While Spain is globally known for its Prado Museum and Bilbao´s Guggenheim, there are still quite a few secret museums in Spain not as well established on the tourist track. Or at least not yet. Let me share with you a few unusual Spanish museums you´ve never heard of.
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Spanish Landmarks and Museums
As one of the most popular European holiday destinations, Spain has no shortage of alluring national landmarks, otherworldly beautiful landscapes, and charming small towns. The Spanish rich history of royals leaves behind it a huge number of dreamy castles, storybook places, and aesthetically-pleasing Mediterranean gardens.
Today popular Spanish TV shows and international filming locations keep highlighting the beautiful corners of Spain to its viewers all across the globe.
Also read: Matarranya – The Secret Spanish Toscana
Nevertheless, even such a much-frequented place on every European travel bucket list is full of secret villages, undiscovered places, and unusual museums that might show you a slightly different side of the Iberian Peninsula and its unique cultural heritage.
Must-See Secret Museums in Spain
1. Palau de Maricel / Sitges
One of the most eye-catching secret museums in Spain is definitely Palau de Maricel in Sitges. I was lucky to visit this place during my Catalonia Road Trip, on the way from Barcelona to Tarragona. The coastal city of Sitges on the weekends is still bustling with life even in the off-season, unlike one of the top Spanish small towns Cadaques.
Palau de Maricel was once a custom-made mansion of the American millionaire and art collector Charles Deering (1852-1927). Even though Deering left his Sitges residence in 1921, taking most of his lavish art collection back to the U.S., this place is still such an eye candy for art lovers. The museum is full of unique decorations.
Note: Palau de Maricel is not open on a daily basis, you must check the visiting schedule at www.museusdesitges.cat before traveling.
2. muBBla Museo de Bordados de Paso Blanco / Lorca
MuBBla is one of my favorite secret museums in Spain. It is connected to the traditional festivities in Spain and was honestly discovered by accident during my recent trip to the Murcia Region. MuBBla (Museo de Bordados de Paso Blanco) is a unique embroidery museum in Lorca. All the exposed hand-made decorations are used in the annual Biblical Processions of Lorca during the Easter Week festivities or La Semana Santa. A museum worker shared with me that for one of the recent creations they´ve had five people working on it for almost five years. You can check more videos at my IG Story Murcia.
Since 2007 the Easter festivities in Lorca have been classified as “an international event of tourist interest” and hold candidacy for UNESCO Cultural Heritage declaration.
3. Museu Valencia del Joguet / Ibi
While globalization forced the closure of local factories in the 70s, Museu Valencia del Joguet still reminds us of Ibi´s industrial past with its unique collection of vintage toys from Spain and Europe. Inside the museum, you can still see behind the glass the industrial hall and machinery, traditionally used in the production of the local toys.
Museu Valencia del Joguet is one of the smallest secret museums in Spain. You can see it all in less than a half hour. Therefore, I recommend combining your visit to Ibi with Xativa, Bocairente, or the Borgia historical sites. For more tips on landmarks in the region also check my blog series Valencia Hidden Gems.
3. Museo de la Alfombra / Orotava
Every year between May and June the locals celebrate the holiday of Corpus Christi by decorating their streets and the main town square with carpets made from sand, flowers, and seeds. On a smaller scale, a few flower carpets can be seen at The Carpets Museum of Orotava all year round.
4. Museo de la Imprenta y de las Artes Graficas / Puig
Museo de la Imprenta y de las Artes Graficas (or Printing and Graphic Art Museum in English) is located inside the Santa Maria Royal Monastery in Puig. It can be easily visited on a day trip from Valencia.
This Printing Museum is full of ancient editions, wooden presses, and industrial printing machinery.
Not many know that the first book ever printed in Spain – “Trobes en lahors de la Verge Maria” (a collection of 45 poems dedicated to the Virgin Mary) – was made in Valencia in 1474. So the Printing Museum is one of the must-see secret museums in Spain as it reveals the evolution of the printing process and editions in the whole country.
5. MACVAC / Villafames
MACVAC (Museu D´Art Contemporrani Vicente Aguilera Cerni) is located inside the XVth century palace in Vilafames, a small town in the province of Castellon. Despite its ancient walls the museum´s collection totally focuses on modern art in Spain.
The origins of this secret Spanish museum go back to 1968. Although the opening took place in 1972 with initial 150 art pieces. One of the most famous Spanish painters, Joan Miro, has donated his artwork Golafre to MACVAC.
6. Museo de Ceramica / Manises
The small town of Manises is one of the Valencia Hidden Gems, that can be found near the Airport of Valencia.
While Spain is globally known for its 700-year-old local pottery tradition, Manises used to be one of the cribs of Spanish ceramic art. The region´s connection with pottery is so huge that even the worldwide famous ceramic tile exhibition Cevisama takes place in Valencia every February.
Museo de Ceramica (or The Museum of Ceramics in English) was founded in 1967 and currently houses 5000 ceramic artworks. Inside you can find everything from 14th-century pottery to modern ceramic creations.
After having a look at the Ceramic Museum of Manises you can´t miss Edificio “El Arte”, and Sala de Exposiciones “Els Filtres” (which, by the way, was housing modern ceramic art pieces from Biennal Internacional de Ceramica Manises during my visit). Additionally, you can enroll yourself (booking in advance is required) to take part in one of the local ceramic workshops. I suggest you stop by the local Tourist office (address: av. dels Tramvies 15) to get a map of beautiful ceramic-decorated local buildings.
For more details check my post – Valencia Day Trip to Manises.
7. Casa del Arte Mayor de la Seda / Requena
Another one of the secret museums in Spain is Casa del Arte Mayor de la Seda or The Requena House Museum of Silk. I discovered this place by a pure accident while visiting Caves of Requena.
The Requena House Museum of Silk is housed inside the former College of High Silk Art, founded back in 1725. Requena was one of the silk production centers in Valencia and the raw materials were brought from the whole region, even the neighboring La Ribera and Albacete. The final product was distributed in Valencia, Cadiz, Seville, and the Americas.
Inside the Silk Museum of Requena, you´ll find a recreation of a traditional local house alongside antique factory elements.
If you have some extra time, you can also visit nearby the abandoned village of Cornudilla, one of the mysterious and haunted places in Spain.
8. Museo de Momias / Quinto
To begin with, until my recent Aragon road trip, I honestly had no idea myself that there was a museum of Mummies in Spain.
Museo de Momias can be found in the small town of Quinto, near Zaragoza. The fans of mysterious places in Spain should definitely consider this ancient church museum as one of the must-sees in the Huesca Region.
The Museum of the Mummies of Quinto exhibits 15 mummified bodies of adults and children from the XVIIIth century.
Do you know that before the XVIIIth century it was typical across Spain to bury the richest people inside churches? Everyone believed that this way they would be closer to God in their death and reach paradise faster. While lots of bones were found inside churches, cathedrals, and monasteries across Spain, digging out a complete mummy was a rare thing.
These bodies in the church of Quinto were discovered by a pure accident during the reformation works of 2011. All of them were mummified in a natural way due to the unique conditions – constant temperature and zero humidity. It´s particularly curious that all of the adult bodies had reached the age of 35-40 maximum (which was a typical life expectancy in Medieval Spain).
Even the clothes, shoes, and other personal belongings of the mummies kept their original look.
Even though I enjoyed DarkTourism travel documentary , it would be fair to say that I´m not entirely comfortable around mummies. To my surprise, Museo de Momias was also very child-friendly. I guess they are getting visits from local school groups. Also, a guide was so professional that even my 4 and 5-year-old kids listened carefully (which has never happened before).
Being the only museum of mummies in Spain, this place is of a great importance for the Spanish scientists and historians.
9. Museo de la Moto / Basella
While returning back home after the Valentine´s weekend in Andorra, we´ve accidently discoved Museo de la Moto de Basella or the Basella Motorcycle Museum. Even though I knew little about the motorcycle culture and history, the extensive collection of Spanish and international motorcycles in Basella has impressed me.
In case you´re a passionate of two weels this museums should be your must-stop on every Pyrenees road trip. You can get a quick glimpse of the Basella Motorcycle Museum via my IG Highlights Secret Spanish Museums.
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