Barcelona is truly one of the world’s greatest cities. It has something to offer every type of traveler, from authentic Spanish culture, to bars and clubs hosting wild international parties, and from sunny beaches to world-class art. I’ve certainly sampled a bit of the party scene as well as the art scene, and I can tell you, it’s well worth taking a break from sipping sangria and stuffing your face with paella to check out some of the city’s top art attractions. And this goes for all travelers – because Barcelona’s art scene isn’t just dusty old museums full of dusty old travelers, no! Barca’s got some edgy and interested art from surrealist painters and sculptors and one very unique architect.
Check out these amazing artistic attractions in Barcelona:
Antonio Gaudi‘s Park Güell
Barcelona is almost synonymous with Antonio Gaudi. If you don’t already know, he was a Spanish architect who embodied the artistic movement known as Catalan Modernism. His art was architecture and his style was out of this world. Park Güell is one of his many masterpieces that can be found around Barcelona. It’s an expansive park with buildings that look like they are straight out of the game Candy Land. In fact, the gatehouses were based on the opera Hansel and Gretal, and you can see the connection in their storybook gingerbread house style. There is a giant mosaic lizard, a bench that snakes endlessly around the edge of a panoramic lookout area, and the disorienting Sala Hipóstila, which has tall, off-kilter pillars that can make you feel drunk. The whole place is really a magical must-see.
Sticking with the tour de Gaudi, you’ll have to make a stop off at Sagrada Familia, possibly Gaudi’s greatest work, and probably Barcelona’s most popular tourist attraction. Gaudi designed this behemoth Roman Catholic Church with gothic and art nouveau styles – and the resulting look is very unique. I think it looks like it was made out of wax and has begun to melt. Construction started in 1882 and slowed to a crawl after Gaudi’s death in 1926. To this day construction continues, and they hope to have the project completed by 2026, the centennial of Gaudi’s death. Regardless, it’s still an amazing structure, full of strange and quirky twists, typical of Gaudi’s playful design.
La Pedrera – Casa Mila
The final stop on the Gaudi tour will take you to La Pedrera, also known as Casa Mila, another of Gaudí’s strange and amazing buildings. The name La Pedrera means rock quarry, and much of the building looks like it was carved out of an undulating cliffside. It’s an interesting design that might make you feel like you’re having an acid flashpack. One interesting fact is that Gaudi wanted the people who lived in the building all know each other, so he only build elevators on every other floor, forcing people tenants to mingle interact more on floors other than their own.
It’s not all Gaudi in Barcelona! In fact, there is a fantastic museum dedicated to Pablo Picasso here as well. The paintings are organized chronologically, so as you walk through the museum, you can get a feel for the development of this influential Spanish painter and sculptor. Picasso’s art is the kind of unique and thought provoking stuff that can get just about anyone interested in art, even boozy backpackers, so it’s well worth a visit.
Fundació Joan Miró
Another must-visit art museum in Barcelona is the Fundació Joan Miró. This gallery has a great collection of Miró’s work, going back as far as 1914. His work evolves through expemental stages, and has been classed as Magical Realism and Early Surrealism – which to non art-nerds means, it’s kinda trippy. The collection at Fundació Joan Miró not only includes his paintings, sketches, sculptures, and even tapestries.
This is just a small sampling of some of the amazing artwork that Barcelona has to offer. Combine this with the beaches, great parties, and endless supply of entertainment on La Ramblas, and you’re definitely going to want to stay a while.