Come and explore Barcelona on our social programme!

Market stall

Fruit stall, Santa Caterina market, Barcelona | Photo: Tom Walton

Getting out and about and exploring a city is always fun to do on your own, but come with us on our social programme and enjoy doing so with a knowledgeable guide. Here's where we 're going this week:

  • Tuesday 6th | 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 (16.00).
  • Wednesday 7th | Transformed for the 1929 Universal Exhibition, the Plaza España is within walking distance of 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 (16.00).
  • Thursday 8th | 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 (16.00)!
  • Friday 9th | 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 | In the Champions on Tuesday, it's Inter Milan vs Barça (kick-off 21.00) and then at the weekend in the Spanish League, Barça vs Betis (Sunday, kick-off 16.15).

On until December 21st, and this year in its 50th edition, we have the Festival Internacional de Jazz de Barcelona.

For what else is on in Barcelona in the month of November, Barcelona Turisme — the official tourist board — have an excellent guide (.pdf file).

Two short Spanish novels everyone should read

Novels by Delibes and Sender

Two short novels we think you'd like and find productive to read if you're learning Spanish.

Las ratas (1962), by Miguel Delibes (1920-2010) is "una denuncia social que muestra la mísera existencia en los pueblos sometidos al latifundismo, con sus habitantes sometidos a la tiranía del dueño de las tierras", according to its Wikipedia entry. It's not that difficult a read and we also highly recommend El Camino (1950), by the same author.

Réquiem por un campesino español (1953), by Ramón J. Sender (1901-1982), says Wikipedia "narra con una atmósfera de tensa calma los sucesos más importantes de la vida de Paco el del Molino, así como la intriga, la venganza, el miedo y la ira a la que se ve sometido" around the time of the Spanish Civil War. It's a very short novel — great for your motivation if you're learning the language! "Yay: now I can read novels in Spanish!" you can tell yourself when you reach the end.

Here at IH Barcelona we have a charity book fair on, with all proceeds going to Camfed. We've already sold Las ratas but have several copies of Réquiem left and lots of other books too if you want some reading comprehension practice (as a learner, you do!) and would like to contribute to a wonderful cause.

Poblenou, Sant Martí and Sant Antoni: some of the hidden corners of Barcelona

Street art in Sant Martí

Street art in Sant Martí | Photo: Tom Walton

Note that Thursday is a national holiday in Spain (crazy, right 😉 ?) so we have two activites for you on Friday on our social programme this week:

  • Tuesday 30th | 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).
  • Wednesday 31st | The Sant Antoni 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 (16.00)?
  • Thursday 1st | National holiday in Spain
  • Friday 2nd | 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).
  • Friday 2nd | 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.

Barcelona this week: football and a lot more too

The Sagrada Familia | Photo: Tom Walton

What's happening in Barcelona this week? Football and then more football (see below)! You want some actual culture to go with that? Here's what we have on our social programme this week!

  • Tuesday 23rd | 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); the Casa Amatller (Puig i Cadafalch); and the Casa Lleó i Morera (Domènech i Montaner); as well as to the Casa Milà (also by Gaudí), which is further up the street on the other side (16.00).
  • Wednesday 24th | Our trip this afternoon 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 (16.00).
  • Thursday 25th | 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!). It now actually finally has a building licence, which it was lacked for the last 136 years. Spain is different! See also some of the cool pictures to be found on the official Sagrada Familia Instagram feed. 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).
  • Friday 26th | Join us this evening for a special Halloween edition of our Friday Club language exchange (dressing up optional 😉 ) ! Yeah, we know it's not quite yet Halloween, but that won't stop us having a bit of fun on Friday! 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 | We have two big games this week in Barcelona. First, in the Champions, it's Barça vs Inter Milan (Wednesday, kick-off 21.00).; and then in the Spanish League we have, Barça vs Real Madrid (Sunday, kick-off 16.15).

Shoutout for Espanyol, Barcelona's "other" La Liga team, currently second, just a point behind Barça, but regrettably most unlikely to do a Leicester City on them.

Come with us and explore Barcelona in the autumn sunshine

Video: The construction of the Vía Laietana. Come with us Thursday and see it as it is today.

It's still warm in Barcelona (around max. 22º C this week), perfect for a walk to explore the city. Come with us an do just that on our social programme this week:

  • Tuesday 16th | Come for a stroll around 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 (16.00).
  • Wednesday 17th | 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 18th | 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, as you can see in the video above, 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).
  • Friday 19th | 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 | in the Spanish League, Barça vs Sevilla (on Saturday, kick-off 20.45) is a clash between the two at the top of the table, with Barça currently a point behind their visitors after eight games. A win would set them up nicely for the next game — Barça vs Real Madrid (October 28).