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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
9 days
Starts at

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.
9 days
Starts at
Program No. 7149 RJ
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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.
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.
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.
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.
7 Reviews
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5 Average

I had a wonderful time . Hope to go back again


Barcelona is wonderful. This program serves as an excellent introduction to the city. Our only regret was that we were not able to stay on for a few extra days at the end.


The Independent Road Scholar programs provide a great base to become familiar and comfortable in a foreign space. You can utilize what you want and need, and still have free time to explore as you want. You can find places in the area visited that you like best, and return on your own the delve even deeper. A single traveler can easily join a group and find others to be with to tour. Highly recommend- good value and great travel experience!


An exception way toget to know Gaudi!

This reviewer did not give a star rating.

It was a wonderful trip. The size of the group was just perfect and everyone was very friendly and engaging. Paola is very knowledgeable and very personable. Loved the lectures by Sylvia and Mayite (?) the best. The hotel was very nice and in a very central location. The lectures were very informative, and the program allowed a great deal of flexibility and free time. Barcelona was amazing! Suggestions: (1) some of the lectures (like La Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, and Picasso museum) should be given in advance (and not during the tour) to allow greater enjoyment at our own pace and less distractions. (2) wish I had known in advance about the fairly inexpnsive day trips to Tangier that are independantly available. (3) Monserrat should have been included (or more strongly encouraged) Would highly recommend this trip for solo travelers and free spirits who do not want an overly-structured agenda while on vacation.


Independent Barcelona offered a perfect mix of guided visits to the best of this wonderful city and free time to do more, according to our budget and interests. The guides were upbeat, helpful and knowledgeable. The program was delightful, educational, and s great value.


Over the years I've done many Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) programs and I would rate this as one of the best!

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