Adventure sports in the Catalan Pyrenees

In the mountains of the Pyrenees in the northern Spanish region of Catalonia, there are a multitude of adventure sports to enjoy. If you plan on staying in a villa in Catalonia close to this area then you can look forward to partaking in some exhilarating water sports! There are many places in the Catalonian Pyrenees to indulge in these dynamic sporting activities. Here are the best places to find them.

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Private pool at a mountain villa

Noguera Pallaresa

This area is the best place for rafting and kayaking in the Pyrenees and possibly Europe. This river has over 40km to enjoy, plus there are different stretches of the river, each adding a challenging dimension to the experience. A good place to start your river rafting expedition is in the town of Sort, where you will find all of the information you need before you set off on your adventure.

The Garonne

Linking together the villages of Val d’Aran in the western Pyrenees, this river is a wonderful spot for whitewater rafting and for lovers of canyoning.

The Noguera Ribagorçana

This area is popular for quality of its waters. Dams and canyons flow into the river which makes it an ideal place to indulge in a variety of water sports.

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Llavorsi

The Catalonian Pyrenees area of Lleida is a go-to location that specialises in all adventure sports including canoeing, kayaking, white water rafting, canyoning and if you feel super daring, a little bit of bungee jumping!

If you have partaken in water sports activities on the coast close to your family villa on the Costa Brava and feel like it’s time for a change, take a drive to the Catalonian Pyrenees. In addition to all of the water sports on offer, there are also excellent places for hill walking, hiking and mountain biking.

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Exploring the Sarrià neighbourhood of Barcelona

Barcelona is one of those cities that is relatively easy to navigate on foot. It’s a sprawling yet compact metropolis with many diverse and interesting neighbourhoods to explore, each with their own individual charm. If you are staying in a Barcelona accommodation, one of the areas you should check out is Sarrià.

Until 1921 Sarrià was an independent town in the suburbs of Barcelona until extensive urban development brought it into the city fold. The area is famed for upmarket homes, luxury shops, and fabulous restaurants. In fact, some of the most popular bars and restaurants in Barcelona are located in this neighbourhood of the city. In addition to its trendy vibe, Sarrià retains an original flavour and unique personality of its own.

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There are numerous green areas, and its proximity to the Collserola natural park means the area is a huge draw for city dwellers who wish to find the balance between city life and nature. There are Catalan food markets, typical century-old shops, and many nods to the Catalan Modernisme period.

One area to explore is Casa Bellesguard. Photographers will adore this location as it boasts some of the best vistas of Barcelona. Casa Bellesguard was designed and constructed by Gaudí and it is said that the original medieval structures were an inspiration for his new tower.

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No trip to Sarrià would be complete without a visit to the local market. It was founded more than one century ago and originally served to provide the local community with food. This is the heart of Sarrià: colourful stalls and produce tasting makes this a fun way to spend any morning.

Take a walk to Carrer Major, a street that embodies the spirit of the original town where you will discover many of the oldest houses in the city. The Catalan elite and many artists, writers, and poets would come here to build their homes, some of which can still be seen in the passageways close to Plaça de Sant Vicenç and Passatge de Mallofré.

It is worth straying off the beaten track and away from the main tourist attractions to get a true taste of the city and its inhabitants. If you decide to venture here from your holiday rental in Barcelona, you are in for a real treat.


Why property buyers are looking at the Costa Brava

In recent years the property market in the northeast corner of Spain has experienced a resurgence, with investors and property seekers exploring the property offerings in the Costa Brava’s picturesque coastal enclaves and inland medieval towns and villages. So what can you expect to get for your money if you are looking to buy a house in Spain, especially in this region of Catalonia?

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The first thing a property buyer will look for is appreciation, distance from airports ,and rentability. It’s not all about coastal properties either, as some of the quaint interior villages rent for a premium in the summer months which also makes them a good buy for the investor or expatriate.

This area of Catalonia is not cheap; it attracts the more discerning clientele. However, if you look hard enough, you can pick up a wonderful 2- or 3-bedroom villa tucked away among pine trees with a backdrop of mountains just a few moments from the coast for a reasonable price.

One of the most popular areas for foreign purchases on the Costa Brava is the charming old town of Begur. It’s walking distance to stunning beaches, has a character and warmth that visitors love, and its pièce de résistance is an ancient castle ripe for exploration. Plus, properties close to here offer really good rental potential. The town is a regular on the festival circuit which ensures that rentability is high for many weeks of the year.

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Another very popular resort for foreign purchasers on the Costa Brava is Llafranc. This pretty coastal town with old world charm has a beautiful beach, exquisite restaurants and coastal walks, and is family friendly – and more importantly, it’s less than an hour’s drive from Girona Airport. You can invest in a 3-bedroom semi-detached house with sea views or a luxury apartment just 500 metres from the beach.

If you are seeking a buy-to-let property in Spain or simply looking to purchase a property for holiday rental on the Costa Brava, these are a few areas that should be considered.

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Is Girona becoming the new foodie paradise?

The charming city of Girona with beautiful architecture has put the Catalonia town on the map as a destination to visit. As of late, Girona is beginning to rival cities like Barcelona, Tarragona, Valencia, and Madrid when it comes to putting their stamp on the culinary map. From simple haute cuisine to rustic Catalan cooking, Girona has it all. If you are thinking of booking your vacation rental in Spain close to this inland city, then here are some of the best restaurants you will find in the area.

 

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Les Magnolies

The cuisine comprises a seasonal market menu, created with cutting edge techniques and attention to detail like never before. The presentation is exquisite art on a plate – and the tasting menu is well worth booking up in advance for. Prices are on the mid to high side, however as the restaurant achieved its first Michelin star in 2012 you can expect nothing more. With a new top chef on board this year, this fabulous eatery continues to go from strength to strength.

El Celler de Can Roca

This exceptional restaurant is the brainchild of the three Roca brothers. Their passion began when they were young as their parents owned and ran a restaurant in one of the Girona neighbourhoods. Their gastronomic ethos is deeply rooted in their ancestry using traditional methods and recipes coupled with avant-garde cuisine.

Occi Restaurant

A traditional Catalan restaurant with a contemporary décor and a penchant for fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Expect plates of Iberian ham, cod fish, prawn carpaccio and many more innovative dishes.

 

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Nu Restaurant

An elegant and stylish restaurant which is aesthetically pleasing with clean lines and neutral décor. The food lover is fully catered for as they serve a fusion of Mediterranean and International cuisine which delights and inspires.

Divinum vins i formatges

Divinum vins i formatges is a beautiful restaurant located in the heart of Girona. Decorated with exposed brickwork arches, classic white linen table cloths and black and white photographs throughout, the ambiance is both charming and relaxed. The menu specialises in Catalan locally sourced food, fused with a variety of intriguing herbs and spices from all around the world.

If you fancy a night off cooking and your Catalonia villa rental is close to Girona then make it your mission to sample one of these amazing restaurants.

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