A Brush with Culture in Barcelona


Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is a city of broad boulevards and quiet streets perfect for an art lover’s walking tour. It’s difficult not to run into a building designed by Antoni Gaudí, a Catalan native and the best-known Spanish architect. Of the 10 most visited attractions in Barcelona, four are the uniquely extraordinary buildings of Gaudí, including La Pedrera—built as a private home with shapes inspired by nature, from the sprawling roof terrace to the interior apartments festooned with Gaudí designs. 

Gaudí’s immense—and still-under-construction—Basilica of the Sagrada Familia is a must-see for first-time and returning visitors. Begun in 1882, the evolving structure is expected to be complete by 2026. Plans are underway to demolish two city blocks to allow for better viewing of what will be the Glory Facade with seven bronze doors and an excerpt from the Lord’s Prayer written in 50 different languages.

Barcelona remains an important stop on any pilgrimage to study Picasso. The Picasso Museum, with over 4,000 works, displays the most extensive collection of art from Pablo Picasso’s formative years in Barcelona, including a set of drawings that sheds light on the creative process that led to the masterpieces of his Blue Period.

The surrealist art of Barcelona native Joan Miró shines in one of the city’s biggest and brightest museums set on a hilltop surrounded by flowers. For an even closer look into the artist’s life, you may now visit Mas Miró, his country home in Mont-roig del Camp, newly opened in 2018. The artist’s studio remains just as Miró left it in the summer of 1976 with paints and brushes perched on tables as if ready for the next whim of their master.

Hotel of the Arts

Echoing the city’s art appreciation, the Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona, houses more than 1,000 works of art throughout the property. Privately owned by the Soldevila-Casals family since 1918, the historic, five-star hotel located on the grand Passeig Gracia celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. From the rooftop terrace with al fresco dining and views of Sagrada Familia to the gastronomic Restaurant SOLC, the art of Catalan cuisine is celebrated in elegant style. Guests can visit the hotel’s vegetable farm in nearby Maresme to pick sweet peas, for instance, and witness the many ways executive chef David Romero and his team elevate local ingredients in fine cuisine. Fresh fish arrives daily from the Mediterranean Sea, and Spanish cheese and ham are procured from the best producers. Guests can go beyond the extensive wine list to tour the environmentally conscious Alta Alella Winery to study the art of making cava, the sparking wine of Spain, and sample the Cuvée Majestic made for the hotel’s centenary.