Exploring Sant Feliu de Guíxols

Sant Feliu de Guíxols is known for its festivals and vibrant party atmosphere, especially during carnival season. Visitors come from all over Catalonia and Europe to join the festivities which take place during the summer months. If your Costa Brava vacation rental is nearby, a trip to this picturesque coastal town should be on your itinerary.

 

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The town can be reached via a dramatic clifftop drive from Tossa de Mar. The deep blue of the Mediterranean stretches out in front of you as you weave your way into Sant Feliu de Guixols. There is plenty to see and do in the town: It’s a thriving port area, and essentially it’s economy derives from here and its solid cork industry.

The centrally located monastery is home to the town’s museum and allows visitors a unique look into the maritime history of Sant Feliu. The interior of the monastery is striking with an arched nave and stained glass windows.

The heart of the town is the Plaça del Mercat, the hub of San Feliu with fruit and vegetable markets taking place each morning. The main town market showcases its wares on Sunday mornings along the passeig, during which the locals come out in force to enjoy coffee and churros while catching up on the gossip of the week on the promenade.

 

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With a coastline spanning more than six miles it’s unsurprising that this area has many delightful, secluded coves which are surrounded by pine, cork, and oak forests. It’s a wonderful place in which to walk, sunbathe ,and swim and suited for everyone in the family. If you fancy a light lunch or a beverage, try the local bar built in a cave which serves snacks, tapas, and drinks.

In addition to the markets, monasteries, beaches, and cave bars, Sant Feliu de Guixols has an old railway station to explore, many historical residences, and a take a look at Casino la Constancia: The architecture and colour scheme alone will make you want to grab your camera!

Sant Feliu is a wonderful day trip to take from your Costa Brava vacation rental: It is alive with colour, vibrant stalls, and beaches with stunning backdrops – what more could you possibly ask for?

 

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Where to find the best views of Barcelona

Everyone who visits or rents a villa in Barcelona wants to know the best place to capture the photographs and memories of a lifetime. There are many well-known tourist areas like Montjuïc Mountain and Mount Tibidabo from which to gain the perfect city-scape photograph, but what about the lesser known areas? Here are a few ideas that detail a few secret spots where you can capture the most fabulous views of the city.

 

The Roof Terrace of the Palau Nacional

MNAC, otherwise known as the National Museum of Art Catalunya, is a spectacular structure on its own, but if you venture onto its rooftop terrace you will gain some of the best views of Barcelona. It costs a couple of euros to reach the high terrace but once there you can see everything from Plaça d’Espanya to the Sagrada Familia and the Magic Fountains of Montjuïc mountain.

 

Las Arenas

Close to MNAC is the old bullring of Las Arenas located at the opposite side of Plaça d’Espanya. It’s now a shopping centre but the rooftop terrace has great views of the Palau Nacional and the city. The bonus to this terrace is that it is home to an abundance of trendy bars and restaurants so you can happily sip a glass of wine while enjoying the views.

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Park Güell

One of the most iconic photographs of Barcelona features the vibrantly coloured mosaics and undulating curves of Gaudi’s Park Güell in the foreground and the city roof tops and the Mediterranean Sea in the distance. Although you have to pay to get into the Monumental Zone of the park, some other views from the park won’t cost you a euro.

 

Teleferic del Port

If you are a keen photographer and wish to capture an aerial view of the city, then you need to ride  the cable car! It travels over 100 metres above sea level from the beach of Barceloneta to the summit of Montjuïc, and you will see everything from the bustling port to Las Ramblas and all of the streets in between.

 

Turo de la Rovira

This place is a heritage site sitting behind the city on the mountainside and hosts the most incredible panoramas of this vibrant metropolis. The area is also a great place for lovers of military history as it was home to an anti-aircraft battery during the civil war in Spain.

 

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Sagrada Familia Towers

From in between Gaudi’s famous towers you can see the tree lined streets of the Eixample district with its rich red and terracotta rooftops and many of the city’s wonderful attractions.

 

Torre de Collserola

This spot offers a full 360-degree panoramic view and is situated in the Serra de Collserola Natural Park, close to the telecommunications tower. You can climb up the tower platforms or admire the vistas from the park. It offers similar views to the ones you will gain from Mount Tibidabo but is more open and you avoid the tourist crowds.

 

There are also many rooftop bars that offer fabulous views of the city, but the spots above are some of the most unusual places that are close and easy to access from your Barcelona accommodation.

 

 

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Discovering the Old Town of Reus

Reus is often overlooked by travelers to the region of Catalonia. Located on the Costa Dorada, it is known for being the town with the local airport which serves tourist resorts such as Salou and Cambrils. The bustling, picturesque town is filled with outdoor cafes and a relaxed atmosphere. When you book your villa with a private pool in Costa Dorada, keep Reus in mind for a potential day trip.

 

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Reus is close to the coast, just 10 km inland and closest to the popular resort of Salou. Reus is the home town of Antoni Gaudi, the famous modernist architect from Catalonia who created some of Barcelona’s best known masterpieces. Most examples of his work are found in Barcelona; however many other architects from this area have followed suit, creating modernist works in Reus. There is a route that passes through the town that showcases the best in modernist architecture.

If you are fortunate enough to visit in June, this is when the huge town fiesta takes place. Live music and parades are around every corner, and entertainers line the streets. Try to catch the Catalonian tradition of castells: human towers!

 

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The bars and restaurants in the town specialize in tapas, and if you are traveling on a budget the menu of the day (menu del dia) is a very reasonable solution which includes a starter, main dish and sometimes dessert and/or coffee. Pretty parasols line the cobbled archways and streets inviting you to stay a while and soak up the town. Sit, enjoy and indulge in a tinto de verano (summer wine) which is made from red wine, lime juice and casera. It’s a refreshing drink and perfect for a summer afternoon.

 

Fortunately, it is really easy to visit Reus even if you don’t have a car. Public transport takes approximately 30 minutes and runs from Salou, La Pineda and Cambrils. If you are holidaying in a Catalonia villa rental close by, make some time to discover Reus.

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Are private vacation rentals causing hotel bookings to plummet?

There is nothing to stop the savvy entrepreneur from turning their Spain vacation rental into a unique boutique hotel. With short-term rental websites assisting in this process it has never been easier for vacant properties to make a substantial rental income. Many tourists are turning to independent holiday rental accommodations rather than hotels for sheer flexibility, plus if a large party is traveling together, it makes financial sense to book a six-bedroom villa rather than six costly hotel rooms.

 

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Holiday rental accommodations from websites such as Airbnb are doubling in rentals each year as hotel bookings remain stagnant, increasing by just a fraction. It is clear to see from the rapid success of such holiday rental websites that the cost and flexibility of renting an independent property is becoming increasingly popular.

Not only do visitors gain the opportunity to immerse themselves in local cultures in ways that hotels don’t allow, but they also are not constricted to mealtimes, price supplements for single or multiple travelers, and have the flexibility to live as they choose.

If you decide that you would like to make an income from renting out your vacation villa in Barcelona but don’t know how to begin, it’s always good to do a little preliminary research. With bookings of hotels subsiding and more people looking at renting a vacation villa, there has never been a better time to make the transition.

 

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If you only travel to your Catalonia villa twice a year, consider letting it out especially during peak season. Much of your annual mortgage could potentially be covered by your rental property. Obviously there are things to consider such as cleaning, property management, and insurance, but a friendly rental agent will be able to keep you on the right track with off-season necessities.

By the year 2020 there will be a tipping point where independent holiday lettings will overshadow hotel bookings. Don’t miss out on the rental boom if you think you may like to buy a house in Spain as it’s as good a time as any to buy to let!


Blanes: The gateway to the Costa Brava

Blanes was originally an old fishing town located approximately one hour north of Barcelona. The modern-day beach town is also just 50 minutes from Girona making it easily accessible from both of the region’s major airports. If you rent a villa on the Costa Brava it’s the ideal place to explore with all of the family. With over 4 kilometres of sandy beaches, characterful coves, and a town centre steeped in history, it is worth adding a day here to your travel itinerary.

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The Beach

The main attraction in Blanes for families is the beach. A pretty promenade flanks the entire coastline which is dotted with shops, bars, and restaurants. On Cala de San Francesc and Playa de Sabanell you can sign up for boats trips, hire sun loungers, and indulge in a multitude of water sports such as windsurfing, paragliding, sailing, and jet-skiing. Playa de Capellans is perfect for diving as the area of Santa Ana Point is particularly abundant with marine life.

 

The Gardens

Blanes is blessed with two wonderful botanical gardens with more than 11,000 species of plants such as aloes, cacti, and yucca palm plants. These gardens, popular with visitors to the town, exide natural beauty, shade, and seclusion which contrasts with the hustle and bustle of Blanes.

 

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The Culture

In addition to the archaeological ruins in the town centre and the myriad of shops, restaurants, and local bars, Blanes also hosts many markets and festivals throughout the year. Climb the hillside to the Castle of San Juan to visit the chapel and fortress, and enjoy views over the town, golden beaches, and azure Mediterranean Sea. If you do climb the steep walk to the top, remember to bring plenty of sunscreen as there aren’t many shaded areas – and don’t forget your camera!

If you are staying close to Blanes or a short drive or train ride away, take a day trip from your Costa Brava vacation rental to the charming coastal city of Blanes.

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