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Art, Chocolate, and Fútbol: 7 Can't-Miss Barcelona Museums

Barcelona Museums
by Matador Creators Jul 27, 2023

There are so, so many reasons to go to Barcelona, Spain. The gorgeous seaside town is colorful and lively, and known for unique and fascinating things to see and do. That includes visiting the colorful Park Güell (designed by famous architect Antoni Gaudí), walking through the impressive Sagrada Familia (also designed by Gaudí), or relaxing at the city’s downtown Mediterranean beaches. Even travelers who aren’t “city people” will adore Barcelona, especially if they take a day trip or two to the city’s surrounding mountains and wineries.

While it’s easy to fill a few weeks in Barcelona with just the top tourist sites, it’s worth spending an extra day or two to explore some of the best Barcelona museums. Some are well-known, like the world-famous Picasso Museum, but some are deeper dives — who can say they’ve been to a museum of chocolate before? With most of the best museums in Barcelona, you can buy your tickets in advance, allowing you to skip the long lines and plan your day ahead of time. That can be helpful, since Barcelona does tend to get crowded. If fellow tourists aren’t your thing, visit in winter, avoiding Christmas and New Years. That’s the low season in Barcelona, which means cheaper hotels and shorter lines for everything you’d like to see and do.

If you’re in the middle of planning your trip, be sure to add one of these fun Barcelona museums to your travel itinerary.

Where are the best museums in Barcelona?

Traveling through Barcelona is quite easy thanks to a great public transportation system. But fortunately, most of the Barcelona museums below are in walking distance of where most visitors to the city stay, especially if you’re near La Rambla. The furthest-out museum is the FC Barcelona Museum, it’s easy to reach on the Metro. The other slightly far one is the Joan Miró Foundation, but it’s near Parc Montjuïc, which is a great place to spend an afternoon. So if you combine the two, you can spend your whole day in that part of the city and not feel like you’re constantly rushing around Barcelona to go from museum to museum.

The Picasso Museum

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Pablo Picasso spent most of his formative art years living in Barcelona, making the Museu Picasso is a must-visit for art enthusiasts and Picasso aficionados alike. It’s in the lively neighborhood of El Born and museum houses an extensive and remarkable collection of artworks by Picasso, starting with world-class art he painted at just seven years old. The collection is huge and covers multiple floors, including art, sculpture, and prints from his early years as a student to his later, more experimental periods. The museum is home to famous works from his well-known cubist and surrealist periods, as well as his famous Blue Period. Famous works include “First Communion,” “The Pigeons,” and the famous menu he designed for Els Quartre Gats, a well-known artist hangout at the turn of the century.

It’s all but essential that you buy your tickets in advance. If you’re an art buff, plan on at least two hours in the museum.

  • Address: C/ de Montcada, 15-23, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
  • Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 9 AM-8 PM
  • Admission: €14 for adults (or €19 with an audio guide)

Joan Miró Foundation

joan miro barcelona musuems

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The Fundacio Joan Miró is on Montjuïc Hill and pays tribute to the creative genius of Catalan artist Joan Miró. The museum houses an impressive collection of his works, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and textiles. Visitors can explore the evolution of Miró’s artistry, from his early figurative works to his later more abstract and symbolic pieces. There’s also an exhibition space showcasing the work of other contemporary artists.

Joan Miró was born in Barcelona and most known for his surrealist works like “The Harlequin’s Carnival” and “Maternity.” There are also several Joan Miró statues throughout the city, including “Woman and Bird” in Parc Joan Miró and the airport mural known as “Mural de l’Aeroport de Barcelona” in Terminal 2. Of course, with more than 10,000 pieces in the museum, heading straight there will be the best place to see the most amount of art in the shortest amount of time.

  • Address: Parc de Montjuïc, s/n, 08038 Barcelona, Spain
  • Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 AM-8 PM; Sunday, 10 AM-6 PM
  • Admission: €14 in advance online or €15 at the door

Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art

Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art barcelona museums

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In the middle of Barcelona’s trendy Raval district is the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA). It’s a well-known cultural institution in the Europe modern art scene and has works spanning from the late 20th century to present day. Pieces run the gamut from sculpture and photography to paintings and multimedia exhibitions and installations. Many of MACBA’s exhibits are a bit boundary-pushing, with social and political themes. Information and signage is in multiple languages, including English.

The museum’s huge building is itself a work of art, designed in the 1990s and housing not just the museum, but temporary exhibition space, a cafe, and a museum store. Guided tours are only in Spanish and Catalan, but if you download the museum app, you can find information, as well as a well-done audio guide, in multiple languages. Bring your own headphones, or buy them at the museum for a Euro.

You don’t need to buy tickets in advance, but they’re a bit cheaper if you do. Admission is also free every Saturday after 4 PM. It’s one of the best Barcelona museums to visit if you care about seeing modern art from around the country and world, rather that just pieces from specific artists.

  • Address: Plaça dels Àngels, 1, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
  • Hours: Monday, Wednesday-Saturday, 10 AM-8 PM; Sunday, 10 AM-3 PM; closed Tuesday.
  • Admission: €10,80 online or €12 at the door

Barcelona Museum of History

placa del rei - barcelona spain

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In the middle of the historic Gothic Quarter, the Barcelona Museum of History is a very thorough look into the cities very complicated past. The museum showcases archaeological findings, artifacts, and multimedia displays that show the evolution of Barcelona from ancient Roman times to the present day. Highlights include the underground ruins of the Roman city of Barcino, medieval and Renaissance sculptures, and an extensive collection of historical documents and maps.

One HUHBA combo ticket is good for entry to the five museum buildings in the area, though it’s valid for six months, so you don’t need to go to all of them on the same day. The main one is at the Plaça del Rei (King’s Plaza) and is popular with tourists, meaning both that it’s easy to find, and that you should buy your tickets in advance.

  • Address: Pl. del Rei, s/n, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
  • Hours: Varies, but most are closed on Monday
  • Admission: €7 for adults

FC Barcelona Museum

 fc barcelona exhibits

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Say that FC Barcelona isn’t essential to the city’s culture and history, and you may have a fight coming your way. The FC Barcelona Museum tells the story of Spain’s most famous football (i.e. soccer) team, housed inside the impressive stadium. The museum is pretty fun even if you aren’t a superfan since it’s one of the most modern and interactive of the Barcelona museums on this list. There’s a 360-degree immersive stadium room to feel like you’re playing for thousands of cheering fans, goal-kicking games, and interactive displays throughout the museum.

If you are a big fútbol fan, this is one of the best Barcelona museums to budget at least a half day for, since pricier tickets include options like VR soccer, interactive goal-kicking activities, and tours of the Palau Blaugrana basketball court, owned by FC Barcelona. Buy your tickets in advance online and you’ll save about €3-€5.

  • Address: C/ d’Arístides Maillol, s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
  • Hours: Summer: Daily, 9:30 AM-7 PM, with shorter winter hours
  • Admission: Tickets range from €28 for a basic ticket with an audio guide to €89 for all activities

The Museum of Chocolate

barcelona museums - chocolate

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The Barcelona Museum of Chocolate, also known as Museu de la Xocolata, is a specialized museum dedicated to the history and culture of chocolate in Europe. The museum runs through the origins of chocolate, how it arrived in Europe, and its cultural significance throughout history. It also looks at chocolate’s symbolic and economic value over time, with exhibits on manufacturing and production. Some displays are interactive, and there’s also a section of chocolate sculptures and other extremely impressive edible displays.

When you arrive at the museum, you can take a chocolate tasting class for a reasonable €10, or arrange private classes on everything from lollypop making to chocolate and wine pairing. Classes should be scheduled in advance, but you don’t need to buy the basic museum ticket in advance.

  • Address: C/ del Comerç, 36, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
  • Hours: Summer: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 AM-7 PM
  • Admission: €6 for adults; museum admission is included if you book an activity

Barcelona Erotic Museum

downtown barcelona - erotic museum

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The Barcelona Erotic Museum is one of the quirkiest museums in Barcelona, but also one of the most fun, with a diverse collection of near 1,000 objects. Some exhibits are on the history of erotica, but much are about the historical and cultural overview of the sexual and erotic in modern history and its influence on the world as we know it today. As of summer 2023, there’s a fascinating exhibit on the history of corsets in world culture.

The collection includes illustrations, objects, works of art, and other items make it a rather fun stop for an hour or so in La Rambla. As you can probably guess, this is a good museum to skip if you’re with children. You don’t need to, but you can buy tickets in advance online if you’d like to skip the line when you arrive. The museum is also open very late, in case you’d like to swing by after dinner or drinks.

  • Address:La Rambla, 96 bis, 96 bis, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
  • Hours: Summer: Monday-Friday, 11 AM-12 AM; Saturday & Sunday, 10 AM-12 PM.
  • Admission: €12 for adults

Hotels near the best Barcelona museums

Barcelona is very popular with tourists, and the prices of hotels generally reflect that fact. If you want to stay near the busiest part of town, something near La Rambla is a good pick. There are also modern hotels by the beach, and historical hotels in nearby neighborhoods closer to parks or the Gothic Quarter. Barcelona hotels are usually cheapest in November through March. Matador has full guides to hotels with the best rooftop bars in Barcelona, as well as the best Airbnbs in the city.

We hope you love the spaces and stays we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay.

ME Barcelona


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ME Barcelona is a hip hotel in a perfect location in the city, on the edge of the Gothic Quarter. That means you can walk to most of the major sights in the city fairly easily, and walk home from late-night dinners. The hotel is somewhat modern, with a rooftop pool, on-site art gallery, and three restaurants/bars. Matador has a more in-depth review of the property here. Rooms in the off-season start around $360 per night.

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If you want a budget-friendly, highly rated hotel in the Gothic Quarter, Rialto is your stop. It’s within walking distance to many Barcelona museums, and since it’s in the Gothic Quarter, it has a moody, romantic, and more traditional vibe, instead of the trendy and modern aesthetics offered by newer properties. There’s a first-floor Mediterranean restaurant with brick walls and tile floors that makes a great place for a pre-dinner drink before heading to dinner around La Rambla. Rooms start around $120 per night.

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Hotel Marina Badalona


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Hotel Marina Badalona is a modern and airy hotel on the beach, making it perfect for a summer trip to check out the best Barcelona museums and spend time in the Mediterranean sun (don’t forget sunscreen!) Rooms are a bit small, but they have great views of the water, and it’s easy to walk to many of the city’s best seafood restaurants and beach clubs — or you can just hang at the rooftop pool. Rooms start around $135 per night.

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