Barcelona's Most Innovative, Creative and Exciting Museums in and outside the City
By Sam Mednick
Barcelona Local Expert
Barcelona is a city rich in history, architecture and of course art. It's renowned for being home to some of the most well known artists, including Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro and just a little up the coast, Figueres was home to Salvador Dali. Even if you're not a 'museum goer' by nature, Barcelona has a diverse variety of historical as well as fun and inspiring venues to ignite your passion even more for the city. With several of the more interesting ones situated in the Old City (Gotico, Born, Barceloneta) there are also a few really cool museums just a short ride outside the city center, which is great if you want to combine your museum experience with being able to take in the sites as well as gorgeous panoramic views. Most of the museums don't require reservations, but it never hurts to arrange for tickets ahead of time online, as it really saves you time standing in line, especially for some of the more popular ones like the Picasso Museum which can see lines of up to an hour during high season.
One of the newest additions to the Museum scene is the Ideas Museum which is definitely worth a look, right off of Plaza Sant Jaume in the Gothic Quarter.
Museu Historica de Catalunya
Situated on the edge of the Born and Barceloneta neighborhoods, this is probably the best Museum to visit if you're looking for an indepth view into the history of Catalunya. Located in the Palau de Mar, this is the only building in Barcelona's Old Port that is still standing today. After you're finished inside the Museum take a quick stroll to the beach and walk along the boardwalk, which is especially nice in the summer when all of the chiringuitos (beach side restaurants) are up. This is a great way to learn about Catalan history, in a fun and not overly intense way. (93-225-47-00)
The CosmoCaixa, aka the Science Museum in Barcelona is run by La Caixa (a Bank) Community Projects. It's purpose is to stimulate knowledge and people's opinions of science through exhibitions and a wide variety of activities. Located near Tibidabo atop the city, some highlights of the exhibit include the Flooded Forest, which recreates 1000 m2 of an Amazonian rainforest ecosystem and features piranhas, crocodiles and other animals and plant species typical to the zone. There is also the Geological Wall which is made up of seven sections of real rock which illustrate the world's various geological structures. It's a great day trip, or half day, especially with kids. (34 932 12 60 50)
Museu De La Xocolata
Situated in the trendy and chic, Born neighborhood, the Chocolate Museum is a great way to spend an afternoon with children or with those who love chocolate. There are private and group tours available and also classes where you can learn how to make your own chocolate or just watch as its being made by the experts. Be sure to book in advance as walk-ins sometimes are taken but usually now as they fill up quite quickly. If you're looking for a private chocolate tour several companies offer them where you'll visit the museum as well as other quaint and delicious chocolate shops around the city. (932 687 878)
National Art Museum
This Museum has a noteworthy ensemble of regional, national and international contemporary art. Most material is from the last 50 years and represents a wide range of mediums. The museum hosts a variety of periodic events such as concerts, seminars, and lectures. Their gift shop has a great selection of unique items as well. Located atop Montjuic this is a great spot to put in the itinerary if you want to add some culture to the nature of the Mountain. It's near Olympic Stadium and Palau Sant Jordi and has gorgeous views from the Museum windows as well as its surrounding grounds. (34 93 622 0360)
Salvador Dali Museum at Figueres
Home to Dali's Museum and a nice day trip outside the city, Figueres is worth the short trek. Combine it with a visit to the beautifully historic (and very delicious) city of Girona, as they're only 20 minutes away by train. This is a nice mix of art, culture, history and architecture and it's great to do with a guide if you can. The Dali Museum itself is a 'must-see' if you're into art and want to see the works of one of the greatest icons of the time. There is also a jewellery exhibit beside the Dali Museum which is worth checking out. (972-677-500)
The Museu Marítim (Maritime Museum) in Barcelona is one of the most interesting sights as it's so unique. Located in the former shipyard of Drassanes, the Museum is now situated at the edge of Ciutat Vella (Old City) at the end of La Rambla. Since the 1929 expo the permanent exhibition for the Naval shipyard is at the Maritime Museum where you can learn about the Maritime history of Catalonia. The exhibition today covers more than 10,000 square meters. Some of the highlights of this Museum include the vessels and the reproduction of a gallery from the 16th Century. This Museum is ideal for Maritime buffs or those interested in the industry. (93 342 9920)
MACBA (Barcelona Contemporary Art Museum)
Named a national museum in 1990, this is the world's greatest collection of Romanesque mural paintings and home also to an impressive array of 14th and 15th century Gothic art. The MACBA is more than a museum. It has a wide range of services including the bookshop, coffee shop and there is also Wi-Fi throughout the building. There are special collections and exhibits which offer visitors access to a complex vision of contemporary culture, where today's art becomes a key element for understanding the current social, economical and political dynamics. It's not far from the CCCB so you can stroll leisurely between the two to get your contemporary cultural and art fix. (93 412 08 10)
CCCB (Barcelona Contemporary Cultural Center)
Established by Joan Miro as a forum for contemporary art. Much of Miro's work is displayed here in a wide variety of mediums, while periodic exhibits feature other artists. There's also a sculpture garden, library, gift shop, restaurant, and an auditorium for classical music performances. Located in the Raval neighborhood, the CCCB is more than a Museum. It's a cultural hot spot and local hang out and has a wonderful variety of exhibits and installations year round. This Museum caters to those interested in slightly alternative art forms and displays and fuels a creative and innovative vibe. It's jus a short walk from La Rambla as well. (34 93 306 4100)
Fundacio Joan Miro
Opened to the public in 1975, The Joan Miro Foundation was created to promote the works of contemporary artists and today is one of Barcelona's most popular and most sought out museums. Renowned artist, Joan Miro, had his first large exhibit in Barcelona in 1968 which was welcomed for its fresh and dynamic appeal. Today the Foundation's collection carries over 14,000 pieces and in addition there is a small collection of contemporary art, which was created as a tribute to Miro himself. The Museum is situated near Montjuic right outside of the city. It has stunning panoramic views and is a nice way to see another part of town. (93-329-19-08)
A definite 'must-see', even if you're not into art. The Picasso Museum, showcases a small yet wide selection of the artist's works; you'll be taken through the different and very diverse stages of his life and career. The Museum often has special exhibits open for a few weeks at a time, so be sure to check the schedule. Located in the trendy Born neighborhood, the Picasso Museum is in a beautiful building with stunning architecture. It's situated next to 4 Gats restaurant, one of Picasso's watering holes and hubs for where he gained inspiration for his works. There are specific Picasso tours as well, contact Hi. This Is Barcelona for a Picasso tour with an Art Expert. (93-319-63-10)
About Sam Mednick
Sam’s passion for the sea and the mountains makes Barcelona the optimal living destination.
Sam's passion for traveling has taken her around the world including Fiji, Argentina, Lebanon, Uganda, Ghana, Israel the Philippines, and Canada. Before moving to Barcelona Sam worked in Ghana as a foreign correspondent for a Canadian NGO, as well as a the Executive Radio Producer for an internationally syndicated lifestyle show based out of New York City.
In addition to freelancing Sam works as a professional Life and Executive coach. She also hosts an English Radio Show every Friday and is interested in Real Estate.
Sam's coaching philosophies: www.blueprintcoaching.ca. Listen to her podcast: http://blueprintcoaching.podomatic.com.
Read more about Sam Mednick here.