Don’t miss Tarragona’s best festivals

If you love taking part in local events, then where is the best place to take a holiday in Spain? Many people would book a villa in Barcelona for events such as the Barcelona Carnival and La Mercè, but there’s actually another popular destination that’s giving Barcelona a run for its money: Tarragona.

 

Tarragona holds a number of annual festivals that really are great fun! See below for just a few.

Dixieland

Like Breda, Dresden, and Miskolc, Tarragona also hosts its own Dixieland festival, dedicated to classic, New Orleans-style jazz. The city has been hosting the events since 1994, with festivities taking place annually during the weekend before Easter. Keep in mind that the music carries on well into the night, so if you book a Spain villa near to any of the venues, such as the Premium Music Club or the Bar del Teatre Metropol, you may want to pack some earplugs in your luggage if you’re an ‘early-to-bed’ kind of person!

Fireworks

The Tarragona International Fireworks competition is one not to be missed! Usually taking place at the end of June, the world’s most talented fireworks designers and routine coordinators gather in the city to show the world just how it’s done. The main festivities take place on Playa del Miracle Beach, but the real beauty of this festival is that the fireworks can be seen from anywhere; from a local restaurant, from your luxury vacation rental in Spain, or from practically anywhere else in the city and surrounding areas.

 

Santa Tecla

The Santa Tecla festival in Tarragona lasts for a whopping 10 days, and there’s always something new to see and enjoy. The festivals typically includes movies, sports events, parties, music, and dance, but it is most famous for its human towers which are truly a sight to behold. Santa Tecla is one of just two Catalonia festivals that have been given declarations by the Spanish Government. The festival is considered to be of national and tourism interest, and is one of the hottest events in the calendar.

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Walking the Roman walls of Girona

Although many travelers love to relax in their villa with private pool in Spain, others are looking for a vacation in Spain that’s a little more active. The good news is that Catalonia offers the best of both worlds, with great places to relax, and a number of lively activities to really get the heart pumping. One of the best things to do if you’re an activity lover is to walk the old Roman walls of Girona.

Passeig de la Muralla

The pathway created by the Roman walls is known as ‘Passeig de la Muralla’, and experts believe that some sections of the wall date as far back as the first century! However, many portions of the wall are actually much newer and were restored following intentional destruction, which enabled the city of Girona to expand. There are a number of entry and exit points along the path, but taking in the entire 3-kilometer wall is recommended. (You can rest your legs at your villa in Spain at the end of the day!)

One of the best advantages of walking the Roman walls of Girona is that you can see the entire town — and even further afield — from the spectacular vantage points. The iconic cathedral is one of the most prominent sights from the walls, and in the distance you can see the snow capped peaks of the Pyrenees.

Visiting Girona

Girona is located about a 1.5-hour drive from Barcelona, so while it’s a trip that can be done in a day from your Barcelona villa, you may want to allow for a little more time to explore, especially if you plan on walking the Roman walls. Fortunately, there are some great Spain vacation rentals in this part of Catalonia, so why not extend your stay and stop for a night in this beautiful and historic city?

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Where to golf in Catalonia

With heaps of world-class golf courses and stunning coastal views, Catalonia is the perfect place to take a golf vacation in Spain. Whether you are planning on a birdie or a hole in one, here are a few worthy suggestions for your next golf holiday in Spain.

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PGA Catalunya Resort

PGA Catalunya Resort

Located due south of the Catalonian city of Girona, the PGA Catalunya Golf Resort is one of the most well-known in the region; in fact the Stadium Course has been ranked the top golf course in Spain and has achieved top 10 status throughout Europe. The course opened in 1999 and has since become a venue for many of the European PGA  tournaments. The stunning landscape features tree-lined fairways, hidden bunkers, and tranquil lakes. If you find the Stadium Course too challenging, try the picturesque Tour Course, suitable for all levels and sprinkled with lakes and pine trees.

Club Golf D’Aro – Mas Nou

If you like your golf course with a side of sea views, Club Golf D’Aro could be just what you are looking for. With 18 holes, two golf courses, and nine pitch-and-putt holes, there is something for everyone. Located close to the popular Catalan beach resort of Platja D’Aro the course is more than 300 metres above sea level, surrounded by a natural park filled with cork, pine, and olive trees and two artificial lakes. Between holes, admire the spectacular sea views from the fairways before you navigate your buggy to the next tee.

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Lumine Mediterranea Beach Club & Golf Community

Lumine Mediterranea Beach Club & Golf Community

This golf course has not two, but three golf courses and 45 holes in total. Situated close to villas on the Costa Dorada, the courses encompass 170 hectares in total. Try to avoid becoming distracted by the sheer abundance of nature, wetlands, archaeological ruins, and the sea views – be aware your score card may suffer!

Club de Golf Peralada

With a backdrop of the Pyrenees, it’s easy to see why Club de Golf Peralada is so popular. This 18-hole, par 71 course is located in the northern Costa Brava in Emporda, a 10-minute drive from the French border. The golf course is competition level and also has a great pitch-and-putt academy that can be enjoyed year round.

If you are fortunate enough to be staying in a holiday rental on the Costa Brava, Maresme, or Costa Dorada, there are world-class golf courses right on your doorstep. On your next visit to Catalonia, don’t forget to pack your clubs!

 

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A bird’s eye view of Barcelona

A few of the best ways to see the city of Barcelona include walking the historic streets of the Barri Gotic and strolling around the more modern plazas of the neighbourhood of Eixample. But what if you want alternative views of the city? What if there was a way to view Barcelona villas, shops, statues, and structures from the sky? Well there is! In fact, there are actually a few ways to get a bird’s eye view of the city of Barcelona.

Port Vell Tramway

The Port Vell Aerial Tramway was opened in 1931, but the original cabins are still in use today, which makes this a very interesting and historic attraction in the city. The base station location in Barcelona is very convenient at La Barceloneta, and the 1,303-meter long line transports visitors from the coast to the top of Montjuïc for truly breathtaking views. The entire ride provides great views along the way, especially of the harbour, and if it’s clear you can even see as far as far as the Sagrada Familia and the Hospital de Sant Pau. If you’re not too fond of heights, don’t worry — a single ride only lasts five to 10 minutes in total.

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Montjuïc Cable Car

Many visitors on holiday in Barcelona think that the Port Vell Tramway and the Montjuïc Cable Car are the same thing, but actually they’re two very different and distinct attractions. Opened in 1970, the Montjuïc Cable Car travels between Montjuïc Park and Montjuïc Castle near the mountain’s summit. Not only is it an excellent way to reach the castle without tiring out your legs, it’s also an amazing opportunity to get a different view of the city below. The ride takes just five minutes, but thanks to the glass-encased cabins, this is all the time you need to enjoy the views and take some great pictures.

City Views

Don’t forget that there’s another great way to enjoy a unique view of Barcelona, too: from your airplane! Thanks to the airport’s convenient location just along the coast from Montjuïc, you’ll enjoy some spectacular views at the start and end of your holiday in Spain without having to leave your seat!

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A guide to Picasso’s Barcelona

There are many reasons why travellers choose to take a holiday in Spain; everything from the fine weather to the glorious coastal resorts of Catalonia. However, Spain, and Barcelona in particular, is also known as being a top vacation destination for art lovers, who flock here to get a feel for Picasso’s Barcelona.

Although Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga in the south of Spain and spent much of his life in France, it is widely reported that he considered Barcelona to be his true home. The Picasso family decided to buy a house in Barcelona at a time when the city was ready and willing to start embracing some of the more radical movements, and Cubist Picasso easily found his place here, essentially launching his career in the city.

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Picasso’s art

Picasso underwent his famous ‘blue period’ in Barcelona, and many of his blue-tinted artworks are inspired by his life in the city. One of his most well-known depictions of Barcelona is, of course, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (currently on display at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art), which shows the more sinful side of historic city life. The street depicted in the artwork, Carrer D’Avinyo, is still around, and you can easily visit it from your Barcelona villa in the beautiful, cobbled Barri Gotic neighbourhood.

Castle-like interior of one of our villas
Castle-like interior of one of our villas

Picasso Museum & other areas of interest

Opened in 1963, the Picasso Museum has a great, central location in Barcelona, and displays 4,251 pieces of Picasso artwork. However, there are many more Picasso-related sights and attractions in the city. The Barcelona Ceramics Museum houses a few pieces, while the National Museum of Catalan Art houses Woman in Hat and Fur Collar, which is one of many paintings Picasso did of his mistress, Marie-Thérèse Walter. Finally, it’s well worth stopping for lunch at the 4 Cats Tavern, which is where Picasso held his very first exhibition. Today, it’s a popular gastrobar serving up mouthwatering Spanish cuisine.

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Walking Las Ramblas

Whatever sort of Barcelona accommodation you choose and wherever it is, chances are you’ll be a walk or train ride away from Las Ramblas, a large, central shopping street in the city that’s a big hit with visitors.

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Understanding Las Ramblas

Contrary to popular belief, Las Ramblas isn’t actually a single street. In fact, it’s made up of lots of smaller streets: Rambla de Canaletes, Rambla dels Estudis, Rambla de Sant Josep, Rambla dels Caputxins, and Rambla de Santa Mònica. There is plenty to see along these streets, and lots of shopping and dining, too.

What to see and do

Even if you’re only in Barcelona on holiday for a few days, you should try to find time to walk Las Ramblas as it’s arguably one of the biggest attractions in the city. If you love shopping, then La Boqueria market is definitely worth checking out. It sells all manner of goods, but the vibrant colours of the fresh fruits and vegetables are what really makes this place noteworthy. If you’re in a self-catering villa in Barcelona, you’ll certainly find some delicious foods to pick up for dinner while browsing in this open-air market.

 

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There are plenty of sights along Las Ramblas, too, including the beautiful and breathtaking architecture of the historic Liceu Theatre and Virreina Palace, and monuments such as the Columbus Monument at the end of the street, and the ornate Font de Canaletes fountain, both of which are excellent photo points.

An easy stroll

The entirety of Las Ramblas stretches for three quarters of a mile, from Plaça de Catalunya to Port Vell, so it’s a nice easy stroll and a return trip can easily be completed in a morning or afternoon (although with so much to see and do, it’s worth allocating a little longer for your walk). Lace up your walking shoes and enjoy a light stroll away from your vacation rental in Barcelona.

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