If you’re visiting Catalonia’s largest city, you absolutely must visit the Museu d’Art de Catalunya. With its extensive collection of works of art, it makes for an enjoyable visit.
Find out what you need to know before your first visit.
National Art Museum of Catalonia: travel through art in Barcelona
Located in Barcelona, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (National Art Museum of Catalonia) is admired even before the first work of art. Housed in the sumptuous Palacio Nacional de Montjuïc, the museum boasts remarkable architecture.
Then, once inside the museum, several hours of touring await you. With an eclectic collection spanning a wide historical period, this museum offers an exceptional overview of Catalan art, from the Romanesque to modern times.
Here you’ll find magnificent Romanesque frescoes, Gothic sculptures, Baroque and Rococo works, as well as an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art.
Sometimes you’ll find the museum’s acronym: MNAC.
What can you see at the National Art Museum of Catalonia?
During your visit, prepare to be amazed by the wealth of collections at the National Art Museum of Catalonia.
As soon as you enter, you are greeted by the spectacular Romanesque art section.
Here, you’ll discover colorful murals that once adorned isolated village chapels in the Pyrenees. Delicate wood carvings and an impressive collection of liturgical artifacts also give you an insight into the spirituality and craftsmanship of the period.
Moving on to the Gothic section, you enter a period of artistic evolution marked by refinement and attention to detail. Brilliantly colored stained glass, detailed altarpieces and works of medieval daily life transport you back in time.
The Renaissance and Baroque section of the museum is equally fascinating. Here you’ll find works by renowned artists such as Zurbarán, Velázquez and El Greco. From realistic portraits to scenes from classical mythology, each work will captivate you.
Finally, there’s a more modern section highlighting Catalan artistic movements of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Here you can admire works by artists such as Casas, Rusiñol, Gaudí and Picasso. Their paintings, sculptures, and architectural designs bear witness to the rapid evolution of Catalan art during this period.
Finally, don’t miss the museum’s temporary exhibitions. These regularly changing exhibitions offer a fresh look at various aspects of Catalan and international art. They often feature works by lesser-known artists or highlight specific themes.
How much does it cost to enter the National Art Museum of Catalonia?
Admission includes the permanent collection, temporary exhibitions, and access to the terrace. Admission costs €12.
Admission to the museum is free if you are under 16 or over 65.
A reduced rate (-30%) is available for students and families traveling in groups.
How long does a visit to the National Art Museum of Catalonia last?
A complete visit to the National Art Museum of Catalonia can easily last between 3 and 4 hours. If you’re an art enthusiast, your visit could be even longer.
Where is the National Art Museum of Catalonia located?
In Barcelona, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya is housed in the magnificent Palacio Nacional atop Monjuic Hill.
The exact address is Palau Nacional, Parc de Montjuïc, s/n, 08038 Barcelona.
How to get to the National Art Museum of Catalonia?
To get to the museum by car, you can use the Montjuïc Olympic Zone parking lot.
If you prefer public transport, metro lines 1 or 3 (Plaça Espanya station) or buses 55 or 150 are the most convenient options.
What are the opening hours of the National Art Museum of Catalonia?
The museum is open every day except Monday.
Opening hours are
- October 1 to April 30 :
- Tuesday to Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Sunday and public holidays: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- May 2 to September 30 :
- Tuesday to Saturday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Sundays and public holidays: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The museum is closed on January 1, May 1 and December 25.
Last admission is possible 30 minutes before the museum closes.
Opinions on the Museu d’Art de Catalunya: is it a good visit?
To be perfectly honest, art and I have never been the best of friends. But the Museu d’Art de Catalunya was so renowned that I thought, why not? I’d already done the same for museums like Orsay in Paris.
What I liked was the place itself. The Montjuïc National Palace is truly impressive. The view from outside is spectacular, especially coming out of the museum at sunset.
Inside, the collection is vastly extensive. Even for someone like me, who is not a great art lover, I was able to appreciate the main works on display. They are well detailed, allowing me to understand their historical context and significance.
But despite this, I wasn’t transported. There was a certain coldness to the experience, a lack of warmth that I often find in art museums. If I were an enthusiast, I’d probably have a different opinion.
It would be unfair to say that I didn’t enjoy my visit. On the contrary, I’m delighted to have discovered this museum. It gave me a better understanding of Catalan art and helped me appreciate the beauty of Montjuïc’s National Palace. If you’re an art lover, this museum should even be a must see.
What else can you do near the National Art Museum of Catalonia?
Close to the National Art Museum of Catalonia, you might enjoy these activities:
- Visit the Joan Miró Foundation: another of Barcelona’s artistic marvels.
- Stroll through the gardens of Montjuïc.
- Attend a show at the Greek Theatre.
- Discover the Poble Espanyol: a charming village representing the typical architecture of different regions of Spain.
- Admire the Montjuïc Magic Fountain.