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Arts & Culture

Most important museums in Barcelona

Written by Vicky York

Barcelona is a city that loves the arts! There are so many fantastic museums, it may be hard to choose which ones to go visit, especially if you are here only for a short period of time. So to help you whittle it down, here are the most important museums you should visit in Barcelona.


Photo by enricrubioros1 via VisualHunt

The National Art Museum of Catalonia or MNAC is located on Montjuic hill. If you’re planning to pay it a visit, make sure you dedicate plenty of time to it, as the size of the collection is reflected in its slogan “One museum, a thousand years of art”, with pieces from the 12th century up until the 20th century. One of the highlights of the museum is the collection of 21 unique Romanesque frescos which are shown as they would have been in their churches.

The building itself, Palau Nacional, is pretty impressive, having been built in 1929 for the World Exhibition. It houses a restaurant at the top, with impressive views overlooking Plaza España and a library at the back. Something that most visitors often miss is the roof terrace which offers an incredible view over Montjuic.

Tickets €12 (valid for two days during a month from the purchase date).

Free Saturdays from 3 pm onwards and first Sunday of each month.

Related Article: Top ten museums outside Barcelona

Museo Picasso

The Picasso Museum is one of Barcelona’s most popular museums. Opened in 1963 in the Gothic Aguilar Palace (Palau Gòtic Aguilar) it now occupies a space of five large townhouses in the Born area. The museum covers Picasso’s formative years during his time as an apprentice in the city of Barcelona. The museum now comprises of over 4,000 works that make up the permanent collection. There are also temporary exhibits throughout the year which are also worth a visit.

Tickets €11

Free all Sundays from 3 pm and the first Sunday of each month.


Photo by luis_e_carranza via Visualhunt

The CCCB is a cultural centre located in the Raval neighborhood of Barcelona. Opened in 1994, it aims to be a centre for creative research and knowledge through exhibitions, talks and debates. Each year it hosts the World Press Photo exhibition and often has fascinating exhibitions. It is the largest cultural centre in Spain, designed by the same architects who created the Maremàgnum shopping centre, Piñón and Viaplana. Plus, on the first Sunday of each month, you can enjoy a rooftop view  for free.

Tickets €6

Free Sunday afternoons from 3 pm.


The Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art is located in Plaça dels Àngels, in El Raval. The museum is home to contemporary art pieces and performances. One of the most impressive features of the museum is not just its art but also the building itself. It is an iconic building designed by the American architect Richard Meier. There is also a great bookshop where you can find unique gifts.

Tickets €10 (valid for one month).


The MUHBA is Barcelona’s History Museum containing a complete history of the city. Visitors can walk around a large area of Roman ruins which covers 4,000 square metres. You are guided through the streets, buildings and taken through what Roman life was like in the city. These ruins were actually discovered by accident in the 1920’s when they were building one of the main roads in the Gothic area, Via Laietana.

Tickets €7, which includes an informative audio guide.

Related Article: Thought-inspiring museums in Barcelona

Fundació Joan Miró

Photo by jaime.silva via Visualhunt

The Fundació Joan Miró is a museum dedicated to modern art and the iconic artist Joan Miró. Located on Montjuic hill, it opened in 1975 and exhibits Miró’s work alongside contemporary pieces. The museum has about 180 sculptures from Miró, 220 of Miró’s paintings and over 8000 drawings. But only a small part of this is on display to the public. Close friend to Miró and architect Josep Lluís Sert designed the building which houses the Fundació. There is also a small garden with different contemporary sculptures where you can have a quiet break from all the sightseeing.

Tickets €12

Which is your favourite museum in Barcelona? Let us know and comment below!

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* Main photo by Franck Vervial via Visualhunt

About the author

Vicky York

Vicky is a UK copywriter and translator based in Barcelona. An avid traveller, festival follower and music lover.

1 Comment

  • Hi Vicky,

    I would like to add two of my favorite museums – the MEAM and the Museum of Modernism.
    The first is a gem of contemporary figurative art and the other one, one for beautiful paintings and sculptures of the modernism!

    😉 Céline

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