Best Museums in Barcelona You cannot Miss!

Stunning and unique architecture, iconic streets, and fantastic nightlife are among the things that come to mind when thinking about Barcelona. But Catalonia’s capital city is also a treasure trove of world-class museums.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, or a sports fan, Barcelona has the perfect museum for you.  

The truth is that you will need to visit Barcelona multiple times to explore all its museums! To help you choose which museum to stop on your next trip, here is a list of the very best museums in Barcelona.

Top Barcelona Museums

1. Museu d’Història de Barcelona (MUHBA)

In the heart of the Gothic Quarter, on Plaça del Rei, is the Museu d’Història de Barcelona (MUHBA). This is the perfect Barcelona museum for those looking to learn more about the fascinating history of the Catalan capital city, from its ancient Roman foundation to the present day.

One of the best history museums in Barcelona, the MUHBA offers visitors the chance to see part of Barcelona as it was in the Roman era, thanks to the underground archaeological site of the Roman city of Barcino. These ruins from the 1st century BC are very well-preserved and include streets, houses, and a temple.

Inside the Barcelona City History Museum, you will also wander between the foundations of the Cathedral of Barcelona, my personal highlight of the museum! – Click here to buy your tickets to the MUHBA

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2. Museu Marítim

The Museu Marítim is located in the El Raval neighborhood, facing the waterfront. There are many reasons to visit this fantastic museum, starting from the complex it is housed in, the former Royal Shipyards.

Built in Gothic style and dating back to Medieval times, the architecture of the Museu Marítim perfectly complements the rich collection displayed inside. Made of a wide range of nautical instruments, ship models, precious artifacts, and interactive exhibits, the museum’s collection beautifully displays Barcelona’s maritime history.

The Museu Marítim most fascinating part is the full-scale reproduction of medieval and early modern vessels, including the impressive Royal Galley, one of the largest ships of its time, captained by John of Austria in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.

A hidden gem not to be missed is the garden in the back of the museum, an oasis of greenery and peace right next to the busy La RamblaClick here to buy your tickets to the Museu Marítim

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3. Fundació Joan Miró

Fundació Miró - Barcelona

One of the best art museums in Barcelona, the Fundació Joan Miró is dedicated to Catalan artist Joan Miró. Located on Montjuïc Hill, the museum’s permanent collection features over 10,000 artworks by Miró, including paintings, sculptures, and textiles.

Opened in 1975, famous Catalan architect Josep Lluís Sert designed the museum’s building which also features an outdoor gallery explicitly created to house Miró’s giant sculptures.

By visiting this museum, you will discover Miró’s unique artistic style, characterized by abstract forms and bold colors used to challenge traditional artistic conventions. As you browse through the museum galleries, you will pass by iconic masterpieces such as “The Morning Star” and “Woman and Birds at Sunrise,” the undisputed highlights of the collection.

Although there are some information panels, I recommend taking the audio guide to better enjoy Miro’s surrealistic art – Click here to buy your tickets to the Fundació Miró

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4. Museu Egipci (Egyptian Museum)

The Museu Egipci is located in the central Eixample neighborhood. The Egyptian Museum is much more than a museum: it is a cultural institution offering educational programs to bring visitors closer to the society and customs of ancient Egypt. 

Inside, you will find an extensive collection with over 1,000 objects showcasing various aspects of Egyptian civilization, including citizens’ daily lives, the mummification process, and the figure of the pharaoh.

The displayed items came from the private collection of Catalan businessman and hotelier Jordi Clos Llombart. Among the highlights of the Egyptian Museum are the Rosetta Stone and the Funerary Mask of Tutankhamun – Click here to buy your tickets to the Egyptian Museum

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5. Museum of History of Catalunya

In the Barceloneta neighborhood, right next to Barcelona’s port, is the Museum of the History of Catalunya (MHC). This museum is a must-see for everyone wanting to discover more about the heritage and culture of Catalonia.

The Museum of History of Catalunya boasts a permanent collection displaying items from the Paleolithic time to the modern era. The MHC also hosts interesting temporary exhibits that change every few months. These exhibits focus on different historical times, like the Iberian age, the Roman period, and the Franco dictatorship era.

The Museum of the History of Catalunya uses multimedia and interactive tools to make learning the region’s history fun and family-friendly. One of the best parts of this museum is the building it is located in, as it is the sole remaining representative of Barcelona’s Old Port – Click here to buy your tickets to the Museum of History of Catalunya

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6. Museu de l’Art Prohibit (Museum of Prohibited Art)

Strolling around the Eixample neighborhood, you will pass by the Museu de l’Art Prohibit. Why should you stop in this museum? Because it boasts the world’s first and only collection of censored and banned art. With a very recent opening (October 2023), the Museum of Prohibited Art is located inside the modernist Casa Garriga Nogués.

The museum’s one-of-a-kind collection showcases over 150 works that have caused controversy and have been censored and banned for how they look or the messages they convey. Many pieces are from internationally acclaimed artists such as Ai Wei Wei, Warhol, and Robert Mapplethorpe.

Among the most controversial artworks are Jani Leinonen’s “McJesus” and Charo Corrales’ “Con Flores a María.”

The exhibits all have interactive digital guides that provide additional information about the background of the artist and the repercussions of these banned artworks – Click here to buy your tickets to the Museu de l’Art Prohibit

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7. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC)

The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) is located on Montjüic Hill. One of the most famous museums in Barcelona, the MNAC is housed inside the Neo-Gothic National Palace, the iconic building built for the 1929 World Exhibition. This prestigious museum is entirely dedicated to Catalan art from the 12th to the 20th centuries.

Offering visitors a rewarding journey through Catalunya’s artistic heritage, the museum boasts an impressive selection of Renaissance and Baroque paintings, with masterpieces by Velázquez, Rubens, and Tintoretto.

At the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, visitors can also marvel at frescoes, sculptures, and manuscripts that originally adorned rural churches in the Pyrenees Mountains and other sites in Old Catalonia. Another highlight of the MNAC is that it has one of the world’s largest collections of Romanesque art – Click here to buy your tickets to the MNAC

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8. Museu Picasso

The Museu Picasso is the most visited museum in Barcelona. Located in one of the most charming streets of the El Born neighborhood, the Museu Picasso is housed in two stunning interconnected buildings decorated with Gothic archways and lavish rooms with painted ceilings.

The Museu Picasso is the first museum ever opened that was entirely dedicated to the legendary Spanish painter. This museum focuses on Pablo Picasso’s early years and showcases over 4,000 works, one of the world’s largest Picasso art collections!

By visiting the museum, you will better understand Picasso’s formative years in art school and how he became a pioneer of the Cubist movement.

Besides Picasso’s masterpieces, such as “The Wait,” you can also see lesser-known works by the artist, including sculptures and ceramics – Click here to buy your tickets to the Museu Picasso

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Something else that is pretty special about this museum is that it was opened in 1963 under the name of Sabartés Collection – Picasso’s lifelong friend and secretary. Picasso’s strong opposition to Franco’s regime was well-known, and the government of that time would never allow the opening of a “Picasso Museum.” Sabartés suggested Picasso open the museum in Málaga, his birthplace, but Picasso chose Barcelona instead, as “Barcelona was his college and Paris his university.” In the beginning, the Museum contained only Sabarté’s private collection of Picasso works, but it was later expanded with some donations.      

9. FC Barcelona Museum

If you are a football fan, you can’t miss the FC Barcelona Museum. It is located in the Les Corts neighborhood, inside the iconic Camp Nou stadium.

Inaugurated in 1984, this museum offers a fascinating look into a world-class collection of memorabilia related to Barcelona’s football team. The collection has been updated over the years to reflect the club’s ongoing success.

One of the top museums in Barcelona, the FC Barcelona Museum highlights include the collection of trophies won by the club in La Liga, Copa del Rey, and Champions League, and the area dedicated to footballer Lionel Messi – Click here to buy your tickets to the FB Barcelona Museum

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10. MOCO Museum

Located in the El Born neighborhood, next to the Museu Picasso, the MOCO Museum is an independent museum with venues in Amsterdam and London.

This fantastic art museum in Barcelona is housed in the 16th-century building that used to be the private residence of the noble Cervelló family. The palace itself is stunning, with a mix of Renaissance and Gothic styles. Particularly beautiful is the courtyard at the museum entrance featuring a 6-meter-high statue of New York artist Kaws. This wooden sculpture represents a character inspired by Mickey Mouse, and it is one of the highlights of the museum’s collection.

The museum’s exhibitions focus on modern and contemporary art from both up-and-coming artists and internationally renowned ones. Among the works you can see are pieces from  Jean-Michel Basquiat, Banksy, Andy Warhol, and Salvador Dalí – Click here to buy your tickets to the MOCO Museum

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And there you have it, the list of best Barcelona museums with something for every traveler. Which museums would you like to visit during your next trip?

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Quirky explorer with a preference for lesser-known sights, I am continuously looking for new ideas and tips to bring you the best of la Ciutat Comtal!