The Ramblas, Gothic jewels and a magic mountain on this week's social programme


Montjuic: overlooking Barcelona | Photo: Tom Walton

Which is Barcelona's magic mountain? Some people tell us it's Tibidabo, but we insist it's Montjuïc. Come with us this week on our social programme and see why. Thursday, we'll show you everything you saw with us on Tuesday and Wednesday and a lot, lot more!

  • Tuesday 23rd | 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 24th | 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).
  • Thursday 25th | 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. Somewhere for a picnic (or a picnic and a film festival!)? That would be Montjuïc! Bring your camera or phone along: the views [ Flickr | Instagram ] are fantastic (16.00) !
  • Friday 26th | Join us on the terrace and in the bar after class today 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.

This week's social programme in Barcelona

Like many of Barcelona's wonderful Modernista houses, Gaudí's Casa Batlló wasn't always quite so spectacular, as you can see below. Come with us on our social programme this week to find out more!

This week's programme:

  • Tuesday 16th | Our walk this afternoon takes us to the Manzana de la Discordia, the block on Passeig de Gracia with three of Barcelona's best examples of Modernista architecture — the Casa Batlló (Gaudí, 1904-1906); the Casa Amatller (Puig i Cadafalch, 1898-1900); and the Casa Lleó i Morera (Domènech i Montaner, 1902-1905); as well as to the Casa Milà (also by Gaudí, 1906-1912), which is further up the street on the other side. Shoutout for the Casa Mulleras (Nº37, 1898-1906) by the astonishingly prolific Enric Sagnier (1858-1931) (16.00).
  • Wednesday 17th | 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).
  • Friday 19th | Come with us this evening to visit Poble Sec, where the festa de barri is on. The district between the Avenida del Paralelo and Montjuic, it was 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 (19.00).

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

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.

Come to the Sagrada Familia with us this week

The Sagrada Familia | Photo: Tom Walton

Bring your water bottle with you on our social programme this week. It's hot in Barcelona, as you might expect!

  • Tuesday 2nd | Join us today on our walk round the Barrio Gótico, the old part of the city of Barcelona. You could and will go on your own — but come with us and you'll discover some of the wonderful things to be found there (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 | 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 5th | 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.

We meet 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!