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7149
Spain

Independent Barcelona: People, Arts and Architecture

Explore Barcelona with plenty of time on your own. Learn about famed works by Picasso, traditional Catalan folklore dance and the surreal works of Gaudi.
Rating (5)
Program No. 7149RJ
Length
9 days
Starts at
1,849
Spain

Independent Barcelona: People, Arts and Architecture

Explore Barcelona with plenty of time on your own. Learn about famed works by Picasso, traditional Catalan folklore dance and the surreal works of Gaudi.
Length
9 days
Starts at
1,849
Program No. 7149 RJ
climate
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At a Glance

Metropolis on the Mediterranean. Capital of Catalonia, a history-soaked region with its own culture, language and cuisine. Sports-mad city that hosted the 1992 Olympics and is home to the legendary FC Barcelona soccer team. Three-dimensional canvas for the brilliant modernist architect Antoni Gaudi. Experience these and the many other identities of dynamic Barcelona on this program that combines expert-led field trips and abundant time to walk, eat and explore on your own.
Independent City Discoveries
Independent City Discoveries
Learn with a Group Leader and enjoy educational programming while also getting independent time to explore on your own. Most Independent City Discoveries include lectures, self-guided excursions and passes for public transit and museums.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • A city excursion includes Gaudi’s famously unfinished Sagrada Familia church and more of the architect’s imaginative creations.
  • Go behind the scenes to watch a dress rehearsal of the Esbart Sant Marti, an award-winning Catalan folkloric dance group.
  • Discover some of Picasso’s rarely seen masterpieces on an expert-led visit to the beautiful Museu Picasso.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Antonio Gaudi, Master Architect
by Juan Bassegoda Nonell
This pocket-sized collection of Gaudi's work captures the evolution, imagination and exuberance of one of the most influential architects of the 20th century.
The Shadow of the Wind
by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Set in the brooding atmosphere of post-WW II Barcelona, this gripping story-within-a-story has it all: murder, doomed love and a mysterious book which draws the young hero, Daniel Sempere, into the city’s dangerous underworld.
Ghosts of Spain
by Giles Tremlett
Tremlett captures the Spanish character, history and modern politics in this masterful portrait, interweaving the story of his love for the country (where he has lived for 20 years) with interviews, anecdotes and observation.
Homage to Catalonia
by George Orwell
Orwell's portrait of the Barcelona uprising and the spirit of a city at war is a classic, an observant and heartfelt report from the streets.
Food and Wines of Spain
by Penelope Casas
This classic collection of 400 recipes, interwoven with cultural commentary and culinary history, is a pleasure to read, but prepare to become hungry.
Barcelona
by Robert Hughes
A Longitude favorite, this big, thoroughly enjoyable cultural history of the city touches on architecture, art, religion and literature from Roman outpost to today.
Barcelona Map
by Borch Maps
A detailed city map, laminated and folded for easy reference.
Gaudi, A Biography
by Gijs van Hensbergen
A vivid account of the famous architect and his work, which forever changed the landscapes of Barcelona and Catalonia.
Gaudi of Barcelona
by Melba Levick (Photographer), Lluis Permanyer (Editor)
Featuring nearly 150 large-format (11in x 9in) reproductions, Permanyer and Levick provide an overview of Gaudi's innovative architectural style. The artist's undulating roofs, towers like tentacles and lavishly decorated chimneys are presented in full color.
Eyewitness Guide Barcelona & Catalonia
by Eyewitness Guides
Handsome, convenient and up-to-date, this superbly illustrated guide features color photography, dozens of local maps and detailed information on the region's attractions.
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9 days
8 nights
10 meals
7 B 1 L 2 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Barcelona, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Barcelona
D
Catalonia Eixample 1864

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 2:00 p.m.

Afternoon: After checking in, we’ll go on an orientation walk through the area with our Group Leader as we get our first taste of the city of Barcelona before returning to the hotel conference room. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This is a Road Scholar Independent program. It is designed for participants who want high-level Road Scholar instruction, a few group activities, and who are capable and comfortable setting out on their own for a significant part of the day/night. There will be several hours each day of educational content. Most meals will be on your own (excluded from the program cost) to enjoy what you like, and there will be substantial free time for personal independent exploration. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Dinner in Spain generally takes place later than in North America and meal opportunities on your own will provide ample free time for independent exploration. Please refer to the Free Time Opportunities section for possibilities. Our Group Leader will provide everyone with two T10 travel passes, which will include 20 metro or local bus journeys and can be used on any day of our stay in Barcelona. We will also learn how to successfully use public transport during free time. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy a plated welcome dinner with a complimentary glass of wine, coffee, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Museu D'Història De Catalunya, Eixample Barrio, Park Güell
Barcelona
B
Catalonia Eixample 1864

Activity note: Walking up to 3 miles during group activities; periods of standing; city streets with many cobblestones and some uneven ground, stairs and steps. Extensive use of public transportation; flights of stairs at metro stations; elevators and escalators not always available. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the buffet features a variety of choices including hot and cold items, plus milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Transferring by public bus to the auditorium at the Museu D'Història De Catalunya, we will attend a lecture focusing on the history of Catalonia given by a local expert. Afterwards, we’ll take some time to enjoy the museum independently.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: We’ll then set out on a drive around the city that will introduce us to some of Antoni Gaudí’s most important works of architecture in the Eixample district of Barcelona and some of the iconic sights and landmarks of the city. Next, we’ll enjoy a visit to the Park Güell with our Group Leader where we will walk around the park admiring the work of Antoni Gaudí and listening to informative commentary. We’ll then return to the hotel via motorcoach for a social beverage in the lounge with the group. While here, we’ll also engage in a Q&A session with local professionals about life in Spain.

Dinner: On your own to explore the local fare.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
La Sagrada Familia, Modernism
Barcelona
B
Catalonia Eixample 1864

Activity note: Walking up to 3 miles during group activities; cobblestone streets, uneven ground. Use of public transportation; flights of stairs at metro stations, no escalators. La Sagrada Familia entrance times are strictly regulated and subject to change or substitution for another Modernist site. Due to mobility concerns, we do not visit the towers.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will travel by public transportation to Gaudí's unfinished masterpiece, the gigantic basilica known as La Sagrada Familia (the Holy Family). Construction began in 1882 and continues to this day. This enthralling and magnificent undertaking has become the symbol of the city, which we will explore inside and out with our local expert as we enjoy commentary. Note that Sagrada Familia tickets cannot be secured far in advance, so there is no guarantee of entrance. There is a specific time to enter the complex and the time inside the monument is restricted.

Lunch: On your own to sample the local cuisine.

Afternoon: This afternoon’s activity with the Group Leader will be a walking exploration of the other Modernism buildings in the Eixample district – a perfect opportunity for detailed pictures. We’ll then meet back at the hotel lounge with our Group Leader for a drink and some time to relax while sharing the experiences of the day.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Las Ramblas: Barcelona’s Famous Street, Catalan Folk Music
Barcelona
B
Catalonia Eixample 1864

Activity note: Walking up to 3 miles during group activities; periods of standing; city streets with many cobblestones and some uneven ground, stairs and steps. Extensive use of public transportation; flights of stairs at metro stations; elevators and escalators not always available. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Setting out via public transport with our Group Leader, we’ll go for a narrated walk along Barcelona's most famous boulevard, La Rambla, and going past the Placa Reial. It stretches from Plaça Catalunya to the statue of Christopher Columbus. “Rambla” is derived from the Arabic for dry stream and until the 18th century, it was basically a dried-out riverbed located outside the walls of the city’s Gothic quarter. Today, it’s the throbbing, tree-lined heart of the old city, full of flower vendors, street theater, and crowds. There are other Ramblas feeding off this street, hence the name Las Ramblas, which actually refers to this network of streets. Plaça Reial is a major neo-classic square dating from the 19th century. While here, we’ll also discover street lamps designed by Gaudí. We’ll conclude the morning with an exploration of la Boqueria Market, the oldest and most iconic market in the city center, dating from 1836 and filled with a maze of colorful stalls. While here, we’ll get to taste some of the local produce on display.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like. You may wish to create a picnic from the specialties at the market or enjoy a meal at a nearby café.

Afternoon: Our Group Leader will remain around Las Ramblas pointing out some more hidden treasures of Barcelona's most famous street, such as Palau Guell, a UNESCO site designed by Gaudi; the Gran Teatre del Liceu, which dates from 1847; and the labyrinthine narrow cobbled streets.

Dinner: On your own to explore the regional cuisine.

Evening: We will transfer via motorcoach to a local community center for an exclusive viewing of Esbart San Marti's dress rehearsal featuring traditional Catalan folk song and dances, and a chance to meet the performers afterwards. We’ll then return to the hotel.

DAY
6
Contemporary Artists from Spain, Pablo Picasso Museum
Barcelona
B,L
Catalonia Eixample 1864

Activity note: Walking up to 4 miles during group activities; periods of standing; city streets with many cobblestones and some uneven ground, stairs and steps. Extensive use of public transportation; flights of stairs at metro stations; elevators and escalators not always available. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice. The Picasso Museum entrance times are strictly regulated and are subject to change.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: A local art expert will join us at the hotel for a lecture on contemporary artists from Spain including Dali and Miró, who all contributed to the richness of Barcelona's history and culture. We’ll then head to lunch via public transportation.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy a tasty meal of tapas, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will transfer by public transport to the Picasso Museum where we will learn more about Picasso while having a first-hand look at of some of the artist's masterpieces during an expert-led visit. Afterwards, our Group Leader will lead a walking discovery of El Born Quarter - a lively area with its artists, cafes, and craft. Regrouping in the hotel lounge, we’ll review the events of the day.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Explore the Hidden Treasures of Gothic Quarter, Free Time
Barcelona
B
Catalonia Eixample 1864

Activity note: Walking up to 3 miles during group activities; periods of standing; city streets with many cobblestones and some uneven ground, stairs and steps. Extensive use of public transportation; flights of stairs at metro stations; elevators and escalators not always available. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After transferring via public transit, we’ll set out on a walking exploration of the Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter) with a local expert to discover some of the area’s hidden treasures such as the Plaza Felipe Neri, the Roman Columns, and Plaza del Pi. As we make our way around the Gothic Quarter, our expert will point out some popular eateries with notable local specialties.

Lunch: On your own to explore the local fare.

Afternoon: Free time. This period of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most in Barcelona at your own pace. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. We’ll then meet back at the hotel lounge for the day’s review and camaraderie.

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Barcelona of the 21st Century, Free Time, Farewell Dinner
Barcelona
B,D
Catalonia Eixample 1864

Activity note: Walking up to 3 miles during group activities; periods of standing; city streets with many cobblestones and some uneven ground, stairs and steps. Extensive use of public transportation; flights of stairs at metro stations; elevators and escalators not always available. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: With a local expert, we’ll explore modern Barcelona and see some of the changes that have taken place in the city with emphasis on modern architecture and the characteristics of the Barcelona of the 21st century. While visiting the Districte 22@, the innovation district in the former industrial area known as Poblenou, we’ll learn about the new architects working in the city.

Lunch: On your own to explore local cuisine.

Afternoon: Free time for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. You may wish to continue discovering new places and sites in Barcelona on your own or take some time to prepare for departures tomorrow.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy a plated farewell dinner with our fellow participants. A complimentary glass of wine, coffee, tea, water are included; other beverages available for purchase. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

DAY
9
Program Concludes, In Transit From Program
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon. See your program’s “Transportation Information” regarding transfers.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on another rewarding program in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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