What to see

Ciutat Vella

Barcelona offers a unique opportunity for the tourist on foot to walk from Roman remains to the medieval city, and then to the modern city with its open thoroughfares and grid-iron street pattern. The historic city center is fairly flat, while the modern city fans out towards the surrounding hills, bordered by steep streets.

La Rambla near the waterfront

A notable feature is La Rambla, a boulevard that runs from the city centre to the waterfront, thronged with crowds until late at night and lined by florists, bird sellers in the higher part, craft sellers in the lowest, street entertainers, cafeterias and restaurants. Walking along La Rambla one can see the world-famous opera house El Liceu, the food market of La Boqueria and the Plaça Reial (literally Royal Square), with its arches and palm trees, amongst other interesting buildings. There's also a Wax Museum near the end. It is also worth keeping an eye out for pickpockets, for whom the boulevard is a favourite haunt.
La Rambla ends at the old harbour, where a statue of Christopher Columbus points eastwards across the Mediterranean Sea to his birth place of Genoa. Rambla in Barcelona Next to it is the Museu Marítim (naval museum), which chronicles the history of life on the Mediterranean, including a full-scale model of a galley. The museum is housed in the medieval Drassanes (shipyards), where the ships that made Catalonia a great sea power in the Mediterranean were built. The old harbour offers all kinds of other amenities, including the second largest aquarium in the Mediterranean area and an IMAX cinema.
To the north of the Gothic Quarter lie the Jardins de Fonseré i Mestre which contain modernist buildings housing zoological and geological collections. The adjacent Parc de la Ciutadella includes both the Parlament de Catalunya (Catalan Parliament) and the Parc Zoològic de Barcelona (zoo) whose most famous resident was an albino gorilla - Floquet de Neu ("Snowflake") - that died in 2003.

The Sagrada Família church

gaudi finishing sagrada familia

Outstanding is the legacy of architect Antoni Gaudí, who lived and worked in Barcelona, and who left several famous works like the Palau Güell in the city's old center, the Parc Güell at the northern tip of Gràcia, and the immense but still unfinished church of the Sagrada Família, which has been under construction since 1882, financed by popular donations like the cathedrals in the Middle Ages (However, it is not a cathedral: the cathedral of Barcelona is the Cathedral of Santa Eulàlia, a Gothic building of the late Middle Ages). The Sagrada Família is billed for completion in 2020.
Another very notable modernist building in the older part of the city is the Palau de la Música Catalana, designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner and built in 1908.
In the modern districts of the city are several avenues on which most of the international merchants offering clothing, jewelry, leather goods and other items have their stores. The most elegant avenue is the Passeig de Gràcia, where two Gaudí buildings are situated, the Casa Milà (La Pedrera) and the Casa Batlló, along with buildings by other famous modernista architects: Casa Ametller by Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Casa Lleó Morera by Domènech i Montaner. Several of these buildings and indeed the Sagrada Familia church itself are threatened by Mayor Clos' plans to build a large railway tunnel for high-speed trains under the city's shaky 19th century foundations. In recent years, office developments along Passeig de Gràcia have been allowed to break up the architectural unity of the 19th and early 20th century buildings lining the avenue - a process which shows no signs of slackening. Property speculation is also blighting other areas of the city, including the 19th century Poble Nou district with its many interesting buildings dating from Catalonia's Industrial Revolution. Many of these have now been levelled to make room for the city's ill-starred "22@" project to build an area for ICT-based firms.


Or perform a search museums in Barcelona

Museums and Galleries in Barcelona

Art visits include the museum of the Fundació Joan Miró, where several paintings and sculptures of this artist are shown, together with guest exhibitions from other museums around the world. There is also a unique museum featuring the lesser known works of Pablo Picasso from his earlier period. The National Museum of Art of Catalonia (in the Palau Nacional left behind by the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition) possesses a well-known collection of Romanesque art, including wall-paintings of Romanesque churches and chapels around Catalonia that have been transferred to the museum. The Contemporary Art Museum is also worth a visit, not only because of its paintings and sculptures, but because of its architecture. The building was designed by the American architect Richard Meier. The Fundació Antoni Tàpies holds a collection of Tàpies works. Visitors should note that the opening times of Barcelona's museums vary considerably and are often highly inconvenient; careful planning is recommended to avoid wasted trips.

Museo National d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC)

the renew building of museum

Palau Nacional, Montjuic, tel. 93 423 71 9
Metro: Espanya. S 13,61.
Open: Monday to Saturday 10am to 7pm
Thursday 10am to 9pm
Sundays and holidays 10am to 2:30pm
Closed Mondays
The National Museum of Catalan Art is one of the best museum of its kind in the world. If you are interested ifl medieval art and architecture you must visit this museum, renovated by architect Gaf Aulenti who did the Gare d'Orsay in Paris Opinions vary widely on the success of the rennovation, but visitors are usually too busy admir-" ing the breathtaking 11th and 12th century Romanesque apses, reconstructed precisely as if they were in their original locations, to bother with the controversy. The idea for this collection originated in the early 20th century when the looting and robbery of architectural national treasures in Catalonia was at its height. Catalan cultural organizations and the church began a crusade to move the most remote church paintings to this central location where they were out of reach of unscrupulous art dealers and collectors. The museum is housed in the extravagant National Exhibition building built for the 1927 Barcelona World Fair, on the mountain of Montjuic.

Museu Nacional d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)

Plaga del Angels, tel. 93 412 08 10
O- Univer-sitat, Catalunya.
Open Tuesday to Friday from 12pm to 8pm
and Saturdays from 10am to 8pm.
This new museum of contemporary art, designed by Richard Meier, has been the subject of much controversy but is now considered one of Barcelona's must see landmarks. The vivid contrast between Meier's architectural concept and the surrounding historical buildings makes for a striking and stimulating situation. This museum will show mainly temporary exhibitions and other such activities, with special attention on photography, video and graphic work, while it acquires the core of its permanent collection from purchases and donations.

Museu Picasso

Carrer de Montcada, 1 5-19
tel. 93319-6310
Open: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-8pm
Sunday 10am-3pm
This is one of Barcelona's most visited museums and deservedly so. Their collection of Picasso's work is particularly strong in his early period, with some of his school book sketches on display, and strong works from his early days in Barcelona and Paris. However, apart from the series Las Meninas (a visual study by Picasso of Velazquez's famous painting), you won't find many works of note from later, and more popular, periods. The collection is housed in the two beautifully preserved Gothic palaces of Berenguer Aguilar and Baron de Castellet on Carrer Montcada, possibly Barcelona's most romantic street.

Els 4 Gats

Carrer Montsio, 3-bis
Tel. 302.41.40
Metro: Catalunya
Picasso paid for his meals here with gifts of his paintings. You can eat lightly or have a full meal. Has a lunchtime menu for 1,500 pesetas. Good deal for elegant, historic setting. In the main, back dining room there is always an art exhibit with works for sale. The seafood crepes are delicious; other dinners may be overrated.

Fundació Joan Miró

Parc de Montjuïc, Plaça Neptú
Tel. 3291908
Open: Tuesday-Saturday 11am-7pm
Thursday 11am-9.30pm
Sunday 10.30am-2.30pm
The Joan Miró Foundation is one of the most complete collections of Miró work in the world. The beatiful building that houses all this was designed by Miró's friend, Sert.
You will find sulptures, tapestries, paintings, drawing and the artists complete graphic work, all exquisitely displayed.
The Foundation presents exhibitions of conteporary art on a regular basis and they also offer conteporary music concerts and conferences.

Casa-Museu Gaudí

Park Gü, Carrer Olot.
Tel. 93 284-6446.
Open: April-October 10am to 2pm and 4-7pm daily, 4-6pm in winter
Closed on Saturday
Gaudí lived in this house within the park from 1905 to 1925. The dipslays consist of forniture he designed as well as quite a few drawings and projects. Combine this museums with the Park Güel visit.

Montjuïc and Tibidabo

For spectacular views over the city and the coast line there are two hills. One, Montjuïc hill, is next to the harbour and perched above a large container terminal. On its top is an old fortress which used to guard the entrance to the port.
Around the hill are a group of installations known as the "Olympic ring" and that were the heart of the 1992 summer Olympics: the Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium (originally built in 1929 but completely refurbished for the 1992 Olympics), the Palau Sant Jordi (a multi-purpose installation designed by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki, used primarily for all kinds of indoor sport events but also for concerts and other cultural activities) and the Bernat Picornell Pools. Also situated on Montjuïc are the Botanical Gardens and the Mossèn Costa i Llobera gardens with their unique cactus collection.
Uptown is the hill of the Tibidabo, 512 meters high, with an amusement park (which, after a long economic struggle, now belongs to the city council) and a monumental church on its summit. The church mosaics provide a curious example of the religious art style much in vogue during the dictatorship. There's also the Torre de Collserola, a telecommunications tower designed by Norman Foster which also has a windowed balcony with a great view over the city.

Architectural timeline of Barcelona

Date / Fecha Architect / El arquitecto Building / El edificio
1298- Catedral de Santa Creu i Santa Euhàlia
1322- Església de Santa Maria del Pi
1329-83 Església de Santa Maria del Mar
14th-15thc Plaça del Rei
1418- Palau de la Generalitat
1732 Josep Juli Església de Betlem
1859 Francesc Daniel Molina Plaça de Reial
1873-76 Josep Mª Cornet i Mas Mercat de la Boqueria
1876 Josep Fontseré Mercat del Born
1882- Antoni Gaudí Temple de la Sagrada Família
1883 Antoni Gaudí Casa Vicens
1886-90 Antoni Gaudí Palau Güell
1898-99 Antoni Gaudí Casa Calvet
1900 Josep Puig i Cadafalch Casa Amatller
1900-14 Antoni Gaudí Parc Güell
1903-05 Josep Puig i Cadafalch Casa Terrades (Casa de les Punxes)
1904-06 Antoni Gaudí Casa Batlló
1905-10 Antoni Gaudí Casa Milà (La Pedrera)
1910- Josep Puig i Cadafalch Casarramona Factory
1918-20 B. Basegoda & J. Basegoda Casa Rocamora
1928-29 Mies van der Rohe Barcelona Pavilion
1987-95 Richard Meier & Partners Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona
1989-92 Norman Foster & Partners Torre de Communicació de Collserola
1990-94 Torres & Lapeña / MBM El Corte Inglés
1992 Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill Hotel Arts
1992 Frank O. Gehry Fish
2002 Luna, Brufau, Asarta, Isozaki CaixaForum
1998-2005 Enric Miralles Benedetta Tagliabue Mercat Santa Caterina