Come and explore Barcelona with us this week

Street performers, Ramblas

Street performers on the Ramblas | Photo: Tom Walton

Don't forget that it's a national holiday in Spain on Friday (so no class!) but we still have a full social programme for you:

  • Tuesday 3rd | Come with us this evening to visit Poble Sec, once home to factories, of which little now remains. It's a barrio popular, not least because of its many bars (see the recommendations in TimeOut and on TripAdvisor). The Carrer Blai [Google Maps] is particularly popular if you want to ir de tapas (19.00). 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 4th | 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 5th | 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).

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

Also this week | Spanish League, Messi vs Mallorca (Saturday, kick-off 21.00).

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).

Come and learn to dance on our social programme

Latin Dance class at IH Barcelona

Learning to dance with Dani (left) | Photo: Tom Walton

We like to think that our social programme is always fun but this week Thursday is perhaps especially so!

  • Tuesday 19th | The barrio of Barceloneta 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 noisy tourists, but the district still retains a peculiar, original flavour (16.00).
  • Wednesday 20th | 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 21st | Do you know what Latin dance is? It includes things like salsa, mambo, merengue and rumba, and has evolved from complex origins that goes back to the Spanish conquest of Latin America, and beyond. Wikipedia has an entry about it if you want 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 Latin dance workshop for you (16.30)!

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

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.

Barcelona's art and architecture on this week's social programme

MNAC

The MNAC: an outstanding art collection | Photo: Tom Walton

Come and see something of Barcelona's wonderful art and architecture on our social programme this week — and don't miss the event on Tuesday, no matter how well you think you know the Barrio Gótico.

  • Tuesday 5th | We have what we call in Spain a "yincana" (aka a gymkhana, if you prefer the English/Indian spelling) around the Barrio Gótico. Come along: it's a fun way to discover the old city (16.00).
  • Wednesday 6th | Our walk this afternoon takes us to the Manzana de la Discordia, the block on Passeig de Gracia with three of Barcelona's best examples of Modernista architecture — the Casa Batlló (Gaudí, 1904-1906); the Casa Amatller (Puig i Cadafalch, 1898-1900); and the Casa Lleó i Morera (Domènech i Montaner, 1902-1905); as well as to the Casa Milà (also by Gaudí, 1906-1912), which is further up the street on the other side. Shoutout for the Casa Mulleras (Nº37, 1898-1906) by the astonishingly prolific Enric Sagnier (1858-1931) (16.00).
  • Thursday 7th | One for art-lovers this afternoon: our trip takes us down to the Plaza España to see the 1000 years of art in the outstanding collection at the MNAC, the Museo Nacional de Arte de Cataluña (photo, above) (16.00).

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

Also this week | You have two chances to see Barça this week, if football is your thing. On Tuesday in the Champions it's Barça vs Slavia Prague (kick-off 18.55) and then on Saturday in the Spanish League we have Barça vs Celta (kick-off 21.00).