Bars and markets and chocolate con churros this week in Barcelona

The street art shutter (complete with dripping chocolate!) at one of Barcelona's most famous cafés: come along, Wednesday | Photo: Tom Walton

intro on our social programme this week

  • Tuesday 3rd | The Eixample, the central grid-ironed district of Barcelona, is where you'll find most of the city's most famous Modernista buildings — the houses like the Casa Batlló and the Pedrera, for example. But there's much more to Modernisme than that, as you'll discover if you come along this afternoon to see some of the less well-known buildings — chemist's shops and grocer's and bars included.
  • Wednesday 4th | One of Barcelona's great traditions (OK, that would possibly be other parts of Spain, too 😉 !): chocolate con churros for afternoon tea, for which we'll be heading over into the Barrio Gótico to one of our favourite granjas (cafés) on the Carrer Petrixol (now that is the Barcelona tradition!). Also traditionally consumed when you come out of the disco at about five in the morning. Price €7 (disco not included!) . Yummy (16.00)!
  • Thursday 5th | 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. Both are great places to go for lunch. Bring your camera!
  • Friday 6th | Fancy a beer this evening? Come along with us at 19.00 and discover a couple of Barcelona's many, many bars and practise your Spanish over an Estrella. Drinks and tapas not included.

Join us in Ground Floor Reception at 16.30 by the front door, at 19.00 on Friday.

Also this week | Spanish League, Barça vs Real Sociedad (Saturday, kick-off 18.30).

Human castles, Picasso and the Sagrada Familia, this week in Barcelona


Castellers| Photo: Tom Walton

We have art, architecture and tradition on our social programme for you this week in Barcelona. All that's missing is the football! Wait, you can get that on Sunday if you can find yourself a bar with a big screen (ok, just following the crazy screaming you'll hear!)

  • Tuesday 25th | The human castles which you can see in the photo, above, or castellers as they are known in Catalan, are a local tradition which goes back to the 18th century. Come and find out what it is all about today at 18.15! Price is €5.50 and note that you need to sign up for this one.
  • Wednesday 26th | This afternoon's trip takes us to see some of Picasso's Barcelona: it includes some of the most picturesque of the streets of the Barrio Gótico (Petrixol, Avinyó…); places like the 4 Gats restaurant (a bohemian taberna in Picasso's time); the Estación de Francia (from where he first travelled to Paris at the age of 21); and the Carrer de Montcada, where the Picasso Museum now stands.
  • Thursday 27th | 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 at 16.30.

Also this week | In the Spanish League we have the big game of the season, Real Madridvs Barça (Sunday, kick-off 21.00, in Madrid), with Barça 2 points ahead with 25 games played.

Two very different areas of Barcelona

Plaza España

Plaza España and Las Arenas | Photo: Tom Walton

We normally have three events on our social programme every week but we've had to postpone Wednesday's trip. Sorry! The two trips that we do have, however, will take you to a couple of places you might otherwise miss — and there's an interesting contrast between them.

  • Tuesday 4th | 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!
  • Thursday 6th | Our excursion this afternoon takes us to see "La Barcelona de 1929", the Barcelona of the 1929 Universal Exhibition of that year. Among the areas of Barcelona that it transformed was the Plaza España, itself not one of the city's most pleasant squares but within walking distance there is so much: the Las Arenas shopping mall in the former bullring (great view from the top!); Miró's Dona i Ocell (no sniggering!); the outstanding art collection at the MNAC (housed in the Palacio Nacional, built for the Exhibition); the former factory, now art museum of the CaixaForum and lots more besides. We won't actually be going into the latter, but you might want to, afterwards.

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

Come and walk Barcelona with us this week

Model of Barcelona

Model of Barcelona showing the Parc de la Ciutadella | Photo: Natxo Azoz

Bring your walking shoes on our social programme this week. Storm Gloria has passed and when it's cold but sunny, Barcelona is at its most lovely.

  • Tuesday 28th | Join us today on our walk round the Barrio Gótico, the old part of the city of Barcelona. You could and will go on your own — but come with us and you'll discover some of the wonderful things to be found there.
  • Wednesday 29th | Our trip this afternoon takes us to visit the lovely Parque de la Ciudadela, named after the the fortress built to dominate the city after the 1713-14 siege. In the photo, above, you have the park with the Catalan parliament building in the foreground (ironically housed the fortress's arsenal), the Estación de Francia top left and the Castell dels Tres Dragons top right of the park, among other buildings. If you're interested in architecture, and the history of Barcelona, there are some fascinating things to see on today's trip.
  • Thursday 30th | Our third trip this week takes us down to the seafront — to Barceloneta and the Vila Olímpica. The former was built on reclaimed land and dates back only to the 18th century but once housed Barcelona's fishermen and then, later, factories. Both are now long gone and have been replaced by a lot of rather noisy tourists, but the district still retains a peculiar, original flavour.

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

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

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).