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 Both are now long gone and have been replaced by a lot of noisy tourists, but the district still retains a peculiar, original flavour (16.00).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.

The Ramblas, Velázquez and medieval Barcelona on this week's social programme

Barcelona gets two opportunities to go completely bonkers this week (see the football, below), as it periodically likes to do. Meanwhile, on our social programme this week, we've got some actual culture for you 😉 !

  • Tuesday 26th | Come with this afternoon down the Ramblas, to discover some of the amazing things on and just off it — including one of our favourite Barcelona dragons and the Palau Güell, one of the few Modernista buildings to be found outside the Eixample district. If you are an Antonioni fan, the Palau Güell is where Jack Nicholson meets Marie Schneider in The Passenger and — if you're a fan — a selfie coming out of the Hotel Oriente is on your to-do list (16.00).
  • Wednesday 27th | Until March 3rd (so about to end!), the CaixaForum has a Velázquez y el Siglo de Oro exhibition on. Formerly a textile factory, later used as police horse stables, the CaixaForum is now one of Barcelona's best art museums and, designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, an excellent example of how Modernist architecture wasn't just used to build houses for the rich! Entrance fee €5 (unless you happen to be have a bank account with La Caixa, in which case its free) (16.00).
  • Thursday 28th | Our walk this afternoon takes us round the barrios of La Ribera and El Born, full of cool bars and history, home to the lovely church of Santa Maria del Mar and the Estación de Francia, as well as the fascinating remains of the medieval city of Barcelona in the old Born Market (16.00).
  • Friday 1st | Join us this evening at our Friday Club language exchange. It's a great place to kick off the weekend — and to practise your Spanish !! 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 two big, big games this week, both in Madrid. First, it's the return leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final, Real Madrid vs Barça, with the score 1-1 after the first game (Wednesday, kick-off 21.00). Then it's the same again in the League, Real Madrid vs Barça again — the third "clásico" in a month! — (Saturday, kick-off 20.45), with Barça currently comfortably top, with Real third, lagging 9 points behind.

There's also MWC19 Barcelona (previously known as the Mobile World Congress) (25th-28th), which is why the Metro is on strike all week (you probably have to have lived in Barcelona for some time to understand the logic of that one!)

Exploring Barcelona on our social programme

Street art Juanjo Surace

Street art in Poble Sec by Juanjo Surace | Photo: Tom Walton

Bring comfortable walking shoes on our social programme this week and discover a lot about Barcelona!

  • Tuesday 5th | Come with us this afternoon to visit Poble Sec, the district between the Avenida del Paralelo and Montjuic. Once home to factories, of which little now remains, it's a barrio popular, not least because of its many bars (see the recommendations in TimeOut and on TripAdvisor). The Carrer Blai [Google Maps] is particularly popular if you want to ir de tapas. Nice street art, too (16.00)!
  • Wednesday 6th | 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 (16.00).
  • Thursday 7th | We have a "Yincana" round the Casco Antiguo — a gymkhana round the Barrio Gótico, that is. Come along, it's a fun way to discover the old city (16.00).
  • Friday 8th | Come and join us on the terrace/in the bar after class this afternoon for our very popular 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 | In the first legs of the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, we have a "clásico" for you this week: Barça vs Real Madrid (Wednesday, kick-off 21.00). The second leg isn't until February 27th, and is immediately followed by Real Madrid vs Barça in the League. How much are 75 inch TV screens now… 😉 ?!

See also | For what else we have on in Barcelona in February, Barcelona Turisme (the official tourist board), had an excellent Barcelona events listing (.pdf document).

February includes MWC19 Barcelona (previously known as Mobile World Congress) (25th-28th), a snip at €799 (assuming you want the cheapest possible ticket, that is!).

Christmas in Barcelona: food, churches and Kings

The Three Kings, bringing you presents in Barcelona, provided you've been good | Photo: Tom Walton

Exceptionally, with Tuesday a holiday, we've got something for you today (Monday) on our social programme this week:

  • Monday 31st | 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)!
  • Tuesday 1st | Holiday
  • Wednesday 2nd | 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. Note that there's a €7 entrance fee to see the Nativity scene in the cathedral (16.00).
  • Thursday 3rd | Join us this afternoon on our trip down to the Plaza España to discover some of the traditions that come with a Spanish Christmas, when presents are traditionally brought not by Father Christmas on December 25th, but by the Three Kings on January 6th (watch out for the procession on the evening of the 5th, by the way).

Join us in Spanish Reception (C floor), unless otherwise stated, at the times given above. Note that, with school closing at 16.00 until January 7th (and at 14.00 on Monday 31st), there's no Friday Club this week.

See also The official tourist board has a great little guide to what's on in Barcelona in January, over at BarcelonaTurisme.com (large .pdf document)