As with any good coastal city, Barcelona has its own Maritime Museum, the MMB. The Museum’s location couldn’t be better, because it is found in the old Royal Shipyard, also known as Drassanes Reiales in Catalan, and is only a few steps from the sea. As a recommendation we suggest that, even though you may not have the intention of visiting the MMB, you should go to the area nearby, to enjoy the magnificence of what is one of the oldest and well-preserved historic buildings in Barcelona.
The Royal Shipyard itself constitutes part of the museum and is a magnet that continues to attract many passers-by, many of whom haven’t yet decided whether or not to go in until they see what it has in store. It was commissioned at the end of the 13th century by order of the Great Pedro III, in order to construct and maintain the galleys that acted in service of the crown. The eight grand ships that were originally built there were improved over the centuries, with the last great performance in this sense being in the 18th century.
A large part of the attraction of the shipyard is that you are able to observe its exterior, and that part of its structure forms a section of the city’s old medieval wall, as well as the surviving tower and the gate known as the Portal de Santa Madrona (one of the gates through which people used to enter Barcelona during the Middle Ages). The Jardines del Baluard (in english, the Bastion Gardens) can be found joined onto one end of the upper part of the Drassanes Reiales and, although the opening times are somewhat limited, they can be visited.The opening times for the Jardines del Baluard: 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month from 11:00-14:00.
Another example of the architectural and historical importance of the Royal Shipyard is the fact that since 1937 it has formed part of the Catalan Government’s (Generalitat de Catalunya) Register of Historical, Artistic and Scientific Heritage and since the year 1976 it has been considered a monument of historical-artistic importance by the Spanish Government.
A visit to the Barcelona’s Maritime Museum
After some important adaptations to the Drassanes Reials, the museum looks as magnificent as it deserves to. Time spent at the MMB should be divided between the permanent collection, the temporary exhibitions that they put on and the opportunity to board the Pailebot Santa Eulàlia (an old merchant ship). Furthermore, the museum boasts a charming shop where you can find original gifts relating to the sea or Barcelona and a bar with a beautiful outdoor terrace.
Concessions: €3.50 (unemployed, students under 25, people over 65 and holders of the ‘Carnet Jove’ discount card).
Groups: €5.50 (of 10 people or more).
Free: sundays from 15:00, and for under-17s.
Groups: €1.00 (of 10 or more people).
* For other potential ways to benefit from a discounted ticket or free access, ask at the box office before buying your ticket.
24th and 31st December: from 10:00 to 15:00.
Closed: 1st and 6th January and 25th and 26th December.
The Permanent Collection
The contemplative ambience and dim lighting of the museum space immerse the visitor in the marine world. The permanent collection is rich in variety. Some of the pieces are intricate models, which have been lovingly crafted down to the smallest detail, whilst many others are original boats, most of which are of great historical value.
Included in a visit to the MMB is a visit to the Pailebot Santa Eulàlia, which is docked in the Moll de la Fusta del Port Vell. It is a Pailebot (a sailboat that can be used for different purposes: as a merchant ship, recreational yacht or fishing boat) built in 1918 and has been declared of Great Cultural and National Interest by the Generalitat de Catalunya.Summer Opening Times: from Tuesday to Sunday (and public holidays) from 10:00 to 20:00.
Winter Opening Times: from Tuesday to Sunday (and public holidays) from 10:00 to 17:30.
Closed: the mondays, 1st and 6th January and 25th and 26th December.
The piece that attracts the most attention, due to its huge size, is a scale model of the Royal Galley of Don Juan of Austria, which occupies a large area in the middle of the ship. Built in 1970, it recreates with great precision and intricate details the symbol of the fleet of the Santa Liga (comprising Spain, the Republic of Venice, the Papal States and Malta), that participated in what is known as the Battle of Lepanto, on 7th October 1571, against the Navy of the Ottoman Empire.
In the small square where the terrace of the bar of the MMB is located, you can see a scale model of the Ictíneo. It is the first version of the submarine built in the year 1858 by the Catalonian engineer Narcis Monturiol, which officially launched from the port of Barcelona in 1859.
Temporary exhibitions and activities
The museum usually offers two to three temporary exhibitions at the same time and of course they are always related to the marine world. It always tries to create diverse exhibitions, so you can find something for everyone; from historical models and the features of different boats, to all types of underwater gadgets and even children’s toys. All these exhibitions make use of performing arts (paintings, photographs, documentaries, etc.) to improve the visitors’ experience. In addition, the museum is very prolific with regards to organizing and promoting different activities, many of which are aimed at children.
As it’s a museum which has a strong focus on the sea, boats and all kinds of ships and has a strong visual approach, with different boats on display as well as so many scale models, not to mention the visit to the Pailebot Santa Eulàlia, it’s an ideal place to visit with children.
Avinguda de les Drassanes s/n, Barcelona
Opening Times for the Museum
See above for all the information.
See above for all the information.
How to get there?
Metro: Drassanes (line 3) and Paral·lel (lines 2 and 3).
Buses: lines 21, 59, 91, 120, D20, H14, V11, V13 and tourist bus.
On foot: you can get there on foot if you are in the middle or lower part of La Rambla as well as in the Poble Sec Neighbourhood.