like the Els Quatre Gats Café.
You’ll become an expert with a super-informative presentation on the private life and career of Picasso.
You’ll finish the tour with a tour of the Picasso Museum.
- Adults: €36.00.
- Children (11 to 16): €12.00.
Tours run at 5:00 pm on Tuesdays and Fridays.
This is an exclusive offer that’s not even offered at the museum itself. For more info click the blue button below:
Once you’ve bought the Picasso Walking Tour tickets you’ll receive an initial email confirmation from tour legends Ticketbar followed by a second email with your tickets and tour departure information.
Picasso Museum Hours
All hours listed below included holidays. Keep in mind that the ticket office closes 30 minutes before the museum so if you haven’t booked online make sure you show up in time.
Updated hours for 2020 TBA.
- Monday: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
- Tuesday to Sunday: 9:00 am to 8:30 pm.
- Thursday: 9:00 am to 9:30 pm (open doors 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm)
- Closed: January 1, May 1, June 24, December 25 .
Free entrance: Thursday afternoon from 6:oo pm till 9:30 pm, the first Sunday of the Month from 9:00 am till 8:30 pm, and during the Open Doors free museum days on May 18th and September 24th.
Tickets for these dates can only be bought 4 days in advance using the the official website.
There are reduced hours on December 24 and December 31 – the museum closes at 2:00 pm. On January 5th it closes at 5:00 pm.
How long should you leave for a good visit?
Leave around 90 minutes for the Barcelona Picasso Museum and 120 minutes if you’re including the temporary exhibition.
Where is the Picasso Museum in Barcelona?
The museum is located at 15-23 Carrer Montcada in the Born neighbourhood and just a stone’s throw from the legendary Gothic Quarter.
The nearest metro stations are Jaume I (yellow line L4) and Arc de Triomf (red line L1)
Buses: 120, 45, V15, V17, 39, 51, H14.
Picasso Museum Hacks
- Always book your museum tickets in advance to avoid lines and rejection.
- If you’re visiting more than one museum use the Articket BCN discount card.
- Go very early in the day to avoid the biggest crowds.
- Grab an audio guide unless you’re a complete Picasso expert.
- Combine your visit with a look at the nearby Catalan Music Palace.
- Grab a drink or coffee nearby at the great outdoor bar Antic Cafe.
- Talk to a member of staff about exclusive entrance for kids with strollers/prams.
- Lockers can be rented on site for €1.00 (bring exact 1 euro coin change).
- There are shops near the museum selling similar souvenirs for much cheaper.
- Drinks are not allowed in so drink them up before you enter!
Where to Eat Near the Picasso Museum
I would personally go for the escalivada (a grilled veggie dish), buttifarra (a local sausage), or gazpacho (a cold tomato soup). Another option for €20.00 is the tapas tasting menu where you’ll get about a dozen different tastes.
You’ll find Nou Celler in Carrer de la Princesa 16 just two minutes away from the Picasso Museum.
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