Come with us Thursday to visit the Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia yesterday (look at the colour of that "winter" sky!) | Photo: Tom Walton

If you came with us on our social programme last week, you'd have come for a walk with us down the Via Laietana, which was ploughed through the old city just over 100 years ago. This week — Tuesday and Wednesday — we going exploring on either side of Laietana. Come along, and don't miss Thursday's trip, either!

  • Tuesday 29th | 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 30th | Our walk this afternoon takes us on to the other side of Via Laietana and round the barrios of La Ribera and 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).
  • Thursday 31st | 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? You could just look round the outside (amazing) with us but come inside, too (really amazing!). If you do want to go inside, note that entrance is €15 and you need to book a place by 16.00 on Tuesday (16.00).
  • Friday 1st | 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 | Two home games for Barça this week: in the Quarter Finals of the Copa, it's Barça vs Sevilla (Wednesday, kick-off 21.00), which could be interesting as Barça are 0-2 down after the first leg; and then in the League, there's Barça vs Valencia (Saturday, kick-off 18.30).

The buildings of Barcelona, their history and architecture

Casa Batllo

Casa Batllò: just one of the houses on Barcelona's most famous block | Photo: Tom Walton

Barcelona's buildings, and their history and architecture, probably one of the most fascinating things about the city. Come with us on our social programme this week and see:

  • Tuesday 22nd | 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, in the photo above); 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. Shoutout for the Casa Mulleras (Nº37, 1898-1906) by the astonishingly prolific Enric Sagnier (1858-1931) (16.00).
  • Wednesday 23rd | 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 24th | It's one of the things that makes Barcelona so amazing, isn't it — the contrast between the old and the newer, like what we saw Tuesday and Wednesday. Contrast that with what we'll see on today's walk, which takes us into the Call, the area of narrow streets (which is what Call means) just off the Plaça Sant Jaume that was Barcelona's historic Jewish quarter. One of the most medieval parts of the Barrio Gótico. Come with us and explore (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 this week to the Picasso Musuem and the MNAC


The Palacio Nacional, housing the MNAC's 1000 Years of Art | Photo: Tom Walton

If art is your thing, we've got a couple of trips on our social programme this week that you're going to love:

  • Tuesday 15th | 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).
  • Wednesday 16th | There's more spectacular art today for you at the Picasso Museum [website]. Which is Barcelona's best museum? Everyone has their own favourite but this one, in a lovely medieval palace [see also the virtual tour], is one not to be missed. Note that you need to sign up for this one, with entrance €12 (16.00).
  • Thursday 17th | It's the Festa Major [website (information in Catalan)] of the barrio of Sant Antoni, which is over on the other side of the Raval. Come along to the fiesta in one of Barcelona's less touristy districts (16.00).
  • Friday 18th | 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 Copa del Rey, it's Barça vs Levante (Thursday, kick-off 21.30), with the small matter of a 2-1 deficit for Barça to overcome; and then at the weekend, in La Liga, we have Barça vs Leganés (Sunday, kick-off 20.45).

Come with us to the Park Güell this Thursday!

Railings, Park Güell: come with us and see, Wednesday | Photo: Tom Walton

We're back to "normal" on our social programme this week, so we have our first Friday Club of 2019 if you'd like to join us for that:

  • Tuesday 8th | 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. It's Antoni Gaudí that got all the fame and credit for it, but we'll also be telling you about Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Lluís Domènech i Montaner (with an honourable mention for Enric Sagnier (16.00).
  • Wednesday 9th | 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).
  • Thursday 10th | One you just have to see, the Park Güell (that's "Park" with a "k" as Gaudí is said to have modelled it along English lines). Apart from the lovely Park itself, the view of Barcelona from the top is spectacular. More information on the Park Güell on Wikipedia and on the official Park Güell website. Note that you need to sign up for this one — by 16.00 on Tuesday! Entrance to the Park is €7.50 (16.00).
  • Friday 11th | Join us this evening for our first Friday Club language exchange of the New Year. 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 League, Barça vs Eibar (Sunday, kick-off 18.30).

Christmas in Barcelona: food, churches and Kings

The Three Kings, bringing you presents in Barcelona, provided you've been good | Photo: Tom Walton

Exceptionally, with Tuesday a holiday, we've got something for you today (Monday) on our social programme this week:

  • Monday 31st | 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. Especially interesting at this time of the year, both are also great places to go for lunch. Bring your camera (14.00)!
  • Tuesday 1st | Holiday
  • Wednesday 2nd | Apart from Sagrada Familia (see Thursday), the city has a number of other lovely churches. Come with us today to see the Joyas del Gótico, the "Gothic jewels" of Barcelona — the Cathedral and the wonderful churches of Santa María del Pí and Santa María del Mar, the latter the subject of a book we always recommend, La Catedral del Mar. Note that there's a €7 entrance fee to see the Nativity scene in the cathedral (16.00).
  • Thursday 3rd | Join us this afternoon on our trip down to the Plaza España to discover some of the traditions that come with a Spanish Christmas, when presents are traditionally brought not by Father Christmas on December 25th, but by the Three Kings on January 6th (watch out for the procession on the evening of the 5th, by the way).

Join us in Spanish Reception (C floor), unless otherwise stated, at the times given above. Note that, with school closing at 16.00 until January 7th (and at 14.00 on Monday 31st), there's no Friday Club this week.

See also The official tourist board has a great little guide to what's on in Barcelona in January, over at (large .pdf document)