Human castles, Picasso and the Sagrada Familia, this week in Barcelona

Castellers

Castellers| Photo: Tom Walton

We have art, architecture and tradition on our social programme for you this week in Barcelona. All that's missing is the football! Wait, you can get that on Sunday if you can find yourself a bar with a big screen (ok, just following the crazy screaming you'll hear!)

  • Tuesday 25th | The human castles which you can see in the photo, above, or castellers as they are known in Catalan, are a local tradition which goes back to the 18th century. Come and find out what it is all about today at 18.15! Price is €5.50 and note that you need to sign up for this one.
  • Wednesday 26th | This afternoon's trip takes us to see some of Picasso's Barcelona: it includes some of the most picturesque of the streets of the Barrio Gótico (Petrixol, Avinyó…); places like the 4 Gats restaurant (a bohemian taberna in Picasso's time); the Estación de Francia (from where he first travelled to Paris at the age of 21); and the Carrer de Montcada, where the Picasso Museum now stands.
  • Thursday 27th | 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.

Join us in Ground Floor Reception, by the front door at 16.30.

Also this week | In the Spanish League we have the big game of the season, Real Madridvs Barça (Sunday, kick-off 21.00, in Madrid), with Barça 2 points ahead with 25 games played.

Carnival in Barcelona on our social programme

Time to dress up! | Photo: Tom Walton

In Barcelona, Carnival isn't the massive event it is in, say, Cádiz or Rio de Janeiro, but come with us on our social programme this week and you'll see that it's not only in Brazil that they know how to party!

  • Tuesday 18th | Come with us today to explore the popular district of Gracia [more information & map]: interesting history, lovely architecture, great bars (and, in August, a great festa major)! We'll also be seeing one of the less well-known Gaudí works, the Casa Viçens. We won't have time to go inside (though you can now visit it), so you might like to check out these wonderful photos of it.
  • Wednesday 19th | Our trip this afternoon 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: once a massive roundabout, the Plaça now includes a large park).
  • Thursday 20th | It's Carnival time! Come along with us at 17.30 and see. There are 50 processions in Barcelona you can join between Thursday and Sunday. In you fancy a weekend away, there are other places reasonably nearby where Carnival is a big thing — like Roses, Sitges, Tarragona and Vilanova. You could always dress up to come with us this afternoon!

Join us in Ground Floor Reception, by the front door at 16.30, 17.30 on Thursday.

Also this week | Spanish League, Barça vs Eibar (Saturday, kick-off 16.00).

The barrios of Gracia and the Raval on this week's social programme

El Raval

On a wall in the Raval | Photo: Tom Walton

One of the most fascinating things about Barcelona is how different its barrios and districts feel. Come and see two of them on our social programme this week.

  • Tuesday 9th | Come with us today to explore the popular district of Gracia [more information & map]: interesting history, lovely architecture, great bars (and, in August, a great festa major)! We'll also be seeing one of the less well-known Gaudí works, the Casa Viçens. We won't have time to go inside (though you can now visit it), so you might like to check out these wonderful photos of it (16.00).
  • Wednesday 10th | Take a walk with us this afternoon along the Moll de la Fusta [see photos], which takes us from the wonderful Catalan History museum, across the old port past the Maremagnum shopping and leisure centre to the statue of Columbus and the bottom of the Ramblas (16.00).
  • Thursday 11th | It's summer and that means it's fiesta time! This week we have the Fiestas del Raval (see full programme, .pdf file), not so well known as the Festa Major de Gràcia (August) but lots of fun. The Raval itself is the once rather seedy area off to the right as you head down the Ramblas, once home to the protagonists of many of Barcelona's novelas Negras, now a barrio where you might hang out in its many bars and restaurants. We're meeting at 19.00, join us then!
  • Friday 12th | 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.

Photowalking Barcelona's Modernista architecture on this week's social programme

Stone and iron

Stone and iron: detail of a Modernista façade – come and see, Thursday | Photo: Tom Walton

Among the events on our social programme this week, our photowalking tour on Thursday will show you how much more there is to Barcelona than "only" Gaudí!

  • Tuesday 25th | 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 26th | 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, now a large park) (16.00).
  • Thursday 27th | Bring your camera or phone with you this afternoon and join us for a photowalking tour looking at some of the curious details to be found on some of the wonderful Modernista façades of the houses in the Eixample district (16.00).
  • Friday 28th | Come and join us on the terrace/in the bar after class this afternoon for our Friday Club language exchange (19.00-21.00).

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

Also this week | Starting this Friday (28th) and running until August 2, we have the Saló Montjuic open air film festival. The summer in Barcelona wouldn't be the same without it!

Barcelona's amazing dancing eggs on this week's social programme

Dancing egg at the Museu Mares

Patio del Museu Marès | Photo: Tom Walton

Apart from what's on our social programme this week, this Sunday is Midsummer's Eve, Sant Joan, perhaps the craziest of Barcelona's many crazy parties. Don't miss it (actually, you won't be able to, even if you wanted to…) !

  • Tuesday 18th | Today's trip takes us into the barrio of Poble Nou, which is home to the iconic Torre Agbar, the nightclub Razzmatazz and some of Barcelona's best street art. (especially if you get as far as the barrio of Sant Martí). Cool for the beach, too! But come along with us and discover a whole lot more about one of the city's most interesting, most genuine barrios (16.00).
  • Wednesday 19th | 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 (16.00) !
  • Thursday 20th | Come with us today to see some of the lovely patios of the Barrio Gótico and one of Barcelona's most curious traditions: l'ou com balla, aka the dancing egg, which is something you will only see during Corpus Christi (16.00).
  • Friday 21st | It's a long weekend, with Monday a holiday in Catalonia. Come and start it with us, and practise your Spanish, at this week's Friday Club! 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.