Easter and Manchester United in Barcelona

The Sagrada Familia from the Turó de la Rovira | Photo: Tom Walton

Easter, and we're enjoying spectacular sunshine here in Barcelona — without it yet being hot: perfect for one of the walks on our social programme this week:

  • Tuesday 16th | We have a stroll this afternoon taking you to see some of the hidden corners of Barcelona you might otherwise miss. Come with us and explore (and see also these other hidden places, in other barrios) (16.00).
  • Wednesday 17th | First laid out in 1791, the Laberinto de Horta is one of the most romantic of the hidden corners of Barcelona (as well as being one of the settings for Tom Tykwer's 2006 film Perfume: The Story of a Murderer). Come along and see it with us (16.00).
  • Thursday 18th | Bring your walking shoes with you this afternoon and prepared for a walk up one of Barcelona's steepest streets. We're going to the top of the Turó de la Rovira (262m), where there were anti-aircraft guns during the Spanish Civil War (Barcelona was bombed in 1938). The view from the top (see photo, above) is spectacular (16.00).

Join us in Spanish Reception (C floor), unless otherwise stated, at the times given above.

Note that Friday is a national holiday and, from Thursday evening to Tuesday morning, school will be closed for Easter.

Also this week | In the return leg of the Champions Quarter Final, it's Barça vs Manchester United (Tuesday, kick-off 21.00), with Barça sitting comfortably on a 1-0 lead from the first leg.

The Guardian's wonderful Joy of Six column looks back at previous Barcelona v Manchester United clashes and Barcelona was of course the venue for one of United's greatest ever comebacks

At the weekend, in La Liga (which Barça have all but won, again"), there's also Barça vs Real Sociedad (Saturday, kick-off 20.45).

Barcelona's amazing Modernista architecture


El Quadrat d'Or (1990) por manuelhuerga

The wonderful video shows you what the Quadrat d'Or looked like in 1900 (with no cars!), at the time Barcelona's Eixample district was just acquiring its amazing Modernista architecture. Come along with us on our social program Thursday to see it for yourself…

  • Tuesday 2nd | Come with us this afternoon to visit the Raval, the district on the right of the Ramblas as you head down towards the port. One of the best places in Barcelona to go to find street art (see photo, above), it was a rather seedy red light district but is now home to the CCCB and the MACBA and Fernando Botero's fat cat, and (in keeping with its past) to the protagonists of many of Barcelona's novelas negras. Our walk will also take us down to the Avinguda del Paral·lel (so named because it lies parallel to the Equator). Inaugurated in 1894, and running down to the port from Plaça Espanya, it was once the centre of Barcelona nightlife, with theatres and cabarets and music halls (16.00).
  • Wednesday 3rd | It's five years now since the 300th anniversary of the siege of Barcelona but the Barcelona 1714 route is still a historically fascinating one. The remains of the city blocks demolished to build the post-siege fortress now to be seen at the Born Centre Cultural are particularly interesting. Come along if you're interested in the history of the city (16.00)!
  • Thursday 4th | Come with us for a stroll this afternoon to see something of the Ruta del Modernismo. We can't and won't (promise!) take you to see all the 116 Modernista buildings officially included in the Route, but you'll get at least a taste of Barcelona's magnificent architecture. It's Antoni Gaudí that got all the fame and credit for it, but we'll also be telling you about Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Lluís Domènech i Montaner (and we ought also to give an honourable mention to the prolific Enric Sagnier) (16.00).
  • Friday 5th | Kick off the weekend — and practise your Spanish — at our Friday Club language exchange (in the bar/on the terrace, 19.00-21.00).

Join us in Spanish Reception (C floor), unless otherwise stated, at the times given above.

Also this week | We have the 37th edition of Barcelona's Fira del Comic (April 5-7), which attracted 120,000 visitors last year, and is always hugely successful.

In the Spanish League, we have Barça vs Atlético Madrid (Saturday, kick-off 20.45), with Atlético — ten points adrift in second place — the only team now standing between Barça and yet another league title.

Come with us for some amazing views of Barcelona

Montjuic

Montjuic: overlooking Barcelona | Photo: Tom Walton

This week we've got one of Barcelona's particularly special places on our social programme — the Park Güell. Note that if you want to come with us on Wednesday, you need to book your place by 16.00 on Monday!

  • Tuesday 19th | Although in Roman times Barcelona was far less important than Tarragona, 100km down the coast, the Romans left behind the remains of the city of Barcino that they founded in 15 BC: the Roman Temple and the traces of the Roman walls on top of which the city's medieval walls were largely built are among the things you'll see on our walk this afternoon (16.00).
  • Wednesday 20th | One you just have to see, the Park Güell (that's "Park" with a "k" as Gaudí is said to have modeled it along English lines). Apart from the lovely Park itself, the view of Barcelona from the top is spectacular. More information on the Park Güell on Wikipedia and on the official Park Güell website. Note that you need to sign up for this one — by 16.00 on Monday! Entrance to the Park is €8.50 (16.00).
  • Thursday 21st | And more great views of Barcelona for you today! The 1992 Olympics changed large parts of Barcelona — among them the mountain of Montjuïc [ Wikipedia ], which overlooks the city and which is where we're going this afternoon. The fortress at the top dates back to 1640 and from it the city has been bombarded on a number of occasions. Bring your camera or phone along: the views [ Flickr | Instagram ] are fantastic (16.00) !
  • Friday 22nd | You've got to start your Barcelona weekend somewhere. Why not start it with us at our Friday Club language exchange, where you can practise all the languages you know? In the bar/on the terrace, 19.00-21.00.

Join us in Spanish Reception (C floor), unless otherwise stated, at the times given above.

Footnote | The excellent TimeOut Barcelona has more suggestions for you if you'd like some other amazing views of Barcelona (content in Catalan). For what's on in Barcelona, you can follow @TimeOutBCN on Twitter and we have copies of their weekly print magazine in Reception. See also their guidebook — probably the best available in English.

This week in Barcelona: markets, Gothic Jewels and vintage cars

Barcelona-Sitges Vintage Car Rally

Setting off from the Plaça Sant Jaume, Sunday: the Barcelona-Sitges Vintage Car Rally | Photo: Tom Walton

Apart from what we have on our social programme this week, don't miss the Barcelona-Sitges Rally this weekend. Don't forget to take your camera or phone — #rallibarcelonasitges (rally with an "i")!

  • Tuesday 12th | The barrio of Barceloneta was built on reclaimed land and dates back only to the 18th century but once housed Barcelona's fishermen and then, later, factories. Both are now long gone and have been replaced by a lot of noisy tourists, but the district still retains a peculiar, original flavour (16.00).
  • Wednesday 13th | Come with us this afternoon to visit two of Barcelona's food markets: Santa Catalina, which is under 10 minutes away, and then across the Barrio Gótico to the Ramblas and the Boqueria [ video ], the more famous of the two. Especially interesting at this time of the year, both are also great places to go for lunch. Bring your camera (14.00) !
  • Thursday 14th | Apart from Sagrada Familia (see Thursday), the city has a number of other lovely churches. Come with us today to see the Joyas del Gótico, the "Gothic jewels" of Barcelona — the Cathedral and the wonderful churches of Santa María del Pí and Santa María del Mar, the latter the subject of a book we always recommend, La Catedral del Mar (16.00).
  • Friday 15th | Come get yourself some extra Spanish practice at our Friday Club language exchange (in the bar/on the terrace, 19.00-21.00).

Join us in Spanish Reception (C floor), unless otherwise stated, at the times given above.

Also this week | In the Champions, it's the return game of the last 16 tie, Barça vs Lyon (Wednesday, kick-off 21.00), with the score standing at 0-0. Tickets start at €99 (what ?!).

And we have the very cute 61st Edition of the Barcelona-Sitges Vintage Car Rally this weekend. You can see the cars on display outside the L'Illa Shopping Centre on the Diagonal on Saturday and see them set off from the Plaça Sant Jaume at 10.30 on Sunday. More photos on Instagram.

This week: Sant Medir, the Sagrada Familia and the Barcelona Marathon

Barcelona marathon

Vamos, ¡vamos! The Barcelona Marathon passes the Pedrera | Photo: Tom Walton

Note that on this week's social programme we have something for you today, Monday, rather than on Tuesday.

  • Monday 4th | Yesterday was Sant Medir but today it gets really celebrated, especially by school children, most of whom have today off. Barcelona Turisme explains the legend and how, in 1830, a crafty baker started it all off. Now there are parades and free sweets (!!!). Come with us to explore the barrio of Sarrià and see a lot of very excited kids (and note the time, 18.00).
  • Wednesday 6th | Our trip today takes us down to Glorias, (that's the Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes, to give it its full, official name), which is home to the singular Torre Agbar, a huge shopping centre and the Encants, possibly the only flea market in the world with a designer roof (which, in true Barcelona fashion, leaked the first time it rained!). There's also the new Design Musuem down there too. It's an area that's been transformed in the last 25 years — and still being transformed, with the Plaça, once a massive roundabout, to become a large park) (16.00).
  • Thursday 7th | One you just must see: the best known Gaudí building in Barcelona, the still unfinished Sagrada Familia, though it's supposed to be finished in 2026 (see this video if you can't wait that long!). If you want to go inside, note that it costs a minimum €15 (and book online if you want to do that) but is definitely not something to be missed (16.00). See also some of the cool pictures to be found on the official Sagrada Familia Instagram feed.
  • Friday 8th | Kick off the weekend — and practise your Spanish — at our Friday Club language exchange (in the bar/on the terrace, 19.00-21.00).

Join us in Spanish Reception (C floor), unless otherwise stated, at the times given above.

Also this week | Spanish League, Barça vs Rayo Vallecano (Saturday, kick-off 18.30).

And on Sunday, it's the 41st edition of the Barcelona Marathon (start time: 08.30), one of the biggest in Europe, the route of which takes in some of Barcelona's major sights.