6 of the Best Art Museums in Barcelona

Gaudí has pretty much monopolized the streets of Barcelona, but look behind his bubbling fairytale works of art and you’ll discover a whole other art world waiting patiently to be tapped into. Thanks to its creative atmosphere and its high percentage of arty folk, Barcelona is quickly growing in fame as one of the best art cities in Europe – thanks, in part, to the monopolization by Gaudí, but also due to the wealth of other creatives who have made themselves at home in the city. Scratch beneath the Gaudí-decorated surface and explore some of the other contemporary art offerings in the city:


MNAC and montjuic stairs
The Catalan national art museum occupies one of Barcelona’s most majestic buildings

Another initialed addition to the art scene. The museum of modern art is located in the laidback, bohemian district of Montjuic, perched in pride of place above the city. Here, you can devour works of art from a heady mix of eras, including the Renaissance, Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque pieces. As well as your everyday paintings and sculptures, there are also odd artifacts and a huge collection of Catalan art to explore. Find out more about the MNAC here.

Picasso Museum

science and charity by Pablo Picasso
Science and Charity, 1897, Pablo Picasso. Museu Picasso of Barcelona

One of the world’s best loved artists called Barcelona home for much of his life, so it makes sense he should have his own pocket of the city. The Museu Picasso is, in fact, the most visited gallery in the city and is home to one of the most extensive collections of the artist’s work in the world. Laid out in chronological order, from the artist’s early paintings to his later experiments, it delves into the life of Picasso as well as his ever-evolving creative style. Find out more about the Picasso Museum here.


MACBA art installation
The MACBA is Barcelona’s most important modern art museum. It’s on the cerebral side, so prepare to be challenged

As a bastion of contemporary art, the MACBA (or the Museu d’Art Contemporani) is a pivotal example of the eclectic mishmash of art in Barcelona. Showcasing great paintings, abstract pieces, and a whole host of quirky installations in a range of mediums, it highlights some of the finer artistic discoveries in the latter half of the 20th century. With a regularly rotating schedule of exhibitions (which changes every 3 months or so), it’s a portal into new-age work by some of Catalonia’s finest artists.

Joan Miró Museum

Joan Miró foundation in Barcelona
Discover the work of surrealist artist Joan Miró

Miro’s abstract deluges and colourful geometric pieces deserve a gallery all to themselves, right? And the Joan Miro Fundacio manages to show them off perfectly. Boasting a massive collection of the artist’s paintings, sculptures, tapestries, and early sketches, it brings to light the evolution of Miro’s work and his growth as a world-famous artist.

Fundacio Antoni Tapies

antoni tapies foundation facade
The Fundació Antoni Tàpies is one of Barcelona’s more interesting museums

Another keen Barcelona native, Antoni Tapies, died recently in 2012. Up until then he’d been a hive of activity, creating esoteric pieces that baffled people far and wide. Today, the collection brings together a thoughtfully selected collection of his paintings, as well as acting as a portal to promote other contemporary Catalan artists.

Caixa Forum

Caixaforum in Barcelona
Caixaforum is the place to go for avant-garde art exhibitsJoanbrebo/Flickr.com

This cultural centre sits pretty inside a former Modernista factory and harbours a mind-boggling collection of contemporary art. Temporary exhibitions explore current social themes and issues, whilst the permanent gallery is home to famous faces like Antoni Tapies and Miquel Barcelo. If you’re looking to sample the ever-changing contemporary arts scene in the city, the Caixa Forum is the place to go.

As you can see, Barcelona is a hotbed of contemporary art and skilled design. Pinpointing and promoting a few major faces, it brings together an overview of the creative scene in the city whilst staying true to its Catalan roots.