Barcelona Museums: Art, Culture & Chocolate!
Barcelona undeniably plays second fiddle in Spain when it comes to museums. The capital, Madrid, boasts the nation's best vaults, in the forms of the world famous El Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen Museum. However that's not to say there's not plenty to see here on the coast of Catalonia, and as pleasing as the popular Picasso Museum and Poble Espanyol, are some of the smaller or lesser known treasures such as the entertaining Mammoth Museum, where you can touch many of the millenia old exhibits, the quirky Frederic Mares Museum, the challenging Joan Miro Foundation and of course the FC Barcelona Museum - where trophies galore, 3D shows and memorabilia tell the rich history of one of the planet's most successful football clubs.
As well as bona fide museums, various contemporary and traditional art collections and the works of one Antoni Gaudi, can be considered part of the Barcelona museums circuit, so we've taken a broad interpretation in compiling this list of the best cultural attractions in BCN. It's worth checking opening times on the official websites of each as some may be closed on Mondays, whilst others are free on certain days (for example the Picsso Museum is free on the first Sunday of the month and from 3pm every Sunday) - however bear in mind that during those times they will also be the most busy! If you're planning on visiting a lot on the following list you may want to look into investing in a Barcelona Card, which start at 25 euros for two days, and include a host of discounts and free entry offers.
Outside of Barcelona and a few more options open up, the most famous of which by far is the Salvador Dali Museum in Figueres. A pilgrimmage point for many, the queues to get in can be huge during peak season so either go early in the morning... or late. Or try the winter months.
Above: Ramon Casas takes a ride on his bicycle at the MNAC
Barcelona is the city Picasso considered home, despite spending only a handful of years here (he refused to move back to Spain during the Franco years). Opened by the artist's personal secretary in 1963, this impressive building in El Born, hosts 3,500 of his works covering the many stages in his artistic evolution.
Artificial tourist attraction to some, charming architectural museum to others, the Poble Espanyol was created for the 1929 International Fair and is a showcase of Spanish architecture from every region of the Iberian peninsular. Workshops, flamenco tablaos, restaurants and nightclubs all exist within the 'Spanish village' and the complex also plays host to a number of events, including some of the Primavera Sound Festival.
Av. Marques de Comillas 13
Enormous skeletons of woolly mammoths, cave bears and woolly rhinoceroses are just some of the eye-catching exhibits on display at this crowd-pleasing attraction in El Born (just up the road, across Princessa Street, from the Picasso Museum!). Best of all many of the exhibits, such as fossillised mammoth molars, can be handled (carefully!) by curious visitors. Particularly recommended if you're in Barcelona with kids.
National Museum of Catalan Art
An editorial fave, the MNAC (Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya) sits on top of the Western side of Montjuic mountain, overlooking the popular Magic Fountain of Barcelona. Within its regal confines you'll find three floors of art. If you're short on time skip the first two and devote your attention to the colourful and romantic works of the 20th Century, on the third floor. Closed on Mondays, half day only on Sundays.
Parc de Montjuic
Barcelona's Contemporary Art Museum
Most commonly known by its acronym, MACBA, this pristine white beauty of a building is a work of art in itself... but pay a little bit extra and you can step inside to see what's cooking in the world of contemporary art. That is if you can navigate your way past the hordes of skateboarders who consider the square outside a great place to practice their ollies and grinds. Closed on Tuesdays.
Placa dels Angels 1