The National Museum of Art of Catalonia

Story: Conxa Rodà
Photography: Marta Mérida, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona
Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya is the biggest museum in Catalonia. The art collection goes from the 11th-century to mid-20th. The most remarkable parts of the collection that are world renowned are the medieval mural paintings. They had been transported from the little Romanesque churches in the Pyrenees’ mountains to the museum at the beginning of the 20th-century.

Another jewel of the collection is the Modernism section on the first floor. The buildings by Gaudí can be admired all over the city of Barcelona, but to see the furniture, the inner decorations by Gaudí, you’ll find them in the museum.

Also worth visiting, are the Renaissance and Baroque galleries on the main floor with artworks by Spanish and European painters such as Velázquez, Goya, Rubens, Rembrandt, Tiepolo and Tiziano. On the first floor, one can find artworks by 20th-century artists such as Julio González, Picasso, Dalí and the section of posters of the Spanish Civil War can be found as well.

Before visiting, I strongly recommend browsing the collection online and checking out the virtual tours. Those resources will give you a flavour of what to do and see at the museum. Since it is a huge museum, I do not recommend trying to see everything in one visit. It’s better to plan ahead, select a few galleries, and then enjoy and relax. You can also download the free Second Canvas app to discover the portraits of the museum through super high-definition images and interactive storytelling.

The building itself is an interesting piece of architecture. It was built for the 1929 International Exhibition in Barcelona. It was never meant to be preserved, but then found itself transformed into a museum in 1934. The impressive Oval Hall, free to access, is one of the biggest halls in Europe.

A rich programme of temporary exhibitions as well as creative activities guarantee that every visit offers a different experience for all to enjoy.

The museum offers several types of guided visits. Besides the ones about the collection, singular visits are focused on the building and one has possibility to access the inner storage rooms. The library, besides being the best on art history in Spain, is also worth a visit with it’s gorgeous reading room accompanied by natural light and good views.

If you go with children, ask for the “Enigmes” (riddles) sheet. They are free and also come in English, so the kids will enjoy exploring and discovering art throughout the galleries.

From the rooftop which has recently opened to the public, you can enjoy an almost 360 degree view over the city of Barcelona.

The nice museum shop is very tempting.

Wifi is free and available at the entrance hall, Oval Hall, library, coffee shop and restaurant.

Museum Information:
Social networks of the museum:
Location: Palau Nacional, Parc de Montjuïc, Barcelona London W1U 3BA
Admission: 12€. Admissions is free of charge every Saturday after 3pm. The ticket allows a free second visit within a month. Children under 16 years old are admitted for free.
Opening hours: Tuesdays to Saturdays 10am-8pm in Summer. 10-6pm from October until April 30. Sundays: 10am-3pm. Mondays closed.
Multimedia Audio guides are available in eight languages.

Conxa Rodà

Biography: Conxa is a docent at Open University of Catalonia and a museum professional. Has worked at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya as Head of Strategy and Digital Transformation and before at Museu Picasso in Barcelona as Head of Digital Projects. Loves travelling and reading. @innova2.

She blogs at

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