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From beautiful landscapes to delectable dishes, Barcelona is one of Europe’s major cultural centers. Travelers from all over the world venture to Spain’s second largest city to soak in the city’s thriving cultural, athletic, and gastronomic scene. Of course, you can’t forget that Barcelona was also home to some of the most famous artists in the world, including Gaudi and Picasso.
If you can manage to pull yourself away from the tapas and sangria, we highly recommend you stop by one of many museums in Barcelona. Unlike most major European cities, Barcelona has much more to offer than your average history or art museum. There’s something for everyone here, from sculpture parks to chocolate shops, and everything in between! Also, if you are staying in Barcelona, you should check out our post about where to stay in Barcelona.
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Barcelona is overflowing with creative and artistic talent, and the Museu del Disseny de Barcelona is no exception. Known in English as the Design Museum, Museu del Disseny de Barcelona covers the four basic disciplines of classic design: product design, information design, fashion design, and space design.
You’ll find thousands of items ranging from antique furniture to mid-century advertising concepts – and everything in between! Don’t worry – you don’t have to be a designer to appreciate everything on display here at the Museu del Disseny de Barcelona.
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Picasso may be one of the most famous artists in the world, and Barcelona’s Museu Picasso houses the largest collection of his works! With over 4,000 Picasso pieces, the museums are sprawled across 5 different buildings covering over 10,000 square meters.
The permanent collection includes paintings, drawings, and ceramics that Picasso completed during his entire life. You can’t miss The First Communion and Science and Charity, two of his earliest and most famous paintings.
Learn even more about Picasso’s history with a walking tour combined with tickets to the Museu Picasso!
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Catalonia has a rich history that dates back hundreds of years. At Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, you can see classic Catalonian art that has made Barcelona a culturally diverse and famous city. Most importantly, the museum includes a vast collection of Romanesque church paintings, as well as an outstanding Renaissance and Baroque art collection.
If you’re more into modern art, don’t fret. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya also has an enormous contemporary art collection, which includes neoclassical and realist Catalonian artists.
Why wait hours outside when you can skip the line and spend more time in the museum?
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You might not find Espai Bombers-Parc De La Prevenció in any Barcelona travel guides, but it’s a small and charming museum that’s completely dedicated to Barcelona firefighters!
Go back almost 200 years in history to see different firefighting vehicles, equipment, and tools that were used. Not only is this hidden gem something different than your average museums, but it is educational for the entire family!
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Located high atop the Montjuïc hill, Fundació Joan Miró is a museum dedicate to the Spanish contemporary artist, Joan Miró. Surprisingly enough, Miró donated many of the sculptures and paintings himself. Besides his own works, there are also exhibits for other famous artists, including Peter Greenaway, Magritte, and Rothko.
However, one of the most unique attractions is Alexander Calder’s Mercury Fountain, which drizzles poisonous liquid mercury instead of water. Don’t worry – the fountain is behind protective glass!
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With over 5,000 perfume containers and bottles, Museu del Perfum might be one of the most unique museums in Barcelona. Although you can’t open and smell each one, you’ll still be able to admire the antique and modern bottles that have been collected from all over the world.
You’ll find crystal and glass containers from Egypt, Greece, Rome, and even the middle east. If you’re looking to experience a different type of art, then make sure to stop by Museu del Perfum for a touch of glamour!
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Located in a former textile factory, CaixaForum Barcelona is a modern space with a rotating collection of art exhibits. Although you won’t find any permanent exhibits on display at CaixaForum Barcelona, you might have a chance to see pieces that are on loan from other world-renown museums.
Even if you can’t find an exhibit that interests you, go just to check out the stunning, award-winning building which was designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch.
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If you have a sweet tooth, you absolutely cannot miss Barcelona’s tastiest museum! Museu de la Xocolata or Museum of Chocolate is dedicated to everything, well you guessed it, chocolate! Not only will you learn about the production of chocolate, but you’ll also see the history of how it made its way to Europe and Spain.
Of course, the best part of Museu de la Xocolata is the free sample of chocolate when you enter. But if you can’t get enough, you can also purchase more at the delicious gift shop!
No visit to Barcelona would be complete without experiencing at least one majestic piece from Antoni Gaudi. Not only was Casa Milà Gaudi’s final residence, but it’s also considered one of the most unconventional buildings in the whole city.
The stone facade has a rounded appearance, and twists and turns around every angle! The rooftop terrace is by far the most impressive feature of the building and includes pointed stone chimneys, skylights, and one of some views of Barcelona you can find.
If you can’t get enough Gaudi, combine a trip to Casa Milà with his other top buildings.
Situated on the bustling La Rambla, Barcelona’s Erotic Museum is more than just an homage to the history of eroticism! It’s actually an educational and fascinating look into different types of sexuality around the world.
There are over 800 erotic items and artifacts, including the personal (and very private) erotic video collection of King Alfonso XIII. If you feel inspired at the end of the tour, there’s an on-site gift shop where you can purchase everything from lingerie to erotic toys!
Explore the deep, dark underground of the Gothic Quarter and find Museu d’Història de Barcelona! These Roman ruins were discovered in the early 1900s and later excavated and converted in a museum.
During the excavation, archaeologists found a plethora of silver, glass, gold, and ceramics within the 4,000 square meters of underground space. There’s no better way to see what early, civil life was like in Barcelona than to take a guided tour of MUHBA!
Channel your inner illusionist and head to El Rei de la Magia in the Born district. This museum, gift shop, and theater shines a light into the world of magic! You’ll find all types of items, from magic books and guides to magic tools and costumes.
Some objects date as far back as the 1800s, the golden era for illusion and magic practice. If you purchase a ticket for a magic show in the theater, you can also explore the museum for free!
Catalan artist Antonio Tápies is one of Spain’s most recognizable artists. Fundació Antonio Tápies was built so showcase his finest works, many of which were donated by Tápies himself.
The museum is also an art foundation, which promotes the education and study of modern and contemporary art through activities, workshops, and shows. You can also find a rotating gallery of other modern artists. Check Fundació Antonio Tápies’ website for more information on the traveling exhibits!
Barcelona’s Hash, Marijuana & Hemp Museum is not just for hippies! This education museum shows the impressive impact marijuana and cannabis have had on Europe and the rest of the world.
You’ll find exhibits on how to make hash, the history of hemp, and even the benefits of medical marijuana! This unique collection of items is definitely an insightful, magical, and relaxed way to spend your day in Barcelona (as it should be!)
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Spain has one of the largest coastlines in all of the Mediterranean, so it’s easy to see how it’s a country with a long and rich maritime heritage. At Museu Marítim de Barcelona, you’ll learn all about Barcelona’s seafaring history, and how the Spaniards built some of the largest and most powerful ships in the world.
There’s also an exhibit on the history of ships, and how their composition and structure has changed throughout history.
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There might not be anything like Museu de Carrosses Fúnebres in the rest of the world! Known as the Museum of Funeral Carriages, this museum is a morbid look into one of the most overlooked parts before the afterlife.
Museu de Carrosses Fúnebres contains an impressive collection of almost 20 different funeral carriages and coaches. If the museum isn’t creepy enough for you, then you can also visit the funeral library which is located on site and contains almost 4,000 books on funeral customs.
Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona is more than just an art gallery. It’s also an event center, festival and concert hall, and overall art center for the entire city. The museum has a past of hosting some of the finest modern and contemporary art exhibits, ranging from photography, journalism, and science and technology.
Since exhibits change monthly, check the CCCB website to find out if there is a gallery, film, or lecture that sparks your interest.
La Sagrada Familia may be Gaudi’s most famous building as well as Barcelona’s most iconic landmark. This Roman Catholic church has remained unfinished since it’s construction in 1882, but it still remains a divine piece of architecture. Step inside and be transported into a world, unlike anything you’ve seen before.
Of course, the structure of the outside of the Basilica is equally as impressive as the inside. It may not be the cheapest attraction in Barcelona, but it’s one you absolutely cannot miss during your trip.
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Music lovers will enjoy spending a relaxing afternoon at Museu de la Música de Barcelona. The museum houses a large collection of musical instruments that can be found all over the world.
Although there are over 2,000 instruments in the collection, only 500 are on display at one time, which is still impressive for a museum of this size. The museum also hosts a variety of events, from Saturday morning jazz sessions with coffee to organ recitals and performances.
Run by the Clos Archaeological Foundation, the Museu Egipci de Barcelona contains more than 1,000 artifacts from Ancient Egypt. There are multiple exhibits separated into different themes, including an exhibit about the Pharaoh, Egyptian jewelry, and Egyptian ceramics and art.
Just like any good Egyptian museum, Museu Egipci de Barcelona also has a collection of mummified bodies. Some even date back to an astounding 700 BC!
Spend more time exploring Egypt’s archaic history with skip the line tickets!
The Barcelona Wax Museum is fun for the whole family! Although wax museums are nothing new to big cities, the one in Barcelona should be added to your itinerary. What makes this museum different from other wax museums is that it’s focused on horror!
Walk through the chamber of horrors and see your favorite spooky characters (like Frankenstein and Count Dracula). Of course, there are other themed rooms that are less scary and better for the little ones on your visit.
How many museums are in Barcelona?
Barcelona is a city focused on arts and culture, so it comes as no surprise that there are dozens of museums to visit. Although there are plenty of art museums in the city, Barcelona also has a fair share of unique museums you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
How many free museums are in Barcelona?
Most museums in Barcelona charge an entrance fee starting at a few euros per person. Keep in mind that government-run museums are free to the public on the first Sunday of the month. Many museums also have a free entry every Sunday but after a certain time.
What are the hours of the museums in Barcelona?
Museums in Barcelona open around 9 or 10 in the morning and close around 7 or 8 in the evening. Although you can find museums that are open 7 days a week, it’s not uncommon for a museum to be closed on a Monday or Tuesday.
What can I bring into Barcelona Museums?
You can usually bring a camera for photography to many museums in Barcelona. However, selfie sticks, the use of flash, and tripods are probably prohibited. Food and liquids are also usually allowed, so feel free to bring extra snacks to keep you satisfied!
As you can see, Barcelona is much more than meets the eye. Its rich cultural history makes it one of the most interesting and impressive cities in Europe, if not the world! With dozens of museums and galleries, we know that you’ll have an action-packed itinerary when you travel through Barcelona.
Whether you’re interested in modern art, Spanish history, or even something out of this world like magic and illusion, Barcelona has something for you. Besides saying goodbye, the hardest part of the trip will be deciding which museums you want to spend your time. But we know you’ll have an amazing time wherever you choose!
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Emma Johnson lives to travel! Born in Washington D.C., Emma is a hotel connoisseur and a staff writer at Hotel Jules. An army brat, Emma got the travel bug early and has never been able to stop. Now, she has proudly visited 70+ countries and plans to visit every country in the world! Passionate about her ukelele (obviously) and her family, Emma eventually wants to retire in Thailand and write a book about all of her travel experiences.