From Picasso to Barça: Museums you cannot miss on your trip to Barcelona


Barcelona Museums - MNAC National Palace

MNAC National Palace in Montjuïc

Barcelona’s wide offer of museums is one more reason that makes it worth a visit. Some of the most important artists of all time have been strongly linked to Catalonia’s main town, and a huge part of their creations have established in the city. Here are some suggestions of museums that will make your stay in Barcelona even more cultural.

1. Museu Picasso

Visiting Picasso’s Museum is a must to discover the link between Pablo Picasso and Barcelona, the city where he grew up. Located in the heart of the old Born neighorhood, you will be surprised on how large the museum is, occupying what used to be 5 palaces.

Picasso Museum

Picasso Museum in Barcelona – Las Meninas

The permanent collection has more than 4000 works, with a focus on Picasso’s formative years. You will want to see the assortment of paintings from the Blue Period, the series of ‘Las Meninas’ (1957), as well as the comprehensive print collection.

>> Watch out! Don’t expect to see only the classical Picasso style. Picasso was in Barcelona when he was young, so this is the best place to see how he developed from a young artist into a genious.

>> Want to find out more? Check out our group Picasso Museum and Gothic Quarter Walking Tour, or, if you prefer a private tour: Private Picasso and the 1900s Bohemian Barcelona

2. Gaudí Exhibition Center

The more monuments you visit of Gaudí the more questions arouse. Each work is unique and extraordinary, how was he capable of such imagination? How was it technically possible in the early 1900’s? You will find all the answers in the Gaudí Exhibition Center, which will help you understand how the mind of this genius worked.

Gaudi Exhibition Center

Gaudi Exhibition Center – model of the Dragon in Park Güell

An impressive aspect about the museum is that it has kept the essence of Gaudí, with a balance of tradition and the most avantgarde technologies. The building itself is worth a visit, it dates back to the 12th century. Some of the most interesting features about the museum are:

  • A collection of sacred works of art, some are up to 2000 years old! that will show you how religion and Catalan Medieval architecture were a source of inspiration for Gaudí.
  • Geometry, lights and mirrors to understand the advanced technical skills used by Gaudí and his unconventional methods.
  • Miniature models of some of Gaudí’s monuments
  • Virtual reality experience about the Colònia Güell

As in all monuments in Barcelona, it is better to book in advance, you can get your tickets clicking on this link.

Gaudí Exhibition Center

Gaudí Exhibition Center – playing with mirrors and shapes

3. MNAC – Catalan National Museum, or National Palace

If you go towards the entrance of Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC), turn around and have a look on what you have behind. You will get a breath-taking view of Barcelona. An unforgettable welcome from one of the most important museums of the country. But even better, with the entrance to the museum you can access the rooftop, which will give you a unique and beautiful perspective of the city.

views from mnac museum in montjuic - barcelona

Views from the top of MNAC museum in Montjuïc

The National Museum holds ten centuries of art, from the 12th to the 20th:

  • The Romanesque Collection is outstanding. It is one of the world’s most important collections of this period from the early Medieval Times (1200’s to 1400’s). It all mainly comes from the churches in the Pyrenees, like the impressive Crist de Taüll, brought to MNAC from the small village of Sant Climent de Taüll.
  • There is also a fantastic Gothic Collection, which is the following period after the Romanesque (1400’s to 1600’s). It will help you understand Barcelona’s Gothic heritage and architecture, one of my favourites is the Santa Maria del Mar church.
  • And some of the most important pieces of Modernista – Art nouveau paintings, such as the iconic mural “Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu on a Tandem”, painted by Casas himself, who also decorated the walls of the prestigious and well-known restaurant Els Quatre Gats.

Just walking down the steps in front of MNAC museum you will see the Magic Fountain, but consider that to enjoy the dancing water show you must go in the evening.

Apse of Sant Climent de Taull - in MNAC museum - barcelona

Romanesque apse of Sant Climent de Taull – in MNAC Museum

4. Fundació Miró

Probably one of the most fascinating buildings in Montjuïc mountain is the one that houses Fundació Joan Miró. A white construction designed by Josep Lluís Sert to become a remarkable space created by Joan Miró with the aim of making art accessible to all.

Fundacio Miro - The gold of the azure

Fundació Miró – The gold of the azure

The collection of paintings, drawings, sculptures and works on paper displayed at the Fundació is one of the most comprehensive and complete selections of Miró’s creations, offering a thorough overview of all the stages of his life and career. The visitor can discover some personal and artistic language exploring the eight different sections of the museum: The Land; Beyond Painting; Violence; Escape; Anonymity; Poetry and Silence; Anti-Painting; Sobreteixims, and Art and Everyday Life. Key concepts in Miró’s approach towards life. Many of the creations exhibited in Fundació Joan Miró were donated by the artist himself.

5. MACBA – Museu d’Art Contemporani

Since its opening back in 1995, MACBA museum is a hotspot of the city’s contemporary art scene. It is also located in the centric and trendy district of Raval. The Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art has a permanent collection that includes around 5000 works which keeps growing and growing. A fact worth considering knowing that MACBA held 1100 pieces at the time the museum opened, twenty-two years ago.

MACBA - Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona

MACBA – Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona

There are three periods of modern art represented: from the 1940’s to 1960’s, from the 1960’s to 1970’s and from that decade ahead. The collection focuses on the rich art contribution from Catalan and Spanish contemporary artists but it also considers well known international creators.

>> Check out its bookshop, which is truly fantastic for quirky gifts and artist design objects.

6. Camp Nou Experience-Futbol Club Barcelona Museum

There is no doubt that Gaudí or Picasso are considered geniuses in architecture and art. But you can also find magic, uniqueness and excellence in other disciplines such as sports.

Press Booth in Camp Nou Stadium

Press Booth in Camp Nou Stadium

What about football? (or soccer for the American citizens) What about the talented Cruyff, Maradona or Messi? The most visited museum in Catalonia is the Camp Nou Museum, located in Futbol Club Barcelona’s Stadium.

Apart from the fact that you will surely learn a little bit more about the history of this legendary team and see the five European Championship trophies, you can also experience the strong feeling of entering the football field from the tunnel. And right now you also have the chance to sit on the first team bench, and imagine what the now former coach Luis Enrique must have experienced all these years of training this amazing football team.

>> To find out more about sports in Barcelona, from the Olympic Games to our beloved Barça football team, don’t miss on our private tour.

>> If you prefer to enjoy a FC Barcelona match, you can get some tickets here!

And not exactly in Barcelona, but nearby:

7. Teatre-Museu Dalí (Figueres)

Located in Salvador Dalí‘s hometown, in the city of Figueres (80 miles from Barcelona), everything in the Dalí Theatre-Museum was conceived and designed by the artist to offer visitors a true surreal experience and draw them into his unique and captivating world.

The Dali Museum - the Wind Palace Ceiling

The Dali Museum – the Wind Palace Ceiling

Walking through the exhibition rooms allows visitors to capture Dalí’s first artistic experiences: surrealism, nuclear mysticism and his passion for science, and guide them to the works of the last part of his life. The museum holds around 1500 creations of all type of artistic disciplines, such as paintings, drawings, sculptures, engravings, installations, holograms, stereoscopes or photography.

>> How can you get there? Let us make it easy for you, with our Dalí Museum and Girona Tour by high-speed train.

8. Museu de Montserrat

Going to Montserrat mountain is a unique experience itself. But one of its biggest surprises (even for the locals) is the incredible museum that holds a huge variety of styles and important pieces of prestigious artists. Montserrat Museum is considered one of the most important national museums and is also one of the most visited in Catalonia. Nowadays the collection is expanding regularly.

Museu Montserrat - antique paintings

Museu Montserrat – Antique paintings

The section dedicated to Catalan artists from the XIXth and first half of XXth is particularly important, with Ramon Casas, Joaquim Mir or Santiago Rusiñol. You can also find pieces from Caravaggio, El Greco or Dalí.

An amazing section is the one dedicated to the Archeological and Ancient World and Middle East (Ancient Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt) brought together in 1906, largely in part due to Bonaventura Ubach, later enlarged by donations.

>> Our most complete tour is The Official Montserrat Coach Tour, that includes a guided visit to the Museum in Montserrat and the evening mass with the Children’s choir.