Museu Picasso de Barcelona

Housed in five adjoining palaces in the old town, the Museu Picasso would be worth visiting for the architecture alone, let alone the more than 4,000 works in its permanent collection. Be aware that this is probably the busiest gallery in Barcelona – book online in advance to avoid the queues, and be prepared to view the works in the close company of a lot of tourists who are merely checking a box by being here.

(Apologies for the lousy image – no photography allowed in here…)

If you buy the Barcelona Museum Pass or Art Passport, you’ll gain priority entry, as well as to Fundació Joan Miró, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC), the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB), Fundació Antoni Tàpies, and Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA).

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Mercat del Born

More of a museum than a market, El Born CCM is still a fascinating visit

Don’t come here looking for fresh produce! Where most Barcelona residents enjoy the benefits of a neighbourhood market, Mercat del Born is now an archaeological site.

The discovery of ruins of the 1700s town were uncovered during a renovation of the fabulous cast iron structure from the late 1800s. The structure, designed by Antoni Rovira I Trias, is now used as the El Born Cultural and Memorial Centre with the ruins on display.

It’s free to enter and actually quite interesting – there’s even a decent bookstore and a café – or you could opt for the daily guided tour that takes you down into the old streets.

Roman ruins at the El Born CCM

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Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC)

Italianate exterior of the MNAC, Barcelona

Housed in an elaborate Italianate structure built for the 1929 International Exposition, MNAC’s collection ranges from what is regarded as the world’s largest exhibition of Romanesque art, through to Gothic, baroque, Renaissance and modern. With its heavy focus on the first two categories, expect biblical scenes, though the mood lightens in the other halls.

no shortage of Romanesque at MNAC
Cocktail cabinets have evolved over the years

Its commanding position, with views over the impressive Font Màgica de Montjuïc to the hills in the distance, sees a regular number of visitors for the outlook alone.

Buy the Barcelona Museum Pass or Art Passport and gain priority entry to Fundació Joan Miró, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC), the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB),the Museu Picasso, Fundació Antoni Tàpies, and Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), and avoid the queues.

Opening times:

October to April, Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm; Sundays and public holidays, 10am to 3pm.

May to September, Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 8pm; Sundays and public holidays, 10am to 3pm.

Mondays closed, except public holidays. Closed January 1st, May 1st and December 25th.

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