Barcelona museums

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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Barcelona, one of the main tourist destinations in Europe, it is a place that conquers: there is no question of this.

Business center, seaside resort, city with a lively soul and a constant cultural ferment: there are many reasons to love Barcelona.

Its unique character and artistic fervor can be felt everywhere: in the streets, in the parks and, of course, in its many museums. And what museums! There are some fantastic ones, like the ones we present to you.

1. Picasso Museum

One of the most popular museums in Barcelona is this structure, which houses one of the largest collections of works by the famous Spanish artist Pablo Picasso.

The museum is spread over five medieval buildings, adjacent to each other and truly wonderful.

The permanent collection consists of more than 4.200 works (it takes about three hours to visit the exhibition properly!), Mostly dating back to Picasso's youth, lived in Barcelona.

You will be impressed by the paintings made when Picasso was still a teenager, and you will not regret the absence of the most famous works.

The museum also organizes numerous temporary exhibitions dedicated to Picasso and other artists.

The works not to be missed

The works to admire with greater attention are:

  • The first communion (1896)
  • Science and charity (1897)
  • Margot (1901)
  • Mother with sick child (1903)
  • Harlequin (1917)
  • Las Meninas (1957)

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2. Gaudì House-Museum

To all fans of the work of Antoni Gaudì, the famous Catalan architect exponent of modernism, we recommend a stop at the Gaudì House Museum, in Parc Guell. Here, in fact, the architect lived for almost twenty years, in the last period of his life.

The house, which became a museum in 1963, consists of four floors: the ground floor and the first floor are open to the public and house a collection of furnishings and objects designed by the architect.

This place offers an unexpected glimpse into the artist's daily life and intimacy: you will discover how this creator of grandiose projects was, at the same time, a simple and humble person.

The works not to be missed

Surely, the collection of pieces of furniture and objects made for his most famous creations, such as Casa Batlò, Casa Milà, La Pedrera.

Not to be missed, even though it is not a work in the strict sense, is also the breathtaking view of the city that can be enjoyed from the windows!

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3. Antoni TĂ pies Foundation

Fans of contemporary art and even the simple curious will love this museum that celebrates the work of Antoni TĂ pies, an artist of Catalan origins.

The foundation was established by TĂ pies himself in 1984, with the aim of spreading the culture and knowledge of contemporary art.

The extensive collection of the artist's works is housed in a stunning modernist building from the late nineteenth century. Through paintings, sculptures, books, drawings, engravings, it is possible to grasp the facets of TĂ pies' work, who used multiple techniques and materials.

The foundation also houses collections of works by other artists, a library, and offers a rich calendar of temporary exhibitions dedicated to contemporary artists.

The works not to be missed

Some unmissable works are:

  • Parafargamus, an oil his 1949 canvas
  • Cuerpo y alambres, from 1996 and Tierra de sombra from 1998: both are paintings and assemblages on wood
  • NĂşvol i cadira (cloud and chair), or the characteristic facade of the museum with barbed wire
  • The MitjĂł, the curious giant sock almost three meters high, placed in a small terrace on the second floor.

Practical info

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The Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona, ​​MACBA, is located in the heart of the historic center of the city in a completely new building, designed by the North American architect Richard Meier.

Founded in 1995, it offers a collection of contemporary art among the most appreciated in Europe, and gives space to artistic innovations and the creation of culture.

MACBA also offers a rich calendar of activities ranging from guided tours to seminars, conferences, workshops dedicated to children and adults.

Get ready: in this museum you will feel contemporary art running through your veins!

The works not to be missed

The museum has about 5.000 works by Spanish and international artists (about 1000! Find the list on this page) and does not offer a permanent exhibition, but the exhibition of the pieces varies over time.

It is therefore advisable to inquire in advance about the current exhibition and the “top” works of the moment.

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The CCCB, or Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona, ​​is an exhibition space dedicated to the city and urban culture.

It is located in the Raval district in an old “casa de la caritat”, which in the past welcomed people in need.

The center, in operation since 1994, organizes exhibitions, programs, conferences, courses dedicated to music, dance, philosophy, science, sociology, paying special attention to the quality of its cultural proposals.

The works not to be missed

An architectural work on which to pause and take excellent photographs is the “Pati de las dones“, the women's patio, the place where in ancient times women sought asylum and which today includes a large glass window. It is located in the CCCB, in the free admission area.

The works of art on display not to be missed, on the other hand, change over time, because the CCCB exhibitions (even the main ones) are not permanent.

It is therefore useful to read up before the visit to identify the "highlights" of the moment!

Practical info

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6. Joan Mirò Foundation

The Foundation, inaugurated in 1975, boasts the presence of some of the most important works of the painter Joan Mirò and houses more than 10.000 pieces: paintings, sculptures, ceramics, tapestries, sketches and drawings.

A triumph of colors, so loved by the Catalan artist!

It was he himself who had the idea of ​​creating a foundation in which to show his works and which would promote knowledge of contemporary artistic trends.

Also suggestive is the building that houses the foundation, an open space with terraces, an internal patio and, today, also a library and an auditorium, on the MontjuĂŻc promontory.

In this museum the works and the spaces that host them blend perfectly, and it is no coincidence: Mirò and the architect had in fact established a fruitful dialogue, and the positive result is perceived 100%!

The museum also exhibits works by other artists, such as Marguerite and Aimé Maeght, Pierre Matisse, Manuel de Muga, Josep Lluís Sert, Josep Royo, Francesc Farreras, Gérald Cramer and David Fernández Miró (Joan's nephew).

The works not to be missed

There are many works not to be missed, which retrace every phase of Mirò's artistic life.

Among these, we suggest:

  • Portrait of a little girl
  • The bottle of wine
  • The collage Homage to Prats
  • Man and woman in front of a mountain of excrement
  • The morning star, which is part of the series of 23 works the Constelaciones, painted by the artist in 1939, during the war.

Practical info

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The Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC) is located in the Palau Nacional, a majestic building with a staircase and a fountain made for the 1929 Universal Exposition, in a more than happy location at the foot of MontjuĂŻc.

This museum, born in 1990 from the union of the works of two previous museums (Museum of Art of Catalonia and Museum of Modern Art) aims to promote Catalan art.

True, the MNAC is very patriotic!

In fact, you will find works by Catalan artists or artists connected with Catalonia, with a subdivision into three sections: Romanesque, Gothic-Renaissance and modern art.

The art forms accepted by the museum are numerous: drawings, paintings, sculptures, posters, engravings, stamps, photographs. In addition to the permanent exhibition, the structure hosts temporary exhibitions of great value and also carries out studies and restoration of works of art.

The works not to be missed

- The apse of Sant Climent de Taull of the Romanesque period

- The mural paintings of the Conquest of Mallorca from the Gothic period

- Gaudì's furniture, like his sofa designed for Casa Batló in the early 900s

- Casas illustrations, such as Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu on a Tandem

In addition, the view of the city from the museum's terraces is unmissable (especially at sunset).

Practical info

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8. CosmoCaixa

This innovative science museum is housed in a majestic modernist building.

Opened in 1981, it boasts a great record: it was - ever - the first interactive museum in all of Spain.

It is certainly an ideal structure for children and young people, but it also excites adults.

Developed over five floors, the CosmoCaixa is organized with permanent and temporary exhibition itineraries. They range from the tropical forest to the Geological Wall, to the Planetarium, and the visit is made even more intriguing by the scientific experiments that visitors can carry out.

The works not to be missed

  • The Amazon rainforest.
  • The Geological Wall, divided into sections representing the different geological structures
  • The Bubble Planetarium, especially for children up to 8 years of age

Practical info

CosmoCaixaGo to the deepening

Bonus: Camp Nou Museum

A perfect museum for sports lovers, especially football! The structure, located in the main grandstand of the Barcelona FC stadium (better known as Camp Nou) celebrates the history of Futbol Club Barcelona.

Open since 1994 and, since then, frequented by numerous visitors, the museum exhibits works of art, documents and memorabilia. The entrance also includes a visit to the huge stadium, which can accommodate almost 100.000 spectators.

The works not to be missed

Of course, the club's main trophies, including the Champions League cup, and the jerseys!

True enthusiasts can also take home some special gadgets: the clods of the field are in fact sold as souvenirs.

Practical info

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How to save on admission

Buying single tickets for the different museums usually means spending a decent sum!

However, some savings can be obtained by purchasing tourist cards / passes, which, against payment in advance, offer access to numerous attractions, free or discounted.

In particular, we point out that:

- The Barcelona Card includes all city museums: for example, the Picasso Museum, the MNAC, the MACBA, the Mirò Foundation and the Antoni Tàpies Foundation.

- The Barcelona Pass includes admission to MACBA and CosmoCaixa.

- The Arqueoticket which includes admission to four museums: the barcelona history museum (MUHBA) - all locations; the Museum of Archeology of Catalonia; the Egyptian Museum of Barcelona and the Born Cultural and Memory Center. Compared to buying single tickets, with this pass you can save about 50%!

museums for free

Another way to save (100%) is to take advantage of the days and times when admission to the museum is free: several museums in Barcelona offer this possibility, so take note!

The Picasso Museum It's free

  • Thursday afternoon from 18.00 to 21.30
  • the first Sunday of each month, from 9.00 to 20.30
  • the 18 May
  • the 24 September

Attention: on free days and opening hours, you cannot access freely but with a ticket that has an assigned access time. We strongly advise you to book this ticket in advance: it will be available 4 days before its use.

THE CCCB It's free

  • Sunday from 15.00 to 20.00
  • On special days such as: day of the International Museum, night of the Museums, Santa EulĂ lia and La Mercè Holidays

Il MACBA opens its doors for free every Saturday, from 16.00 to 20.00, and on 24 September (Goods).

Il MNAC it is free on Saturdays from 15.00 pm, the first Sunday of each month; on February 12; on May 18; September 11; on September 24.

Al Museum of the History of Catalonia you can enter for free on the last Tuesday of each month, from October to June.

Admission is also free to Maritime Museum every Sunday From 15.00.

The natural science museum The Blue Museum (Barcelona Museum of Natural Sciences) It's free:

  • The first Sunday of each month, all day
  • Sunday throughout the year, from 15.00 pm
  • on 12 February (Sant'Eulalia); May 18 (International Museum Day) and September 24 (La Mercè)

Al Muhba (Barcelona History Museum) if you enter free

  • Every Sunday starting at 15.00 pm, in the locations that open on that day with the exception of Park GĂĽell
  • On the first Sunday of each month, in the locations that open on that day, except Refugi 307 and Park GĂĽell.

Finally, La Viceroy Image Center, a center that offers temporary photographic exhibitions, always offers free admission.

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