The capital of Catalonia, Spain's second largest city and principal port, is a beautiful city rich in cultural heritage, with a history dating back some 2,000 years. Don't miss the Gothic quarter with its superb cathedral, narrow streets and pleasant squares. Stroll along Las Ramblas, Barcelona's most famous street, over a mile long, with its plane trees and colourful street sellers. The amazing work of the art nouveau architect Gaudi is all over the city. His best known monument is the awe inpiring, unfinished church of The Sagrada Familia.
Barcelona has an abundance of museums and parks. Ascend Montjuic for magnificent views and spend a whole day here. Visit the Pueblo Español with its collection of different styles and local features in Spanish architecture. The Olympic Stadium, the Miro Foundation, the military museum and the fairground are just some of the attractions to be found on Montjuic. With so much to see in Barcelona, you will have some difficult choices to make.
Places of Interest
Sagrada Familia - Synonymous with Barcelona Gaudi’s unfinished iconic masterpiece is a must see! The magnificent spires of the imprint themselves boldly against the sky with swelling outlines inspired by the holy mountain at Montserrat. They are encrusted with a tangle of sculptures and carvings of snakes, lizards and frogs that seem to breathe life into the stone. Gaudí died in 1926 before his masterwork was completed, and since then, controversy has continually dogged the building program.
La Rambla (Las Ramblas) - Las Ramblas stretches across five separate streets strung end to end from Placa de Catalunya to the waterfront, and teems with activity at all hours. A tree-lined pedestrian boulevard packed with buskers, living statues, mimes and salespeople selling everything from lottery tickets to jewellery. The noisy bird market on the second block of La Rambla is worth a stop, as is the nearby Palau de la Virreina, a grand 18th-century rococo mansion, with arts and entertainment information and a ticket office. Next-door is La Rambla's most colourful market, the Mercat de la Boqueria. Las Ramblas terminates at the lofty Monument a Colom (Monument to Columbus) and the harbour.
Columbus Monument - A major city landmark, located by the sea at the bottom of Las Ramblas, built in 1888 commemorating the discovery of America. Access to the top-viewing gallery provides outstanding panoramic views of the mountains, coast and city. The discoverer of America is actually pointing in the wrong direction, because he points to the east at the Mediterranean Sea, and America is on the other side to the west.
Nou Camp Stadium - The 98,000-seat stadium is the home of FC Barcelona and a fantastic shrine to the world of football. Also an historical landmark, the suppression of Catalan self respect under the Franco regime, made the club and its stadium a strong symbol.
Parc Guell - Designed by Antonio Gaudí and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO this is the most famous park in Barcelona. It has been subject to all types of praise and criticism, including comments such as "outrageous modernism", "surrealistic island", and “nightmare expressionist park". First conceived as a private estate, it became a public park in 1922. The main entrance to the park and the stairway leading to the Hundred Columns Room are structures where Gaudí clearly let his imagination run free.
Gothic Quarter - The Barri Gotic contains a concentration of medieval Gothic buildings only a few blocks northeast of La Rambla, and is the nucleus of old Barcelona. It's a maze of interconnecting dark streets linking with squares, and there are plenty of cafes and bars to explore. Most of the buildings date from the 14th and 15th century, when Barcelona was at the height of its commercial prosperity and before it had been absorbed into Castile. Around the Cathedral, one of Spain's greatest Gothic buildings, you can still see part of the ancient walls incorporated into later structures. Two of the city's most significant buildings are here, the Ajuntament and the Palau de la Generalitat.
Plaza Catalunya - Barcelona’s largest and busiest square, where city life and public transportation routes converge, surrounded by many monumental buildings and statues.
Museu Picasso - The Museu Picasso is Barcelona's most visited museum. It's housed in three strikingly beautiful stone mansions on the Carrer de Montcada, which was, in medieval times, an approach to the port. The museum shows numerous works that trace the artist's early years, and is especially strong on his Blue & Rose (Pink) Periods and the famous 1950s Cubist variations on Velázquez's Las Meninas (Ladies-in-Waiting).
La Pedrera - Another Gaudí masterpiece, La Pedrera was built between 1905 and 1910 as a combined apartment and office block. Formerly called the Casa Milà, it's better known now as La Pedrera (the quarry) because of its uneven grey stone facade that ripples around a street corner - it creates a wave effect that's further emphasized by elaborate wrought-iron balconies. Visitors can tour the building and go up to the roof, where giant multicoloured chimneypots jut up like medieval knights. On summer weekend nights; the roof is eerily lit and open for spectacular views of Barcelona. One floor below the roof is a modest museum dedicated to Gaudí's work.
Montjuic - Overlooking the city centre from the southwest, Montjuic is home to some fine art galleries, leisure attractions, soothing parks and the main group of 1992 Olympic sites. Approach the area from Plaça d'Espanya and on the north side you'll see Plaça de Braus Les Arenes, a former bullring where the Beatles played in 1966. Behind it lies Parc Joan Miró, where stands Miro's highly phallic sculpture Dona i Ocell (Woman and Bird). Nearby, the Palau Nacional houses the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, which has an impressive collection of Romanesque art. Stretching up a series of terraces below the Palau Nacional are fountains, including the biggest, La Font Màgica, which comes alive with a free lights and music show on summer evenings. In the northwest of Montjuic is the 'Spanish Village', Poble Espanyol. At first glance it's a tacky tourist trap, but it also proves to be an intriguing scrapbook of Spanish architecture, with very convincing copies of buildings from all of Spain's regions. The Anella Olímpica (Olympic Ring) is the group of sports installations where the main events of the 1992 games were held. Down the hill, visit masterpieces of another kind in the Fundacio Joan Miro, Barcelona's gallery for the greatest Catalan artist of the 20th century. This is the largest single collection of his work.
Tibidabo - At 542m (1778ft), Tibidabo is the highest hill in the wooded range that forms the backdrop to Barcelona. If the airs clear, it's a great place for views over the city. The locals come up here for some thrills at the amusement park Parc d'Atraccions, which has rides and a house of horrors. As hair-raising as anything at the Parc, however, is the glass lift that goes 115m (126yd) up to a visitors' observation area at Torre de Collserola telecommunications tower. The more sedate can find solace in Temple del Sagrat Cor, Barcelona's answer to Paris' Sacré Coeur; it's even more vilified by aesthetes than its Paris equivalent. Looming above Tibidabo's funicular station, it is actually two churches, one on top of the other. The top one is surmounted by a giant Christ and has a lift to the roof.
Port Vell - This once obsolete old harbour is today a world class fully-integrated retail and leisure development complex. Regenerated and famous for its atmosphere and attractions, including Maremagnum, L’Aquarium (the largest in Europe) and the IMAX cinema. It also contains numerous shops, cinemas, bars and restaurants and is a great location to spend a few hours.
Port Aventura - Owned by Universal Studios, this park is a must. It is set in 115 hectares and incorporates 5 themed areas – The Mediterranean, Polynesia, China, Mexico and the Far West. There are unique shows in each, and a huge choice of exciting and spectacular white-knuckle rides, making it a visit to remember. The theme park provides a safe environment in which students can explore unaccompanied with maps and excellent signage within the park.
Waterworld Lloret - A fantastic break away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Enormous pools linked with flumes, giant slides, wet white-knuckle rides, wave pools, and mini-golf, all in a safe and contained environment. Highly recommended!
Montserrat – Located 60km from Barcelona Montserrat is an essential part of the Catalonian identify, it is the spiritual centre and guardian of the souls of the Catalonian. Of special interest is the Benedictine Monastery with its 16th century basilica housing the 12th century Romanesque image of La Moreneta, patroness of Catalonia. For groups with some extra time available this is a highly recommended visit as the cable car ride up the mountain is absolutely stunning.
Day 1Coach depart school mid-morning and travel south for Channel crossing by ferry or tunnel and travel overnight through France spending the night on the coach.
Day 2Travel through France & Spain. Arrive resort at approx. 1800hrs. Check in to Hotel. Evening free to explore town.
Day 3Full day excursion to Barcelona – sightseeing of your choice with or without a city guide. Evening meal in Hotel.
Day 4Full day in Port Aventura.
Day 5Full day excursion of your choice.
Day 6Morning free for last minute shopping. Hot lunch in Hotel and then depart resort and travel homeward through France spending a night on the coach.
Day 7Morning Channel crossing by ferry and continue journey back to school.
The Barcelona area is an ideal setting for tours that concentrate on cuisine, arts or Business studies trips please contact our office for more details and to discuss your specific needs and requirements.
Hotel Bella Playa, Malgrat de Mar
A new and modern hotel close to the centre of the small town of Malgrat de Mar and only 250m from the beach. Large public areas include a library/quiet room, airy lounge, television room with satellite channel and dvd movies, bar and dinning room with air condition. There is also a games room and outdoor and indoor swimming pools and a large terrace and garden. You will also find a tennis court and table tennis facilities plus a busy in house entertainment programme with evening shows and live music. All rooms offer full private facilities, balcony, telephone, safety deposit box and central heating. Meals are buffet style and served in the large dining room.
Hotel Calypso, Salou
Located in a residential area, close to Universal's Port Aventura, 500 meters away from the Capellans beach and a short walk away from Salou's town centre. 2.5 kilometres from Universal's Port Aventura's entrance. The hotel consists of 514 double rooms distributed between two interconnected buildings. All rooms have air conditioning, telephone, and satellite TV, fully equipped bathroom, safety deposit box and terrace. The restaurant overlooks the swimming pool, is air-conditioned and can cater for 650 people and serves National and international cuisine in a buffet style with Tex-mex and Caribbean theme nights. The lounge bar Mediterrani serves both indoors and out on the terrace. There is a snack bar in the swimming pool area in the high season. Daily entertainment and dancing. Multiuse court. Sports available include volleyball, football, one tennis court and one squash court (equipment for hire). Video games, games room and pool table. Large garden 2000 metres. Souvenir shop in the hotel lobby. There is an outdoor swimming pool with a children's section, a large garden with a children's playground and TV and video lounge with recreational games.
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