Attention shop-a-holics: Barcelona’s best shopping!

One of the must-do´s when you travel, especially on a Barcelona holiday, is to check out the local shopping scene. That being said, there are many tourist-oriented shops that tend to be rather overpriced, gaudy, and incredibly generic. We know that on your Barcelona vacation, you want to have the most authentic shopping experience possible, so we´ve put together a great list of some of the best shops in Barcelona, organized by neighborhood. Be sure to check them out soon though, because due to the rising cost of rent, 2015 may be the last year that these gems stay open for business!

There are plenty of neighborhoods in the city of Barcelona that are worth exploring. In the old city (Ciutat Vella), La Boqueria–one of the most amazing food markets in the world–is located just off the busy thoroughfare of La Rambla. At the open-air market, food lovers can unite and enjoy some of the freshest Spanish foods available. Just across La Rambla is the old and beautiful neighborhood of Barri Gótic where there are plenty of interesting and one-of-a-kind boutiques in Barri Gótic. Cereria Subirá is a 250-year-old candle shop that has truly stood the test of time.

La Boqueria
La Boqueria

If you´re a music lover, El Raval is your dream neighborhood come true. The area on the south side of La Rambla is full of local music shops, but the biggest one is Discos Castelló, which is filled to the brim with some of the world´s best vinyl. If you feel like pampering yourself, Les Topettes has the finest bath and body products.

La Ribera used to be a textile district, but now it is home to artisan boutiques that make their products on an upstairs mezzanine, ensuring the utmost authenticity.

If you happen to be near the beach, you´ll be sure to find some treasures in the crafts market in Port Vell in Barceloneta!

Passeig de Gracia
Passeig de Gracia

If you want the ultimate luxury experience, L´Eixample has the higher-end retail, such as Armani, Chanel, and Gucci. Even futher into the neighborhood of Grácia, you can find incredibly unique clothing stores such as Érase Una Vez, and Mushi Mushi among many other local boutiques.

There are countless stores that are worth visiting during your Barcelona holiday, but unfortunately, they won´t be around forever. Take this chance and check them out while you still can!


Sant Joan: The most meaningful beach party of the year!

If you´re lucky enough to be taking a Spain holiday in one of our Barcelona holiday rentals on 23 June, then get ready to experience one of the most unforgettable festivals in the world!

The feast of Sant Joan is a truly unique Catalonian holiday that welcomes summer by celebrating the summer solstice. In Catalonia, the sun represents fertility and wealth, thus bonfires and fireworks are on display as symbols of strength and energy for the coming season. The original flame is ignited in the town of Cangió in northern Catalonia, and it is welcomed with different ceremonies as it travels through the districts of Catalonia. Once it arrives in the city of Barcelona, the president of national parliament and other personalities welcome the flame to the city in a formal ceremony.

There are three symbols of Sant Joan: water, herbs, and, of course, fire. Water represents healing, and for that reason it is a great opportunity to bathe yourself in the therapeutic salt waters of the sea. Herbs represent remedy, and it is very common for people to pick herbs during this time of the year. Fire symbolizes purity, which is why fires line the beach during the festival.

Beach festivities of Sant Joan
Beach festivities of Sant Joan

The official food of Sant Joan is the Coca, similar to a special kind of flatbread, and it comes in many flavors, both sweet and savory. The common ingredient in both varieties is anise, which gives the coca a distinct, somewhat spicy flavor. On the day and night of the festival, macaroons and herbs with ice will be handed out for free along the beaches to help celebrate the feast!

Coca de Sant Joan
Coca de Sant Joan

The most famous feature of the Sant Joan festival is the beach party that lasts through the entire night. If you want to admire the festivities in a quieter setting, head up to the top of Montjuïc and admire the amazing celebration from above! The day after the festival, everyone rests and shops will be closed on the regional holiday.

The beaches of Barceloneta will begin filling up on the evening of 23 June, so grab some friends and family, perhaps a few bottles of cava and a blanket, and head to the beach to experience one of the most incredible festivals of the year! If you’ve booked one of our Barcelona holiday rentals, we hope that you enjoy taking part in this amazing feast!


More than just a beach: Barcelona’s best July festivals!

Think summer in Barcelona means only sun and beaches? Think again! Barcelona has much more to offer in than just sand and salty turquoise water. A plethora of unmatched music festivals, an open-air cinema, a start-up fair, a motorcycle festival, and even a tap-dancing festival take place in the Mediterranean city come July.

The vast selection of music festivals held in Barcelona is sure to strike a chord with almost anyone. The shows range from rock and reggae to hip hop and electronic, drawing crowds from all over Europe, and even the world! From mid-July to mid-August, the Cap Roig Festival in the province of Girona features more than 20 national and international musical artists including Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett, and Sting.

Festa Major Gracia
Street festival in Barcelona

Festival Cruïlla is another massive music festival from July 10 to July 12 that caters to all musical tastes: reggae, hip hop, punk rock, electronic, you name it! It certainly takes the gold medal for the most well-rounded music festival in Barcelona.

Barcelona-Beach-Festival-2014

 

Hard Rock Rising Barcelona will take over the city on July 24 and 25, and will feature more mainstream acts including Kings of Leon, Robbie Williams, and Lenny Kravitz.

If you’re searching for more than just music, there are plenty of cultural festivals including Festival Grec (throughout the month of July) and Festival Castell de Peralada (July 10–August 6). There are even some themed festivals that cater to a passionate niche crowd: Harley Davidson hosts The Harley Days the first weekend of July that occupies Plaça d´Espaya, and it´s open to the public for free!

If you’re searching for a more relaxing way to unwind in this exciting city, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evening from July 3–August 7, the castle atop Montjuïc opens its gardens and hosts a cinema night, setting the perfect scene for a peaceful family outing.

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This brief list is just a taste of what Barcelona has to offer during the summer month of July. If you’re heading to Catalonia this summer, the opportunities for outdoor enjoyment will not disappoint.


Barcelona: An exhilarating place, both inside and out(doors)

Finding excitement in Barcelona is not just for those who love a big city; there are a multitude of different outdoor activities that this amazing area has to offer during your holiday.

 

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Of course, Barcelona´s beaches need no explanation: With more than 6 kilometers of bright blue Mediterranean shoreline, the Barcelona beach is a classic outdoor option. It seems like seven wonders of the world. What makes this beach truly special is the array of art and activities that are available such as the Biblioplatja (beach library) where you can borrow reading books to help you pass the time as you soak up the sun.

 

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If you want a more active beach experience, you can exercise on the outdoor gyms and admire the famous art and architecture that line the coast. While you´re at it, you can even take a windsurfing course on the Mediterranean Sea at Base Naútica! When it comes to surfing and skating, Barcelona is legendary. The large MACBA skate park in Raval district will provide an unforgettable skating experience.

 

If you´re into rock climbing or hiking, Barcelona´s very own Montjuïc serves as one of the best opportunities in the city to experience stunning Spanish scenery. At the top of the mountain, there is a beautiful castle that turns into a unique outdoor cinema in July.

 

You can also escape the buzz of the city street to relax in a row boat in Parc de la Ciutadella, surrounded by ornamental gardens and Gaudi´s grandiose waterfall. There are also urban safaris offered by the Jane Goodall Institute that are fun for all ages, and show off the incredible flora and fauna that bless the region.

 

If you prefer more relaxing activities, you can observe Sardanes, Catalonia´s national dance, in Plaça de Catedral. It involves gently bobbing in a linked circle of people, and it can seem hypnotizing when it is performed with large group. As well as dancing, Barcelona has enjoyable music concerts in Parc Central de Poblenou and El Turó Park.

 

Clearly, Barcelona has a wide array of activities to please all tastes. For this reason, Barcelona remains unmatched as the most well-rounded vacation destination!

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