City Center Museums Tour, Barcelona (Self Guided)

Barcelona abounds in museums with rich expositions that are both informative and entertaining. The city's 55 museums cover a plethora of subjects, from art to history to architecture to science to sports to war. Take this tour to explore the most acclaimed museums and galleries of central Barcelona
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City Center Museums Tour Map

Guide Name: City Center Museums Tour
Guide Location: Spain » Barcelona (See other walking tours in Barcelona)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 km
Author: clare
1
Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA)

1) Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) (must see)

The Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, or MACBA) was designed by Richard Meier and Partners (1987-1995). The building’s architectural style has strong references to Modernism. This large (120 by 35 meters) white building has much of its southern elevation glazed, providing the visitor with views across the plaza, and allowing natural light into the interior. It includes a central library, specialized in art books and publications.

The museum opened to the public on 28 November 1995. All the art dates from the mid-20th century onward. There are three periods of modern art represented: the first one covers the forties to the sixties; the second spans the sixties and seventies; the third period is contemporary. The collections focus on post-1945 Catalan and Spanish art, although some foreign art is also represented.

Why You Should Visit:
Interesting for the emphasis on installations and video pieces; worth the €10 admission if you're already a fan of contemporary art.

Tip:
Check out what the temporary exhibitions are beforehand if you can.

Opening Hours:
Tue, Thu-Sat: 10am-7pm; Wed: 10am-8pm; Sun: 10am-2:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Museu de l'Erotica

2) Museu de l'Erotica

Barcelona is famous for being a home to some peculiar works of art and museums. One of them is the Musue de l’Erotica (museum of erotica) located on La Rambla, highlighting educational and recreational aspects of eroticism, the oldest and most consistent theme in the history of mankind, regardless of culture and race. The museum showcases eroticism and its development in different cultures, presented in the form of literature, pieces of art and archaeological findings. There are over 800 artifacts on display, originated mostly in Rome and Greece, providing comprehensive information on the rituals, religious beliefs and recreational aspects of eroticism. The museum is conveniently equipped for people with special needs. Opening hours: daily from 10 am to 12 pm. December 24: 10:00 - 17:00; January 1: 12:00 to 24:00; December 25: Closed
3
Museu Frederic Mares

3) Museu Frederic Mares (must see)

The Museu Frederic Mares in Barcelona, as the name suggests, is dedicated to showcasing the collections of its founder, Frederic Mares. He was born in 1893 and died in 1991. It was Frederic Mares who helped establish this impressive museum in the Catalan capital with his donations; the project reached its completion in 1946.

Many modifications have taken place at the museum since its establishment but the original courtyard garden has been preserved in its original form. Mares gave a whole new meaning and form to the conventional concept of sculpture. As a collector, he gathered a priceless variety of Hispanic sculptures throughout his life. Pieces from the ancient world to those dated the 19th century can be seen in this collection, along with the religious polychrome carvings widely present on many of the pieces displayed in the museum.

Here, visitors can see the Collector’s cabinet where one can feast eyes upon the countless magnificent pieces of art and artefacts that depict the lifestyles of the 19th century. Among these objects, one can find interesting items such as old photographs and documents, jewellery, clocks, reliquaries, pipes, keys etc. The museum offers an unforgettable experience and an amazing atmosphere to all its visitors.

Why You Should Visit:
If you are into Baroque, Medieval, Renaissance or ancient sculpture, this is the place for you.
Be sure to take a look at the many stone treasures from ancient Roman times on the bottom -1 floor as well.

Tip:
There is a courtyard restaurant in the summer; almost hidden away, but friendly and with delightful food and drink.
Sit at the table and be surrounded by medieval buildings!

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sat: 10am-7pm; 11am-8pm
4
Museu Picasso

4) Museu Picasso (must see)

The ultimate place to observe early Picasso is the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. Opened in 1961, this museum showcases over 4,300 works of the great master at his early stage, reflecting intimacy of his relationship with Barcelona, the city that shaped his personality and largely influenced his art.

Picasso always wanted to “imprint himself” through artwork in the tapestry of Barcelona. That wish fortunately materialized, courtesy of his colleagues and friends, particularly Jaime Sabartés, adorning the city with the works of one of the greatest artists ever lived.

Although most of the pieces presented here are Picasso's first attempts at art, the overall collection looks quite impressive. It spans the period from 1917 and includes one of Picasso's best-known series, Las Meninas. In 2008, the museum put on display a large collection of Picasso’s prints.

If you take interest in Picasso's work and want to see his progression from a very young age to adulthood, manifested in paintings, sculpture, ceramics and other forms, do visit this museum. And if you do, make sure to explore the museum shop. Some of the items offered here are quite interesting and not available anywhere else.

Why You Should Visit:
Incredibly interesting to see the progression of Picasso's work from a very young age into adulthood and the unusual work we are more familiar with.
In addition to paintings, there is sculpture, ceramics and other works.

Tip:
Don't miss the museum shop, as many of the products are not available anywhere else.

Opening Hours:
Mon: 10am-5pm; Tue-Wed, Fri-Sun: 9am-7pm; Thu: 9am-9:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Museu de la Xocolata

5) Museu de la Xocolata

The Museu de la Xocolata or the chocolate museum, as the name indicates is home to every bit of history associated with chocolate in Europe. The history and the contents of the museum allow one to explore the origin of chocolate, its mythological and factual factors, its use in medicine, its use as an aphrodisiac and also as everyone’s favourite food. One can witness the complete process of chocolate making from a cocoa bean to the final packaging here.

The Museu de la Xocolata is a rather small version in Barcelona, but it is definitely the most exciting. The sweet and appetizing aroma of chocolate hangs in every single corner of the building. This means that the complimentary chocolate that all visitors receive when they enter will only last a short while. It is one of the greatest places to visit in Barcelona for families.

One can always find various events, workshops and tours at the chocolate museum. One of the most interesting workshops is on creating chocolate sculptures. Schedules for all these events and happening can be found on their website.

One can buy all sorts of chocolates at the shop and cafe included in the museum building for an unforgettable taste of original chocolate.

Operation hours: Monday - Saturday: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm; Sunday: 10:00 - 3:00 pm
6
History Museum of Catalonia

6) History Museum of Catalonia (must see)

Other than citing regional history, the History Museum of Catalonia helps identify the local community with their past by bringing it to life through various artifacts, documents, historical installations, life-size replicas, and other media.

Located in a beautifully renovated 19th-century building, right on the water edge, this interactive, contemporary cultural venue is spacious and sleek. The museum collection spans the period from the pre-historic times to the present day, offering insight into the Catalan national identity. Alongside adults, kids would find this place just as entertaining. There are many interactive exhibits here including, among others, a full set of (plastic) Medieval plate armor to try on. Meanwhile, the adults are free to have a drink at the rooftop bar and enjoy great view of Barcelona and the waterfront.

The museum also offers a mobile tour app with English narration.

Why You Should Visit:
The tranquil interior is attractively contemporary in design, spacious and sleek, with plenty of benches throughout.
A variety of media / lifesize replicas, often interactive, enhances the experience and better represents the story being told.
There's no mistaking Catalonian pride here, so the history is told with a bias, but this adds to the uniqueness of the experience.

Tip:
There's a mobile app/tour available that you can use at some spots to get English presentations.
Before you leave, be sure to have a drink at the rooftop terrace with views over the port and city.

Opening Hours:
[Museum] Tue, Thu-Sat: 10am-7pm; Wed: 10am-8pm; Sun, Holidays: 10am-2:30pm
[Library] Mon-Fri: 10am-3pm (Jun-Sep); Mon, Fri: 10am-3pm; Tue-Thu: 4-6pm (Oct-May)
Closed: Non-holiday Mondays, Jan 1/6, May 1, Jun 10, Dec 25/26
7
Museo de Cera de Barcelona

7) Museo de Cera de Barcelona

Barcelona’s wax museum (Museo de Cera de Barcelona) situated in a 19th century square, slightly off La Rambla, is a home to 300 life-like statues portraying both fictitious and real personalities of the past and present from all over the world. The museum offers audiovisual tours and the display itself is enhanced with splendid backdrops, sound effects and many other special effects set to reinforce the experience. It also provides comprehensive information on the lives of the featured personalities. For extra fun there are two themed cafes: El Bosc de les Fades - designed in the form of a haunted forest, and; Passatge del Temps - built around the theme of ancient origami. Operation hours: Monday - Friday: 10:00 am - 1:30 pm and 4:00 pm - 7:30 pm; Saturday - Sunday: 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and 4:30 pm - 8:30 pm. In summer open daily from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm
8
Maritime Museum

8) Maritime Museum

Barcelona’s Maritime Museum is a definite must-see for anyone in love with the sea and maritime history. It is located in Drassanes Reals, the former royal shipyard built in a distinctive Gothic style. Among the many artifacts displayed here is a wonderful model of the Santa Maria de la Victoria ship aboard which Magellan circumnavigated the Earth for the first time in 1522. The collection's centerpiece, however, is a life-size replica of the Juan de Austria’s Lepanto vessel. The display also includes many other scale replicas of ships, dioramas, and various naval objects, as well as the fruit and vegetables brought to Europe by sailors from the American continent, including potatoes, tomatoes, bananas and more. Operation hours: Monday - Sunday: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm

Walking Tours in Barcelona, Spain

Create Your Own Walk in Barcelona

Create Your Own Walk in Barcelona

Creating your own self-guided walk in Barcelona is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
La Barceloneta Walking Tour

La Barceloneta Walking Tour

La Barceloneta neighborhood was originally formed during the 18th century by fishermen and their families. Today, La Barceloneta beach is one of the most active areas of the city, both during the day and night. It is an ideal place to go for a night out, be it to have dinner in a fancy restaurant or have a drink or party until the wee hours of the morning. This self-guided tour will help you...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 km
Barri Gotic Walking Tour

Barri Gotic Walking Tour

The Gothic Quarter of Barcelona seems like a cut above the rest. It boasts a number of famous buildings, cathedrals and monuments. The area has many peaceful squares where you can relax and enjoy the surroundings. Take this tour to travel back in time and discover all the secrets of Barcelona's Gothic Quarter.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 km
Montjuïc Museums Tour

Montjuïc Museums Tour

Montjuïc is a hill in Barcelona, located just southwest of the city center and overlooking the harbor. Besides the great view, it also offers visitors many interesting and significant museums such as the Poble Espanyol, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Museu Olímpic i de l'Esport, and others. Here, you will learn many interesting facts about the history and culture of Catalonia,...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 km
Ciutat Vella Nightlife

Ciutat Vella Nightlife

It is safe to say that Barcelona is one of those cities that never sleeps. Whatever kind of nightlife entertainment you may think of – a classy music joint or a swanky club to have a drink in and more – you will find it all in Barcelona. This walking tour takes you to some of the best discos and bars in the Ciutat Vella district.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 km
El Raval Walking Tour

El Raval Walking Tour

El Raval is a district in Barcelona which features many worth visiting attractions. The neighborhood is known as Barri Xinés, which means "Chinatown". El Raval is very lively during the day and quite awake all through the night, so visitors will always have something to do and see here. Be one of them and enjoy yourself in El Raval.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 km
Antoni Gaudí's Barcelona Walking Tour

Antoni Gaudí's Barcelona Walking Tour

Gaudí is admired around the world as one of the most distinctive architects of the 20th century. The unique technique and use of natural forms make his creations stand out from the pack. La Sagrada Família, Park Güell, Casa Batlló and other masterpieces will definitely take your breath away with their beauty, forms, colors, and overall design. Take this tour and enjoy the sight of...  view more

Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 8.8 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


Top 10 Spanish Foods and Drinks to Try in Barcelona

Top 10 Spanish Foods and Drinks to Try in Barcelona

In the countries like Spain, food is a national heritage and cultural attraction in its own right. The latter is even more true of Catalonia in general and Barcelona in particular. Presented here are the 10 staples of Catalan food tradition, missing which would be a gastronomical...
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Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Barcelona for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Barcelona has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes


To save yourself time and money getting around Barcelona and visiting the city's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as iVenture Card, Hola Barcelona: Transport Pass, Barcelona Pass, and Barcelona Museum Pass.

These city passes combine all or multiple Barcelona's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels


Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Barcelona hotels that are conveniently located: Iberostar Paseo de Gracia 4* Sup, Catalonia Plaza Cataluña Hotel, Olivia Plaza Hotel.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Barcelona, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours


We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, as a guided tour of Barcelona typically costs between around US$15 and over US$80 per person:

- Hop on a “hop-on hop-off” double-decker and enjoy sightseeing of Barcelona from the open top of the bus, listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get off at any of the stops along the two interconnecting routes (your ticket is valid for both).

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour – this usually lasts around 2 hours and allows you to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise would have done by walking.

- Pedal your way around Barcelona on a 3-hour bike tour visiting the city's most spectacular sights, stopping at each (for 5-20 minutes) to get rest, watch the surroundings, and learn much about the city from an informative group leader.

- If you're an arts and architecture buff, with a keen interest in Catalan modernism of the late 19th century, then you may definitely enjoy a 2-hour guided stroll around the Quadrat d'Or (Golden Square) in Barcelona's Eixample borough to explore in-depth the works (buildings) of the celebrated pioneers of modernism: Domenech i Montaner, Puig i Cadafalch and, of course, Barcelona's most acclaimed architect Antoni Gaudí. As an extra bonus on this tour, you will get a 20% discount on a guided tour of the Palau de la Música Catalana (Music Palace), discounted entrance at Casa Batlló, free admission to the Museu del Modernisme Català (Catalan Modernism Museum), plus savings on admission to Casa Batlló. Great value and tons of information for the money spent!

- If you don't find tales of the supernatural terrifying, and if the gruesome details of witchcraft, exorcisms and paranormal activity, told after sunset, make your hair stand but only with curiosity, then why not treat yourself to a 2-hour “ghost” walk to discover sinister secrets of Barcelona, visiting some of the city's haunted places, entertained along the way by an informative commentary from an expert guide.

- Have the taste of Catalonia’s gourmet culture on this 3- to 4-hour tour of Barcelona's tapas crawling some of the city’s most prominent bars and cafes in La Rambla, La Boqueria food market, and the Gothic Quarter led by an expert food guide. Apart from savoring a variety of traditional Catalonian cured meats, cheeses and breads, as well as drinks, you will also learn how to order these iconic bar snacks in style, like a true local!

Day Trips


If you have a day to spare whilst in Barcelona, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations, like Costa Brava, Pyrenees mountain range, or Tarragona and Sitges. For as little as US$90+ to US$190+ you will get a chance to observe the picturesque villages and dramatic cliffs of the nearby Mediterranean coast, get high up in the Pyrenees Mountains visiting the historic town of Vic in the north of the country with optional hiking, horseback riding or boating excursions, or discover historical highlights of the Roman city of Tarragona complete with a seaside leisure at Sitges. All these trips start and end at your hotel and you'll be carried by a comfortable air-conditioned coach or minivan, accompanied by an English-speaking tour guide.