Barcelona's amazing Modernista architecture


El Quadrat d'Or (1990) por manuelhuerga

The wonderful video shows you what the Quadrat d'Or looked like in 1900 (with no cars!), at the time Barcelona's Eixample district was just acquiring its amazing Modernista architecture. Come along with us on our social program Thursday to see it for yourself…

  • Tuesday 2nd | 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 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 | Come with us for a stroll this afternoon to see something of the Ruta del Modernismo. We can't and won't (promise!) take you to see all the 116 Modernista buildings officially included in the Route, but you'll get at least a taste of Barcelona's magnificent architecture. It's Antoni Gaudí that got all the fame and credit for it, but we'll also be telling you about Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Lluís Domènech i Montaner (and we ought also to give an honourable mention to the prolific Enric Sagnier) (16.00).
  • Friday 5th | 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 | We have the 37th edition of Barcelona's Fira del Comic (April 5-7), which attracted 120,000 visitors last year, and is always hugely successful.

In the Spanish League, we have Barça vs Atlético Madrid (Saturday, kick-off 20.45), with Atlético — ten points adrift in second place — the only team now standing between Barça and yet another league title.

History and architecture of Barcelona on this week's social programme

Model of Barcelona

Model of Barcelona showing the Parc de la Ciutadella | Photo: Natxo Azoz

What makes Barcelona such a fascinating city? Among other things, its history and architecture, which you can see something of on our social programme this week. And then, of course, there's the football…!

  • Tuesday 26th | 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 27th | We have a "Yincana" round the Casco Antiguo — a gymkhana round the Barrio Gótico, that is. Come along, it's a fun way to discover the old city (16.00).
  • Thursday 28th | Our walk this afternoon takes us to visit the lovely Parque de la Ciudadela. In the photo, above, you have the park with the Catalan parliament building in the foreground, the Estación de Francia top left and the Castell dels tres dragons top right of the park, among other buildings. If you're interested in architecture, and the history of Barcelona, there are some fascinating things to see on today's trip (16.00).
  • Friday 29th | 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 | In the Spanish League, we have the local derby, Barça vs Espanyol (Sunday, kick-off 16.15). With Barça 10 points clear at the top, and Espanyol — Barcelona's "other" team — a mere 32 points behind, with one win in their last five games, you can assume it's not that likely to be a cracker of a game (it's €315 for a VIP ticket if you must go).

Come with us for some amazing views of Barcelona

Montjuic

Montjuic: overlooking Barcelona | Photo: Tom Walton

This week we've got one of Barcelona's particularly special places on our social programme — the Park Güell. Note that if you want to come with us on Wednesday, you need to book your place by 16.00 on Monday!

  • Tuesday 19th | 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 20th | One you just have to see, the Park Güell (that's "Park" with a "k" as Gaudí is said to have modeled it along English lines). Apart from the lovely Park itself, the view of Barcelona from the top is spectacular. More information on the Park Güell on Wikipedia and on the official Park Güell website. Note that you need to sign up for this one — by 16.00 on Monday! Entrance to the Park is €8.50 (16.00).
  • Thursday 21st | And more great views of Barcelona for you today! 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) !
  • Friday 22nd | 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.

Footnote | The excellent TimeOut Barcelona has more suggestions for you if you'd like some other amazing views of Barcelona (content in Catalan). For what's on in Barcelona, you can follow @TimeOutBCN on Twitter and we have copies of their weekly print magazine in Reception. See also their guidebook — probably the best available in English.

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.