This week in Barcelona: the city's fascinating history

Montjuic

Montjuic: overlooking Barcelona | Photo: Tom Walton

There's no Friday Club on our social programme this week because of the holiday, but we've still got plenty more for you, especially so if you're interested in Barcelona's fascinating history.

  • Tuesday 9th | 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 10th | 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) !
  • Thursday 11th | 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).
  • Friday 12th | National holiday in Spain — school closed, no class!

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

Barcelona's history and architecture on this week's social programme

Josep Llimona, Desconsuelo | Photo: Tom Walton

Desconsuelo, statue by Josep Llimona in the Parque de la Ciudadela | Photo: Tom Walton

Note that there's a national holiday in Catalonia on Tuesday so (exceptionally) we have something for you on Monday on our social programme this week:

  • Monday 10th | Come with us today to explore the popular district of Gracia [information & map]: interesting history, lovely architecture, great bars (and, in August, a really great festa major)! We'll also be seeing one of the less well-known Gaudí works, the Casa Viçens, now open to the public if you want to go inside (in which case book yourself a ticket online, min €16) (16.00).
  • Tuesday 11th | National holiday in Catalonia for the Diada, which commemorates the fall of Barcelona during the War of the Spanish Succession in 1714 and the loss of Catalan independence. School will be closed.
  • Wednesday 12th | Our walk this afternoon takes us to visit the lovely Parque de la Ciudadela, which lies on the site of the fortress built to dominate the city after the siege of 1714, which was demolished in 1868 and then became the site — in 1888 — of Barcelona's first Universal Exposition. If you're interested in architecture, and the history of Barcelona, there are some fascinating things to see on today's trip (16.00).
  • Thursday 13th | 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 but is definitely not something to be missed. Book your ticket online if you want to do that. See also some of the cool pictures to be found on the official Sagrada Familia Instagram feed (16.00).
  • Friday 14th | 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.

Come to the Festa Major de Gracia with us this week

Street decorations at the Festa Major de Gracia

Street decorations at the Festa Major de Gràcia | Photo: Tom Walton

With Wednesday being a holiday (school closed, no class!) we have two events for you on our social programme this week:

  • Tuesday 14th | Join us on our walk today round the popular barrio of 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).
  • Wednesday 15th | National holiday in Spain,
  • Thursday 16th | Come with us this afternoon for a stroll round the barrio of Gracia, where the Festa Major is on. The street decorations are pretty amazing (and most of it made from recycled materials) (16.00).
  • Friday 17th | 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).
  • Friday 17th | 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 | The Festa Major de Gracia (August 15-21) is probably the best of the summer barrio festivals (programme, Facebook, Instagram) but note also the Festa Major de Sants (August 18-26).

Depressingly, the football is back with us. On Wednesday, we have the Joan Gamper Trophy game, Barça vs Boca Juniors (kick-off 18.15), with the Spanish League starting this weekend, with Barça vs Alavés (Saturday, kick-off 22.15).

Disappearing fishermen, Picasso and magic fountains on this week's social programme in Barcelona

Fountains of Montjuic

The magic fountains of Montjuic | Photo: Tom Walton

We've got a bit of not quite everything on our social programme for you this week. Barcelona is such an amazing collage of things to see!

  • Tuesday 24th | 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 25th | 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 26th | Note the change from the usual time today: this evening we're going to the spectacular light and sound show of the Magic Fountains of Montjuic (20.00).
  • Friday 27th | 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.

On this week's social programme in Barcelona

Market stall

Fruit stall, Santa Caterina market, Barcelona | Photo: Tom Walton

Here's what we have for you on our social programme this week:

  • Tuesday 17th | Come with us today to explore the bohemian district of Gracia [general 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 (16.00).
  • Wednesday 18th | Our trip this afternoon takes us down to the Plaza España to see the 1000 years of art in the outstanding collection at the MNAC, the Museo Nacional de Arte de Cataluña (photo, above) (16.00).
  • Thursday 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. Incidentally, both are great places to go for lunch. Bring your camera (16.00)!
  • Friday 20th | 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.