Barcelona boasts a handful of high-quality museums, but not all museums in the city are worth a visit. Find below a review of the best museums in Barcelona.
In fact there are two or three museums that will do more than just distract you from the tourist crowds, or shelter you from a too hot or rainy day.
The Best Museums in Barcelona:
MNAC, Joan Miro Foundation, Picasso Museum, MACBA.
Tip: Most museums are free on the first Sunday of the month
Watch-out: Most museums are closed on Monday except MACBA
Disclaimer: Barcelona’s art scene cannot compete with the likes of El Prado in Madrid, Louvre in Paris, or MOMA in NYC. For some this means that your day will be better spent at the beach or discovering the city.
For those disappointed to read this; well, then I suggest to include Madrid in your itinerary. In fact, the capital of Spain ranks as one of the top cities globally for museum lovers. The Museum triad (Prado, Reina Sofia, Thyssen) is really a delicacy.
Let’s move on to a selection of the best and most popular museums in each section with some commentary.
MNAC – Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
The MNAC is a spacious museum located on the lower side of Montjuic, nearby the Pl Espanya. It is probably the best single museum in Barcelona for its range of works and historical value.
The collection consists of mostly local artists and focuses on Medieval Romanesque, Medieval Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque, and Modern art.
The museum is located in a huge historical palace – so you could spend here all the way from 1h to half a day.
One can combine it with other nearby visits such as the Fundacio Miro, or CaixaForum.
Also, the Museum is a perfect location to spend some time at sunset, and a good preamble to the Magic Fountains of Montjuic (shows on most Fridays and Saturdays at sunset)
Tip: You can visit the MNAC for free every Saturday after 3PM, and every first Sunday of the month
MNAC – Opening hours and prices:
Winter (October to April) open Tuesday to Saturday, 10-18h; Sundays and public holidays, 10-15h
Summer (May to September) open Tuesday to Saturday, 10-20h; Sundays and public holidays, 10-15h
Mondays closed, except public holidays.
The ticket fee is 12EUR for adults over 16 and it is valid for 2 days, and there are numerous concessions.
MNAC official website.
The nearest subway stop is Pl Espana (L1 red, L3 green)
Fundacio Joan Miro
Miro is one of the most famous Catalan artists of all time. This museum exhibits one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of his work. The Foundation is located in a great building designed by J.M. Sert, who was the Dean of the Harvard School of Design during his Franco exile.
The Miro Foundation is a relatively compact museum and does not feel too heave. Additionally, one of its highlights is the terrace sculpture exhibition with great views of the city.
Fundacio Joan Miro – Opening hours and prices:
Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday: from 10-18h (from November to March), from 10-20h (from April to October). Thursday: from 10-21h. Saturday: from 10-20h. Sunday and public holidays: from 10-15h. The Museum is closed on Mondays.
The ticket fee for the general admission is 12EUR.
Official Fundacio Joan Miro website.
The nearest subway stop is Pl Espana (L1 red, L3 green) plus bus.
Picasso is one of the world’s most famous artists ever. He was born in Malaga, in the south of Spain, and spent some time in Barcelona, before moving on to Paris, where his art career exploded.
Tip: You can visit the Picasso Museum for free every Sunday after 3PM
The Pablo Picasso Museum in Barcelona is located in the El Born neighborhood, in an old mansion.
The collection features a few good works, but nothing really outstanding. Those that have been to other leading museums such as MOMA or similar might feel a bit disappointed about the quality of work exhibited. Remember that Picasso’s best is in Paris and scattered around the world’s private collections.
All in all, I still recommend to go if you can get in for free or have nothing else to do. Note that the exhibition is free on Sunday after 3PM, but lines are long.
Picasso Museum – Opening hours and prices:
The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday 9-19h (Thursday 9-21h). The Museum is closed on Mondays.
The ticket fee for the general collection is 11EUR. You can buy tickets online and save the line.
Official Picasso Museum website.
The nearest subway stop is Jaume I (L4, yellow)
MACBA – Barcelona Contemporary Art Museum
Since 1995, Barcelona hosts a flashy contemporary art museum in the city center.
Richard Meier, the North-American architect, designed the iconic white museum building in 1990. Located in the trendy Raval area, the building itself is one of the highlights of a visit to the Raval.
In marked contrast to the rest of the neighborhood, the building rises in glossy white. The young locals have taken over the square, which turned into an internationally-acclaimed skateboard mecca.
The museum itself hosts a collection of contemporary art pieces, most of which rotates every now and then. It might be too much for those not interested in contemporary (weird) art, but the building could make up for it.
MACBA – Opening hours and prices:
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: 11-19:30h, Saturday: 10-21h, Sunday and holidays: 10-15h
Tuesdays closed, except public holidays.
The ticket fee is 10EUR for adults over 14 and it is valid for unlimited visits during one month, and there are numerous concessions.
MACBA official website.
The nearest subway stop are Pl Urquinaona (L1 red, L2 purple) and Pl Catalunya (L1 red, L3 green)
If you just want to visit ONE museum:
Pick MNAC to see an broader collection of Catalan Arts in a beautiful palace
Pick Picasso Museum if you are short on time and do not want to leave the Old Town
Pick Joan Miro Foundation if you are willing to trade some more time get there for a nice city view
Pick MACBA if you are interested in contemporary art and architecture
Recommended visit time might be about 2-3h for MNAC, 1-2h for Joan Miro Foundation, 1-2h for Picasso Museum, and 1-2h for MACBA..
MNAC and Joan Miro Foundation are not located in the center. You can combine MNAC and Miro and make it a half a day tour if you start early in the morning. Or with some other sights in Montjuic a full day relaxed visit.
You can easily squeeze a visit to the Picasso Museum or MACBA from the Old Town. Picasso Museum is located in the Born / La Ribera neighborhood and just 10 minutes from the Gothic. MACBA is just 5 minutes away from Pl Catalunya.
Your Favorite Museum in Barcelona
What is your favorite museum? Do you have any suggestion?
Let us know in the comments section 🙂