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.

Our first Barcelona social programme of the new decade

Proverbs 11, 25: He who is generous thrives… Plaque (not an original) in Barcelona's Jewish quarter | Photo: Tom Walton

Today (Monday 6th) is holiday in Spain (so there's no class today!) but we have a full social programme for you for the rest of the week:

  • Tuesday 7th | 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 (16.30).
  • Wednesday 8th | The Call is the area of narrow streets (which is what Call means) just off the Plaça Sant Jaume that was Barcelona's historic Jewish quarter. One of the most medieval parts of the Barrio Gótico. Why not come with us and explore (16.30)?
  • Thursday 9th | The Pueblo Español (or "Spanish Village") comprises over 100 buildings, many of them traditional Spanish house types, built in 1929 for Barcelona's second Universal Exhibition. Entrance is €7.00 but if you're interested in architecture and traditional crafts (not to mention some shopping!) it's well worth a visit (16.30).

Important We've changed the start time for a social programme. As of this week, join us half an hour later, at 16.30. We meet as before at Ground Floor Reception, by the front door..

Come and stroll back in time through Barcelona's history with us

Museo de la Historia

The Barcelona history museum: come with us Wednesday | Photo: Tom Walton

It's particularly Barcelona's history that we're exploring on this week's social programme:

  • Tuesday 10th | Come for a stroll with us this afternoon up the Paseo de Gracia, from Plaza Cataluña to the Pedrera. Among other sights to see is 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 11th | 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).
  • Thursday 12th | The Barcelona history museum — the MUHBA — which is spread over different locations in the city is an interesting one. Come with us this afternoon to see the Flashback exhibition (16.00).

Join us in Ground Floor Reception, by the front door, unless otherwise stated, at the times given above.

Barcelona's history and architecture on our social programme

Photo of statue

Statue commemorating Raquel Meller one of the stars of the Barcelona music hall scene in the 1920s and 1930s (see Tuesday, below) | Photo: Tom Walton

Do come and see the Sagrada Familia with us on our social programme this week but, apart from Gaudí, it's Barcelona's history, just as much as its architecture, that makes it such a fascinating place. Come and explore!

  • Tuesday 12th | Come with us this afternoon to visit the Raval, the district on the right of the Ramblas as you head down towards the port. One of the best places in Barcelona to go to find street art (see photo, above), it was a rather seedy red light district but is now home to the CCCB and the MACBA and Fernando Botero's fat cat, and (in keeping with its past) to the protagonists of many of Barcelona's novelas negras. Our walk will also take us down to the Avinguda del Paral·lel (so named because it lies parallel to the Equator). Inaugurated in 1894, and running down to the port from Plaça Espanya, it was once the centre of Barcelona nightlife, with theatres and cabarets and music halls (16.00).
  • Wednesday 13th | 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 14th | 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, unless otherwise stated, at the times given above.

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

MNAC

The MNAC: an outstanding art collection | Photo: Tom Walton

Come and see something of Barcelona's wonderful art and architecture on our social programme this week — and don't miss the event on Tuesday, no matter how well you think you know the Barrio Gótico.

  • Tuesday 5th | We have what we call in Spain a "yincana" (aka a gymkhana, if you prefer the English/Indian spelling) around the Barrio Gótico. Come along: it's a fun way to discover the old city (16.00).
  • Wednesday 6th | 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).
  • Thursday 7th | One for art-lovers this afternoon: our trip 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).

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

Also this week | You have two chances to see Barça this week, if football is your thing. On Tuesday in the Champions it's Barça vs Slavia Prague (kick-off 18.55) and then on Saturday in the Spanish League we have Barça vs Celta (kick-off 21.00).