It's no secret that Barcelona is practically teeming with culture. In addition to the city's breathtaking architecture and unique Catalan heritage, it also boasts a wealth of museums sure to fascinate visitors from all walks of life.
Whether you're into art, history, food, or anything else, there's sure to be a museum in Barcelona you'll love. Read on for our top picks and start planning your museum itinerary.
National Museum of Catalan Art (MNAC)
Housed in a magnificent palace on Montjuïc Hill overlooking the city, Barcelona's National Museum of Catalan Art (MNAC) is impressive even from the outside. Spanning a full millennium of artistic progress in Catalonia, its permanent collection is one of the best of its kind. Come for the spectacular exhibitions; stay for the breathtaking views over the city from Montjuïc.
Pablo Picasso was born several hundred miles away from Barcelona in the southern city of Malaga, but spent his formative years in the Catalan capital. Barcelona's Picasso Museum serves as a testament to the great artist, with a permanent collection comprising hundreds of his early works. This is easily the best museum in Barcelona for art lovers who want to get a glimpse into the life and mind of one of the all-time greats.
Got a sweet tooth? This one's for you. Barcelona's one-of-a-kind Chocolate Museum shows visitors all about how chocolate arrived in Europe, how it's made today, and even features some unique displays of intricate little sculptures, all made out of—you guessed it—chocolate. They even offer tours, workshops, and events for kids and adults alike.
Museum of Catalan History
Here in Barcelona, pride in the local Catalan culture and identity runs deep. At the Museum of Catalan History, you'll gain a deeper understanding of this fascinating heritage, and discover just why the Catalans are so fiercely proud of who they are. Covering everything from local prehistory to the tumultuous mid-20th century, the museum gives guests a close look at how Catalan culture has changed throughout the years.
La Pedrera/Casa Milà
It would practically be a sin to visit Barcelona and not experience the whimsical works of Antoni Gaudí. But in addition to the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell, you'll definitely want to swing by Casa Milà while you're at it. This magnificent building, also known as La Pedrera, hosts fascinating temporary art exhibitions throughout the year. Don't miss the spectacular rooftop while you're at it—the sculptures and views cement the house's status as a living work of art.
Contemporary Art Museum (MACBA)
The minimalism of the Barcelona Contemporary Art Museum (MACBA) stands in stark contrast to the colorful modernist buildings found everywhere else in the city. Inside, many of the pieces displayed can be hard to wrap your head around, but that's exactly what makes it so fascinating. The exhibitions change every few months but all date from the second half of the 20th century or later.
As one of the largest and most important Mediterranean port cities, Barcelona's seafaring history runs deep. At the Maritime Museum, you can see for yourself the extent of the role that the sea has played in the city's history and culture. Housed in the old medieval shipyards, the museum provides a fascinating look at how ships have been built in Barcelona over the centuries.
Natural Science Museum
With not one, not two, but three different venues located throughout the city, the Natural Science Museum is one of Barcelona's most comprehensive. In addition to the main museum venue in Parc del Fòrum, you can also check out the Nature Laboratory in Parc de la Ciutadella, or the Botanical Gardens on Montjuïc Hill. Each offers a different yet equally fascinating experience that is sure to delight both kids and adults alike.
Sant Pau Recinte Modernista
A onetime hospital that was in operation from the 1930s until 2009, the Sant Pau Recinte Modernista today serves as a testament to Barcelona's stunning tradition of modernist art and architecture. The restored complex—the largest art nouveau site in the world—includes a health and sustainability educational center, a historical recreation space representing what a real ward of the former hospital would have looked like, and a beautiful collection of mosaics.
Fundació Joan Miró
As one of the most famous Barcelona-born artists, Joan Miró was a force to be reckoned with in the 20th-century art world. Today, the Fundació Joan Miró serves as a living homage to this great creator. The collection follows the artist's progress throughout his life, from his earliest sketches to the career-defining pieces he created later on.