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Top 5 inexpensive museums of Barcelona

Top 5 inexpensive museums of Barcelona

Barcelona is a paradise for those after top-notch art. Below you’ll find a selection of five spots that charge much less than you’d expect for the quality of what’s on display. Even a short stroll through the maze of the charming cobbled alleys of Barcelona will surely feature at least a couple of museums worth your time. Some of them, of course, belong to the heavyweight category on a worldwide scale, so you’ll be right to expect that they may charge quite a bit for admission. Still, the city is full of many other interesting places which offer not less for much less. In fact, there is really much to choose from, so may the selection provided below act as a guide through top five arty spots of interest for those aiming to get the best experience of Barcelona without the need to break their wallets.

Museu Frederic Marès

Take a walk through the picturesque Barri Gotic and head to Plaça de Sant Iu 5 – this is where you’ll find one of the most exciting museums devoted to the art of sculpture. Its founder, Frederic Marès, was a sculptor himself and throughout his lifetime had managed to collect an impressive number of amazing works which now remain on display in the interiors of this great place. The collection covers an extensive part of history, ranging from items from the ancient times to those from the 19th century. Moreover, Marès has also had a more personal contribution – his own works can be admired in his Library-study, while the Collector’s Cabinet, another section of the museum, features an astonishing number of 19th-century objects like pipes, clocks, jewelry, photographs, keys or toys, all providing some insight into the private life of the sculptor. For opening hours, check out the museum’s website.


The district of El Raval is a home to flamenco street dancers, skateboarders and diverse outdoor artists, but also to a couple of truly remarkable facilities devoted to modern art. One such place is most surely MACBA – Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, located on Plaça Àngels 1, near Placa Catalunya. The edifice is a work of art alone – the interplay of light and shadow is truly spectacular, but not as much as what you can find inside. Managed by MACBA Foundation, it boasts a fantastic sizeable permanent collection of works, mostly (though not only) by Spanish and Catalan artists, divided into three ‘sections’: from the 40s to the 60s, from the 60s to the 70s and from the 70s up to here and now.  Through the ample set of artifacts, installations, pictures, photographs and other forms of artistic creation, MACBA aims to promote a critical approach to art and to make audience take a more active stance as its recipients. Opening hours and current exhibitions are listed on MACBA’s website.

Museu d’Història de la Ciutat (City History Museum)

A real treat lies hidden on Plaça del Rei, right next to Barcelona Cathedral. For limited money you can gain a once-in-a-lifetime chance to visit a mysterious underground maze of an ancient Roman city which laid grounds for Barcelona – or Barcino, as the Romans called it – as we know it. This is one of the biggest Roman settlements to have ever been discovered in Europe. Once you cross the surprisingly modern entrance to the City History Museum, you’ll come across a collection of age-old pottery and other excavated items, but the real fun starts after you take the lift and descend to the basement and proceed through a complex of ancient facilities and mosaics, wall paintings, graves, documents, engravings and other artifacts that will give you an insight into the daily life of settlers as it used to be well over 2,000 years ago. The labyrinth exits in the cathedral; on the first floor of the museum you will be also able to admire the course of history of development of the modern-day city of Barcelona. Find out more at the museum’s website, but you can be sure that this one’ really worth your time.

Museu del Perfum

Apart from something for the eye, there is also something for the… nose! On Passeig de Gràcia 39, inside Perfumería Regia in the scenic district of Eixample, there awaits the Museum of Perfume – a place where you’ll find some 5,000 scent bottles, flasks and other items used in the industry. The whole collection comes divided into two different sections. The first one has got a more ‘historical’ feel, as it features a set of vases and jars with essence, balms and ointments, ranging from the times of ancient Egypt (you’ll see, for instance, a tube of black eye make-up) to the era of Marie Antoinette’s atomizers (with the famous double-flask pouch from that times). The second section focuses on designer perfumes by e.g. Dior, Chanel or Guerlain. Among the artifacts on display you’ll find some limited or rare items, like the Dali’s vivid creation for Schiaparelli. The museum has lately acquired a big range of 19th-century perfumed boxes and powder bottles, so a visit should be a real treat for your sense of smell. Have a sneak peek here.

Museu de la Xocolata

Since we’re on the topic of other senses than vision, here’s also something for your taste – the one-and-only Museum of Chocolate! Get to know everything about the history of chocolate – from its arrival to Europe to its spread through the dining tables of the Old Continent and the whole world. You will also get to learn of its healing properties, its nutritional value and its historical significance as a mythical gift from the gods. Dozens of smaller and bigger sculptures made entirely of chocolate await you inside – and the kids will surely love it! Additionally, you will become acquainted with the whole process of chocolate-making – a really sweet experience, you can say. The place offers a big range of additional activities, but please check out their tasty website for an overview of events, opening hours and discount options.