Things to do in Barcelona

Stunning Art Galleries in Barcelona

Round out your time in Barcelona with some of the most stunning art galleries in the world.

Barcelona has been a hub for artists and writers for hundreds of years. In fact, many famous writers and artists have called this city home, including Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, and Salvador Dalí.

With so many renowned artists, it's only natural that this massive, bustling metropolitan area would house dozens of art galleries and museums. If you're looking for things to do in Barcelona, why not explore some of them? After all, exploring art is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the rich blend of cultures that Barcelona has to offer.

Historic Art Galleries in Barcelona

Art is part of the human experience, and that's made all the more apparent when browsing historic art galleries. Through art, we process events and emotions while expressing ourselves. We connect deeply to images that make us think.

This is all the more apparent in Barcelona, where a history of artistic excellence reigns supreme. While crafting your list of things to do in Barcelona, schedule time to explore some of the most historically significant works of art from Catalonia.

1. Museu Picasso

Barcelona's Museu Picasso is one the medieval street of Carrer de Montcada and is entirely dedicated to one of the most famous artists ever. While Pablo Picasso wasn't born in Barcelona, he moved there around age 14 and spent years in the region.

Within these walls, you'll see some of Picasso's oldest works and experience them in the environment that inspired him. If you explore all five medieval palaces, you'll discover around 4,000 original pieces of art—nearly 80 years of his creativity.

He dabbled in just about every medium he could get his hands on. While his most famous works are spread across the world on display, this is the largest collection of his works you can lay eyes on.

Picasso's art features cubism, making each piece a sort of visual puzzle with the elements fragmented across it. He pushed the boundaries with his work despite the ire it earned him from his harshest critics.

Most prominently, Museu Picasso houses Picasso's Las Meninas, a series of 58 paintings that reinterpret and recreate the same scene.

Photographer: Arzu Sendag

2. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya

As soon as you step into the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, you embark on a thousand-year-long journey exploring Catalan artists and their works. Watch it evolve right before your eyes as you meander through the halls.

The museum heavily emphasizes religious heritage and how it's changed over the centuries. You’ll see that in its collection of Gothic altarpieces, Romanesque and baroque art, and more.

Delve into the modern art of Antoni Gaudí, Salvador Dalí, and Pablo Picasso held alongside 13th-century murals from the Aguilar Palace. As you immerse yourself in breathtaking historical artwork, you'll see Catalonia's creativity come to life and evolve.

Photographer: Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz

3. Sala Parés

Sala Parés has humble roots. It was first established by Joan Parés in 1840 as an art store. By 1877, it stood as an art gallery as Parés' son, Joan Baptista Parés, displayed an eclectic mix of pieces. Now, it's one of the oldest art galleries in the world.

The museum sits in a historic building in the Gothic Quarter, featuring the works of 35 contemporary artists. Perico Pastor's vivid watercolor and ink paintings sit alongside Carlos Morago's hyperrealistic interior design pieces. Artistry abounds within these halls, just waiting to provoke thought and inspire imagination in those who walk through.

4. Fundació Joan Miró

Sitting atop the equally iconic hill of Montjuïc, Fundació Joan Miró is just waiting to be discovered. The exterior is grand in its own right. Intermingling of straight and curved lines, and stepping foot inside welcomes you to a testament to Joan Miró's passion and talent.

The Catalan painter had his own distinctive style, combining abstract art with a surrealist twist. Unlike some artists who stick to a single medium, Miró sought to push the limits and revisited common themes in numerous forms.

Amid the paintings hanging from the walls, sculptures, ceramics, and other works of art dot the museum. While some works remain on permanent display, others rotate in temporary exhibitions. Be sure to check out what's available when you plan your visit.

Guided tours are available. If you choose to peruse the collection independently, download the museum floor plan and audio guide beforehand. Give yourself ample time to observe and analyze the pieces.

Contemporary Art Galleries

Contemporary art encompasses works created by artists who are still alive today. Art is deeply personal and introspective. Looking at contemporary work and puzzling out its meanings is often a way to relate to the world around you.

In a city as artistically inclined as Barcelona, you'll find all sorts of contemporary art galleries. Some feature artists yet to rise to fame, while others focus on living geniuses. Check out some of these contemporary art galleries and museums in Barcelona to explore the modern artist.

5. MACBA (Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona)

Although it focuses more on international contemporary art than local artists, Barcelona's MACBA is still worth a trip. The works are housed in a stunning modern white cement and glass building that's a work of art itself.

This gallery is a true treasure trove of international artists, especially from Eastern Europe and South America. Exhibitions range from avant-garde pieces to dramatic pop art. You'll find tons of works from the second half of the 20th century and beyond.

Bring your imagination and an open mind, and prepare for the experience of a lifetime. Exhibits cycle every few months, so if you plan to return in the future, your favorite pieces may no longer be on display.

Local skateboarders, in particular, love the museum, but probably not for the reason you think. The recognizable Barcelona architecture is world-renowned as one of the best places to skateboard, and locals and tourists bring their wheels to experience it.

Photographer: Guille Álvarez

6. Galeria Mayoral

Founded in 1989, Galeria Mayoral prominently features postwar Spanish artwork. The meticulously curated gallery leans into well-known artists, including Miró, Picasso, and Dalí, all known for their avant-garde approach to creativity.

While some exhibits focus exclusively on one or two artists, others bring together several who explored similar themes through their work.

Expect to discover a constantly rotating collection. The pieces are selected based on all sorts of themes and explore concepts, such as dreams, the war, and shifting paradigms, that dare you to think about the artwork in new, innovative ways.

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7. ADN Galeria

A relatively new addition to the myriad of art galleries in Barcelona, ADN Galeria is in downtown Barcelona. However, it's not for the faint of heart. Expect to be challenged, facing some of today's most provocative political topics in art form.

Older pieces, such as Eduardo Arroyo's 1968 drawing, El Arresto del Estudiante Julio López (The Arrest of Student Julio López), sit alongside newer pieces, such as Kendell Geers' 2011 piece, PlayPreyPayPray.

The exhibits challenge their viewers to grapple with long-overdue discussion topics while exploring the interplay between politics, society, and art. The exhibitions frequently change. Pieces move around others for what resembles visual conversations. Other times, their relocations embrace completely new topics.

8. Artevistas Gallery

Hidden near the heart of the Gothic Quarter, Artevistas Gallery sits in the same building that holds the honor of being Joan Miró's birthplace. As the building saw one of Spain's most influential artists enter the world, it was a natural spot for an art gallery in Barcelona. The art within it embraces the same penchant for creativity that he once exuded in spades.

Stepping in, you'll be bombarded with walls lined, sometimes floor to ceiling, with works of art. These passionate pieces of urban and contemporary boast unique styles. But, the sheer talent of the artists shines through nonetheless.

With 78 artists featured and 2,240 pieces of art within its walls, it offers the opportunity to discover new and familiar artists.

9. Galeria Joan Prats

At Galeria Joan Prats, art knows no limits. This pioneer contemporary art gallery has helped bring international artists into Barcelona's limelight since 1976. Here, you'll find all sorts of evocative pieces that leave you pondering the artists' choices and meanings.

Although it looks small at first glance, the gallery feels like it opens up as you journey through it. It’s easy to spend hours gazing at the experimental choices on display. Sculptures, paintings, photographs, and more await you, each telling an artist's unique tale.

10. RocioSantaCruz Gallery

Even budding artists deserve a chance at being featured in a gallery, and that's what you get from RocioSantaCruz Gallery. Featuring contemporary creation in all its iterations, this gallery allows emerging talents to show off their best work, which is the perfect opportunity to discover a new favorite artist.

With its entire purpose wrapped up in offering a platform for experimentation, it's just waiting to blow your mind — in a good way. You'll discover emotional photography, prints, paintings, sculptures, and anything else the featured artists come up with. If they can dream it, they can bring it to reality. And you’ll find it here.

11. Fundació Antoni Tàpies

Antoni Tàpies has a fascinating history of his own. Born in Barcelona, he initially intended to become a lawyer. After falling ill before completing law school, he began exploring art. A new artist was born, and his distinctive creations were initially met with divisiveness.

However, he managed to take the art scene by storm. He played with symbolism and surrealism in material forms that left them open to interpretation. Founded by Tàpies, Fundació Antoni Tàpies pushes art to the extreme.

The museum is topped with what appears to be a messy tangle of wires, but it's a piece of art known as Cloud and Chair. The wires serve as the cloud, and the chair is suspended within it.

Other pieces like his Straw and Wood are just as open to interpretation. This piece is just straw with a piece of wood. It could have a whole slew of meanings depending on how you look at it. The same could be said for the rest of his work throughout. Enter with an open mind, and prepare to come up with your own interpretations.

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12. Fundació Setba

Fundació Setba takes a different approach as an art gallery. Located in the Gothic District, it's operated by a foundation that seeks to promote art and culture for those at high risk of social exclusion.

More specifically, it encourages the development of artistic talent for people with physical or intellectual disabilities. After all, artistry exists in all forms, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beyond hosting an inclusive, ever-changing gallery, it also regularly houses in-person art classes, helping people at all levels of skill tap into their creative side.

13. Villa del Arte

Villa del Arte encompasses four galleries across Barcelona, each in its own space with different vibes. However, one point remains the same between them all. The exhibits change frequently, and both emerging and established artists may be featured.

Passeig de Gràcia awaits on the first floor of the hotel Mandarin Oriental, featuring stunning modern art. The well-curated Mimosa Garden, which sits right outside the hotel, features sculptures and other weatherproof works of art. Pieces change frequently.

Tapineria, next to La Seu Cathedral, features stainless steel work displayed in an outdoor sculpture garden. La Palla sits on the ground floor of the Baroque Sant Felip Neri convent. With high ceilings and plenty of surface area, you'll be treated to a number of contemporary art pieces from new and established artists.

Hidden Gems and Specialized Galleries

If you're looking for art that's a bit more off the beaten path, look no further. Here, you'll discover a chapel turned gallery and another where rules are challenges to break rather than something to live by.

14. La Capella

La Capella sits in what was once the Antic Hospital de la Santa Creu's chapel, dating back to the 15th century. Today, you'll find an art gallery featuring a mix of frequently changing temporary exhibitions.

What sets La Capella apart, however, is that it emphasizes emerging artists, showcasing their best work for Barcelona to see and helping integrate them into the well-established artistic ecosystem within the city. The work you'll discover as you wander the halls comes from lesser-known artists seeking to awe their viewers.

15. Galería Maxó

Maxó Renella was an artist long before he became a gallery director. More specifically, he's an artist who enjoys defying conformity. Any artistic rules he encounters are immediately deemed fit to be broken.

Rather than following any sort of formal training, he strives to experiment and create unique pieces that speak to him. This philosophy shines through with Galería Maxó, which was designed to be a whole new take on the concept of an art gallery.

Maxó refused to be exclusive to an elite group. He wanted to build a place where anyone could visit and find themselves with an unforgettable visual experience. The pieces you'll find here are masterpieces in their own right, defying conformity at every turn.

The pieces you'll find here are masterpieces in their own right, defying conformity at every turn.

Embracing Barcelona's Artistic Soul: Your Next Cultural Adventure

Not many cities worldwide have the same claim to artistic fame as Barcelona. Maybe you consider yourself artistically minded. You may like to marvel at what other people can do when they harness their talent. Either way, your time in Barcelona isn't complete until you've explored at least one gallery.

The city's skilled artists poured their hearts and souls into their work, which we can respect. After all, we do the same thing every time we create artistry in motion at one of our shows. We share that same passion to spread our art far and wide.

Our art is in the form of a living, breathing cast of performers as they complete daring stunts and feats that seem impossible to the untrained eye. We dare to dream with the world's best artists and aim to bring you spellbinding visuals you won't soon forget. We hope to see you in the audience at one of our shows in Barcelona.

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