20 Barcelona museums you can visit for free
Barcelona is one of the most expensive cities in Europe. How to save money on your trip? One option is to get into museums for free.
I will tell you about 20 museums in Barcelona that you can visit without spending a single euro. Do not miss the opportunity to spend a day surrounded by objects from the past and masterpieces of art, to discover the work of talented artists and learn new historical facts.
1. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
A visit to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) offers an overview of Catalan art from the Middle Ages to the mid-twentieth century. The museum will surprise you with classical art and contemporary exhibitions.
Free admission: on the first Sunday of each month and on Saturdays from 15:00, also during the open days, on May 18, September 11 and September 24.
2. Picasso Museum / Museu Picasso
Museu Picasso is a must for exploring the work of Pablo Picasso. It is a reference center of knowledge about the formative years of the master. The museum was created by the artist and his friend Jaime Sabartes.
Free admission: Thursdays from 17:00 to 21:00, on the first Sunday of each month and open days (February 12, May 18 and September 24).
3. the Museu d’Història de Barcelona
The Museu d’Història de Barcelona is for history buffs. Its exposition tells a lot about antiquities and excavations. Visiting the museum in the Royal Plaza is like going to Bàrcino, the Roman colony that gave birth to the city of Barcelona, which is represented by 4000 m² of excavated land.
Free admission: every Sunday from 15:00 to 20:00, and all day on the first Sunday of the month (valid for all MUHBA centers except Park Guell). Open days are February 12 and 13, May 18 and September 24.
4. Center de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona
The Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB) invites you to enter a world where visual art, literature, philosophy, film, music and the performing arts form a unique mixture. Contemporary art stirs our imagination and offers a different perspective on everyday things. Everyone will find something to interest them here.
Free admission: Sundays from 3 to 8 p.m. and May 18, Museum Night and September 24.
5. Museu del Disseny de Barcelona
The Museu del Disseny de Barcelona is the result of the merging of the collections of the Museum of Decorative Arts, the Museum of Ceramics, the Museum of Textiles and Clothing and the Cabinet of Graphic Arts. It promotes a better understanding and proper use of design. The museum houses approximately 70,000 objects explaining the evolution of decorative arts in contemporary design and author’s art.
Free admission: the first Sunday of the month and every Sunday from 3 to 8 p.m. Open house days: February 12 and September 24.
6. Music Museum / Museu de la Música
The Museum of Music (Museu de la Música) has a collection of musical instruments from all over the world, as well as biographical documents ranging from ancient civilizations to the new technologies of the 21st century. The museum’s collection has a total of 2,000 instruments from different eras and cultures, 500 of which are on display.
Free admission: on the first Sunday of the month all day, every Sunday from 15:00 to 18:00, on Thursdays from 18:00 to 21:00 and on February 12 and 13, March 20, Museum Night, May 15 and 18, June 21, September 24 and 25, November 22.
7. Frederic Marès Museum / Museu Frederic Marès
The Museu Frederic Marès (MFM) is a sculpture museum within the grounds of the old Royal Palace, based on a collection given to the city by the sculptor Frederic Mares. Its exposition introduces Spanish sculpture of the XII-XIX centuries. In the “Sentimental Museum” you will find all kinds of objects of Catalan life from the fifteenth to the twentieth centuries.
Free admission: the first Sunday of the month and every Sunday from 15:00 to 20:00. Open days February 12 and 13, May 18 and September 24.
8. Maritime Museum / Museu Marítim
Barcelona’s Maritime Museum is worth a visit even if you can’t tell a caravel from a catamaran. The arches and vaults of the old shipyards show well-preserved examples of Spanish Civil Gothic architecture. In the Middle Ages the shipyards were located right by the sea and were used to dry, repair and build ships for the Royal Navy.
Free entrance: Sundays from 15:00, February 12 and 13, May 18 and September 24.
9. Museum of Natural Sciences / Museu de Ciències Naturals
The Natural Sciences Museum in the Parque del Fòrum is a two-storey building with 9000 m² of floor space. In the large lobby you will be greeted by the skeleton of a whale that jumped onto the beach in 1862. The green roof of the structure is interesting.
Free admission: on Sundays from 15:00 and on the first Sunday of the month throughout the day. Open days are Feb. 12 and 13, May 18 and Sept. 24.
10. Museum of Ethnology and World Cultures / Museu Etnològic i de Cultures del Món
The Museum of Ethnology and World Cultures (Museu Etnològic i de Cultures del Món – Montcada) brings together the artistic and cultural diversity of the peoples of Africa, Asia, America and Oceania.
Free admission: Sundays at 15:00 and the first Sunday of the month for the whole day. Open days February 12, May 18 and September 24.
The Museum of Modern Art / Museu d’Art Contemporani
Do you want to discover the peculiarities of Spanish contemporary art? See the work of artists such as Antoni Tapies, Miguel Barceló and Jean-Michel Basquiat? Visit the Museu d’Art Contemporani (MACBA).
Free admission: every Saturday from 4 to 8 p.m. and on open days February 12, April 2, April 3, May 14, May 18 and September 24.
12. Montjuïc Castle / Castell de Montjuïc
Haven’t seen what lies beyond the walls of the Castell de Montjuïc? Be sure to take a look. The view of the sea and the port is breathtaking from the castle’s bastion. The castle was renovated in the XVIII century, since then its appearance has not changed. In 1963 it opened the Military Museum.
Free admission: first Sunday of the month.
13. Botanical Garden / Jardí Botànic
The Botanical Garden (Jardí Botànic) has an extensive collection of Mediterranean plants. It offers a magnificent view of the Llobregat Delta, the Olympic Ring and part of the metropolitan area.
Free admission: Sundays from 3 p.m., all day on the first Sunday of the month. Open days Feb. 12 and 13, May 18 and Sept. 24.
14. German Pavilion / Pavelló Alemany
The Pavelló Alemany is also called Pavelló Mies van der Rohe. It became a point of reference for modern, rationalist architecture through the use of revolutionary materials. Various exhibitions are held inside the pavilion.
Free admission: on the first Sunday of each month.
15. Photo Collection / Foto Colectania
The Foto Colectania collection is a meeting place for all photography lovers. It brings together more than 2500 works of Spanish and Portuguese authors from 1950 to the present.
Free admission: first Sunday of each month from 11:00 to 15:00.
16. El Born Centre de Cultura i Memòria
The El Born Centre de Cultura i Memòria is a cultural and archaeological area under the roof of the former El Born market. Looking at the excavated foundations of old houses, streets and entire neighborhoods, it is interesting to imagine how the Spaniards lived 400 years ago.
Free admission: you can walk around the excavations for free on the gallery, give out a free audio guide. But you can only go down with a guided tour. Free tours are offered on Sundays from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.
17. Contemporary Art Center Fabra i Coats / Fabra i Coats: Centre d’Art Contemporani
The cultural center for contemporary art Fabra i Coats (Fabra i Coats: Centre d’Art Contemporani) is located in a factory from the 1910s. It is dedicated to the research, production, exhibition and dissemination of contemporary artistic practices.
Admission is free. There is a guided tour on the first Sunday of each month at 12:00.
18. Virreina Image Center / Virreina Centre de la Imatge
The Virreina Centre de la Imatge is considered one of the best examples of Baroque civic architecture in Catalonia. There are exhibitions of photographs, film screenings, photography projects, competitions, lectures, musical performances and performances.
Admission is free.
19. Museum of Funeral Carriages / Museo de Carruajes Fúnebres
The collection of the Museo de Carruajes Fúnebres de Barcelona consists of 6 luxury carriages, 3 cars and 13 funeral platforms, which were used for funeral processions in the 19th and 20th centuries. Completing the collection are the funerary ceremonial clothes.
Admission is free on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 to 14:00.
20. Galeria de Catalans Il-lustres portrait gallery
The Galeria de Catalans Il-lustres is part of the Barcelona History Museum’s collection, and is currently housed in Palau Requesens, the headquarters of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. It contains portraits of the greatest figures of Catalonia.
Admission is free Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 14:00.
Free museum promotions in Barcelona – when and where?
Barcelona is a treasure trove of unique architectural sights, works of art, historical monuments and simply amazing things. Whenever you visit the capital of Catalonia, the doors of the permanent exhibitions of Barcelona’s museums and many seasonal exhibitions are always open to you. The temples of art can of course be visited for free; all you need to know is which day and at what time a museum is holding a “free admission” offer. We offer you a short guide to the museums of Barcelona, which offer residents and guests of the city the possibility to visit the exhibition halls for free.
1. National Museum of Art of Catalonia (MNAC)
Its rich collection showcases all kinds of art from the Romantic period to the mid-twentieth century, providing visitors with an insight into the diversity of Catalan culture. The rarest exhibits number up to 200,000 pieces. Some exhibits from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum can also be seen here.
Free admission: Saturday from 15:00, first Sunday of each month. Open days: February 12, May 18 (International Museum Day), September 11 and 24. Opening hours: October-April, Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00-18:00; May-September, Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00-20:00; Sundays and holidays 10:00-15:00. Address: Palau Nacional, Parc de Montjuïc, s/n, 08038 Barcelona.
2. Museum of the History of Barcelona
4,000 square meters of underground Roman labyrinths – streets, wine and olive warehouses, and manor houses discovered in the late 1920s in the Gothic Quarter area of Barcelona. You can enter the labyrinth from the Casa Padellás Merchant’s Palace and follow a route that includes the Plaza del Rey, the Pedralbes Monastery, Villa João, Park Guell, Santa Caterina and El Cal.
Free admission: first Sunday of each month all day and every Sunday after 15:00. Open days: February 12, May 18, and September 24 . Opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00-19:00, Sundays 10:00-20:00, holidays 10:00-14:00. Address: Plaça del Rei, s/n, 08002 Barcelona.
3. the Museum of Music
The Music Museum in the L’Auditori contains several hundred unique pieces. It hosts one of the largest collections of musical instruments and documents in Spain. It is located on the second level of the building designed by the famous architect Rafael Moneo. The third floor is devoted to the documentation and research room.
Free admission: first Sunday of each month all day and every Sunday after 3 pm. Open house days: February 12, May 18, September 24, November 22. Opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00-18:00, Sunday 10:00-20:00. Address: C/Lepant, 150, 2ª pl., 08013 Barcelona.
4. Frederic Mares Museum
Frédéric Mares collected everything he found interesting, from combs and opera binoculars to gargoyle statues. He created an extensive collection of Spanish sculpture from ancient times to the 19th century (mostly metal carvings) and supplemented it with his own works. Tens of thousands of various objects, mostly created in the nineteenth century – fans, smoking pipes, clocks, jewelry and other objects telling about life and customs of the past – were given to the city by the author in 1944 and since then have been part of one of Barcelona’s most unusual collections.
Free admission: First Sunday of each month all day and every Sunday after 3 p.m. Open days: February 2, May 18, May 26 in 2016 ( Corpus Christi), September 24 . Opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00-19:00, Sunday 11:00-20:00. Address: Plaça de Sant Iu, 5, 08002 Barcelona.
5. La Virreina Centre de la Imatge
The walls of the Viceroyalty Palace, built in the refined Baroque style, and its patio and outbuildings serve as the perfect setting for the city’s major temporary exhibitions as well as its cultural center. The palace is home to the Wirrain Center for Contemporary Art, which organizes various installations, photography and audiovisual exhibitions, literary festivals and other events.
Admission is free. Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday and holidays – 12:00 – 20:00. Weekends: January 1, May 1, December 25 and 26. Address: La Rambla 99, 08002 Barcelona.
6. Picasso Museum
The collection of the museum has more than 3800 works in permanent exhibition. Among them are the most famous works of Pablo Picasso: paintings of the Blue period, self-portraits, engravings of his friend Jaume Sabartes and 58 canvases based on the paintings of Velázquez, The Maidens, given to the museum by the artist. The museum is located in five Gothic palaces, which are some of the best examples of medieval urban architecture.
Free admission: First Sunday of each month all day and every Sunday after 15:00. Open house days: February 12, May 18, September 24. Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Thursday 9 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Address: C /Montcada, 15-23, 08003 Barcelona.
7. Center de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona (CCCB)
This cultural center, that opened in 1994 in the House of Mercy in a former medieval monastery, the façade and a part of the patio of which were preserved, organizes and hosts exhibitions, debates, festivals, concerts, film screenings, courses and conferences, as well as supporting the development and creation of new technologies. Parts of the building have been rebuilt in glass and metal and are of particular architectural interest.
Free admission: Sunday – 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Open house days: February 12, May 18, September 24 and Museum Night. Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 11 am to 8 pm. Address: C/Montalegre, 5, 08001 Barcelona.
8. Maritime Museum of Barcelona – Museu Marítim de Barcelona
Even if you cannot tell the difference between a caravel and a catamaran, it is worth visiting the Maritime Museum to see the Gothic arches and vaults of the old shipyards, recognized as a Historic and Artistic Landmark since 1976. For more than 75 years, the museum has preserved, researched and continually added to the maritime heritage collections of one of the most important Mediterranean countries.
Free admission: Sunday – 15:00 – 20:00. Open days: May 18, September 24. Opening hours: Monday-Sunday, 10:00-20:00. Address: Av. de les Drassanes s/n, 08001 Barcelona.
9. Botanical Garden
The 14 hectares big amphitheater botanical garden is located on Montjuïc between the castle and the Olympic Stadium. The most unusual plants from around the world are there. The most unusual plants from all over the world are on display in the garden, offering stunning views of the Llobregat Delta, the Olympic Ring and the center of Barcelona.
Free admission: first Sunday of each month all day and every Sunday after 3 p.m. Open house days: February 12, May 18, September 24. Open hours: October – March, Monday – Sunday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; April – September, Monday – Sunday, 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Address: C/Doctor Font i Quer, 2, 08038 Barcelona.
10. Blue Museum of Barcelona – El Museu Blau
The Blue Museum is part of the Natural Sciences Museum of Barcelona and covers an area of 9000 square meters. All visitors are welcomed by a 150-year-old whale skeleton in the lobby.
Numerous installations and spaces for various activities and other rooms are located in the museum: “Planet Life” (a journey through the history of evolutionary life on Earth), temporary exhibitions, a media library, a “Science Nest” (for children from 0 to 6 years), classrooms, assembly rooms, workshops, a cafeteria and a store.
Free admission: First Sunday of each month all day and every Sunday after 15:00. Open days: February 12, May 18 and September 24. Opening hours: October to February, Tuesday to Friday, 10 am to 6 pm, Saturday 10 am to 7 pm, Sunday and public holidays 10 am to 8 pm; March to September, Tuesday to Saturday 10 am to 7 pm, Sunday and public holidays 10 am to 8 pm. Address: Museo de Ciencias Naturales, Parque del Forum, Plaza Leonardo da Vinci, S/N, 08019 Barcelona.
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