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 Both are now long gone and have been replaced by a lot of noisy tourists, but the district still retains a peculiar, original flavour (16.00).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

Come with us Thursday for an amazing view of Barcelona

La Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia from the Turó de la Rovira | Photo: Tom Walton

Tuesday and Wednesday on our social programme this week we've got a nice contrast for you between two very distinctive districts of Barcelona. But where can you go to see it all? Come with us Thursday and find out!

  • Tuesday 19th | Come with us today to explore the bohemian district of Gracia [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 20th | 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 21st | Bring your walking shoes with you this afternoon and prepared for a walk up one of Barcelona's steepest streets. We're going to the top of the Turó de la Rovira (262m), where there were anti-aircraft guns during the Spanish Civil War (Barcelona was bombed in 1938). The view from the top (see photo, above) is spectacular (16.00).
  • Friday 22nd | 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.

This week in Barcelona: Santa Eulalia and San Valentín

Barcelona graffiti for Saint Valentines | Photo: Tom Walton

We have something special  for you on Tuesday and Thursday on our social programme this week:

  • Tuesday 12th | Today is Santa Eulalia, Barcelona's patron saint… not that we need any excuse to party in Barcelona (note today's start time 18.00)!
  • Wednesday 13th | Come for a stroll around 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 (16.00).
  • Thursday 14th | The really romantic, really Catalan day of the year here in Barcelona is Sant Jordi but, today being San Valentín, we've got a special walking tour for you which will take you to some of the places in Barcelona "con encanto", which isn't quite "charm", isn't quite "magic"… it's… Look! You've never in love…? Come with us and see (16.00)!
  • Friday 15th | Our Friday Club language exchange is one of the most popular events on our social program. Why not join us on the terrace and in the bar after class this evening (19.00-21.00)?

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

Also this week | There's more on for Santa Eulalia (February 8-12), including free entrance to some of Barcelona's best museums, full details on TimeOut (content in Catalan). Note also the Light Festival (February 15-17).