Art galleries and exquisite museums in Barcelona

You are in Barcelona. You love art. You have done your cultural duty with Gaudi, Miro and Picasso and now you are looking for something different. How about meeting artists themselves, see them in action so to speak and get first hand explanations? Or learning about perfume, chocolate and Europe´s oldest and smallest synagogue?

A great opportunity to do this combined with a visit to an emblematic part of Barcelona is spending time near Plaza del Pi in Barcelona´s Gothic quarters.

Gothic quarter Barcelona

Art market in Plaza St. Josep Oriol/Barcelona

Barcelona´s Gothic Quarter stretches between the famous Rambla and Via Laetana, an area which is best explored on foot because of the many small streets criss crossing the quarter . Old and new buildings side by side, tiny squares, even tinier shops, cafes and, on weekends, the art market in Plaza St. Josep Oriol make this a must see destination for lovers of art and architecture.

Some 50 local painters exhibit their works on Saturdays between 11am and 8pm and on Sundays between 11am and 2pm. They sit or stand next to their paintings which range in themes  from portraits and landscapes to abstract art. Most of them are happy to talk to you, explain their background and their techniques. Meeting the artists in person makes a pleasant change from just admiring master pieces in grand museums.

Painters in Plaza J.Oriol/Barcelona

One lady who copies Botero is adamant that you should not take photos of her work, everybody else is happy for any kind of interest and exposure. An example for price: a small landscape in oil was on offer for €250.

Plaza St. Josep Oriol is right next door to Plaza del Pi, fronted by the Basilica del Pi which is also the venue of exquisite guitar concerts. On the plaza itself you find every day stalls selling cheeses, dried fruit, honey and other specialities.

Food stalls Plaza del Pi/Barcelona

Either take the Metro (L1/L3) to Plaza Catalunya, walk down the Ramblas and turn left before reaching the Liceu or else get off at the Liceu stop on L3.

La Basilica Galeria Perfume

Feast your eyes and nose on a visit to this gallery/shop located in Calle Sant Sever 8, equidistant between Plaza del Pi and the cathedral. A unique mixture of contemporary art, pieces of jewellery and custom made  perfumes, you hardly know where to look first. Eye-catching are the glittering figures covered with rose petals which are also used in the spring flower festival of Girona.

The roselady

Opening times  are from 11am to 3pm and 4.30pm to 8.30pm.

El Call and synagogue

Barcelona´s medieval Jewish quarter, called El Call is a quarter within the Gothic quarter. If you visit the Galeria perfume, just follow C/Sant Sever, turn left into C/St.Domenec and right into C/Marlet where you find the museum/synagogue, the oldest and smallest in all of Europe.

Barcelona´s oldest synagogue

It is a really tiny space but documents the history of what was once the Mayor Synagogue and is now named Shlomo Ben Adret. The small size ( 40 x 20 ff)is the result of a decree by King  James II that no synagogue could be bigger than the smallest Christian chapel. You see Roman remains through glass windows in the floor of the entrance, then proceed to two other rooms. The guide explains the history to small groups in several languages, English among them.

Interior synagogue/Barcelona

Opening hours  are Monday to Friday from 10.30am to 6pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 10.30am to 3pm. Admission is €2.50.

Run by the Association of Call/Barcelona, this organisation also offers guided tours through the Jewish quarter of Barcelona.

Museo Palmero

A visit to the Museo Palmero is another opportunity to meet a well known painter in person, see him at work and listen to his explanations, combined with a view of a typical XVth century Catalan masia, belonging to the family since the 1970s.

Museo Palmero

Alfredo Palmero is the grandson of the founder of a painter dynasty , Maestro Palmero. His trademark themes, so to speak, are horses in action and modern versions of the meninas by Velazquez. But, he also paints portraits, landscapes and the odd abstract. His works are widely exhibited and collected, among his fans are the Spanish royal family and the late Duchess of Alba.

Alfredo and his menina

The masia itself is a brilliant example of Renaissance Catalan architecture with thick stone walls, arches, beams and even a cave and secret passage. The works of art contained in the rooms have been collected by the family.

You must make an appointment to visit by calling: 93 2126551 or either mobile: 609779701 (sister) 600535722 (Alfredo). Mr. Palmero´s English is not fluent but good enough but on the other hand you don´t need to wait for a group, he´ll entertain a single visitor and allows you to take all the photographs you want.

Admission is €5 but you are presented with two poster reproductions of your choice.

The museum is located in Calle Judea 2. Take the Metro L3, get off at Vall d´Hebron station, then turn into Avenida del Jordan and immediately left into Judea.(Opposite hospital San Rafael)

Chocolate Museum/Barcelona

Imagine a museum where you can actually eat your ticket! But you better wait until you leave or at least keep the wrapper.

The most fascinating part of Barcelona´s Chocolate museum are the massive sculptures made from chocolate, not only dark but also white and multicoloured. From Asterix and Obelix to a bull fight scene and a big, white ape, there seems to be nothing which cannot be made from chocolate.

Ape made of white chocolate

In addition, the history of cocoa is documented from the Mayans and Aztecs to modern days by paintings, photographs and machinery as well as by audiovisuals. A shop and coffee shop at the ground floor invite you to rest and sample sweet things.

Apart from visiting the museum you can also participate in a chocolate making workshop at €65.

The museum is located at Comerc 36. Take metro L1 and get off at Arc de Triomf.

Opening hours are daily from 10am to 7pm, Sundays and bank holidays 10am to 3pm.

Admission is €5 printed on the wrapper of a chocolate bar.

Francisco Godia Foundation

 One of the most important private art collections in Spain, that of former Formula I driver, business man and avid art collector, Francisco (Paco) Godia is housed in a 19th century town house called Casa Garriga Nogues, a fine example of modernism architecture.  Located in the Eixample district of Barcelona, between Rambla Catalunya and Balmes, the building is as much worth a visit as is the art it contains.

Staircase Fundacion Godia

Godia´s taste reached from medieval paintings to ceramics to modern art and the exhibits include fine examples of each. In addition to a permanent display there are temporary exhibitions, currently, until 2nd of February 2015, El Greco.

The glass ceiling, overhanging balcony and carved marble staircase will already fill you with admiration before you even start wandering though the rooms.

Glass ceiling Casa Garriga Nogues

You´ll find a small shop in the lobby, but if you want a coffee, just go next door to the Petit Palace Museum which isn´t a museum at all but a hotel which shares the first floor of Casa Garriga Nogues with the foundation.

Cafe Petit Palace Museum

Address: Diputacio, 250, metro stop Plaza Catalunya L3/L1

Opening hours:  Monday to Sunday: from 10am to 8pm, Tuesdays closed.

Admission: €8

Photography is not allowed except in the lobby and staircase.