Facade of Instit d'Estudis Catalans

©Esme Fox/Lonely Planet

Institut d’Estudis Catalans

El Raval

The Institute for Catalan Studies sits in the 17th-century Casa de Convalescència, once part of the Antic Hospital de la Santa Creu. The building, especially the entrance vestibule, is richly decorated with ceramic tiles. Visitors can peek at the courtyard, with its statue of St Paul, from the doorway, but to explore further in you'll have to book a guided tour (€8; www.sternalia.com; 93 170 17 97).

Up on the 1st floor at the far end is what was once an orange garden, now named after Catalan novelist Mercè Rodoreda.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby El Raval attractions

1. Antic Hospital de la Santa Creu

0.04 MILES

Behind the Mercat de La Boqueria stands the Gothic Antic Hospital de la Santa Creu, which was once the city’s main hospital. Founded in 1401, it…

2. La Capella

0.09 MILES

The Antic Hospital de la Santa Creu's 15th-century former chapel is now an exhibition space, with frequent temporary exhibitions.

3. Centre de la Imatge

0.14 MILES

The Centre de la Imatge is an exhibition space that forms part of the Palau de la Virreina. It hosts mainly – but not exclusively – photography shows.

4. Palau de la Virreina

0.14 MILES

A rare example of post-baroque building in Barcelona, the Palau de la Virreina is a grand 18th-century rococo mansion (with some neoclassical elements)…

5. Mercat de la Boqueria

0.15 MILES

Barcelona's most central fresh-produce market is one of the greatest sound, smell and colour sensations in Europe. It's housed in a packed-out Modernista…

6. Església de Betlem

0.16 MILES

On La Rambla with Carrer del Carme, this church was constructed in baroque style for the Jesuits in the late 17th and early 18th centuries to replace a…


0.17 MILES

An extraordinary all-white, glass-fronted creation by American architect Richard Meier, opened in 1995, the MACBA has become the city's foremost…

8. Museu de l’Eròtica

0.18 MILES

Observe what naughtiness people have been getting up to since ancient times in this museum, with historical relics such as Indian bas-reliefs showing…