5 Great Free Museums to Visit in Barcelona
Barcelona doesn’t have many museums that are totally free all of the time, but it does have multiple museums that offer free entrance a few times a week — you simply need to know when to go!
I recommend to everyone visiting Barcelona on a budget to plan their itinerary around the museums they want to visit most, and when their hours of free operation are. Entrance into Barcelona’s best museums can cost a pretty penny, some up to €17, so saving some cash where you can is a must.
Here are five of the best:
1. Museum of the History of Barcelona in Barcelona
Conveniently located in the city center, the Museum of the History of Barcelona is a good place to start for all newcomers to Spain, or even just to Catalonia.
Set in a gorgeous medieval castle, this museum holds all of Barcelona’s secrets; right from the Roman era through to modern day. The castle itself is set into thousands of square meters of Roman excavations.
Due to its overwhelming size, the best place to enter is the headquarters on Plaça del Rei, within the Gothic Quarter.
The museum is free all day on the first Sunday of every month. Alternatively, visit any other Sunday after 3pm and you’ll receive free admission as well. Bare in mind the museum closes at 7pm, so you’ll need to swallow its entirety in under 4 hours.
ADDRESS: Tuesday TO Sunday — 10am to 7pm
ADDRESS: Plaça del Rei, s/n, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Metro STATION: Barceloneta
2. The Picasso Museum in Barcelona
A short walk from the aforementioned museum lies the famous Picasso Museum of Barcelona.
Stretched across five adjacent palaces, this museum holds more than 3800 original Picasso works, making it one of the most complete permanent collections on the planet.
The museum is divided into smaller collections within itself; you’ll find the cubism section on one floor, landscapes on the next, and eventually everything from the intense Blue Period of his career.
Two of the palaces are dedicated to temporary exhibitions and offer visitors the chance to see works usually showcased in other parts of Europe.
The Picasso Museum is free on the first Sunday of every month. One can also visit for free on Thursday evenings after 6pm, with the museum closing up at 9pm.
ADDRESS: Tuesday to Sunday — 11am to 9pm
ADDRESS: Carrer Montcada, 15-23, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Metro STATION: Barceloneta
3. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya in Barcelona
Housed inside the phenomenal Palau Nacional in the amphitheater of Montjuic, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya is Barcelona’s exhibit for Catalan visual arts dating between the 11th century right through to the 20th.
The visual artworks range from paintings to sculptures, furniture to photography. There are some drawings and prints that have been preserved since the Romanesque period.
Exiting from the front facade of the palace will lead to a walkway down to the well known Magic fountain of Montjuic. Tourists gather here daily to witness the famous fountain show that takes place around sunset. Needless to say, the view over Barcelona from up here is something to write home about.
Entrance into the museum is free on the first Sunday of every month, as well as on Saturdays from 3pm to 8pm. The fountain show is free to all, daily.
ADDRESS: Wednesday to Sunday — 11am to 8pm
ADDRESS: Palau Nacional, Parc de Montjuïc, s/n, 08038 Barcelona, Spain
Metro STATION: Poble Sec
4. Virreina Palace in Barcelona
One could say that Virreina Palace is Barcelona’s multicultural art complex. Its goal is to keep art and culture alive in the city, and it does so from the heart of one of Barcelona’s most vibrant streets: La Rambla.
All events at Virreina Palace work on a temporary or rotational basis. The program is ever changing, and might feature photographic exhibitions, poetry readings, lectures, literary launches and even election broadcasts.
There is always something for everyone at the Virreina Palace; be sure to find their upcoming program prior to your visit to Barcelona and plan your days accordingly. Entrance is free at all times to this establishment. Note that they are closed on Mondays.
ADDRESS: Tuesday TO Sunday — 11am to 8pm
ADDRESS: La Rambla, 99, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Metro STATION: Liceu
5. Maritime Museum in Barcelona
Maritime museums were something I largely avoided while traveling, in fear that I wasn’t clued up enough on even the basics of nautical history to enjoy an entire museum.
I was sorely mistaken, and anyone who has visited a Maritime museum while in Europe will tell you the same. One doesn’t need to know even the difference between a shipyard and a junkyard to delve deep into the wonders of age old navigation, mastheads and maps.
Housed in labyrinth of Gothic architecture, Barcelona’s Maritime Museum is, in my opinion, one of the most enjoyable ways to reconnect with your inner child whilst traveling. There is something about ships and nautical exploration that will do that to a person.
Admission into the Maritime Museum of Barcelona is free every Sunday after 3pm. The space remains open through until 8pm, which it ample time to see the museum in its entirety. This is a wonderful place to visit with children!