Known for sunny streets, stunning architecture, and beautiful beaches, Barcelona is one of the most beautiful cities in Spain! For a deeper cultural experience in Barcelona, it is absolutely essential to visit some of its wonderful museums. The top museums in the city focus on topics as varied as art and science to football and erotica (yup, you read that right).
Some of the best museums in Barcelona are also named amongst the best museums in Europe, and they should definitely be on your itinerary! With a rich history and some of the most amazing artistic talent in the world, the city of Barcelona is overflowing with cultural attractions-most of which include renowned museums such as the Picasso Museum, the Sagrada Familia Museum, and the Poble Espanyol.
Why Visit Museums in Barcelona
The city of Barcelona is home to the greatest art on the planet! Its innumerable museums and galleries bear testimony to the creative geniuses that the Catalan capital has given to the world. Barcelona’s contribution to the world of art is phenomenal! Be it Cubism, Impressionism, Modernism, or Postmodernism-all kinds of art can easily be found hidden inside some of the best museums in Barcelona. It comes as no surprise then that the Catalonian city is often described as “one big love letter to art”!
Museum hopping is one of the best things to do when you visit the city of Barcelona. Most of the museums in the city are child-friendly and they make for a fun family outing all year round. The museums in Barcelona also host some legendary permanent exhibitions and some amazing temporary ones that you simply cannot miss!
5 Must-See Works of Art in Barcelona
A trip to sunny Barcelona would be incomplete without visiting some of its famous museums such as the Picasso Museum, Camp Nou Museum, Sagrada Familia Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona. Here are 5 must-see works of art in Barcelona that can be found in some of its most famous museums.
1Pablo Picasso’s ‘Science and Charity’
If you want an insight into the artistic mind of fifteen-year-old Pablo Picasso, visit the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. Over here, you will find one of Pablo Picasso’s earliest works-his ‘Science and Charity’ painting. This artwork is the most representative of some of the works that Picasso created during his teenage years. Based on the theme of social realism, ‘Science and Charity’ depicts a scene from everyday life. In fact, to make the initial sketches of this work, Picasso actually hired a local beggar and his child!
2Picasso’s ‘Las Meninas’
Picasso’s ‘Las Meninas’ is believed to be one of the most intriguing works created by the artist. Housed in the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, this painting is actually a series of fifty-eight paintings that were inspired by Spanish painter Diego Velàzquez’s work of the same name. The ‘Las Meninas’ by Picasso is the only complete series of works that have been held and displayed together in one place. This artwork was donated by Picasso himself to the museum in 1968.
3Antoni Tàpies’ ‘Rinzen’
Antoni Tàpies’ ‘Rinzen’ is one of the best works of art that you will see in Barcelona! Tàpies was the most influential European artist of his generation, and his ‘Rinzen’ can be admired at the entrance of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona. In Japanese, ‘Rinzen’ translates to 'sudden awakening’ and this famous art in Barcelona stays true to its name. The hospital bed in the painting is symbolic of two things-one is the war taking place in Bosnia during that time and the second is a troubling memory from Tàpies’ own childhood.
4Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Self Portrait
Another famous piece of art in Barcelona, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Self Portrait hangs in the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona. This highly-charged piece has innumerable influences and expressions. In his self-portrait, Basquiat used color in a dynamic way and in an abstract form to create a painting that conveys layered meanings to the viewer. Jean-Michel Basquiat’s vigorous and almost violent use of brush strokes and colors to create his self-portrait expresses many emotions-one of them being anger. It is very hard to admire this picture without feeling enraged yourself-such are the emotions depicted by Jean-Michel in his artwork.
5Jaume Xifra’s ‘Barrière’
Jaume Xifra was a famous Catalonian conceptual artist who fled to France to escape the dictatorship. Xifra worked with cheap materials and objects to create artworks that critiqued the world of consumerism. One such artwork created by him can be found at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona-Xifra’s ‘Barrière’. This art in Barcelona is a social commentary on the police’s control over the people. It is essentially a barrier or barricades covered in barbed wire. It depicts how supposed pedestrians are put at risk and brilliantly shows the even more violent separation of the people from the state.
10 Best Museums in Barcelona
Barcelona will not be Barcelona without its art. To experience the rich culture of this Catalan city on your visit, take some time out to visit some of the best museums in Barcelona. Here are a few museums that are worth a visit on your trip to Barcelona.
#1 Picasso Museum
Art Museums in Barcelona
The Picasso Museum or the Museo Picasso is one of the most popular museums in Barcelona. The museum has a permanent collection of more than four thousand pieces that show young Pablo’s formative years in art school. The Picasso Museum contains lesser-known works of Picasso and gives you a wonderful insight into the time that the artist spent in Barcelona. While going through the museum, you will also be able to see and understand how Pablo Picasso transitioned from a classically trained painter to a pioneer of the Cubist movement in art. Spread over five palaces, the Picasso Museum is as glorious as the artworks that are displayed in its rooms. Downstairs you can see a courtyard and Gothic archways that lead into a white studio which illuminates the artworks displayed there. When you move upstairs you will be greeted with lavish rooms with epic painted ceilings and stunning crystal chandeliers.
Picasso Museum Museum Highlights
- ‘Science and Charity'
- ‘Las Meninas’
- ‘Ciencia y Caridad’
Recommended Picasso Museum Tickets
Picasso Museum Reviews
Highly recommend! The Picasso Tour was full of new information on Picasso's youth and growth into the painter he becomes. Our guide was very knowledgeable and well spoken anserwred questions. It's an amazing building as well!
- Holly, Headout, October 2022
Definitely worth it if you love art. This museum has 44 of Picasso’s masterpieces. It even has his interpretation of “Las Meninas” from Velazquez.
- Marvin, Headout, September 2021
#2 Poble Espanyol
Open-air Architectural Museum
One of the most popular attractions in Barcelona, the Poble Espanyol, or ‘Spanish Village’ is an open-air museum that was built in 1929. With a mixture of architecture, contemporary art, traditional crafts, shops, gastronomy, and traditions, Poble Espanyol is one of the best museums in Barcelona. The museum resembles an actual village with 117 real-life replicas of buildings from different Spanish Regions. Some of these include a typical Andalusian quarter, a section of a way of St. James, and Romanesque monastic architecture. Located in one of the most iconic areas in Barcelona, Poble Espanyol is a short distance from the Montjuїc fountains and makes for a great family outing. Over here, you can experience and understand the regional differences prevalent in the architecture that is seen all over Spain. You can also participate in the various workshops and activities at the Poble Espanyol.
Poble Espanyol Museum Highlights
- Museu Fran Durel
- Guinovart Space
- The Olympiad Dial
- San Miquel Monastery
- Sculpture Garden
Recommended Poble Espanyol Museum Tickets
Poble Espanyol Museum Reviews
I loved what the village offered, it was very interesting and fun to walk around. What I did not like is that even though it says the village is open until 20h and actually last entry is then, almost everything inside closed before 19h, including the little rooms that represented each area of Spain.
- Denitsa, Headout, October 2022
Very easy to book tickets, very nice little village full of information about the culture of Spain. Overall a great experience.
- Savvas, Headout, September 2022
#3 Wax Museum Barcelona
Must-see Museum in Barcelona
The Museu de Cera or the Wax Museum in Barcelona is home to more than two hundred wax figures of famous and historical people and characters. Redesigned during the recent lockdown, the Wax museum in Barcelona is now a twenty-first-century museum that is modern and interactive-two things that will make it a hit with your family. Housed in a Neoclassical palace since 1973, the Wax museum will allow you to appreciate and admire the historic and artistic value of the architecture of this building. Built in 1867, the current building that is home to the Wax Museum in Barcelona was actually made as a representative building for the Banc de Barcelona. In 1973, Enrique Alarćon decided to transform the building into a museum and that’s how the Museu de Cera came to be. When visiting this museum in Barcelona, don’t forget to indulge in some delicious food at the bar El Bosc de Les Fades, which has a fairy forest-themed decor.
Highlights of Wax Museum Barcelona
- The Grand Staircase
- Gothic Hall
- Recital Hall
- Original, armored vault of the Bank
Recommended Wax Museum Barcelona Tickets
Wax Museum Barcelona Reviews
Fun to see the figures eventhough we didn't know them all. Ticets was ordered from home, easy to scan them from our phone. We took about 1 hour to go through.
- Betina, Headout, August 2022
Lovely Place. Our family really enjoyed ourselves. We would recommend this place to everyone.
- Subita, Headout, September 2022
#4 Erotic Museum of Barcelona
History of Eroticism
The Erotic Museum of Barcelone is a one-of-a-kind museum that is solely dedicated to the wonders of human sexuality across the times and throughout civilization. Located on the famed La Rambla Boulevard in Barcelona, the Erotic Museum is divided into different areas-each which is dedicated to the diverse aspects of human sexual history. These range from Ancient Rome to the pin-up culture of the 1950s and fetishism. The Erotic Museum of Barcelona is the first museum of erotica art and culture. Through its collections, the museum traces the development of eroticism through different artistic and cultural fields. It also gives an insight into the erotic manifestations of a wide range of cultures. With more than eight hundred artworks decking its halls, this museum in Barcelona has Asian art collections, contemporary erotic art exhibitions, and displays original artworks from local creators as well as replicas of sexually-themed artworks of some famous artists
Highlights of Erotic Museum of Barcelona
- Erotic video collection of King Alfonso XIII
- Sexual World Records Room
- Erotic Garden
- Room with information about the Kama Sutra and the Ananga Ranga
Recommended Erotic Museum Tickets
#5 World of Banksy Barcelona
Most Celebrated Artist in the World
The World of Banksy Barcelona is an exhibition that simply cannot be missed! Hosted in the Espacio Trafalgar, the World of Banksy is an immersive art exhibition that showcases over one hundred works of art designed by the legendary artist Banksy. Known for his provocative and timely artwork, Banksy is the most celebrated artist in the world. No one knows what he looks like, all they know is that Banksy is a contemporary street artist who creates subversive street art and graffiti that focuses on global politics and other topics of social interest. All of Banksy’s works are characterized by dark humor with a stark stenciling technique. Spread over two floors, the World of Banksy in Barcelona is a must-visit since it shows the best of Banksy’s gutsy work from an intriguing and satirical perspective.
Highlights of World of Banksy Barcelona
- ‘Napalm Girl’
- ‘Love is in the Air’
- ‘Girl with Balloon'
- ‘Migrant Birds’
Recommended World of Banksy Barcelona
World of Banksy Barcelona Reviews
The Banksy exhibition was great, it really piqued my interest in finding out more about him. Even my teenage son liked it, and asked some interesting questions. Also great not to have to queue for a change.
- Marguerite, Headout, November 2022
Brilliant exbo on the wonderful world of banksy, great value and some truly excellent images and what a great little shop too
- Diane, Headout, September 2022
#6 KBr Photography Center Mapfre
Largest Collection of Photography
The Kbr Photography Center Mapfre is another museum in Barcelona that will be perfect for people who enjoy photography. This new photography center in Barcelona is dedicated exclusively to artistic photography. Since its inception, KBr Photography Center Mapfre has grown from strength to strength and has now cemented its position as one of the foremost art institutions in Barcelona today. The KBr Photography Center Mapfre has two exhibition halls, a bookstore, a space to host educational events, and a multi-purpose auditorium. One of the best museums in Barcelona for everything related to photography, this museum is also working on developing a long-term educational program to teach future generations about the language of photography and its creative dimensions. If photography interests you, visit the KBr Photography Center Mapfre to experience different exhibitions and admire some of the best collections of classic photographs taken by Catalonian photographers and other photographers from all over the world.
KBr Photography Center Mapfre Highlights
- Librerìa KBr
- Carrie Mae Weems Exhibition
- KBr Flama’22 Exhibition
Recommended KBr Photography Center Mapfre Tickets
#7 Big Fun Museum
Must-see Museum n Barcelona
As the name suggests, the Big Fun Museum in Barcelona guarantees you and your family a fun day out. Opened in 2018, this museum reflects the whimsical and quirky nature of the city of Barcelona. Located on the famous La Rambla, the Big Fun Museum appeals to all five senses and feeds your imagination and creativity with its thematic rooms, topsy-turvy house, 3D installations, ball pits, and other such curiosities. The museum consists of a time-out zone and seven different and distinct museums-each with its own whacky theme. All the exhibits displayed in the Big Fun Museum Barcelona motivate you to actively engage, enjoy and interact with them. There is something for everyone at the Big Fun Museum, so add it to your itinerary as soon as possible!
Big Fun Museum Highlights
- Giant’s House
- Topsy Turvy House
- Sweets Museum
- Museum of Madness
- Dry Pool
Recommended Big Fun Museum Tickets
#8 Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona
Important Works of International Artist
If contemporary art has always fascinated you, then check out the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona. Opened in 1995, this museum houses more than five thousand works and is considered to have the best collection of contemporary artworks from the mid-twentieth century. You’ll find works by acclaimed artists such as Keith Haring, Basquiat, and Andy Warhol displayed at this museum in Barcelona. The Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona is at the heart of Barcelona’s contemporary art scene and hosts some excellent exhibitions such as ‘A Short Century’, ‘Art Stories from Barcelona’ and ‘Plague’. The collections housed here showcase the transformation of Barcelona in the 1930s and the involvement of art in the Spanish Civil War. You can also gain an understanding of how Barcelona tried to rekindle the spirit of culture in the post-war years. Declared a cultural heritage site by the Government of Catalonia, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona is one of the best museums in Barcelona and is well worth a visit.
Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona Highlights
- Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Self-Portrait
- Jaume Xifra’s ‘Barrière’
- Antoni Tàpies’ ‘Rinzen’
- Marcel Duchamp’s ‘Fluttering Hearts’
- Hans Haacke’s ‘Condensation Cube’
Recommended Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona Tickets
#9 Camp Nou Museum
Biggest Stadium in Barcelona
If you love football, you must have heard of the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona. Camp Nou Stadium is the home ground of FC Barcelona, one of the best football clubs in the world! The Camp Nou Stadium is the largest football stadium in Spain and the third largest stadium in the world which can accommodate over 99,354 people. The historic Camp Nou Stadium has hosted two Champions League Finals, two UEFA Cup Winners’ Cups, the FIFA World Cup, and the 1992 Summer Olympics. The recently renovated Camp Nou Museum has some new displays, large-format interactive walls, and a wide collection of objects that showcase the glorious history of FC Barcelona. The museum is divided into three main sections-the historic museum that houses all the major trophies won by FC Barcelona, the ‘Futbol Art Collection', and a separate area to host temporary exhibitions.
Camp Nou Museum Highlights
- Camp Nou Stadium
- ‘Messi Area’
- Trophy Cabinet
- Changing rooms, Press Rooms, and Mixed Zone
- Panoramic view from the stands
Recommended Camp Nou Museum Tickets
Camp Nou Museum Reviews
Very nice combination between the museum (visit at your own pace with the autoguide!) and of course the fabulous Stadium!.
- M, Headout, October 2022
Great experience and good value. No need to buy more than the standard ticket. Allow plenty of time if you are a footy fan
- K, Headout, September 2022
The Sagrada Familia Cathedral is the most famous landmark in the city of Barcelona. Open since 1961, the Sagrada is the most visited attraction in Barcelona. Designed by Antoni Gaudi, this unfinished architectural marvel is an ode to modernist architecture and contains elements of art nouveau, Catalan modernism, and Spanish late Gothic design. The Sagrada Familia has three façades, each of which depicts a certain period in the life of Jesus Christ. The first façade is known as ‘Nativity’ and shows the birth of Christ. The second one is called ‘Passion’ and depicts the death and resurrection of Christ. The third façade is known as the ‘Glory Façade’ and shows Christ’s eternal glory. The Sagrada Familia Museum is located under the ‘Passion’ façade, inside a semi-basement. At the museum, you can get into the mind of Gaudi and gain an understanding of how his plans for the Sagrada Familia Cathedral were initiated. You can also view his construction models, drawings, plans, and original sketches in this underground museum.
Sagrada Familia Museum Highlights
- Sagrada Familia Cathedral
- Gaudi’s Tomb
- Casa Museu Gaudi
Recommended Sagrada Familia Tickets
Sagrada Familia Museum Reviews
It was an amazing experience. My tour guide explained all the doubts the group had and provided a very good explanation about the Sagrada Família!
- Livia, Headout, October 2022
Our tour went smoothly . Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and spoke clearly. I would recommend this tour to anyone visiting Barcelona.
- Phyllis, Headout, September 2022
Tips to Visit Museums in Barcelona
- Wear comfortable footwear when visiting any of the museums in Barcelona since you will be walking a lot.
- To skip crowds and long queues, purchase skip-the-line tickets that will give you priority access to the museums.
- Book your tickets online and in advance to make the most of the offers that are available for visiting the museums in Barcelona
- To avoid crowds and long wait times, try to book your tickets during the off-peak hours of the museums in Barcelona. This varies from museum to museum, so check and plan accordingly.
- Most of the museums in Barcelona are child-friendly and easily accessible for people with reduced mobility.
- Some museums allow photography and videography, whereas some do not. Check this beforehand before you visit the museums in Barcelona.
The best museums in Barcelona include the Picasso Museum, Poble Espanyol and the World of Banksy Barcelona.
Most museums will charge you an entrance fee, but they may offer discounted rates and allow free entry on certain days. It is best to check the official website of each of the museums in Barcelona and plan your visit accordingly.
The newest museums in Barcelona are the Kbr Photography Center Mapfre and the Big Fun Museum.
Most museums in Barcelona do not have any restrictions, but it is still a good idea to check the official website of each of the museums for more information on this.
Visiting the Picasso Museum in Barcelona should not take you more than two hours.