Our team of local experts have hand-picked the best tourist attractions in Barcelona to ensure you do not miss anything during your trip to Spain. You will find the top sights, art gallaries, but also parks and markets. Excellent guides to enjoy Barcelona´s top attractions.
Parks in Barcelona
Parc de Montjuïc- Barcelona
Much more than a park: Poble Español, Cable car, amusement park… 1 full day can easily be spent here.
Montjuïc is a hill in Barcelona that is located at the foot of the Mediterranean Sea. Although its origin dates back to 17th century to the construction of Montjuïc Castle, the most important development of this hill took place at the beginning of the last century, when Barcelona celebrated the 1929 International Exposition. At this time the Parc de Montjuïc developed with the construction of many buildings. However, at the end of the century, the hill was the protagonist again of another celebration, in this case, the 1992 Summer Olympic Games.
Parc de Montjuïc is nowadays one of the most important recreational areas in Barcelona because you can visit a lot of gardens, viewpoints, museums, art-galleries and buildings. There are many things to do in Montjuïc, so you should spend one full day in this park.
What is Montjuíc?
Montjuic is more than one of the best parks in Barcelona. It is an area with a long history, and it is very likely that Romans settled already in the area. Montjuic is a hill located next to the Mediterranean sea and on the southern part of the city of Barcelona. It offers an enormous green area to the city and protects and splits the city from the industrial area located further south of Barcelona.
Is Montjuic one of the top sights to visit in Barcelona?
Montjuic itself is not a place to visit since it is very large. So to be clear about what Monjuic offers we should think of it more as a district where some of Barcelona´s top attractions gather, and this includes two of Barcelona´s most important art-galleries.
How much time is needed to visit Montjuic?
How to get to Montjuic?
Your first option is to walk to Montjuic. To do this you should get to the Ciutat Vella district. This district is located at the end of the famous Las Ramblas street. From the very end of La Rambla you will have some 700 meters to get to the most eastern side of Montjuic. Get to Avinguda de Rius i Taulet to make use of the escalators that run all the way up to the Palau Nacional.
A second option is to get by bus (lines 50, 55 and 61 will get you there)
A third option is to make use of the metro to Plaza de España station and walk from there to Foundation La Caixa.
Our favorite option is to enjoy the cable car with some of the best views in Barcelona. This is one of the favorite activities to enjoy with children in Barcelona.
Cable car to Montjuic
The cable car will let you next to the Castell de Montjuic. In order to get to the Cable car you will need to get to the station Parc de Montjuic. To get there by metro stop at Paral lel metro station and take the funicular railway that leads to Station Parc de Montjuic. The bus turistic also stops at Parc de Montjuic and regular buses 55 and 150 will also get you there.
Things to do in Montjuic
If you plan to visit Montjuic the best alternative and more fun way to get there is to arrive with the Cable car, but buses provide also an excellent service to take you to Monjuic. The metro or underground also gets to Montjuic (Espanya metro stop)
If you would like to visit the area with a certain depth you will need one day to cover the most important venues and sights.
This is a one-day itinerary to enjoy Monjuic main sights.
This is the closest important sight to the Metro station. Caixa Forum is an art gallery in Barcelona that belongs to La Caixa bank. It has a wide offer of exhibitions that change regularly.
Pavello Mies van der Rohe
To introduce this fantastic building we should remind you that the area of Montjuic was used as the home of the Universal Exhibition in Barcelona in 1929. This building has an interesting story behind it. It was built as part of the German pavilion for this international exhibition. Architects Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe and Lilly Reich were in charge of the construction. The building was disabled when the exhibition was finished but in 1983 reconstruction work began due to the influence of this building in the works of the Bauhaus and Famous architect Van der Rohe himself. Barcelona is home to the Van der Rohe foundation.
This replica of Spanish traditional architecture was put in place for the 1929 Universal exhibition too. It provides with examples of the different styles of architecture that can be found through Spain. This is portrayed with replicas of some of Spain´s most famous buildings at the time the Exhibition took place in 1929.
The Poble Espanyol offers a great introduction to Spain´s culture in one single area. A very relaxing visit and one of special interest for children since there are usually artisans working.
The Montjuic magical fountain
This fountain is located below the Palau Nacional de Montjuic and near both the Plaza de Espanya and the Poblet Espanyol. The fountain was also developed for the occasion of the 1929 International Exhibition in Barcelona. The fountain uses both light and music to provide fantastic shows at night. The fountain was designed by artist Carles Buigas. Up to 3,000 workers were used to get the fountains ready at the time of the Exhibition.
Museum of National arts of Catalunya
This museum is located at the impressive building of the Palacio Nacional, which was the main piece of architecture for the 1929 International Exhibition. The architect was Puig i Cadafalch. You can find more details on the Macba in this section too.
Fundacio Joan Miro
The museum covers the art of this famous artist. It is one of the children´s favorite art visits in Barcelona. We have prepared a complete guide to visit the Fundacio Joan Miro in Barcelona.
Parc del Laberint d’Horta
This park preserves Barcelona oldest garden. A very romantic spot. Off the beaten track.
This green tourist attraction has an area of 55 hectares and was designed as a neoclassic garden but finally became a romantic park thanks to the forest which surrounds it and the mythological sculptures that decorate different points of the park. The main attraction is it´s labyrinth which gives the name. You can also visit “Torre Sobirana”, an old medieval defence tower.
The park features numerous works of art, mainly sculptures, as well as various water features including ponds, waterfalls, fountains, and a canal that runs through the upper section of the park. The famous labyrinth made with cut cypress trees and has some unique environments within.
The original garden was ordered to be built by the aristocrat Juan Antonio Desvalls y de Ardena. In 1791 he purchased 54 hectares of land in Horta, near what is ow downtown Bareclona. Currently 9 hectares of the original estate are open to the public and hold the main gardens, the remaining land is now a lush forest.
Juan Antonio Desvalls, as was customary for among the wealthier citizens of Cataluña, was what we would be called an illustrated man. He was interested in science and the arts, and was knowledgeable in mathematics, physical sciences, history, economics and fine arts. He was also fluent in several languages, including French and Italian.
In 1808 he contributed to the resistance against the French Napoleonic troops that invaded the peninsula and, in 1812, the Barcelona city council elected him as representative of the city in the Cortes of Cádiz.
In 1794 the works on the park began. Desvalls actually contributed to the design of the neoclassical garden. He and Italian architect Domenico Bagutti collaborated on the design and the works were carried out by the master builder Jaume Valls and his son Andreu. Lastly, French gardener Joseph Delvalet, undertook the planting and planning of the garden’s vegetation.
Cervantes Park in Barcelona
Your park in Barcelona if you love roses. A great romantic attraction in Barcelona.
This Cervantes park in Barcelona is located in Diagonal Avenue and is a must for people who love roses – the most romantic flower from nature. Parc de Cervantes preserves the biggest rose garden in Barcelona and it is without a doubt the best place in Barcelona to enjoy roses. With over 10.000 rose bushes and 2.000 different kinds of species, the park is a true paradise for roses´lovers. The perfect moment to visit this romantic place is between May and June because they are the months when the roses bloom (approximately 150.000 flowers!).
History of this attraction
The park was designed by Lluís Riudor i Carol, then director of the Barcelona Municipal Park and Garden Service.
The park opened its doors in 1965, and its big claim to fame is its impressive variety of different varieties of rose bushes. Cervantes Park features about 11,000 rose bushes of some 245 different varieties.
The Mediterranean climate of Barcelona allows the roses to remain in bloom practically from April to November, although between May and June they reach the zenith in their flowering, which gives this park a singular beauty.
Every year a contest for new roses is held in this park, which are baptized with different names by their creators.
The park also has several grassy areas and small groves where you can kick back and relax, as well as a children’s play area, ping-pong tables, and a picnic area.
Cervantes Park Bamboo Rose
There is one very special rose bush in Cervantes Park. In 2011, as a gesture of solidarity with Japan, and in memory of the victims of the tsunami that occurred on March 11 of that year, mayor, Jordi Hereu, accompanied by the Japanese consulate in Barcelona, Hideiro Tsubaki.
The vegetation is essentially Mediterranean, and in addition to rose bushes, you can see varieties such as oleander, elm Siberian, Tipuana, linden, acacia, Constantinople acacia, holm oak, stone pine, and Aleppo pine amongst many other species.
Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona
The second largest park in Barcelona. A fantastic park, great for romantic walks.
A very interesting park in Barcelona is Parc de la Ciutadella, located in the old part of the city. This green space was built at the end of the 19th century and in 1888 the park became the site of the International Exposition. It´s design is very similar to Luxembourg Gardens in Paris.
Parc de la Ciutadella is the biggest park of the city after Montjuïc. It´s 280.000 m2 (70 acres) includes two museums, one church, the Barcelona Zoo, one lake and the Palace of the Parliament of Catalonia. Moreover, this park is a must for nature lovers because it has over 100 botanical species, which you can discover while you contemplate a very interesting collection of sculptures located in different parts of the park.
Make sure you do not miss this
Walking around the park you should not miss the Monumental Waterfall – the fountain of the park located in the north area and one of the most photographed points of Parc de la Ciutadella. It is a neoclassic monument designed by Josep Fontserè and built between 1875 and 1888. Additionally, there is a lake near the waterfall with rowing boats, another thing you can do in this park. The Barcelona Zoo is located also here. A good option if traveling with children who would like a “break” of city tourism.
What to see at the Parc de la Ciutadella
This beautiful park is almost more of an open-air museum. You will find work of artists of the caliber of Frederic Marès, Eusebi Arnau, Josep Clarà, Josep Llimona, Pau Gargallo, Manuel Fuxà and Eduard B. Alentorn.
The two most popular sculptures that are located within the park are The lady with the umbrella, by Joan Roig Soler, which for many years was one of the symbols of Barcelona and which crowns an ornamental fountain designed by Josep Fontserè and a statue of a Mammoth the first and only life-size reproduction of extinct animals that was incorporated in 1907, donated by the Natural Sciences Board.
The centerpiece of the park is the “monumental waterfall”. It was designed by Josep Fontserè as we mentioned, in 1875, and inaugurated in 1881. Fontserè was assisted by a very young Antoni Gaudí. The waterfall is adorned with many sculptural elements by Catalan artists from the end of the 19th century, placed after its inauguration. The centerpiece of the fountain is the Birth of Venus, by Venanci Vallmitjana, and at the top, culminating the set, The chariot of the Aurora, by Rossend Nobas. At the bottom of the fountain, there are four figures modeled by Rafael Atché protecting Venus. On either side there are stairs to access a kind of temple from which you can enjoy some of the best views in the park.
The buildings of the park
The park now ocupies the place of the of the old military citadel built-in 1715. There are still some vestiges of that old fortress including the military chapel, built by Pròsper Verboom (1728), the governor’s palace, and the arsenal building, currently the seat of the Parliament of Catalonia.
The rest of the buildings in the park were built in the last third of the 19th century. The first was the Martorell Museum of Geology, in neoclassical style, designed in 1879 by Antoni Rovira i Trias.
As for the constructions carried out during the Universal Exhibition of 1888, we find the restaurant, the work of Domènech i Muntaner. It was popularly called the Castle of the Three Dragons, and since 1934 it has been the headquarters of the Museum of Zoology in Barcelona.
Also built during the 1888 Universal Exposition were the Umbracle, a unique enclosure designed by Josep Fontserè (1883) that integrates brick, iron and a wooden slat that provides shade for subtropical species, and the Greenhouse, an iron and glass construction designed by Josep Amargós i Samaranch in 1884.
The Ciutadella Park Zoo
The Barcelona Zoo opened its doors on September 24, 1892. The first animals came from the private collection of Lluís Martí i Codolar, who originally houses the creatures on his private estate in Horta.
In 1956 the zoo grew and reached 13 hectares and also renovations took place to modernize the installations and make the whole operation more scientific and more focused on the preservation of the species. Numerous cages were replaced by open spaces that recreated the natural habitats of the animals.
In 1966 Copito de Nieve or Snowflake in English, an albino gorilla came to live in the Zoo and immediately became the crown jewel of the Zoo. In 1972, a dolphinarium was added, as well as an aviary and a terrarium.
Where is Parc de la Ciutadella
The park is located in the heart of downtown Barcelona, located very close to the Barceloneta, the cities famous marina.
Barcelona Art Museums
The Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art is located in El Raval neighborhood. Apart from its incredible exhibition, focused on the second half of 20th Century painting, the white building where the museum is placed is absolutely huge and extraordinary. It was designed by Richard Meier, an American abstract architect who has won different architecture awards. The Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona contains works by Catalan, Spanish and international artists. The exhibition has more than 5.000 pieces of contemporary art, highlighting works of European pop, the vanguards of the 50s & 60s and minimalist sculpture of the 80s. This museum, located in the heart of El Raval, near the Picasson museum and the Barceloneta beach, is a must for art and architecture lovers! The Museu d´Art Contemporani is one of Spain´s most important museums dedicated to modern art. It shares with the Reina Sofia in Madrid and the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao an impressive architecture.
This xtraordinary building with over 5,000 pieces of contemporary art is without a doubt one of Barcelona´s top sights.
Highlights of MACBA
The MACBA Collection consists of over 5,000 works that has been compiled since the 50s. The collection as such was officially created on June 19, 1997.
The collection begins with the material abstraction of the fifties of the twentieth century, incorporating works of European Pop Art and from the avant-garde movement of the 60s and 70s. It also features works that illustrate the return of photographic figuration and minimalist sculpture during the 80s.
The collection incorporates works by artists from around the world, paying special attention to artists from South America, the Middle East, and Eastern countries.
In 2007, the MACBA opened its Studies and Documentation Center. This new department develops a facet of collecting that is complementary to the traditional collection.
In 2010, the MACBA announced that Philippe Méaille had deposited its collection of 800 works by the Art & Language collective. The deposit helped the MACBA become the museum with the most works of this group in the world.
Then, in 2011, the “La Caixa” Foundation and the museum merged their collections of contemporary art. The resulting collection featured 5,500 works. That autumn the “Volume !” exhibition was presented in Barcelona with works by prominent artists such as Bruce Nauman, Cristina Iglesias, Antoni Muntadas, and Xavier Miserachs, among many others.
MACBA opening hours
Monday – 11: 00–19: 30
Tuesday – Closed
Wednesday 11: 00–19: 30
Thursday – 11: 00–19: 30
Friday – 11: 00–19: 30
Saturday – 10: 00–20: 00
Sunday – 10: 00–15: 00
Picasso Museum in Barcelona – Visitor´s guide
The Picasso Museum in Barcelona is an indispensable art museum in Barcelona. The street where the Picasso Museum is located is also very famous because of the large medieval palaces which were built here between the 13th and 15th Centuries in Barcelona and remodeled in the 18th Century. The street is in itself a tourist attraction and the museum, located inside 5 gothic palaces, boasts an impressive collection from Pablo Picasso within a fantastic piece of architecture in which a central courtyard provides by itself a good excuse to visit this museum.
Where is the Picasso museum located in Barcelona?
Located on Montcada Street. In fact, the Picasso Museum is placed in five different palaces on this historic street of the city: Aguilar Palace, Baró de Castellet Palace, Meca Palace, Casa Mauri, and Finestres Palace.
How to get to the Picasso museum?
Underground: L4 (Jaume I) and L1 (Arc de Triomf).
Buses: 120, 45, V45, V17, 39, 51, H14, 45, 51, 120.
Car: The Museum does not have its own car park. Nearest car parks: Carrer Princesa, Passeig del Born/Plaça Comercial, Plaça de la Catedral, Avinguda Cambó and Via Laietana.
How long does it take to visit the Picasso Museum?
The time spent at any museum depends uniquely on the interests of the visitor. If we consider a “average” visitor that would like to gain a relatively good idea of what the museum proposes we would say no less than 1 hour and a half should be spent at the museum.
Is the Picasso museum worth a visit?
The permanent exhibition is composed by 4.251 works of Pablo Picasso including paintings, sculptures and engravings. One of the most important symbols that the museum shows is the series “Las Meninas”: 58 paintings which Picasso (with no doubt one of Spain´s most famous personalities) painted in 1957 recreating several times the original “Las Meninas” by Diego Velázquez (exhibited in the Prado Museum of Madrid). This important series belongs to cubism school.
Is the Picasso museum in Barcelona the best one?
Picasso was not just an amazing artist. He was also extremely productive. Picasso spent 75 years as an active artist. During this time he painted 13,500 paintings! But that was not it. He did over 100,000 drawings, 34,000 illustrations for books and some 300 sculptures. Bearing in mind his enormous contribution to art, you can well imagine that works from Picasso can be found at many of the best art galleries in the world and it is not easy Since he was born in Malaga in the south of Spain, the city-hall opened an impressive museum; the Picasso museum in Malaga .
But there are museums dedicated to Picasso also in Paris, where the artist spent an important part of his live, and also Antibes, in Southern France, an area he loved.
The Picasso museum in Barcelona receives over 1 million visitors every year and its current size is 5 times larger than what it used to be when first opened back in 1963. It is not easy to say if it is the best place to enjoy Picasso, but is the museum that holds more pieces of art from the painter. However, if you would like to enjoy Picassos most famous artwork: El Guernica, you will have to visit the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid. As we have mentioned, there are many pieces of art spread all over the world. One of our favorite ones, Las Señoritas de Avignon is located at the MoMa in New York.
Most important paintings at the Picasso Museum
We have put together the seven top artworks which in our view are the most important ones to enjoy at the Picasson museum during your visit
- Ciencia y caridad (science and charity) This is one of Picasso´s earliest works. He painted it as being 15 years old at a time in which he was still influenced by rules. We do not find the Picasso we all have in mind in this painting, but we can for sure get amazed by the technique and the unfrequent gift of an artist of such age.
- Waiting or Margot (La Espera) This piece of art is the result of Picasso´s trip to Paris in the early 1900s. Picasso is still in search of his own style and in Paris, he was impressed and influenced by works of Gaguin or Van Gogh.
- Desemparados: Motherhood was a recurrent theme in the blue period from the early 1900s. The light in this painting is fantastic and it makes us think of the possible influence of El Greco in the way he enlightened portraits. The burden of mothers at hard times is perfectly reflected in this painting.
- The portrait of La señor Canals or Benedetta Bianco: This is the only master piece from Picasso´s Rose period present at the museum. The painting is the portrait of a woman, the wife of one of Picasso´s friends, the artist Ricard Canals, who introduced Picasso to engraving techniques during the time the artist lived in Barcelona. The figure is immersed in an atmosphere that could be described as from “other world”, something we could see developed through Picasso´s life.
- Harlequin: This harlequin dates from 1917 during one of Picasso´s stays in Barcelona. The circus and the Harlequin figure are very important in Picasso´s work. The harlequin could be described as his alter ego: the artist seeks transgression but is also fragile, just like a young artist.
- Las Meninas: Las Meninas is one of Sain´s most famous paintings. The original masterpiece is from Valezquez and can be enjoyed at the Prado museum. The painting was a revolution at the time due to the way it was composed and it has attracted the attention of artists for centuries. This was also the case of Picasso. Picasso made many versions of Las Meninas and lots of drawings. He wanted to master the composition, and only by creating his own pure version he seemed to update and honour Velazquez´s masterpiece.
- Seated man: This is a work from the last period of Picasso. He painted seated man in Mougins, near Nice in France. This is a fantastic example of the period known as Avignon period. Picasso tried to create archetypes in which we can perceive the dual nature of human beings, brutal on one hand, and human on the other hand. They both merged with great strength in this painting.
Fundació Joan Miró - Barcelona
Since 1973, the very modern building situated in the upper part of the Montjuïc Park has housed the Fundació Joan Miró. This museum is one of the most three visited of Barcelona and contains several pieces of Miró’s work, from paintings, sculptures, and drawings to ceramics and textiles. However, you can also contemplate the works of other artists as it is a very special exhibition of over 14.000 pieces.
What is the Fundación Joan Miró?
The Joan Miró Foundation1 is a cultural institution in the city of Barcelona that houses some of the best works of the world-famous Catalan painter.
The museum holds over 100,000 pieces including paintings, sculptures, and tapestries. The Museum also contains almost all of Joan Miró’s sketches and drawings. The Joan Miró Foundation was the first art institution in Barcelona created from the joint work between an artist and an architect, Joan Miró and Josep Lluís Sert.
The museum is housed within a rationalist-style building with Mediterranean features, integrated into the Montjuïc landscape. The collection is mainly made up of donations from Miró and subsequent donations and deposits from his wife.
Fundación Miró – A Brief History
Between 1968 and 1972 the art market in Spain experienced a huge boom partially due to the reactivation of the Spanish economy after an influx of foreign capital into the country from tourism. During this period, the Museum of Abstract Art in Cuenca (located in one of the famous Hanging Houses) was founded in 1966 and first housed the art collection of Fernando Zóbel, as well as the Spanish Museum of Contemporary Art in Madrid in 1968, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Ibiza in 1969, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Seville. in 1972 and the Museum of Villafamés. Spains fervor for modern art was evident.
Joan Miró however, was inspired by the European art panorama more than the Spanish one. He took cues from the Maeght Foundation and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, in Humlebæk, north of the island of Sjælland, in Denmark, created in 1958, and the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London.
The first anthology of Miró’s work was presented in 1968 in the Chapel of the Old Hospital of the Holy Cross in Barcelona and was enormously successful. The following year l’altre was presented at the College of Architects of Catalonia, where the artist painted the windows of the building and then, famously, destroyed his own work with solvent.
Fundación Joan Miró – opening hours
Friday to Sunday 11 am – 7 pm. You can access the museum up to 30 minutes before closing.
Monday to Thursday you can only access with arranged visits outside public opening hours.
Where is the Fundación Joan Miró
Both Casa Batlló and Casa Milá are located in Paseo de Gracia, one of the main commercial avenues in the city, just north of Plaza Cataluña and the famous Ramblas. Casa Batlló in Barcelona is the second building designed by Gaudí in Paseo de Gracia. This house has a ceramic roof and is another example of Gaudí’s imaginative work. Casa Batlló is part of the Block of Discord, a very beautiful area of this commercial avenue where you can find other modern architecture from other different architects: Lluís Domènech i Montaner, Josep Puig i Cadafalch, and Enric Sagnier. The façade of Casa Batlló resembles maritime life, but its interior is much more incredible
Highlights of Casa Batlló
The Batlló house is one of the shining examples of Catalan modernist architecture. Gaudí fatefully accepted a remodeling project of a house on the Passieg de Gàcia at the ripe age of 52. At this point, the Gaudí had already established himself as one of the greatest architects of his time.
His architectural style had transcended mere academicism to reflect a personal vision of architecture, of great originality and innovative stamp. In usual Gaudí fashion, the house’s unique aesthetic design does not take away from its functionality. For example, Gaudí placed special emphasis on both lighting and ventilation, two basic features for a healthy and comfortable life in an urban residential building. The design placed a large central courtyard in the center of the building, onto which the service rooms opened, while the living rooms and bedrooms faced the street. This central courtyard is also the building’s main artery featuring the staircase and the elevator.
The house is 430o m² in total and 450 m² per floor. It is 32 meters tall and 14.5 meters wide. The original house 21 meters high and 3100 m², considerably less than the current edification. The building has eight floors:
- A basement used for charcoal and storage rooms.
- The ground floor was initially used as a garage and then as a warehouse. Next to the main entrance, there was a storefront as well. This shop was once used by Lumière photography of the Pathé Frères film production company.
- The “noble floor” was occupied entirely by the Batlló family, and also contains a large patio at the back of the building
- The other four floors were for rent, with two houses each
- Finally, there is a loft, intended for a service area, and covered by the roof.
How to get to Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló is located in the heart of Barcelona’s downtown, right on the famous Passeig de Gràcia, which is the same street Casa Milà (or la Pedrera as it is known) is on.
If you are planning on getting there on public transportation, your best option is probably taking the metro and getting off at the Passeig de Gràcia station, which is just a few minutes from the house.
Which is better, Casa Milà or Casa Batlló?
If you can, you really should visit both. One of Barcelona’s claims is it’s unique modernist architecture, and these are two of the most important such landmarks.
If you are pressed for time, and you can only choose one, Casa Batlló is probably the better option. Both have very particular styles, and both have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, but the general consensus is that Batlló is the more attractive, refined, and elegant.
Casa Batlló and Sant Jordi
The mythical legend of Saint George and the Dragon is illustrated by the design of Casa Batlló through the façade and in two specific spaces inside:
On the roof, you can see the scally back of the dragon that comes to life with the iridescent ceramic tiles. The creature is pierced by a four-armed Cross that evokes the sword of Sant Jordi.
On the top floor, we find a flower-shaped balcony which is a nod to the balcony on which the princess stands in the legend.
On the lower floors, the remains of the victims slain by the dragon are represented by the skull-shaped balconies and the columns of the rostrum that resemble bones.
Lastly, within the house, in the private entrance hall to the Batlló family’s home, the staircase is meant to look like the spine of an animal and which, according to popular culture, could refer to the spine of the dragon’s tail.
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
The National Art Museum of Catalonia is located in the Palau Nacional (National Palace) on the Montjuïc hill. This construction was built between 1926 and 1929 for the International Exposition (1929) and boasts a size of 32.000 m². It was designed in neo-renaissance and classic style by Eugenio Cendoya and Enric Catà. Once the International Exposition finished, the Palau Nacional made into the National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC).
The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya is maybe the most important art-gallery in Barcelona because its exhibition covers the period from Romanesque to present Catalan art. For example, the museum contains the original wall paintings from Sant Climent de Taüll, one of the nine Romanesque churches of Vall de Boí which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This fresco is considered the symbol of Catalan Romanesque.
On the other hand, this museum offers the visitor works of art from well-known painters such as Giovanni Battista, Francisco de Zurbaran, Diego Velázquez, Francisco de Goya, Fra Angelico and José de Ribera. Many works from these artists have been loaned from other museums and collectors like Francisco Cambó y Batlle, Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum of Madrid. The art from the XIX and XX Century has also a very important space in the National Art Museum of Catalonia due to the museum having a very special exhibition of works from Catalan modernism such as paintings from Fortuny, Gaudí and Salvador Dalí, the artist from the beautiful village of Cadaques. However, more recently the museum has incorporated some works of Picasso, including the famous painting “Woman in Hat and Fur Collar (Marie-Thérèse Walter)”.
La Boquería market is the most famous in Barcelona for purchasing fresh products. This emblematic market is located in La Rambla, the most commercial street in the city, so getting there is very easy. It is not surprising that this market is one of the most visited places in Barcelona. Officially known as the Sant Josep Market, La Boquería was built between 1840 and 1914.
Nowadays it is a huge market which covers 2.583 m² and contains over 300 stalls. If you want to prepare a special dinner, La Boquería is the perfect market to purchase the ingredients because it offers a variety of: fish, fruit, vegetables, and meat – all fresh and of good quality!
La Boquería market also makes a good stop in your planned itinerary around Barcelona as some stalls offer salads and fresh fruits which can help bear with the heat. You will also find some bars and restaurants inside the market which are worth visiting.
Mercat de la Concepció – Great food market in Barcelona
Mercat de la Concepció, popularly known in Barcelona as the “Flowers Market”, is located in the city center near Ciutadella Park, Casa Milà, and other tourist attractions. This market was built in 1887 and was opened to the public one year later. This building, which consists of glass and iron, was designed by the architect Antoni Rovira i Trias.
Although fresh fruit and mixed juices are the indispensable products you should buy in this market, Mercat de la Concepció offers a very good variety of other products. Furthermore, at the back of the market you will find some flower and plant stalls.
Food markets have become a top tourist attractions in most cities, adn Barcelona is no exception. We have included below our favorite food markets. If you are planning to include Madrid in your trip and you are of the foodie kind, we recommend you have a look at our Madrid food markets article.
History of the Mercat de la Concepció
The history of this legendary market is closely linked to the history of the Eixample neighborhood in downtown Barcelona..
Up to the beginning of the 19th century, the city of Barcelona was basically confined within the old fortified wall that once surrounded the metropolis. When the city began its process of industrialization, that urban space became too small to accommodate new factories and the growing city. The area beyond the walls was considered a military zone and as such, construction was prohibited. Many factories and new homes for workers were installed in neighboring towns, such as Gràcia, Sants, Sant Martí, Sant Andreu, etc.
These “suburbs” were very well connected to Barcelona and there were roads and regular transport services between them, such as the one that linked the city with Gracia and that had its exit at the Portal del Ángel.
In 1854 the fortified walls surrounding the old city of Barcelona were demolished and the expansion of the city began. In 1859 the expansion plan was officially passed by the government. The architect chosen to head the project was Antoni Rovira y Trias,
The city planning would become an example for many European cities and was built around a large imaginary rectangle of horizontal and vertical parallel streets, which formed a set of square houses, forming a kind of beehive, crisscrossed by streets and by three large avenues.
At the center of each square were green areas and the residential houses that were at most three stories high, in order to allow the entry of light.
The cities planning also took into consideration the distribution of service areas, including markets, social and administrative centers, churches and others, distributing them equitably to facilitate access to the population.
In 1871, the Gothic church of La Concepció was rebuilt and was moved stone by stone from its former location inside the old city. In 1884, the Barcelona City Council bought all the land in the neighboring block that mostly belonged to Joan Pla i Moreau. This purchase was motivated by the need to locate a market here.
The area is known today as the Right of the Eixample, was in those early days, the neighborhood of the bourgeoisie, which introduced its own style of civil architecture, the famous Modernist style for which the city is known for.
Joan Pla (1843-1911) was a very wealthy lawyer and lived at number 57 Girona street. He owned 26 houses in Eixample and the land where the Mercado de la Concepció was to be built was donated by him to the city council.
The Mercado de la Concepció was named after the neighboring church, was commissioned to Antoni Rovira y Trias, an architect who had also carried out the project for the Sant Antoni market. The project was centered around a metallic structure made by the Sant Andreu la Maquinista Terrestre y Marítima industry was inaugurated in 1888.
Opening hours – Mercat de la Concepció
Monday 8: 00–14: 00
Tuesday 8: 00–20: 00
Wednesday 8: 00–20: 00
Thursday 8: 00–20: 00
Friday 8: 00–20: 00
Saturday 8: 00–15: 00
Where is el Mercat de la Concepció?
As we have mentioned, this market is located in the well-known Eixample neighborhood of Barcelona. It is located slightly north of the Ramblas and Plaza Cataluña and just south of Av Diagonal.
Mercat de Santa Caterina
Mercat de Santa Caterina in Barcelona was opened to the public in 1845 as the food market and was built on an old convent. The main highlight of this market is the colorful roof which was built at the beginning of the 21st century –the rest of the market is a neoclassic construction–. Mercat de Santa Caterina is located near Barcelona´s cathedral and Ciutadella Park. Inside Mercat de Santa Caterina, you will discover a traditional market with many stands of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fish, and it is also a good place to appreciate the gastronomy of Catalonia as there are some restaurants in the market where you can eat, but also all the restaurants in the Gothic district.
Santa Catalina Market – All you need to know
The Santa Catalina Market is a food market located in the Sant Pere, Santa Caterina I la Ribera neighborhood of Barcelona. The market was originally built in 1844 and was eventually remodeled in 2005. It is the oldest covered market in the city.
The Santa Catalina market is an isolated building that occupies a block between Avenida Francesc Cambó and the streets of Freixures, Giralt el Pellisser and Colomines. It is very close to the Vía Layetana, the Palau de la Música, Santa María del Mar and the Gothic Cathedral
The market still features its original, neoclassical façade that is made up of a series of undulating arches. In the center of the main archway is the market’s main entrance, formed by two pilasters. The lateral facades are made up of a series of arches, balustrades, and doors similar to the main entrance. On each side façade, there are three doors and the central one.
The market’s iconic roof is also the result of the update to the building. The roof mimics an undulating, multicolored fabric that covers the original building. The roof is supported by a wooden fence, where the undulations are less pronounced, and by iron beams.
Why is Santa Caterina Market a good market?
Santa Caterina is smaller and less well known than other markets in Barcelona, but because of this it is also less crowded and feels more secluded.
This market is beautiful and offers very high quality products, and features several stalls that serve meals and drinks as well that are worth checking out. The Market Bar, as it is called is located within the remains of the convent that once stood in the same place. It is a family-style eatery that always has good homemade food and tapas at a very reasonable price.
Where is the Santa Caterina Market?
The market is very close to the iconic Palau de la Música Catalana, another essential stop while you are visiting Barcelona. It is also rather close to the cities zoo, and the beautiful Barceloneta marina.
Other Attractions in Barcelona
The Barcelona Aquarium, or as it is known in Catalonian, L’Aquàrium de Barcelona, is located on the cities old commercial port. It is Barcelona’s only Aquarium and one of the most impressive in all of Spain and a top family attraction. It is also the top aquarium in the world when it comes to the conservation of the Mediterranean Sea. In 2015 alone the Aquarium was visited by over 1.5 million people! Making it the 4th most visited attraction in Barcelona behind the Sagrada Familia, El Park Güel, and the FC Barcelona Museum.
About the Barcelona Aquarium
The center was opened in 1995 and features 35 different enclosures that are home to over 11 thousand animals and over 450 different species.
This is the largest enclosure at the aquarium, holding over 3,7 million letters of water and measuring 36 meters in diameter. The oceanarium famously features a subaquatic tunnel of 80 meters that guests can use to fully immerse themselves in the animal’s habitat.
This enclosure holds some of the most emblematic species that can be found in the Mediterranean sea. From Morey eels to moonfish, to sea bream and rays all the way to bull sharks and brown sharks and other lesser-known species like the angular rough shark, the bluntnose sixgill shark, and the common guitarfish, all of which are endangered species.
The complex features 14 aquariums dedicated exclusively to Mediterranean species and recreates some very unique habitats of the Mediterranean coast such as the Ebro estuary and the Medas Islands.
There are several smaller aquariums that play host to some of the tinier residents of the complex. Here we will find sea urchins, sea horses and sea dragons, and some spectacular coral colonies.
The Aquarium is also home to 7 different tanks that highlight the ecosystems of the Red Sea, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Caribbean Sea. The most poisonous animals also get there own exhibit as do the tropical sharks.
Before exiting the aquarium, there is one last amazing exhibit that is organized in its own particular way. This exhibit is meant to highlight animals that have adapted and specialized to different underwater conditions and environments. In the center, you will find an enclosure that is home to shallow water dwellers such as rays. Overhead there are animals that have physically changed to adapt to their environment, like cuttlefish and octopus that can expertly camouflage themselves or Nautilus that have developed thick shells to protect themselves.
There are also tanks dedicated to animals that have adapted to the extreme cold such as penguins, to animals from the tropics like iguanas, chameleons, and piranhas, to animals adapted to the pitch black of the deep sea like jellyfish and starfish.
There is also a section of the Aquarium dedicated to the younger guests named Explora. This interactive area allows children to enjoy a more hands-on experience.
Where is the aquarium in Barcelona?
The Barcelona Aquarium is located in the cities old port or Port Vell, right in the center of town.
How much is the Barcelona aquarium
Tickets for the Barcelona aquarium come out to 16€ for adults, 11€ for kids between 5 and 10 and just 3€ for kids 4 and younger.
How much time should I spend at the Barcelona Aquarium?
If you want to get the full experience, set aside at least 4 hours to get the most out of your visit.
How to get to the Barcelona Aquarium?
The Barcelona Aquarium is located right in the center of town and you can easily walk if you are staying anywhere in the Barcelona city center.
There is also a Metro station very near by if you prefer to take public transportation. The Barceloneta metro stop is just 5 minutes by foot from the Aquarium. Bellow you can see an example of how to get to there from the Sagrada Familia which is slightly outside the city center: