This week: the Romans, the Plaza España… and food!

Market stall

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

Do come with us in the afternoon on our social programme: it's a great way to get to know the city, and gives you lots of extra practice for your Spanish. This week:

  • Tuesday 23rd | 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 24th | Transformed for the 1929 Universal Exhibition, the Plaza España is within walking distance of so much: the Las Arenas shopping mall in the former bullring (great view from the top!); Miró's Dona i Ocell (no sniggering!); the outstanding art collection at the MNAC (housed in the Palacio Nacional, built for the Exhibition); the former factory, now art museum of the CaixaForum and lots more besides. We won't actually be going into the latter, but you might want to, afterwards (16.00).
  • Thursday 25th | 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. Both are great places to go for lunch. Bring your camera (16.00)!
  • Friday 26th | Join us on the terrace and in the bar after class today 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 | Spanish Cup Final (in Madrid), Barça vs Alavés (Saturday, kick-off 21.30).

Great views of Barcelona on our social programme this week

Montjuic

Come with us to Montjuïc on Wednesday for some wonderful views of the city | Photo: Tom Walton

We take you to lots of places with interesting views of Barcelona on our social programme (for what's on this week, see below). The hill of Montjuïc (photo above) is one of the best — though the roof of the Casa Milà has a curious one, and from the top of Santa Maria del Mar and Santa Maria del Pí you get pretty good ones, too.

  • Tuesday 9th | 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); the Casa Amatller (Puig i Cadafalch); and the Casa Lleó i Morera (Domènech i Montaner); as well as to the Casa Milà (also by Gaudí), which is further up the street on the other side (16.00).
  • Wednesday 10th | The 1992 Olympics changed large parts of Barcelona — among them the mountain of  MontjuïcWikipedia ], which overlooks the city and which is where we're going this afternoon. Bring your camera or phone along: the views [ Flickr | Instagram ] are fantastic (16.00) !
  • Thursday 11th | Apart from Sagrada Familia (coming up next week!), 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 12th | 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.

On the Ramblas in the footsteps of Jack Nicholson

Street entertainer on the Ramblas

On the Ramblas | Photo: Tom Walton

Barcelona is wonderful for its endless variety, something which we like to show you a little of on our social programme. This week:

  • Tuesday 2nd | We have a trip up to the barrio of Sarrià [map] this afternoon. A separate town until it was incorporated into Barcelona in 1921, Sarrià still feels a little like a small town. Look out for wild boar, stop off at the posh bakers Foix de Sarrià (Plaça de Sarrià 12-13) if you're feeling peckish — or try the world's best ever patatas bravas at Bar Tomás (Major de Sarrià 49). Shame it's rather expensive to find a flat there (16.00) !
  • Wednesday 3rd | 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 (16.00).
  • Thursday 4th | It's not quite the magnificent event that the Feria de Abril de Sevilla is, but Barcelona also has its own Feria de Abril. Come along with us this afternoon and see for yourself (and note the late start time, 18.30).
  • 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.

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

Also this week | With just three games to play in the Spanish League, and Barça equal on points with Real Madrid, who still have a game in hand, this weekend it's Barça vs Villareal (Saturday, kick-off 18.30).

For more of what's on in Barcelona this month, we recommend the Barcelona Turisme guide (.pdf file).

Come and see the Park Güell in the spring sunshine

Entrance to the Park Guell, Barcelona

Entrance to the Park Güell, Barcelona | Photo: Irene Ucha

It's that time of the year when Barcelona is at it's loveliest. Come and see on our social programme this week.

Note that if you're coming with us to the Park Güell on Thursday, you need to book your place before 16.00 on Tuesday.

  • Tuesday 21st | Today's trip takes us into the barrio of Poble Nou, which is home to the iconic Torre Agbar (just visible, top left, in our photograph), the nightclub Razzmatazz and some of Barcelona's best street art. 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 22nd | 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. Both are great places to go for lunch, by the way. Bring your camera (16.00)!
  • Thursday 23rd | Come with us the the Park Güell this afternoon, the lovely Gaudí park – especially gorgeous in the spring sunshine. Magnificent views of Barcelona from the top. Don't forget to book your place in Reception, entrance fee €7 (16.00).
  • Friday 24th | Join us on the terrace and in the bar after class today 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.

Barcelona: a city of contrasts (and wild boar)

Quick!!!! Where's my spear?

Running wild in Barcelona | Photo: Tom Walton

One of the things we love about Barcelona is the contrast between its different districts. Come and see what we mean on our social programme this week:

  • Tuesday 21st | We have a trip up to the barrio of Sarrià [map] this afternoon. A separate town until it was incorporated into Barcelona in 1921, Sarrià still feels a little like a small town. Look out for wild boar, stop off at the posh bakers Foix de Sarrià (Plaça de Sarrià 12-13) if you're feeling peckish — or try the world's best ever patatas bravas at Bar Tomás (Major de Sarrià 49). Shame it's rather expensive to find a flat there (16.00) !
  • Wednesday 22nd | 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. Not a trip for philistines (16.00) 😉 !
  • Thursday 23rd | We have a stroll round the Barrio Gótico today, taking you to see some of the hidden corners you might otherwise miss. Come with us and explore (and see also these other hidden corners of Barcelona, in other barrios).
  • Friday 24th | 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 Spanish League, Barça, embarrassed by PSG in the Champions last week, are away to Atlético Madrid on Sunday, kick-off 16.15).