Come and explore Barcelona's barrios with us

Street art in Poble Nou, artist unknown | Photo: Tom Walton

We have a couple of Barcelona's less touristy barrios for you on our social programme this week. Come with us and explore!

  • Tuesday 14th | 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). But come along with us and discover a whole lot more about one of the city's most interesting, most genuine barrios.
  • Wednesday 15th | 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 16th | It's festa major time already — at least it is in the district of Sant Antoni, another of Barcelona's more interesting, less hyped ones. The Market dates back to 1882, the work of the architect Antoni Rovira i Trias, and has just reopened after extensive restoration work. This article in El Periódico gives you a taste of the kind of stall you'll find there. Note also the second hand book fair that is held every Sunday. If you want to know more, try Wikipedia or the market's official website — or why not just come along with us?

Join us in Ground Floor Reception, by the front door at 16.30.

Also this week | Spanish League, Barça vs Granada (Sunday, kick-off 21.00).

Our first Barcelona social programme of the new decade

Proverbs 11, 25: He who is generous thrives… Plaque (not an original) in Barcelona's Jewish quarter | Photo: Tom Walton

Today (Monday 6th) is holiday in Spain (so there's no class today!) but we have a full social programme for you for the rest of the week:

  • Tuesday 7th | Our walk this afternoon takes us round the barrios of La Ribera and El Born, full of cool bars and history, home to the lovely church of Santa Maria del Mar and the Estación de Francia, as well as the fascinating remains of the medieval city of Barcelona in the old Born Market (16.30).
  • Wednesday 8th | The Call is the area of narrow streets (which is what Call means) just off the Plaça Sant Jaume that was Barcelona's historic Jewish quarter. One of the most medieval parts of the Barrio Gótico. Why not come with us and explore (16.30)?
  • Thursday 9th | The Pueblo Español (or "Spanish Village") comprises over 100 buildings, many of them traditional Spanish house types, built in 1929 for Barcelona's second Universal Exhibition. Entrance is €7.00 but if you're interested in architecture and traditional crafts (not to mention some shopping!) it's well worth a visit (16.30).

Important We've changed the start time for a social programme. As of this week, join us half an hour later, at 16.30. We meet as before at Ground Floor Reception, by the front door..

Our last social programme of the decade!

Santa Maria del Mar

Santa María del Mar | Photo: Constanze Wutke

Note that Wednesday 1st is a national holiday in Spain, so there's no class then and an event on our social programme on Friday this week. Monday 6th is also a holiday.

  • Tuesday 31st | Take a walk with us this afternoon along the Moll de la Fusta [see photos], which takes us from the wonderful Catalan History museum, across the old port past the Maremagnum shopping and leisure centre to the statue of Columbus and the bottom of the Ramblas (14.00)
  • Thursday 2nd | Apart from Sagrada Familia, Barcelona 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 its nativity scene 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 3rd | Plaza de España, another place where there's a Christmas fair on, or rather the Feria de Reyes, to give it its proper name. And, of course, Christmas isn't over yet for us here in Spain: traditionally its the Three Kings (the Reyes) that bring the presents on January 6th (16.00).

Join us in Ground Floor Reception, by the front door, unless otherwise stated, at the times given above.

Also this week | After its Christmas break, the Spanish League is back with the local derby, Barça away to local rivals Espanyol (Saturday, kick-off 21.00). Sadly, for Espanyol fans, that's currently top vs bottom, with Espanyol only having won twice in 18 games this season.

Three of Barcelona's barrios on this week's social programme

View from Montjuic

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

Come for a bit of a walk with us on three afternoons on this week's social programme and discover some of Barcelona's fascinating different barrios and districts.

  • Tuesday 26th | Come with us today to explore the popular district of Gracia [more information & map]: interesting history, lovely architecture, great bars (and, in August, a great festa major)! We'll also be seeing one of the less well-known Gaudí works, the Casa Viçens. We won't have time to go inside (though you can now visit it), so you might like to check out these wonderful photos of it (16.00).
  • Wednesday 27th | 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. Somewhere for a picnic (or a picnic and a film festival!)? That would be Montjuïc! Bring your camera or phone along: the views [ Flickr | Instagram ] are fantastic (16.00) !
  • Thursday 28th | We have a stroll this afternoon taking you to see some of the hidden corners of Barcelona you might otherwise miss. Come with us and explore (and see also these other hidden places, in other barrios) (16.00).

Join us in Ground Floor Reception, by the front door, unless otherwise stated, at the times given above.

Also this week | Barça haven't been very good this season, says Sid Lowe in The Guardian, but that doesn't mean they're not good enough to top the Spanish League! What can they do in the Champions, where they also top their group? Barça vs Dortmund is on Wednesday (kick-off 21.00).

Barcelona's history and architecture on our social programme

Photo of statue

Statue commemorating Raquel Meller one of the stars of the Barcelona music hall scene in the 1920s and 1930s (see Tuesday, below) | Photo: Tom Walton

Do come and see the Sagrada Familia with us on our social programme this week but, apart from Gaudí, it's Barcelona's history, just as much as its architecture, that makes it such a fascinating place. Come and explore!

  • Tuesday 12th | 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 13th | 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 14th | 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.

Join us in Ground Floor Reception, by the front door, unless otherwise stated, at the times given above.