Capital of Spain and the largest city of Catalonia, Barcelona is a city filled with endless attractions to discover. About 8.69 million tourists visited Barcelona in 2018, being ranked as the 17th most visited city in the world. Barcelona is also known for shopping, its culinary, the FC Barcelona Museum, its beaches (which most tourists don’t know they’re artificial), its nightlife, its music festivals, the unconventional church La Sagrada Familia, etc. But whether you’re visiting Barcelona for a few days or 3 weeks, hitting art spots will be on your to-visit list. Barcelona is the home of many famous artists such as Joan Miró, Antoni Tàpies, Ramon Casas, Marià Fortuny, and Salvador Dalí (although technically not born in Barcelona, but in a nearby town called Figueres that has a strong connection with the city). It’s a city that breathes art, so you’ll find it everywhere. Visiting museums can be expensive, so you’re traveling on a budget, make sure to visit a museum on the first Sunday of the month, since they’re free! Just make sure to get there early, as lines tend to get long.
You don’t need to be an architect or an art expert to recognize and appreciate the innovations in Antonio Gaudí’s buildings and constructions. Built from 1900 to 1914 and officially opened to the public in 1926, Park Güell reflects the naturalist phase of Gaudí’s works; his inspiration from organic shapes, the creative liberty he put into the ornamental creation, and the mythological influence. It is located on Carmel Hill and it can be reached by underground railway, by city buses, or by tourist buses. It is the perfect spot to spend the afternoon. You can easily spend more than 4 hours there since the park is full of colorful tiles and mosaics, columns and there’s even a viaduct to get lost in. Just make sure to research the nearest and easiest entrance for you since some areas are difficult to access for individuals with limited mobility.
The Spanish poet Federico García Lorca once said that La Rambla was “the only street in the world which I wish would never end.” By taking a walk in this 2-kilometer Boulevard in the heart of Barcelona, you’ll run across an open-air flower market, a fountain, an Opera House, mime artists and street performers, the Teatre Principal (Barcelona’s oldest theatre), an arts center as well as plenty of kiosks that sell newspapers, gifts, local art, flowers, and souvenirs. You’ll also find a large mosaic by Miró, just outside the Boquería market. It can be very crowded, especially during summertime, so make sure to be careful of pickpockets.
Located in the centre of Barcelona and considered one of Antoni Gaudí’s masterpieces, this apartment block was designed in 1904 to be Josep Batlló’s home.
Today the Casa hosts many important events for the city. The details of this building are impressive, Mirò’s goal was to avoid straight lines completely, the whole façade is decorated with broken ceramic tiles of unusual shapes. Its design is considered Modernism and/or Art Nouveau. Even the roof is famous due to its famous dragon back design. You’ll spend 45 min – 2 hours visiting the building. And make sure to buy your tickets online, they’re cheaper and you’ll avoid a long line.
Another one of Gaudí’s masterpieces, this was the last private residence designed by Gaudí, built between 1906 and 1912. This building, made entirely of a constant curve, did not respect any rules of conventional and it was highly criticized at the time. Today, it is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is also the last building Gaudí designed, before devoting himself to the construction of the La Sagrada Familia. And again, if you buy your tickets online they’ll be cheaper and you’ll avoid a long line.
Fundació Joan Miró
Designed specifically for Joan Mirò by Josep Lluís Sert, this museum located on Montjuïc Hill was built in 1960 to encourage contemporary art in Barcelona. You’ll find a large collection of the artist’s work such as painting, drawings, sketches, tapestries, and sculptures. You’ll also find works from Peter Greenaway, Chillida, René Magritte, Rothko, Tàpies, and Saura.
This museum focuses on his studies at art school. It is the perfect place for Picasso lovers to spend an afternoon. You’ll discover some famous works such as The First Communion, Science and Charity (painted by Picasso when he was only 15 years old!), Las Meninas (his interpretation of Diego Velazques intriguing painting), Man in a Beret, The Wait (Margot), Infanta Margarita María, etc.
MACBA. Museu d’Art Contemporani
Opened in 1995 and located in El Raval, Ciutat Vella (“Old City”), the MACBA is referred to by the media as “the pearl” amongst the old streets and buildings in the Ciutat Vella. This museum focuses on Catalan and Spanish art, although some International artists are also represented. They also have a chapel that has been transformed into an exposition area named Capella del MACBA and has regular video art performances.
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
Built in 1929 and officially inaugurated in 1990, this museum located on Montjuïc Hill, it is one of the largest museums in Spain. The Romanesque Art Collection held by the MNAC is one of the most important collections in the world. It also holds a Gothic Collection, an important heritage of the Catalan culture. They also have a Renaissance and Baroque Art Collection not just originally from Catalonia but from the rest of Spain. And a Modern Art collection focused on the Neoclassical, Romantic and Realist movements.
Street Art: Three Chimney Urban Park
Art is not just what’s exposed at museums, and if you don’t agree just take a walk around Three Chimney Urban park, where the murals and buildings are filled with street art and graffiti by amateurs and professionals artists. Located near Montjuïc this place is mostly frequented by skateboarders and local artists. They also have a kids’ playground, pong tables, and petanque terrains.