Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
Constructed for the International Exhibition of 1929, the Palau Nacional of Montjuïc is now home to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, or MNAC for short. The MNAC is perhaps the most varied and comprehensive collection of Catalan art in the world, with works ranging from Romanesque murals and religious paintings, to examples of Catalan Modernism and photography – not to mention the incredible view of Barcelona from its front steps.
Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona
The Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB) is located in the heart of El Raval, and though it is often overlooked in favor of its more famous neighbor, the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona or MACBA, it is well worth the 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.
For sea and land lovers alike, Barcelona’s maritime museum has been renovated and reopened to the public with not only a large permanent collection, but temporary exhibits as well. As a Mediterranean port city, much of Barcelona’s history is connected to the sea, and although the building that houses this museum is at the end of Las Ramblas, it was once much closer to the sea and used to build galley ships for wartime.
Museu Maritim, Av. de les Drassanes, Barcelona, Spain +34 933 42 99 20
Museu del Disseny de Barcelona
Whether you’re interested in fashion, furniture, graphic design, decorative arts, or architecture, the Design Museum of Barcelona has it all. Situated in Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes, the new museum is a combination of four of the city’s previous collections which focus on the art of the object and design, all in one grand location. The futuristic building – designed with a stapler in mind – sits between two equally impressive architectural neighbors: Torre Agbar (one of the most recent additions to the Barcelona skyline) and Els Encants, a flea market located beneath a mirrored pavilion.
This family-friendly science museum reopened in 2004 with permanent exhibits ranging in subject 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 locals 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?
CosmoCaixa Barcelona, Carrer d’Isaac Newton 26, Barcelona, Spain +34 932 12 60 50
Fundació Joan Miró
If you’re in the mood to see a lot of Joan Miró’s work in the same place, then a hike up Montjuïc hill and a visit to this modern museum building with its equally modern collection are just what the doctor ordered. Even though the majority of the sculptures outside and paintings and drawings inside are by Miró, this expansive space hosts a number of works by other artists, as well as a variety of temporary exhibits.
Fundació Joan Miró, Parc de Montjuïc, Barcelona, Spain +34 934 43 94 70
Museu Europeu d’Art Modern
The Museu Europea d’Art Modern, or MEAM, is located next to the Museu Picasso in the oldest neighborhood of Barcelona. Almost all of the artists on exhibit in this small but well-curated space are still living and working today, and the majority of them are 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 may be doing just that.
Museu d’Història de Catalunya
The museum of Catalan history, next to the port in Barceloneta, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Barcelona, tells the unique story of the region and is a must-see for any who want 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 Catalunya.
Museu d’Història de Catalunya, Plaça de Pau Vila 3, Barcelona, Spain +34 932 25 47 00
One of Barcelona’s most popular museums, the Museu Picasso in the neighborhood of El Born plays host to some of the artists lesser known works and a well-chronicled history of the time he spent in the city. Born in Málaga, Spain, Picasso moved to Barcelona with his family when he was just thirteen years old, 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.
Museu Picasso, Carrer Montcada 15-23, Barcelona, Spain +34 932 56 30 00
Casa Milà – more commonly referred to as La Pedrera, literally ‘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 just as impressive. The top floor is a treat for anyone eager to learn more about Gaudí’s designs (including those for La Sagrada Familia and 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.
Casa Milà, Provença 261-265, Barcelona, Spain +34 902 20 21 38
By Katherine Tolley