If you’re interested in history, specifically maritime history, consider visiting the Barcelona Maritime Museum (Museu Marítim de Barcelona).
The museum, open to the public since the 1930s, is housed in the Reials Drassanes, or former Royal Shipyards, originally constructed in the late 13th century for Peter the Great, King of Aragon. Once part of the city’s fortifications (portions of which can be seen along Avinguda del Paral·lel), the complex served as a galley arsenal for centuries before being put into use as a military foundry, barracks, and artillery store.
The impressive buildings feature massive arched naves which serve as prime exhibition space for an interesting collection of nautical items. During the time of our visit, however, the majority of the museum was undergoing renovations and the exhibitions were limited to just a few of the highlights. We were able to see:
Dioramas and miniature models of the shipyards, nautical scenes, and sailing vessels, such as:
An 80-gun warship crafted in Havana (this model reportedly traveled to France with an officer in Napoleon’s army, was taken to the U.S. during WWI, and subsequently donated to the Maritime Museum in 1985), and
Victoria, a 16th-century three-masted carrack (as part of Magellan’s expedition, the Victoria was the first ship to circumnavigate the world);
Maritime inspired artwork and nautical items, like:
19th-century dockyard scales, original to this historical site;
A replica of an 18th-century painting of Barcelona;
A painting of the Battle of Lepanto, by Antonio Brugada;
Ship’s figureheads, like the gesturing, turbaned ‘Turk’;
and a revolving lens from the Sant Sebastian Lighthouse;
A nice collection of original watercraft including fishing and pleasure boats, such as:
Papet, a 1907 inshore fishing boat;