9 Best Museums in Barcelona and Top Free Visit Days
Thoughtless beach escapes are plenty in our city, but what about the moments of reflection and poignant realisations that come only after a visit to Barcelona museums?
Whether you’re looking for classic artists, modern art, history, science, photography, or just an air conditioned building to escape the heat you’ll find them all in my list of the top Barcelona museums.
The Best Museums in Barcelona
With so many Barcelona museums it’s hard to choose but here’s my top 9 – with variety in mind.
Remember: all of these museums can be discounted up to 20% or included free in many tourist passes. I’ve included a little discount section below on how to save money.
Make sure you book your museum tickets online using the buttons to avoid line ups.
Also make sure you check out my free day section as free museum days are up there in my list of top free things to do in Barcelona.
The Picasso Museum
With more than 3500 pieces of art you’ll see one of the most important Picasso collections in the world, with a primary focus on his formative years as a budding sketch artist. Among the most famous works of art here are the Arlecchino, Margot, and El Loco.
For more information on the Picasso Museum Barcelona be sure to check out my page dedicated to the museum where you can even get your hands on a magnificent guided tour in English.
Prices: €12.00 for adults, €7.00 for children (18-25), free for students with valid ID.
Museu del Temple Expiatori (Sagrada Familia)
It would be truly a shame not to understand the intricacies of Antoni Gaudi‘s genius found in every detail of the world’s most amazing cathedral. So make sure you see the museum first, which is included in all ticket options.
Highlights are the 3-D models of the church’s main features, something Gaudi preferred to drawings. There are also great photos of 90+ years of construction. Through a window in the museum you’ll fittingly look down on Gaudi’s tomb.
It’s a bit hidden downstairs on the opposite end of the main entrance, but outside of Tiqets educated English guided tour it’s the only way you’ll truly get it.
Prices: €33.80+ depending on ticket.
MACBA Contemporary Art Museum
The lego-like confines of the Barcelona art museum house over 5000 works of art from some of the world’s most celebrated artists like Antoni Tapies, Cristina Iglesias, Xavier Miserachs, Öyvind Fahlström, and more.
Throughout the building you’ll find spaces dedicated to photography, painting, and sculpture. With a variety of constantly changing exhibitions you’ll be able to come back again and again.
Apart from being the contemporary art museum in Barcelona it’s well known for hosting a ton of skaters and break dancers in the outside square, which naturally attracts some of the best street art in the city.
€11.00 €10.45 adults (online),.
The Camp Nou Experience
Football lovers and lovers of sport in general will be overwhelmed with this one for the sheer amount of trophies found at the world’s second biggest association football stadium.
The football museum itself traces Barcelona FC triumphs including multiple Champions League trophies, the Golden Boots of the Messi Room, and an interactive space to play around in or stand in awe.
Then you get to tour the stadium. From walking out of the player’s tunnels onto the pitch, to fooling around in the visitor’s dressing room, to interviewing in the announcer’s booth you’ll be a millionaire footballer for a day for the price of a paella.
Prices: €26.00+ depending on ticket.
The CCCB (Centre de Cultura Contemporània Barcelona)
Those with a passion for all types of culture will feel in their element here.
I fell in love with this culture museum last year during the very impressive World Press Photo exhibition – all the best photos of the past year were blown up in super high quality and put on display. There was also a very impressive exhibition about the future of our species called Humans.
The Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona isn’t just a space for its travelling exhibitions. It’s a creativity space, and a place to investigate, expose, debate important contemporary issues.
Prices: €6.00 for one exhibition, €8.00 for two exhibitions, kids under 12 free.
The Fundació Joan Miró
Set foot in this Barcelona art museum and feel the ghost of surrealism follow you to every corner.
To understand Joan Mirò and his approach to the arts all you have to do is read a mantra found on his paintings: “Conquering freedom means conquering simplicity. In the end, one line or even one color can make a painting.”
The Joan Mirò Foundation opened in 1975 not only to display works of the man himself but also as a discussion, inspiration, and exhibition space for future Barcelona artists.
The museum collection of paintings, designs, drafts, and sculptures is one of the most comprehensive Mirò collections in the world and covers virtually every second of his artistic life.
Prices: €13.00 for adults, €7.00 for students, free under 15.
MNAC (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya)
You’ll find the MNAC in one of the most beautiful buildings in Barcelona, the Palacio Nacional, built for the Barcelona World’s Fair in 1929 and situated just above the magnificent Magic Fountain.
Starting from the main room (that looks like some crazy Renaissance living room) the museum is divided in 7 rooms each dedicated to a different period: there’s the Gothic room, the Baroque and Renaissance rooms, one room dedicated to photography, and another to coins.
What makes the MNAC one of the most famous museums in the world though is the Medieval and Romanticism room that holds sculptures and paintings from the 11th to 13th centuries.
A bonus? The amazing bar with a terrace with some of the most spectacular views of Barcelona.
This is the Barcelona science museum that is extremely popular when visiting with kids. The truth is though that any adult with the slightest interest in science will love the opportunities here to learn science in a fun way.
The museum offers a multitude of interactive exhibitions: the ones that stood for me were the Toca Toca (‘Touch Touch’), where you can touch reconstructions of a variety of natural habitats with your bare hands, learning to understand and respect them.
Then there’s the Bosque Inundado (‘Inundated Forest’) that’s the recreation of a rain forest complete with rain storms falling from above. You also can’t miss the Planetarium, a space dedicated to the observation of the sky, stars, and planets.
Prices: €5.70 adults (online), under 16 free.
The Barcelona Pavilion
To tell you the truth I’d never heard of this pavilion; in fact, as soon as I arrived at the museum I went right through the entrance without even buying a ticket until an old woman seated on a stool asked me to buy a ticket.
This building was built by legendary architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as the German Pavilion for the Barcelona World’s Fair in 1929.
It’s a very important building in the history of modern architecture and famous for its ‘spectacular minimalism‘ and use of extravagant materials like onyx, red marble, and travertine.
Prices: adults €8.00, students €4.00, children under 16 free.
Free Museums in Barcelona
Due to popular demand I’ve created a list of the best free museums in Barcelona. No more excuses for those lazy Sundays in Barcelona before flying out, OK?
- Montjuïc Castle: every Sunday after 3:00 pm + all day the first Sunday of every month.
- MACBA: every Saturday from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm + May 18th and Sept 24th.
- The Picasso Museum: Thursday afternoons from 4:00 pm onwards and the first Sunday of the month. Also free on Feb 2nd (Santa Eulàlia), May 18th (International day of Museums), and Sept 24th (Day of La Mercè). Free entrance must be booked in advance through this link. Tickets are subject to availability and can only be booked up to 4 days in advance.
- MNAC: every Saturday after 3:00 pm and the first Sunday of every month + May 18th and Sept 11th.
- CCCB: every Sunday from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
- El Museu Blau: The Natural Science Museum of Barcelona. Free every Sunday from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm and the first Sunday all day.
- The Barcelona Maritime Museum: Sundays after 3:00 pm.
- Jardin Botanico: Free on Tuesdays after 5:00 pm.
Barcelona Museum Discounts
This Barcelona museum pass can save 44% on entrance to 6 museums. It also allows you to skip lines at ticket windows. If you’re thinking of visiting three or more of these top museums it’ll pay for itself.
Just print out your voucher and redeem it for a cool passport and see how many you can get stamped. Included in the €35.00 price tag are the following:
- Picasso Museum
- Fundació Joan Miró
- Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
- The CCCB
- Fundació Antoni Tàpies
This Barcelona Museum pass is found at Tiquets by clicking the button below.
The Barcelona Card
The Barcelona Card is a tourist discount pass that includes unlimited public transport, return airport connection, and more than 85 discounts at many of Barcelona’s most famous attractions.
You’ll also get free entrance to 25 museums including the CCCB, MACBA, the Picasso Museum, Cosmo Caixa, the Fundació Joan Miró, and the MNAC. On top of this you’ll take advantage of discounts on shopping, restaurants, and all sorts of shows like flamenco.
Ticket options range from 72 hour to 120 hour passes (€43.20 – €56.70).
You’ll save 10% buying online from the official Barcelona Tourism Office clicking the button below.
Still not sure? Check out the full list of discounts.
The Barcelona Pass
The city’s new discount card kingpin: it’s almost a given if you’re planning to visit museums at the Sagrada Familia and Park Guell. It also gives you a ride on the super informative and convenient Bus Turistic.
The best part? You’re given 10% off vouchers for almost your entire Barcelona itinerary including some of the best museums in Barcelona:
- Picasso Museum (and tour options)
- The Camp Nou Experience
- Catalan National Art Museum (MNAC)
- Modernism Museum
- Wax Museum
In addition you’ll get 10% off guided tours, excursions, shows, nightlife and more. And you’ll skip lines doing it.
For more information click the button below:
Related: How Many Days Should I Stay in Barcelona?
Top Museums in Barcelona Roundup
I put a lot of work in to make sure the article is as informative as possible, but am I missing something crucial? Please get at me with any Barcelona museum questions in the comments below.
And as always, do get back to me here, on Facebook, on Instagram, or anywhere else for custom Barcelona advice!
June 25, 2022 at 5:00 pmThank you! It was super useful.
June 29, 2022 at 2:45 pmYou're welcome Agnes :)
May 6, 2022 at 8:25 pmWe are residents in Barcelona and have been looking for a membership to museums or resident museum card for regular art lovers visits. Is there such a thing here? have been searching but no luck yet... Any suggestions :))
May 11, 2022 at 10:18 amHi Leigh, Unfortunately there is no such resident museum card :( That said, over my last 10 years here what I do is really cash in on La Nit Dels Museus as you'll get free entrance to just a ton of options! It's running this Saturday :) https://www.barcelona.cat/lanitdelsmuseus/ca Cheers,
April 29, 2021 at 10:41 pmHi Ash. I tried to book free tickets for 20th of May but this is not possible. Are free tickets available UP to 4 days in advance or exactly ON the 4th day before the date? Thanks
April 30, 2021 at 10:58 amHi Neych, If you're referring to the Picasso Museum it would be the four days preceding the date wanted - so in this case you'll be able to book starting on the 16th of May. Cheers :)
February 19, 2020 at 2:06 pmHi, What happens if I don't receive my tickets that I purchased? can I show my order number upon arrival?
February 19, 2020 at 5:34 pmHi Damian, Even though we resolved this via email I'll respond anyway in case it's useful for somebody else :) In this (rare) case it's usually a case of the email being entered incorrectly on purchase or the tickets ending up in the spam box of the customer. If it's too late and the visit time is approaching it's usually fine to show the confirmation number and the people on site can check the database, though it can be a bit time consuming doing so. Hopefully nobody will have to do this! Cheers, Ash
February 11, 2020 at 5:59 amDo you like the contemporary art museum at Poble Espanyol or the European Museum of Modern Art better? I am bringing my two teenage daughters this summer. I really want to go to at least one contemporary art museum. They also really want to go to the Chocolate museum but I don't see a lot of good reviews.
February 11, 2020 at 2:23 pmHola Jennifer, I have only been to the one at Poble Espanyol which I found quite compelling but at the same time small/quick. From what I've heard the MEAM will probably offer more. That said... why not consider MACBA? This would be the one most likely to appeal to teenagers as it's got a massive young/college following. Cheers, Ash
December 18, 2019 at 12:23 amIs there a free entrance for Picasso Museum with a student card? I've searched from the official website and there is no free student ticket available.
December 18, 2019 at 11:02 amHola, Students can't book their free entrance for the Picasso Museum online, you'll have to present your student ID at ticket windows ;) Cheers, Lucile
February 27, 2019 at 6:15 pmI am trying to book the free 1st sunday of the month(March 3rd, 2019) at Picasso museum but the system is asking for Promo code. What is the promo code? Please help
February 28, 2019 at 10:38 amHi Neline, That is just part of the website for other promotions during the paid days... you can actually skip that and just scroll down to the bottom, complete the rest of the required information, and then submit your request as normal. Please let me know how you get on :) Ash
January 15, 2019 at 4:15 amI saw in last few days a very popular museum which is entirely free on Tuesday. I seem to misplace the name of it. Do you any popular museum which is free on Tuesday?
January 15, 2019 at 8:06 amHi Sam, The Museum of Catalan History and the Archaeological Museum are free on the last Tuesday of each month (between October to June) but other than this none come to mind... were one of these the ones? Ash