The Top Museums in Barcelona

Exterior of the Museu del Disseny de Barcelona, which opened in 2008
Exterior of the Museu del Disseny de Barcelona, which opened in 2008 | © Jeffrey Isaac Greenberg 13+ / Alamy
Katherine Tolley

When you think about Barcelona, it might be the sunny streets, stunning architecture or convenient city beach that spring to mind. Yet the Catalan capital also has a wealth of exciting museums for the traveller seeking a deeper cultural experience. Among the top museums in Barcelona are institutions that focus on art and science, as well as places to learn more about football, erotica and chocolate.

1. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya

Museum, Building

Barcelona Catalunya spain Barcelona city Palau Nacional National Art Museum of Catalonia Placa de les Cascades Water cascade Montjuic Barcelona Spain
© eye35 / Alamy
Constructed for the International Exhibition of 1929, the Palau Nacional of Montjuïc is now home to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC). With perhaps the most varied and comprehensive collection of Catalan art in the world, works here range from Romanesque murals and religious paintings to examples of Catalan Modernism and photography – not to mention the incredible view of Barcelona from the front steps.

2. FC Barcelona Museum


BARCELONA, SPAIN - 12 JANUARY 2018: The museum of trophies of the cups and awards of the team FC Barcelona in the of Camp Nou.
© Zhanna Tretiakova / Alamy
Anyone who knows just how popular FC Barcelona is both in the city and across the world will not be surprised that the club has its very own museum located at the heart of the Camp Nou stadium. Inaugurated in 1984, the museum has been refurbished over the years to keep up to date with the club’s ongoing success, and it attracts over 1.2 million visitors each year. Browse through old photos of the players or admire some of their most impressive trophies as part of the popular Camp Nou Experience.

3. Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona

Museum, Music Venue

Barcelona Spain Catalonia Catalunya Ciutat Vella El Raval CCCB Centre de Cultura Contemporania Contemporary Culture Center gallery museum exhibition f
© Jeffrey Isaac Greenberg 9+ / Alamy
The Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB) lies in the heart of El Raval. Though it is often overlooked in favour of its more famous neighbour, the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), it is well worth a visit. Not only does the CCCB offer unique and thought-provoking exhibitions, but it does so in a way that makes contemporary art relevant and engaging to even the most hesitant museum-goers.

4. Erotic Museum of Barcelona


Erotic Museum in Barcelona, Spain.
© Paul Quayle / Alamy Stock Photo
Not for those of a sensitive disposition, Barcelona’s Erotic Museum pays homage to the wonders of human sexuality across the times and throughout civilisations. Located on the famous La Rambla boulevard, the museum is divided into different areas dedicated to diverse aspects of human sexual history – from its appearance in Ancient Rome to the pin-up culture of the 1950s or the sometimes taboo world of fetishism. There are hundreds of items on display, with original artwork by local creators and even replicas of sexually themed work by famous artists.

5. Museu Marítim de Barcelona

Building, Museum

Don Juan from Austrias royal galley, Royal Shipyards, Maritime Museum, Drassanes, Catalonia, Spain
© Lucas Vallecillos / Alamy Stock Photo
For sea and land lovers alike, Barcelona’s Museu Marítim underwent a major renovation and reopened to the public in 2014 with not only a large permanent collection but temporary exhibitions as well. As a Mediterranean port city, much of Barcelona’s history is connected to the sea. Although the building that houses this museum is at the end of La Rambla, it was once much closer to the sea and was used in the building of galleys during wartime.

6. Museu del Disseny de Barcelona

Museum, Building, Market

Spain, Catalonia, Barcelona, Placa de les Glories Catalanes, Museu del Disseny, the design museum houses the collections of the Museum of Decorative Arts, Ceramics, Textiles, Garment and Graphic Arts Cabinet building designed by the firm MBM Arquitectes a
© MAISANT Ludovic / / Alamy
Whether you’re interested in fashion, furniture, graphic design, decorative arts or architecture, the Museu del Disseny de Barcelona (Design Museum) has something to suit. Situated in Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes, the most recent addition to the city’s museum scene is a combination of four previous collections focussing on object and design, all in one grand location. The futuristic building – known as “The Stapler” – sits between two equally impressive architectural neighbours: the soaring, shimmering Torre Agbar and the Mercat dels Encants – a flea market located beneath a mirrored pavilion.

7. Chocolate Museum


Barcelona Spain Catalonia Catalunya El Born historic district Ciutat Vella Museu de la Xocolata Museum of Chocolate inside exhibit chocolate sculpture
© Jeffrey Isaac Greenberg 20+ / Alamy
Calling all chocoholics – this is the one place you won’t want to miss in Barcelona! Located inside a former monastery, the Chocolate Museum pays homage to this most delightful of ingredients in all its forms. Looking at the history of chocolate in Europe, from its introduction to the continent in the 15th century to modern advances by chocolatiers, the museum is both educational and fun. For the full experience, book yourself onto a workshop and learn how to make something sweet, from chocolate truffles to lollipops.

8. CosmoCaixa


A woman visits the exhibition Mirrors: In and Out of Reality in Barcelona, Spain, 12 April 2019. Maths, physics and photonics melt in this exhibition presented by Cosmocaixa in which visitors can enter a big kaleidoscope to walk through and experience w
© EFE News Agency / Alamy
This family-friendly science museum reopened in 2004 with permanent exhibits ranging from constellations to rock formations and everything in between. CosmoCaixa may be off the beaten path for the average tourist, but it is beloved by residents and more adventurous tourists alike. With both a 3D Planetarium and a scaled version of the solar system for children, what’s not to like?

9. Fundació Joan Miró

Museum, Park

Foundation Joan Miro, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
© dleiva / Alamy Stock Photo
If you’re in the mood to see a lot of Joan Miró’s work in the same place, then take a hike up Montjuïc to visit this modern museum building with its equally modern collection. Even though the majority of the artworks outside and inside are by Miró, this expansive space hosts many pieces by other artists, as well as various temporary exhibits.

10. Hash, Marihuana and Hemp Museum


The Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum is a museum located in Barcelona
© Rik Hamilton / Alamy Stock Photo
The consumption of cannabis in private places is legal in Spain, so the country has something of a reputation as a ‘smoker’s paradise’. Indeed, there are over 200 private cannabis clubs in Barcelona alone. The Hash, Marihuana and Hemp Museum pays homage to the Cannabis sativa family, and not just the psychoactive marijuana plant but also its close cousin, the hemp plant, which has been used for centuries to build resistant materials such as sails and cloth. The museum contains hundreds of items relating to the production and consumption of the plants, as well as a sizeable collection of artwork.

11. Museu Europeu d’Art Modern


MEAM European Museum of Modern Art. Interior views of paintings and sculptures. La Ribera, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
© Mark Wiener / Alamy
The Museu Europeu d’Art Modern (MEAM) is located next to the Museu Picasso in the neighbourhood of El Born. Almost all the artists on show in this small but well-curated space are still living and working today, with the majority either Spanish or based in Spain. MEAM is a museum with a purpose: to establish a dialogue and find meaning in modern art rather than making metaphorical or literal noise in the art community – and its collection of profound portraits does just that.

12. Museu d’Història de Catalunya


Museum of Catalan History, Museu d?Historia de Catalunya, Port Vell, Barcelona, Spain
© Melvyn Longhurst / Alamy
The Museu d’Història de Catalunya, next to the port in Barceloneta (one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Barcelona), tells the unique story of the region and is a must-see for anyone who wants to learn more about the heritage and culture of northeastern Spain. Through both temporary and permanent exhibits, this museum encompasses the proud heritage of the region, from Paleolithic findings to life in modern Catalonia.

13. Joan Antoni Samaranch Olympic and Sports Museum

Museum, Stadium

Barcelona Spain Catalonia Catalunya Parc de Montjuic Museu Olimpic i de lEsport Joan Antoni Samaranch Juan Antonio Samaranch Olympic Sports Museum in
© Jeffrey Isaac Greenberg 9+ / Alamy
A turning point in the history of the city, the 1992 Summer Olympics catapulted Barcelona into the international spotlight and prompted the city to become the global travel destination it is today. The legacy of this momentous event is remembered in the Joan Antoni Samaranch Olympic and Sports Museum, located across from the Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium on Montjuïc. Designed as a centre for the promotion and advancement of sports and sporting technology, it also hosts a number of high-profile sporting events and contains an interactive multimedia area.

14. Museu Picasso


Barcelona Spain Catalonia Catalunya El Born historic district Ciutat Vella La Ribera Museu Picasso Museum inside interior La Mirada del Fotograf Photo
© Jeffrey Isaac Greenberg 6+ / Alamy
One of Barcelona’s most popular museums, the Museu Picasso plays host to some of the artist’s lesser-known works and a well-chronicled history of the time he spent in the city. Born in Málaga, Picasso moved to Barcelona with his family when he was 13 and the city played an important role in his artistic development. Though he would relocate throughout his life, he maintained close ties to the Barcelona community; this museum was opened at his express wish after his death.

15. Casa Milà

Building, Museum

Casa Mila or Pedrera by Antonio Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain
© Jacek Sopotnicki / Alamy Stock Photo
Casa Milà – more commonly referred to as La Pedrera, ‘The Quarry’ in English – is one of renowned architect Antoni Gaudí’s most famous works in Barcelona. Dominating a street corner on the Passeig de Gràcia, La Pedrera is impossible to miss and has an interior that’s just as impressive. The top floor is a treat for anyone eager to learn more about Gaudí’s designs (including those for La Sagrada Família and the adjacent Casa Battló). If the rooftop adornments remind you of Storm Trooper helmets in the Star Wars saga, that’s no accident – George Lucas is just one of Gaudí’s many admirers.

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