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).

Come and explore Barcelona with us

Casa Vicens

Casa Viçens | Photo: Tom Walton

Do join us on the social programme in the afternoons, after class: it's a great way to explore the city and also to get some extra practice for your Spanish.

  • Tuesday 7th | 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 (16.00).
  • Wednesday 8th | 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.
  • Thursday 9th | Come with us today to explore the popular district of Gracia [general 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 (16.00).
  • Friday 10th | Join us this evening at our Friday Club language exchange. It's a great place to kick off the weekend — and to practise your Spanish! 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 Champions, in Liverpool on Tuesday (kick-off 21.00), it's the second leg of the semi-final, Liverpool vs Barça, with Barça smugly confident that 3-0 up they're already in the final (a lead which turned out rather badly for Milan back in 2005). In the Spanish League, we then have the champions Barça vs Getafe (Sunday, kick-off 18.30, Barça's last home league game of the season).

The excellent TimeOut Barcelona has a list of 15 bars with big screens that are likely to be packed and some "different" ways to watch the beautiful game (content in Catalan). You could just pop down to the bar on the corner, of course…

Street art and Sevillanas on this week's social programme

Streetart Enric Puyalto

Street art in Sant Martí by @enric.puyalto| Photo: @sirkirbymuxloe

With Wednesday being a holiday, we've got something for you on Monday on our social programme this week:

  • Monday 29th | 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 (16.00).
  • Tuesday 30th | Sevillanas are one of Spain's many traditional dances originating, as the name suggests in the city of Seville. Wikipedia has an entry about Sevillanas, if you need to find out more, though YouTube will be more enlightening for some practical examples. Or why not come along today and actually get some hands- (and feet!) -on practice. Dani has a fun Sevillanas workshop for you (16.00)!
  • Wednesday 1st | National holiday in Spain
  • Thursday 2nd | The Feria de Abril here in Barcelona isn't quite the spectacular event that it is in Sevilla and Jerez, but come down to the Forum with us this afternoon and we think you'll find the Feria de Abril de Catalunya interesting. And now that you know how to do a Sevillana… (16.00).
  • Friday 3rd | You've got to start your Barcelona weekend somewhere. Why not start it with us at our Friday Club language exchange, where you can practise all the languages you know? 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 | Champions semi-final, Barça vs Liverpool (Wednesday, kick-off 21.00, with the second leg in Liverpool on May 7).

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).

Easter and Manchester United in Barcelona

The Sagrada Familia from the Turó de la Rovira | Photo: Tom Walton

Easter, and we're enjoying spectacular sunshine here in Barcelona — without it yet being hot: perfect for one of the walks on our social programme this week:

  • Tuesday 16th | 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).
  • Wednesday 17th | First laid out in 1791, the Laberinto de Horta is one of the most romantic of the hidden corners of Barcelona (as well as being one of the settings for Tom Tykwer's 2006 film Perfume: The Story of a Murderer). Come along and see it with us (16.00).
  • Thursday 18th | Bring your walking shoes with you this afternoon and prepared for a walk up one of Barcelona's steepest streets. We're going to the top of the Turó de la Rovira (262m), where there were anti-aircraft guns during the Spanish Civil War (Barcelona was bombed in 1938). The view from the top (see photo, above) is spectacular (16.00).

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

Note that Friday is a national holiday and, from Thursday evening to Tuesday morning, school will be closed for Easter.

Also this week | In the return leg of the Champions Quarter Final, it's Barça vs Manchester United (Tuesday, kick-off 21.00), with Barça sitting comfortably on a 1-0 lead from the first leg.

The Guardian's wonderful Joy of Six column looks back at previous Barcelona v Manchester United clashes and Barcelona was of course the venue for one of United's greatest ever comebacks

At the weekend, in La Liga (which Barça have all but won, again"), there's also Barça vs Real Sociedad (Saturday, kick-off 20.45).