Joan Antoni Samaranch Olympic and Sport Museum

The Museu Olímpic i de l’Esport Joan Antoni Samaranch—in English, Joan Antoni Samaranch Olympic and Sport Museum—is a popular Barcelona attraction with sports fans from all over the world. Throughout this modern museum you’ll find exhibits covering topics like the history of sports, past Olympic Games, and of course, the 1992 Summer Olympics—which were held in Barcelona. The museum contains a significant collection of sports memorabilia, and it hosts temporary exhibitions throughout the year on a variety of sports-related subjects. There’s even an area of the museum where visitors can try out an Olympic sport or two for themselves.

History of the Joan Antoni Samaranch Olympic and Sport Museum

In the fall of 1986, Barcelona was awarded the rights to host the 1992 Summer Olympics, which took place throughout the city and its surroundings from July 25 to August 9, 1992. While not all the ensuing changes were without controversy, hosting the Olympics transformed the city forever; billions were invested in new construction, infrastructure, and attractions, thus spurring an era of significant growth and urban development.

Joan Antoni Samaranch was a Barcelona native who served as the President of the International Olympic Committee from 1980 to 2001. The museum that bears his name today was first opened to the public in 2007; it was named after him in 2010. The Joan Antoni Samaranch Olympic and Sport Museum is located in the heart of Anella Olímpica, the sports complex where you’ll also find Olympic Stadium, Palau Sant Jordi, and Torre Calatrava. All of these attractions are on Montjuïc, not far from Poble Espanyol, Fundació Joan Miró (Joan Miró Museum), and the Telefèric de Montjuïc (Barcelona Cable Car).

Joan Antoni Samaranch Olympic and Sport Museum Highlights

The permanent collection of artifacts housed at the Joan Antoni Samaranch Olympic and Sport Museum numbers approximately 5,000 items, and includes such treasures as an autographed pair of shoes worn by tennis player Carolina Marín when she won the gold medal during the 2016 Summer Olympics; skis used by Blanca Fernández Ochoa when she took home a bronze medal in slalom during the 1992 Winter Olympics; and the Macaya Cup, a historic trophy which was first awarded in 1901 to Hispània Athletic Club—the club considered the champions of the first-ever official soccer competition hosted in Spain.

Throughout the museum’s artifact-filled galleries you’ll come across numerous interactive spaces organized thematically on topics like the history of sport and athletic pioneers, as well as rooms dedicated to the memory of the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics and the career of Joan Antoni Samaranch. The popular Dynamics of Sport area is where you can put your own athletic skills to the test by participating in a long-jump competition or climbing a rock wall.

In addition to its permanent installations, the Joan Antoni Samaranch Olympic and Sport Museum runs a series of temporary exhibitions throughout the year. The nature of these shows will vary depending on when you visit, but for context recent examples include Paris 2024: Games Wide Open, which profiled the City of Light’s latest Summer Olympics; Cultural Olympiad: An Artistic Explosion for Barcelona, during which the city’s influential early 1990s cultural initiatives were remembered; and Centenary Club: Unió Atlètica d’Horta, a retrospective that paid tribute to one of Barcelona’s first soccer clubs.

More to See and Do at the Joan Antoni Samaranch Olympic and Sport Museum

Below you’ll find a few more things to see, do, and expect at the Joan Antoni Samaranch Olympic and Sport Museum.

*As you enter the museum, don’t get so laser-focused on purchasing tickets or having your Barcelona tourist pass scanned that you forget to take in the foyer’s atmosphere. That’s where you can compare your hands to the handprints of some of your favorite athletes; these sporting heroes’ handprints are affixed to the wall as you arrive at the attraction.

*One of the best places in the museum for an unforgettable photo opportunity is within the hallowed chambers of the site’s Hall of Fame. There you’ll encounter replicas of some of the world’s greatest sporting trophies, as well as a selection of historic Olympic torches.

*The Joan Antoni Samaranch Olympic and Sport Museum has different hours between October and March than it does between April and September, so keep an eye out for that as you plan your visit. Also, the museum is closed on Mondays. Kids under the age of seven years old are always admitted free of charge, though.

*The museum doesn’t have its own parking lot, so when it doubt it’s best to use public transportation to visit the attraction. You could also use the Red Route of a Barcelona Bus Turístic hop-on hop-off tour as your ride to and from near this destination.

*The Joan Antoni Samaranch Olympic and Sport Museum café is located on the attraction’s first floor. There you can grab a quick meal, drink, or snack, and enjoy your choice of seating that overlooks the museum’s galleries or occupies an outdoor terrace.

Why the Joan Antoni Samaranch Olympic and Sport Museum Should Be on Your Must-See List

If you’re someone who counts down the days, weeks, and months between years when the Olympics take place, then there’s no way you can visit Barcelona and not make time to tour the Joan Antoni Samaranch Olympic and Sport Museum. No matter whether you feel all warm, happy, and nostalgic when recalling the halcyon days of the 1992 Summer Olympics—with its headline-grabbing basketball Dream Team—or you’ve only just recently enjoyed your first Olympics on TV, this colorful museum is an engaging place to spend part of a morning or afternoon.