Festa Major de Sants on this week's social programme

Dragon, Finca Güell

Raaaarrrrrrr ! | Photo: Tom Walton

The barrios of Sants, Pedralbes and the old city that Via Laietana cuts through — that's quite a contrast on our social programme this week

  • Tuesday 22nd | The Festa Major de Gràcia is over but it's now time for the Festa Major de Sants. Like Gràcia, it also has some pretty amazing street decorations and a great party atmosphere — and is another of the barrios of the city that are way less touristy and have a character of their own. More information on the Festa on the official website (in Catalan) or Wikipedia (in Spanish or Catalan). Come along with us and see for yourself (note that we meet at 18.00 today).
  • Wednesday 23rd | Our trip this afternoon takes us to the lovely gardens of the Palacio Real de Pedralbes, which was home to the Spanish monarchy 1919-1931 whenever they visited the city, and also takes in the remarkable Gaudí dragon (photo, above) on the gate of the Finca Güell, the summer home of Eusebi Güell, Gaudí's great patron (16.00).
  • Thursday 24th | It's hard to believe, but Via Laietana (just along the road from IH Barcelona) is little more than 100 years old. Driven through the heart of the old city between 1908 and 1913 (in the video, above), it's now one of Barcelona's busiest streets. Come with us and discover more of its history this afternoon (16.00).
  • Friday 25th | Come get yourself some extra Spanish practice 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.

Come with us to the Festa Major de Gracia, Friday

Festa Major de Gracia

Street decorations, Festa Major de Gracia | Tom Walton

With Tuesday being a holiday (school closed, no class), we've an event on Friday on our social programme, as well as our Friday Club.

  • Tuesday 15th | National holiday in Spain
  • Wednesday 16th | Today's trip takes us to the top of Montjuic to visit the fortress that overlooks Barcelona. From it, the city was bombarded on various occasions and it also enjoyed notoriety as a prison. Today, however, it's one of the best places to go to obtain magnificent views of Barcelona (entrance fee €5.00, 16.00).
  • Thursday 17th | Come along on our walk this afternoon, which will take you to some of the hidden places in the old city that you might otherwise miss (16.00)! See also other hidden corners of Barcelona in previous entries on this blog.
  • Friday 18th | Come with us this afternoon to see some of the amazing street decorations at the Festa Major de Gràcia (full programme, in Catalan), probably the best of Barcelona's barrio street festivals (16.00).
  • Also this Friday | 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 | Spanish Super Cup, second leg, Real Madrid vs Barça (Wednesday, kick-off 23.00 (!!), in Madrid); and then the La Liga starts on Sunday, with Barça vs Betis (kick-off 20.15).

The Born, Picasso and architecture on this week's social programme

Street art reproduction of Picasso painting

Street art by unknown artist, reproduction of Picasso's Demoiselles d'Avignon, Ciutat Vella; come with us and see, Wednesday — or view on Instagram | photo: Tom Walton

Bring your sunhat on our social programme this week — it's got real hot in Barcelona!

  • Tuesday 8th | Join us on our walk today round the  popular barrio of 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 (16.00).
  • Wednesday 9th | 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 (16.00).
  • Thursday 10th | Come with us for a stroll this afternoon to see something of the Ruta del Modernismo. We can't and won't (promise!) take you to see all the 116 Modernista buildings officially included in the Route, but you'll get at least a taste of Barcelona's magnificent architecture [see also this video on how Modernisme changed Barcelona] (16.00).
  • Friday 11th | 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 | The Joan Gamper Trophy game, Barça vs Chapecoense (Monday, kick-off 20.30) is your first chance to see Barça (now shamelessly Neymar-less) at home this season. You can trash that Neymar replica shirt now!

This week in Barcelona: magic fountains, the Ramblas and Jack Nicholson

Fonts de Montjuic

The spectacular magic fountains of Montjuic | Photo: Tom Walton

Our social programme for the first week of August (when, 25 years ago, we were in the middle of the Barcelona Olympics!)

  • Tuesday 1st | 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 2nd | Come with this afternoon down the Ramblas, to discover some of the amazing things on and just off it — including one of our favourite Barcelona dragons and the Palau Güell, one of the few Modernista buildings to be found outside the Eixample district. If you are an Antonioni fan, the Palau Güell is where Jack Nicholson meets Marie Schneider in The Passenger and — if you're a fan — a selfie coming out of the Hotel Oriente is on your to-do list (16.00).
  • Thursday 3rd | Note the change from the usual time today: this evening we're going to the spectacular light and sound show of the Magic Fountains of Montjuic (20.30).
  • Friday 4th | Join us on the terrace and in the bar after class today for our very popular 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 | Your last chance to go to the Sala Montjuic, the open air cinema festival in the grounds of the fort on Montjuic, which overlooks the city. Cool place for a picnic supper on a hot summer night!

Barcelona Turisme, the official tourist board site, has a terrific guide to what's on in Barcelona in August, if you want to plan ahead (.pdf document).

Come and explore Barcelona on our social programme

Nine visit the Parque del Laberinto… Weren't there ten of us?! | Photo: Barbara Królikowska

Come with us the social programme : you'll discover more about the places you might have gone to anyway (like the Sagrada Familia), and get to places (like Poble Nou) that you might otherwise have missed. This week:

  • Tuesday 25th | 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. 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 26th | 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 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.
  • Friday 28th | Our Friday Club language exchange is one of the most popular events on our social program. Why not join us on the terrace and in the bar after class this evening (19.00-21.00)?

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

Also this week | In the International Champions Cup (in the US), Barça have got two "big" games, vs Manchester United on Thursday and vs Real Madrid on Sunday.