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Museu de cera
Museu de cera

Quirky museums

Explore weird and wonderful museums in Barcelona with our guide

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You've done the Picasso, the Miró and the MACBA. After these and other giants of contemporary art, what's left in Barcelona's museum bag? Off the beaten track, down cobbled side streets and even smack bang in the middle of touristy areas, you'll find plenty of weird and wonderful little-known gems - all well worth an hour of your time.

Museu El Rei de la Màgia
  • Attractions
  • Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera

This collector's gallery of 19th- and 20th-century tricks and posters from the magic shop El Rei de la Màgia will enchant any budding magicians. To see some live sleight of hand, book for the shows; places are limited. They're not in English, but they are very visual, so it doesn't matter too much.

Museu del Perfum
  • Museums
  • History
  • Dreta de l'Eixample

In the back room of the Regia perfumery sit some 5,000 scent bottles, cosmetic flasks and related objects. The collection is divided in two. One displays all manner of unguent vases and essence jars in chronological order, from a tube of black eye make-up from pre-dynastic Egypt to Edwardian atomisers and a prized double-flask pouch that belonged to Marie Antoinette. The second section exhibits perfumes from brands such as Guerlain and Dior; some are in rare bottles, among them a garish Dalí creation for Schiaparelli and a set of golliwog flasks by Vigny Paris. The museum's most recent additions include a collection of 19th-century perfumed powder bottles and boxes.

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  • Attractions
  • El Gòtic

Despite being a condom's toss from the red-light district, the Erotic Museum is a surprisingly limp affair. Expect plenty of filler in the form of Kama Sutra illustrations and airbrushed paintings of naked maidens, with the odd fascinating item such as studded chastity belts or a Victorian walking stick topped with an ivory vagina. Genuine rarities include Japanese drawings, a painful-looking 'pleasure chair' and compelling photos of brothels in the city's Barrio Chino in the decadent 1930s.

Hash, Marihuana & Hemp Museum
  • Attractions
  • El Gòtic

The collection at the Hash, Marijuana & Hemp Museum is made up of more than 6,000 pieces related to the world of the cannabis plant and its derivatives. From its cultivation to its consumption, and from its use in ancient rituals to its place in modern medicine, you'll find everything you ever wanted to know about cannabis and human culture.

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  • Museums
  • Ciutat Vella

Madame Tussauds it ain't, but the Wax Museum is an enjoyable enough way to pass a rainy afternoon, particuarly if you have small children, who love the 'underwater' section (a submarine and creaky old ship). Be warned that the exhibits are very dated, and a curious mix of historical and 1980s (19th-century composers alongside ET, Star Wars characters, JR from Dallas and Lady Di).

Museu de Carrosses Fúnebres
  • Things to do
  • Barcelona

Visiting what must be Barcelona’s most obscure museum isn’t easy. You have to get yourself up the port side of Montjuïc, and it’s only open Wednesday to Sunday mornings. But if you have a macabre side, it’s worth the effort to see the world’s largest collection of funeral carriages and hearses, dating from the 18th century to the ’50s. There are ornate Baroque carriages, more functional berlins and landaus, and a wonderful silver Buick. The white carriages were designed for children and virgins; there's a windowless black-velour mourning carriage for the forlorn mistress, ensuring both her presence and anonymity. And all manned by ghoulish dummies in period gear whose eyes follow you around the room.

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