The Barcelona Wax Museum is located in a 19th century house, just off Las Ramblas to the left as you face the port. It was designed by the architect Elies Rogent and built in 1867 by the General Credit Company. It is now listed as a location of historic and artistic interest as it´s considered an excellent example of architecture from the early Modernist period.
The house is divided into five distinct spaces: the Staircase of Honor, the Recital Salon, the Glass Patio, the Gothic Salon, and the Armored Room. Make sure to check out the spaces and not focus only on the wax figures, as each room has its own unique characteristics. For example, the Staircase of Honor is a great example of 19th century architecture and the Armored Room has steel walls and is a genuine example of a vault used during that time period.
The museum opened in 1973 under the direction of Enrique Alarcón, an architect and set designer, who designed and directed the restoration of the building. There are over 300 wax figures in all, and new ones are added regularly. To get to the museum you will have to go through a small inner courtyard. There is box office on Las Ramblas, but it´s frequently closed, in which case you can simply buy tickets at the museum entrance itself.
Once you enter the main part of the museum the tour begins. On the first floor you will be met by groups of artistic and political figures, fairy tale characters, and dictators. On the second floor you will find film stars, rulers and knights from the Middle Ages and Renaissance period, and famous athletes. From there visitors can take a lift to the ground floor where they will find the “Fantastic Journey”, “Terror”, and “Horror” sections. The rooms are complemented by audiovisuals and sounds effects, which add to the experience. Hitler, Princess Diana, Cleopatra and many other famous characters (both real and fictional) can all be found in the museum, although it tends to be the Star Wars characters that get most of the attention.
The museum offers special evening visits and can also arrange for dinners, meetings and conventions to take place there. The evening visits are guided by professional actors acting as museum residents, and they are a fun and unique experience, especially if you come with a group. Evening visits and special events should be arranged in advance with the museum and can be done in combination with dinners.
The quality of the figures at the Barcelona wax museum is not nearly as good as Madame Tussauds in London, but it is considered one of the top ten places in Barcelona to visit with children, and is especially ideal for a rainy day. Those who have never been to a wax museum will probably get a kick out of it and even if you aren´t impressed, you will definitely be amused.
For a pre or post museum drink be sure to check out the Bosc de les Fades (The Fairies’ Forest) café or Passatge del Temps, both of which form part of the wax museum and are located right next door. The Bosc de les Fades is designed with a fairy-tale theme in mind, so that you feel as if you were in a fairy´s woodland home, complete with trees, fairies, and even trick mirrors. They offer drinks and snacks which are a bit pricier than a normal bar, but worth it for the creative and fun environment. This bar is one of the most famous in Barcelona so it´s worth stopping by, if only for drink.
Passatge del Temps isn´t as well-known as El Bosc de Les Fades, but it´s still worth checking out. Located next to El Bosc de Les Fades, it is a bar/café decorated with origami (folded paper figures). It tends to attract less crowds then Bosc de les Fades, and consequently has a more mellow and relaxed vibe, so if you are looking for something a bit more chilled out this may be a better choice. Both El Bosc de les Fades and Passatge del Temps are open weekdays 10am to 1am and weekends until 2am.
If you only have a few days to spend in Barcelona, the wax museum will probably not top your list of things to see and do. But if you´re looking for something to occupy the kids or if you´ve simply had enough of the more traditional sites and museums and are looking for a bit of entertainment then this is a fun option.
Address: Ptge. De la Banca, 7 (Metro Drassanes)
Hours: From Monday to Friday 10am to 1:30pm and 4pm to 7:30pm, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 11am to 2pm and 4:30pm to 8:30pm, and in summer from 10am to 10pm
Tickets: Adults 12€, children and seniors 7€, audio guide 3,5€