Palau de la Música
If you're a fan of art and architecture, Barcelona has a seemingly endless number of venues, neighbourhoods and buildings for you to enjoy. Here we list a few of the main places that you should visit while here...
La Sagrada Familia
Gaudi’s unfinished cathedral is one of the most famous sites in Barcelona and a landmark of modernist architecture. The cathedral is open for tours, and has a projected completion date beyond 2026. Be sure to visit each side of the cathedral’s façade, as each is vastly different from the next. Tours are also available, including a lift ride to the cathedral spires.
Mallorca 401, Tel. 93 207 3031, www.sagradafamilia.org
Open: Mar-Sept 9am-8pm daily and Oct-Feb 9am-6pm
Admission: general—€12; reductions— €10-€11; free for under-10s; Lift to the spires €2; guided tours—€14-€16
Metro: Sagrada Familia—L2 & L5
More than 3,500 permanent pieces make this the largest collection of Picasso’s works. Special focus is placed on his formative years, rather than his infamous Cubist period. The crown jewel of the museum is the Las Meninas room where 58 of Picasso’s sketches and oil studies of the Velázquez masterpiece are housed. Guided tours in English are available on Thursdays at 6pm and Saturdays at noon.
Montcada 15-23, Tel. 93 256 3000, www.museupicasso.bcn.cat
Open: 10am-8pm Tue-Sun.
Admission: All exhibitions €9; €5.80 reductions; Temporary exhibition only €5.80; Under 16 years free; Beginning April 1st, free admission every Sunday
Metro: Jaume 1—L4
A veritable fairy-tale, Gaudí’s park is a blend of curving paths and Alice in Wonderland-like sculptures tucked amongst the gardens. Views of Barcelona from the park terrace are breathtaking, as are the mosaic tiles that cover the benches there. Gaudí lived in a house on the property that has been turned into a museum, which is open to visitors for E4. Street musicians and various performers provide frequent entertainment.
Olot, Tel. 93 219 3811
Open: 10am-sunset daily
Formally titled Casa Milà, this architectural wonder by Gaudí is a must see, even if you skip the tour and just gaze in awe at the soft lines and oceanic like theme of this 1912 building. La Pedrera means ‘stone quarry’, as it was disdainfully nicknamed in its early years. Now it’s a well-known and well-loved symbol of the city and of the daring and imaginative Gaudí. Tours are available for all three floors, including the main floor art gallery and giftshop, as well as the rooftop garden.
Passeig de Gràcia 92, Tel. 93 484 5900, www.caixacatalunya.cat/obrasocial
Open: Dec-Jan 9am-6.30pm daily, Feb-Nov 9am-8pm daily
Admission: €8, free for under-12s
Metro: Diagonal—L3 & L5
Known as the Gothic Quarter or the Old Neighbourhood, the Barri Gotíc is a wealth of fascinating and impressive historical sites, including medieval churches, Roman walls, and architectural wonders from every century all the way back to the 1100’s. The history of Barcelona is around every corner, and the streets follow the lines of the original Roman roads. Restaurants and cafés are plenty, but carry on to Carrer de Montsió to visit the café Els Quatre Gats, where Picasso and other bohemian artists gathered.
Metro: Jaume 1—L4 or Liceu—L3
Palau de la Música Catalana
Sumptuously decorated Modernist architecture at its most opulent, and one of the most visually startling music halls in the world. Stained glass in vibrant colours are brilliant, breathtaking tile work covers the columns, and reliefs and sculptures are practically bursting from the walls and ceiling, depicting scenes of famous composers and mythical muses. Winged horses and charging Valkyries surround the balcony and stage, where some of the greatest names in music have performed over the years.
Sant Fransesc de Paula 2, Tel. 93 295 7200, www.palaumusica.org
Open: Box office 10am-9pm except Sunday, Tours: Sept-July 10am-3.30pm daily, August 10am-6pm
Admission: €10 (English tours on the hour)
Metro: Urquinoana—L1 & L4
Santa Maria del Mar Church
After surviving nearly 630 years worth of earthquakes, vandals, anarchists, fire and weathering, the Santa Maria del Mar has expertly survived and maintained its original beauty. This Catalan Gothic Basilica completed in 1384 after only 55 years of construction with simple, clean lines and an exquisite 15th century rose window highlights the era’s architectural characteristics. The basilica has a traditional Mass schedule, and frequent musical performances.
Plaça de Santa Maria, Tel. 93 310 2390
Open: 9am-1.30pm, 4.30-8pm Mon-Sat; 10.30am-1.30pm, 4.30-8pm Sun.
Metro: Jaume 1—L4
When people reference ‘the Cathedral’ this is what they are talking about (as opposed to the Sagrada Familia). Although the Gothic cathedral is still undergoing renovation and construction, it all began in 1298. A true testament to the history of Barcelona, the cathedral’s construction has been interrupted over the last 700 years by war, anarchy, plagues, and economic troubles. Dedicated to Sant Eulàlia, a 13-year-old girl martyred in 303 CE for her refusal to deny her Christianty. Much of the cathedral’s expansive interior portrays scenes and symbols of Eulàlia’s short but honoured life. In addition to traditional masses, the Cathedral also holds a free organ concert on the second Wednesday of every month, as well as a mass sung by the boys choir on select Friday or Saturday night. Check the website for specific dates and details.
Pa de la Sau, Tel. 93 342 8260, www.catedralbcn.org
Open: Those who purchase a combined ticket are allowed into areas otherwise closed to tourists because of worship hours. Combined ticket hours: 1pm-5pm Mon-Sat; 2-4.45pm Sun. The church is open before and after these hours, but tourists are prohibited from several areas.
Admission: Combined ticket €5, Church and cloister free, Museum €2
Metro: Jaume 1—L4
MACBA, Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona
A museum with an intense focus on pieces from the 1950’s forward. Because of this, many of the works have political, if not radical, themes. Increasingly international artists are appearing in both the permanent collection and the temporary exhibitions, which seems to hint at a more inclusive future.
Plaça dels Àngels 1, Tel. 93 412 0810, www.macba.es
Open: last week of June-Sept 24, 11am-8pm Mon & Wed; 11am-midnight Thurs & Fri; 10am-8pm Sat, 10am-3pm Sun. last week of Sept-June, 11am-7.30 pm Mon & Wed-Fri; 10am-8pm Sat; 10am-3pm Sun.
Admission: All exhibitions €7.50, only Permanent collection €3, only temporary €4
Metro: Catalunya—L1 & L3
Twenty mosaic covered chimneys decorate the rooftop terrace of Gaudí’s first major commission, and the only one the famed architect ever personally completed. Built as a dream home for the wealthy businessman Eusebi Güell, the interior features unique examples of Art Nouveau style, including a six-storey great hall. Renovations until 2010 mean certain areas are closed to visitors, but the main sights are still worth seeing.
Nou de la Rambla 3, Tel. 93 317 3974, www.palauguell.cat
Open: 10am-2pm Tue-Sat.
Metro: Drassanes: L3 and Liceu: L3