Photowalking Barcelona's Modernista architecture on this week's social programme

Stone and iron

Stone and iron: detail of a Modernista façade – come and see, Thursday | Photo: Tom Walton

Among the events on our social programme this week, our photowalking tour on Thursday will show you how much more there is to Barcelona than "only" Gaudí!

  • Tuesday 25th | 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 26th | 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, now a large park) (16.00).
  • Thursday 27th | Bring your camera or phone with you this afternoon and join us for a photowalking tour looking at some of the curious details to be found on some of the wonderful Modernista façades of the houses in the Eixample district (16.00).
  • Friday 28th | Come and join us on the terrace/in the bar after class this afternoon for our Friday Club language exchange (19.00-21.00).

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

Also this week | Starting this Friday (28th) and running until August 2, we have the Saló Montjuic open air film festival. The summer in Barcelona wouldn't be the same without it!

Barcelona's amazing dancing eggs on this week's social programme

Dancing egg at the Museu Mares

Patio del Museu Marès | Photo: Tom Walton

Apart from what's on our social programme this week, this Sunday is Midsummer's Eve, Sant Joan, perhaps the craziest of Barcelona's many crazy parties. Don't miss it (actually, you won't be able to, even if you wanted to…) !

  • Tuesday 18th | Today's trip takes us into the barrio of Poble Nou, which is home to the iconic Torre Agbar, the nightclub Razzmatazz and some of Barcelona's best street art. (especially if you get as far as the barrio of Sant Martí). Cool for the beach, too! But come along with us and discover a whole lot more about one of the city's most interesting, most genuine barrios (16.00).
  • Wednesday 19th | 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 (16.00) !
  • Thursday 20th | Come with us today to see some of the lovely patios of the Barrio Gótico and one of Barcelona's most curious traditions: l'ou com balla, aka the dancing egg, which is something you will only see during Corpus Christi (16.00).
  • Friday 21st | It's a long weekend, with Monday a holiday in Catalonia. Come and start it with us, and practise your Spanish, at this week's Friday Club! 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.

Barcelona's best patatas bravas, wild boar, sieges and hospitals on this week's social programme

Hospital de Sant Pau

Entrance to the Hospital de Sant Pau | Photo: Tom Walton

Note that if you'd like to come with us on Thursday to see the wonderful Hospital de Sant Pau, the deadline to sign up is 16.00 on Tuesday.

  • Tuesday 28th | We have a trip up to the barrio of Sarrià [map] this afternoon. A separate town until it was incorporated into Barcelona in 1921, Sarrià still feels a little like a small town. Look out for wild boar, stop off at the posh bakers Foix de Sarrià (Plaça de Sarrià 12-13) if you're feeling peckish — or try the world's best ever patatas bravas at Bar Tomás (Major de Sarrià 49). Shame it's rather expensive to find a flat there (16.00) !
  • Wednesday 29th | Our walk today takes us from the Arc de Triomf [Wikipedia], the main entrance to Barcelona's 1888 World Fair to the Parc de la Ciutadella, which takes its name from the citadel built after the siege of 1714 to dominate the city, and was then the location of the 1888 exhibition, of which a few surprising traces still remain (16.00).
  • Thursday 30th | Come with us this afternoon to see the amazing Modernista architecture of the Hospital de Sant Pau, built between 1901 and 1930. Just a couple of blocks up from the Sagrada Familia, it was designed by the architect Domènech i Montaner (1850-1923) to have the sort of pleasant surroundings that would aid its patients' recovery, with a series of tunnels hidden away below ground linking the different pavilions and providing the hospital with its services (entrance: €6.50; 16.00)
  • Friday 31st | Come get yourself some extra Spanish practice at our Friday Club language exchange. This week's theme, "Summer is Coming" (!!) (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 | There's the small matter of the Champions Final on Saturday, Liverpool vs Tottenham (in Madrid, kick-off 21.00). Who would have thought it, eh? The biggest game in Europe contested by two clubs that, according to the Guardian's The Knowledge, haven't won their domestic league for a combined total of 87 years, and neither Manchester City nor Barça (winners of 8 out of the last 11 Spanish League titles) got there, the latter dumped out unceremoniously by Liverpool!

And we also have the crazy Primavera Sound festival this weekend (May 30-June 1), which is one of the World's Top 50 Music Festivals, says  TimeOut.

The two contrasting sides of Barcelona's Via Laietana

View from Montjuic

The view from the top of Montjuic, looking out over the container port, otherwise hidden from the city | Photo: Tom Walton

Running down the city centre of Barcelona there's the Via Laietana; on our social programme this week we're going exploring, on the far side into the Gothic Quarter and, on Wednesday, we're staying on "our" side, the less touristy one, and taking a stroll down into La Ribera…

  • Tuesday 14th | Come and take a walk with us this afternoon in the Spring sunshine, across the Barrio Gótico to the Ramblas (16.00).
  • Wednesday 15th | It's less famous and a bit less crowded but (and so!) "our" side of the Via Laietana, with the barrios of Sant Pere, Santa Caterina, La Ribera and the Born, is nicer 😉 ! Come see with us and see some of its lovely squares today (16.00).
  • Thursday 16th | For views of Barcelona, it's hard to beat Montjuic, the city's "magic mountain". It has some of Barcelona's best art museums (the CaixaForum, the Miró Foundation, the MNAC, for example…), it's wonderful for some fresh air or for somewhere to jog or cycle (assuming a certain level of fitness, that is, as there are some testing hills!). Or you just want somewhere for a picnic? Montjuic (16.00)!
  • Friday 17th | 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 | On Saturday it's the Nit dels Museus (the Noche de los Museos), with entrance free to many of Barcelona's museums from 19.00 to 01.00.

Outstanding | Until May 26 we have the World Press Photo exhibition on at the CCCB (open Tuesday to Sunday, 11.00 to 20.00).

Sant Jordi, a very special day in Barcelona

A rose for Sant Jordi

A rose for Sant Jordi | Photo: Tom Walton

Take a stroll round Barcelona this Tuesday and be amazed. Or come with us on our social programme this week and we'll try and explain…

  • Tuesday 23rd | It's Sant Jordi (St. George), the patron saint of Catalonia, and a very special day in the Barcelona year, one on which we give books and roses to our loved ones. Not everyone agrees that George is politically correct but Barcelona certainly has some cool dragons! Come with us this afternoon and see what's happening around the (completely packed!) city centre.
  • Wednesday 24th | It's hard to believe, but Via Laietana is little more than 100 years old. Driven through the heart of the old city between 1908 and 1913, it's now one of Barcelona's busiest streets — and just a two-minute walk away from IH. Come with us and discover more of its history this afternoon (16.00).
  • Thursday 25th | We're taking a stroll across the Raval, the popular district to your right as you wander down the Ramblas, as far as the market of Sant Antoni. The Raval is home to the CCCB and the MACBA, Fernando Botero's fat cat, and to the protagonists of many of Barcelona's novelas negras. The market, on the other side of the Raval, has recently been restored to its Modernista splendor and dates back to 1882 (16.00).
  • Friday 26th | Come get yourself some extra practice for 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 | In the Spanish League, which Barça have strolled to this season, we have Barça vs Levante (Saturday, kick-off 20.45).