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Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC)

The Museum of Catalan Art in Barcelona, known as the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC), houses one of the largest collections of Catalan art and is a beautiful museum for art enthusiasts to visit. From Romanesque and Gothic art to contemporary photography exhibitions, the museum takes you through the art history of Catalonia and showcases some of the most renowned artists and artworks.

What to See and Do at MNAC Barcelona

The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) is currently one of the best museums in Barcelona thanks to its extensive and excellent art collection. Art lovers can spend hours enjoying the best of Catalan art in all its forms.

MNAC Museum Collection

A visit to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) is like a journey through the art history of Catalonia. You start in the Romanesque period, viewing original frescoes from Romanesque churches in the Pyrenees, and continue to Gothic art, Renaissance and Baroque art, Catalan modernism (Art Nouveau), noucentisme, and the Avant-garde up to modern art.

Major names like El Greco, Zurbarán, Velázquez, Rubens, Tiziano, Salvador Dalí, Antoni Gaudí, Ramon Casas, Josep Llimona, Pablo Picasso, and Joan Miró are featured here and certainly deserve your attention. From fine arts to paintings, furniture, or photography.

MNAC in Barcelona bezoeken
MNAC in Barcelona

The museum also houses an interesting coin collection, which teaches you about the evolution and history of currency. It also has a large collection of drawings, prints, and posters worth seeing.

Often, temporary exhibitions are organized that enrich the museum visit even more: in the past, the museum displayed the unfinished work of Marià Fortuny ‘The Battle of Tangier’ (1863-1865), or you could learn more about Catalan artists like Antoni Tàpies, photographer Joan Colom, and painters Josep Tapiró and Xavier Gosé.

The Palau Nacional

During your visit to this national art museum, you should definitely take a moment to appreciate the grandeur of the building itself. You are in the Palau Nacional, built between 1926 and 1929 as the main building for the 1929 Barcelona World Exposition. The palace, designed in the style of Spanish Renaissance, was constructed by architects Eugenio Cendoya and Enric Catà under the supervision of Pere Domènech i Roura. The Palau Nacional stands atop a hill and is beautifully decorated with waterfalls and fountains by Carles Buïgas.

Inside the palace, there are several rooms that deserve your attention, such as the Sala Oval (or Salón Oval), where the opening of the World Exhibition by King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenia took place, or the magnificent Sala de la Cúpula with its ceiling paintings or the richly decorated Salón del Trono, which now houses restaurant Óleum.

Palau Nacional Barcelona
Palau Nacional

The View from MNAC

A significant advantage of MNAC is its excellent location atop the Montjuïc mountain, offering a fantastic view. You can enjoy a fabulous city view from the terrace in front of the palace, but there are also plenty of spots with a beautiful view inside the museum.

On the top floor, there is a chic restaurant (Restaurant Óleum) with a breathtaking view.

And since 2013, it has also been possible to enjoy a panoramic view of the city and the sea from the museum’s rooftop terrace. Entrance to the rooftop is included in your museum ticket, but it is also possible to buy a ticket just for the rooftop.

Uitzicht vanuit het MNAC
The view from MNAC

History of MNAC Barcelona

The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) is located in the Palau Nacional, a monumental palace on Montjuïc built as the main building for the 1929 World Exposition. The museum itself opened in 1934, starting with a collection of medieval art. Later, in 1995, the museum as we know it today was inaugurated as the National Art Museum of Catalonia, and new halls and collections were added. A process that culminated in 2004 with the introduction of the modern art section.

MNAC Barcelona Tickets

You can purchase your tickets for the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) in advance to avoid queues, but note: entrance is free every Saturday after 3:00 pm and every first Sunday of the month. There is a separate charge for the audio guide, €3.50 (€1 for students and retirees). Tickets start from €12 per person. Children under 16 years and retirees have free access.

How to Get to MNAC Barcelona

The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) is located atop Montjuïc mountain. The best way to reach MNAC is on foot from Plaça d’Espanya, where you can find the Espanya metro station (L1, L3, L8). You then walk down Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina towards the Palau Nacional, which you can see sparkling at the end of the hill. You will pass various fountains and waterfalls, and as you take the stairs (escalators are also available), the view keeps getting better. At the top of Plaça de les Cascades, you’ll find the museum entrance and a bar to rest and enjoy the view.

Useful information

Price: €12 per person (includes access to the rooftop terrace and temporary exhibitions).

Free for children up to 16 years old and retirees (65+ years old), and on Saturdays after 3:00 pm and every first Sunday of the month.

Free access for Barcelona Card and Artticket holders.

Additional discounts for students and visitors of Bus Turístic or Barcelona City Tour.

Opening Hours: Open from October to April from Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm; on Sundays and public holidays until 3:00 pm. From May to September from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm; on Sundays and public holidays until 3:00 pm.

Note: The museum and the rooftop terrace are closed every Monday.

Address: Palau Nacional, Parc de Montjuïc 08038 Barcelona

Public Transport:

Metro: Espanya (L1, L3, L8)

Bus: 55, 150