Your social programme in Barcelona this week

The transformation of Via Laietana

Come with us on our social programme this week and discover quite a lot about Barcelona's fascinating history.

  • Tuesday 14th | 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 15th | 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 16th | 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 17th | 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 | Spanish League, Barça vs Valencia (Sunday, kick-off 20.45).

Come for a stroll down the Ramblas with us


Come with us for a stroll down the Ramblas, Wednesday | Photo: Tom Walton

It's one of those crazy weeks in Barcelona when (because of the football) people either don't mention the subject or else just go completely bonkers. Not edifying. Meanwhile, on our social programme:

  • Tuesday 7th | Come with us today to explore the bohemian district of Gracia [map]: interesting history, lovely architecture, great bars (and, in August, a great festa major)! We'll also be pass by one of the less well-known Gaudí works, the Casa Viçens, though it's currently largely obscured by tarpaulins for restoration work (16.00).
  • Wednesday 8th | 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 (16.00).
  • Thursday 9th | 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).
  • Friday 10th | Join us on the terrace and in the bar after class today for our 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 | Champions ), Barça vs PSG (Wednesday, kick-off 20.45; last 16, return leg), with Barça 0-4 down (!) after an embarrassing trashing in Paris and a mountain to climb: such a disadvantage has never before been overturned at this stage in the Champions history.

Get yourself to a bar with a large TV screen just in case the impossible occurs [content in Catalan]!

This week in Barcelona: the good, the great and the ugly


Street art by @guate.mao in the Born | Photo: Tom Walton

We've got one of our favourite Barcelona barrios and one of its most fascinating artistic periods on our social programme this week. On this week as well, two Barça home games and our least favourite annual event.

  • Tuesday 28th | 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. Some cool street art, too, if you keep your eyes open (16.00)!
  • Wednesday 1st | Although the most noticeable manifestation of Catalan modernism was architecture (come with us tomorrow for that!), there was also a flowering of painting and sculpture and decorative arts like ironwork and ceramic tiles. Come along with us this afternoon to the Museo del Modernismo de Barcelona and find out more (16.00, entrance €8).
  • Thursday 2nd | 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!). See also some of the cool pictures to be found on the official Sagrada Familia Instagram feed. It's definitely not something to be missed so why not come with us today (entrance €15; 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 | Spanish League, Barça vs Sporting (Wednesday, kick-off 19.30) and Barça vs Celta (Saturday, kick-off 20.45)

It's also the week of one of the major, annual embarrassments to Barcelona as a city: the Mobile World Congress (February 27th-March 2). Expect to see a lot of limos transporting filthy rich young men behaving badly from posh restaurants to exclusive discos and to find no room at any of Barcelona's many, unnecessary five-star hotels. Of minus zero benefit to your average Barcelona citizen.

Barcelona: a city of contrasts (and wild boar)

Quick!!!! Where's my spear?

Running wild in Barcelona | Photo: Tom Walton

One of the things we love about Barcelona is the contrast between its different districts. Come and see what we mean on our social programme this week:

  • Tuesday 21st | 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 (16.00) !
  • Wednesday 22nd | 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. Not a trip for philistines (16.00) 😉 !
  • Thursday 23rd | We have a stroll round the Barrio Gótico today, taking you to see some of the hidden corners you might otherwise miss. Come with us and explore (and see also these other hidden corners of Barcelona, in other barrios).
  • Friday 24th | 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.

Also this week | In the Spanish League, Barça, embarrassed by PSG in the Champions last week, are away to Atlético Madrid on Sunday, kick-off 16.15).

Barcelona, the old and the new, and the Modernista bit in the middle

Torre Agbar

The Torre Agbar, one of Barcelona's most distinctive landmarks | Photo: Tom Walton

On our social programme this week, we've got old Barcelona for you (Tuesday) and the new, post-Olympics city (Wednesday) — with the fabulous Modernista one, from the late-19th/early 20th century, thrown in as well (Thursday).

  • Tuesday 14th | 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 15th | 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, to become a large park) (16.00).
  • Thursday 16th | 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. Interesting, and not all of them by Gaudí (16.00)!
  • Friday 17th | We have a special St Valentine's Day Friday Club for you this week, three days late of course, but hey, love is for ever, right 😉 ? 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, last-16 tie, PSG vs Barça (Tuesday, kick-off 20.45); Spanish League, Barça vs Leganes (Sunday, kick-off 20.45).

For the PSG game, you'll want a bar with a big screen (content in Catalan).