The Ultimate Ibiza Detox

Sometimes all that is needed is to give your body the cleanse that it deserves to make you feel more alive, and what better place to have the intimate detox than the sunny, happy island of Ibiza. Why not book one of our villas with a pool in Ibiza and it won’t be long before you start to feel like your best self.

The first step is to stock up on a collection of fresh fruit and vegetables. No matter what town your Ibiza villa rental is in, you are likely to find a local market nearby selling the freshest of produce. Alternatively visit Can Musson, a family run farm where you can not only purchase fruit and veg but also homemade cakes and tea and coffee. If you can’t wait for a market, there are many ecological supermarkets in Ibiza.

 

Yoga is of abundance in Ibiza, and chances are you will be able to join in one of the free classes that are available. If you don’t mind splashing out a bit, there are some companies that run yoga classes on the beach in the morning, followed by a healthy, hearty breakfast.

Why not spend an afternoon out in the open air for an Ibiza walking tour. The majority of these tours are free, but rely on your donations to continue running. This is a great way to see the many sights of the island while still staying active and energised.

Hire accommodation in Ibiza near to the port of San Miguel and hire a kayak for an hour. Feel free to explore the shallow waters at your leisure and then relax on the beach. You can use the sand to exfoliate your feet and hands to get the smoothest skin around. If you want professional exfoliation, then there are plenty of spas in various towns that provide a range of treatments and leave you in ultimate relaxation.

Alternatively, if you don’t feel like going out, you can make use of your Ibiza holiday rental by soaking up the sun and enjoying fresh fruit, smoothies and salads.

 


The Best Loved Cake Shops in Barcelona

We all love a delicious slice of chocolate gateaux or a decadent macaron but Spain isn’t often known for its cakes, preferring to lead the way with tapas, seafood and cava. However, unbeknownst to many, Barcelona is actually a cake haven…here are a few of the best pastelerias you can explore from your Barcelona accommodation.

La Patisseria Barcelona

Vibrant, decadent cakes and pastries are the order of the day at La Patisseria. From the refreshing Llimona tart to a thousand layers with chocolate (mil fulls xocolata) expect to be here a while… You can also take away cakes and pastries to dine on in the comfort of your family villa in Spain.

Bubo Degustacions

Bubo is a group of bakeries and pastelerias dotted throughout Barcelona city centre. You can pre-order for parties and special occasions or simply dine in. The variety of bombons, macarons, pastries, petit fours and cakes are incredible – you will be spoiled for choice. Sip on coffee, take a slice and stay a while.

 

Cosmo

Cosmo is a café and space for contemporary artwork in Barcelona. Their carrot cake and hot chocolate with whipped cream are firm favourites of the locals.

 

 

 

Hoffman Patisseria

Close to Santa Maria del Mar church in the El Born district sits the quirky Hoffman Patisseria. Take away all of your favourites from here including crunchy tiramisu, delicious brioche, chocolate and vanilla cookies, decadent black forest gateau and much more.

 

Forn Baluard

If you seek some of the best bread, pies and pastries in the city then this is the place to be. Try their sourdough or even their dark chocolate and strawberry flavoured bread!

Takashi Ochiai

For something a little different, how about trying some sweet Japanese treats in Barcelona? With a menu of exclusive and traditional creations you can sample such decadent delights as Yokan Bambu which is a combination of green tea, sugar and sweet red bean paste or pasta filo pastry with cream and cherry cream glaze!

Coffee and cake is as popular in Barcelona as it is in France or Switzerland, it’s just a case of finding the best place for you. Hopefully this list will help you find a perfect bakery or pasteleria close to your Barcelona holiday rental.


The Best Kept Secrets Of Barcelona Beach Places

A holiday in Barcelona is a dream for many and why not with one of the highest ranked beaches in Europe and umpteen historical and heritage spots to visit. The beach, of course, is a great attraction to anyone visiting the city. However, during the summer months, the central Barcelona beach is likely to be overcrowded with people everywhere and not much free space. There are of course some secret beach spots little down south that are perfect for the leisurely beach holiday that you wish to enjoy in the Catalonia style.

A lesser known spot

Instead of heading southwest to the popular Sitges beach that too has more of a commercial approach with trendy restaurants and bars and ample people walking around the beach, head to the still calm Cubelles Beach. Not only is the place less crowded, but it is the perfect place to enjoy a seaside holiday experience. The undulating golden sands of the beach extend for more than five hundred meters giving you ample space to enjoy the cool breeze while basking in the sun. The beach is also clean and well-kept with litter bins and toilets located strategically. There is also complete security to ensure the safety of the few tourists going there.

Sea and Spanish gourmet

When on a Catalonian beach, you cannot miss enjoying a gourmet native Paella meal. You are likely to find the lone family run restaurant that prepares Tapas and cooks the Paella on woodfire literally on the beach. The entire experience of enjoying the sunshine and the Spanish cuisine is sure to fulfill your experience in Barcelona. Arriving there in the morning, you can proceed to enjoy the sea and come to the bar to enjoy the beer and some Tapas as you whet your appetite. When hungry move on to enjoy the family made Tapas and gratify yourself.

The quiet holiday experience

Since this kind of an establishment is not a commercial one, you will have to inform them a day in advance of your visiting plan. Since the Tapas and Paella have to be prepared for the requisite number of guests, they will have to keep the ingredients ready. The Paella is best enjoyed in the true Spanish style when made from the fresh sea catch and served piping hot. The Catalonian way of enjoying the Paella is with the salad. Enjoying the meal in the quiet of the place with only the sea and the sand as acompanion will be truly fulfilling to the few that actually drive down to this beach spot located in the Avinguda Prat Cubelles.

 


Outdoor Adventure Travel Guide to Barcelona

Whether you’re a foodie looking for new recipes, an architect looking for inspiration, a photographer looking for a new subject, or a thrill-seeker in search of a new adventure, there’s something for everyone in Barcelona. The capital city of Catalonia, which is also Spain’s second largest city, is quite incomparable because of its stunning architecture and historic sites like the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, and Casa Mila. But apart from these must-see heritage destinations, Barcelona also has adrenaline-inducing outdoor activities. Here are some of our favourites we want to tell you about:

Rowing at Parc de la Ciutadella

To get you warmed up for your outdoor adventure in Barcelona, start by renting a rowboat at Parc de la Ciutadella. The park is a green oasis in the heart of the city and it’s well-known for its inviting and relaxing atmosphere. A small rowboat can be rented for half an hour at a time and will allow you to go around the green lake. You can also feed the ducks at the lake in between rowing. And since the site is vast, Conde Nast Traveler also recommends that you stop by Barcelona’s city zoo and regional parliament—all within the park grounds.

Cycle through the Montjuïc Route

The Montjuïc is home to attractive landmarks like the Joan Miró Foundation, the Olympic Stadium, and the Montjuïc Castle. The biking route begins at Plaça d’Espanya and heads down Av. Reina Maria Cristina. It turns right towards Av. de l’Estadi, which takes you up a gentle climb. If you want a more challenging hike, you can turn left to C/Leida and the Passeig de Santa Madron. You can also go around the Olympic Stadium and then head to Montjüic Castle through Passeig del Migdia. There’s also a hidden outdoor bar at the back of the castle in case you need some refreshments.

Windsurfing the Catalonian Coast

There’s nothing like the windy coves on the northern coast of Barcelona, especially when the conditions are right, with the closest beaches 15 minutes away from Las Ramblas. The seaside neighbourhood of La Barceloneta is one of the local beaches that is popular with thrill seekers, and Barcelona N’ Do says it’s one of the most famous beaches in the city. In the south of Barcelona, you can go to the small bay of Garraf, which is considered one of the most picturesque surf spots in the city. If you like small waves, Garraf is a perfect choice.

Try out Bossaball at Swimming Club Barcelona

The Bossaball court looks more like a water park ride than an actual sporting venue, but it’s a very serious sport despite it being one of the world’s weirdest games. The best way to play it is at the beach with live music – it is as exhilarating as it is challenging. It originated in Spain in 2005 and is played on an inflatable court featuring a trampoline on each side of the net. The trampoline allows the players to jump high, spike the ball over the net and earn points. It’s quite competitive and literally breathtaking as it’s very acrobatic and physically demanding. In Barcelona, you can try it at Club Natació Barcelona, which is just a few kilometres away from some of the best Barcelona vacation rentals/

Hike to the Bunkers del Carmel

From your vacation rental in Barcelona, walk up Parc del Guinardo until you reach the top. It may be a little tiring, but once you get to the bunkers at the top, it will definitely be worth it. Bunkers del Carmel is said to be one of Barcelona’s best-kept secrets, but today it has become well-known for the jaw-dropping panoramic views it affords of the city. You can also access the bunkers via the Carrer de La Gran Vista and follow it around until you come by Carrer del Panorama where you’ll find the famous arbre del l’amour.

Next time you visit Barcelona, we encourage you to go on a food trip so you can get a taste of the local bestsellers and traditional recipes. You should also visit the Font Magica located just below the Palau Nacional, to watch its impressive show of water, music, and light. No matter where you are and what your interest is, there’s something for you in Barcelona. Finding places to stay wouldn’t be a problem, too, as there are a lot of Barcelona villas with pools waiting for travellers like you.

Piece specially submitted to catalunyacasas.com

Submitted by: JBroadbent


4 Gorgeous Churches and Cathedrals in Costa Dorada

Whether you are religious or not, the amazing churches and cathedrals that you can find in Costa Dorada are gorgeous examples of incredible architecture and artwork that you won’t want to miss. Many of them probably aren’t far from your holiday rental

Iglesia de Santa Maria

Built between the 15th and 16th centuries, this amazing church is a lovely view of the Gothic architectural style and a must-see for anyone in the Prades region. While the church is small, it offers beautiful architecture and artwork. It’s also a great place to visit during the Christmas holidays. You’ll also want to check out the square where it’s located and see more examples of beautiful, historical architecture and artwork.

Parroquies de st. Joan

This gorgeous church is a must-see if you are in the province of Tarragona. It has the highest bell tower in Catalonia that offers a spectacular view that you won’t want to miss. A beautiful altarpiece is the focal point of this church, but you can also check out the amazing architecture, ancient pottery from the Battle of Trafalgar, and the machinery from the working clock.

Church of San Miguel

A fascinating church named after the archangel Michael, it’s main attractor is the Christ statue located on the very front of the church. Many visitors like to stop and stare up at the magnificent sight. Not only is a beautiful piece of architecture, the church also has a lot of history. It was built over 200 years ago and was once the home of a noble. The church is one of the largest buildings in a relatively small city and because it was built over a span of many years, its style is a little eclectic, which adds to its charm.

Capilla de Santa Tecla

This is a tiny chapel located off a narrow street. You’ll find it when you see the arch that goes over the street. The church is dedicated to its patron saint, Santa Tecla, and there are many chapels devoted to this saint throughout the city. It has a beautiful blue ceiling and is made of local stone.

We hope you found some peace and respite within those hallowed walls. If nothing else, you may have escaped some of the crowds who are also enjoying the beautiful city of Costa Dorada. Now you can head back to your rental villa or apartment and send off all those gorgeous photos you took so that others can enjoy!


Family activities in Catalonia and Barcelona

There are many family activities in Catalonia and Barcelona that are suitable for families with kids. Whether you go to the Ebre Delta or the Pyrenees, there are a myriad of options from which to choose that will delight and entertain your little ones. Catalonia has everything that families seek for a holiday in barcelona with children including some of the activities that are listed below.

Bike along a railway track

One of the family activities in Catalonia and Barcelona is biking without having to worry about cars and other vehicles. The Greenway runs from Aragon to Catalonia, which is the same route of the old railway track. At present, the rails are gone and in their place is a well-maintained track that is exclusive for hikers and cyclists, as well as horse riders. The track is relatively flat, which is ideal for the whole family. Just make sure that you bring a flashlight because there are tunnels along the way, and some of them are unlit. The total distance of the track is around 130 kilometres, but you don’t need to travel all the way. The Catalan side of the track takes your family through the Baix Ebre and Terra Alta regions, which are filled with wonderful sceneries.

Parc Guell

Parc Guell is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites found in Barcelona. It was created by renowned architect Antoni Gaudi and feels like a scene right out of a fairy tale. Visiting the park and exploring the grounds is an ideal family activity in Catalonia and Barcelona. Children will be in awe of the Hansel and Gretel homes, leafy plazas, and dragons found throughout the park’s grounds. The best way to get to the park is to take the metro to Vallcarca and then travel up to the park via the escalator to the back of Parc Guell.

Coastline at Lloret de Mar

Kids who love to climb rocks and explore beaches will adores the coastline of Lloret de Mar. A list of family activities in Catalonia and Barcelona is incomplete without a mention of the wonderful beaches in the region. A rocky area just north of the main beach in Lloret de Mar is ideal for children who love adventure, and parents who love stunning scenery.

La Rambla

To complete your list of family activities in Catalonia and Barcelona, take a stroll down the famous La Rambla in the center of Barcelona. Enjoy the various street performers, human statues, painters, animal stalls, flower vendors, and a lot more. La Rambla is definitely a sight that visitors must see in Barcelona before heading back home.


Experience The Semana Santa Piety In Barcelona

Spain has always been the cradle of Christianity ever since the religion came over tot eh continent of Europe. Several traditions have developed over the centuries that have been an integral part of the local culture. The celebration of the Holy Week or the Semana Santa is one such that is fraught with a lot of religious sentiments that accompany the parades and the processions. It is the perfect time to experience the piety of this week that begins on the Sunday from your rented villa in Barcelona, prior to the week of Good Friday till Easter Sunday in Barcelona.

The processions and piety

The best way to explore is of course by going around the city on foot as you visit the most famous Cathedral of the Sagrada Familia or even the other magnificent churches. There are several brotherhoods of the lay people that take out processions to mark the penitence of the Holy Week that is a part of the forty days of penance in Catholicism.

Those that participate in the procession wear interesting costumes that cover the entire face and the body in the indigo cloth leaving only two small holes for the eyes to see.  The cone shaped cap signifies the union with Divinity in the heavenly abode and the color signifies the Passion and the pain of Christ with which the Christian penitent identifies during this time. They also carry wooden figure from the Biblical verse with them to portray the life of Christ especially His Passion.

The celebration of the Passion

Maundy Thursday or the day before Good Friday is the time when you can witness the elaborate services in the Cathedral and the churches. The tradition of the priest washing the feet of the lay people signify the humility and the service of Chris who finally lay down His life for them.

Most churches will be decorated for the adoration of Christ from the Good Friday after the service till the Easter Sunday celebration that is filled with joy to signify the Resurrecting of Christ from the dead. You will do well to find out the specific timings of the Good Friday services in the individual churches. All establishments in Spain will be closed during this period except for the eateries.

The Easter Goodies

You will find a lot of Eater goodies in the market during this time that are typical to the Catalonian traditions. Apart from the traditional Easter eggs, there are the La Mona da Pascua that is a richly decorated with the chocolate eggs and the chicks to signify the new life of the Risen Christ. Godfathers gift them to the godsons as a part of their lesson in Christianity. There are also the Pestinos that are deep fried pastries coated with honey and sugar.


The Gothic Quarter And Five Magical Legends of Barcelona

When staying in your villa in Barcelona you will have to explore the place like the locals that will give you the insight to the rich local cultures and the legends that are a part of their rich traditions. There is plenty to explore that you can only undertake when you plan for an extended stay in one of the inexpensive rented accommodation.

A gaggle of geese

Go to the Barcelona Cathedral is the home to a gaggle of thirteen geese that are a symbol of the tragic past of the Church. Santa Eutalia, the patroness of the city, was killed at the age of thirteen. Going to the Cathedral at noon or afternoon will give you free entry!

The magic fountain

The Magic Fountain that is the Canaletes Fountain is situated on top of Las Ramblas and is also decorated with the shield of Barcelona while being topped by an iron lamp. Drinking water from the fountain will assure your return to the city. It is also the place where FC Barcelona come and celebrate their victories.

The lucky turtle

Go to the Casa de l’Ardiaca that is the wall outside the Cathedral and you will find the little turtle patting whom is said to being in luck. He sits pretty on the stone rectangle that was a former mailbox of a lawyer’s home. The story of the birds around is to depict justice that is free and unbound and the tangled ivy, and the turtle indicates the slowness of the process. When you enter the Casa de l’Ardiaca, there are several Roman aqueduct that you can see those that once ran through the city. There are also several exhibitions and public archives.

The spitting Gargoyles

The Spitting Gargoyles are those that are jutting out of the walls of the Cathedral and include the lions, elephants and unicorns and some eternal monsters. When the Corpus Christi were passing by they spat, and now they are punished as the plumbing on the walls of the cathedral.  When it rains they actually spit and drench the passersby – so be careful.

Sant Jordi and the dragon

Sant Jordi and the Dragon is best found in the Gothic Quarters where there are several statues of St. George, the patron saint of the city. He stabbed the dragon, and there are several reliefs like the one in the Carrer del Bisbe. A subtle image that you will come across is on the top of Gaudi’s Casa Batllo that is said to be inspired by the skin of a dragon. April 24th is he day of the saint with many celebrations in the country.


The benefits of renting a family villa during the winter

The benefits of renting a family villa during the winter

Louer une villa familiale en Espagne est une décision excellente à tout temps de l’année. Néanmoins, on peut facilement argumenter que l’hiver est une saison particulièrement adéquate et plaisante pour faire un séjour en Espagne en famille dans une villa Costa Brava, Dorara ou Barcelone. Si l’idée vous tente, vous découvririez bien pourquoi tôt ou tard. Mais d’ici là, voici trois bénéfices indiscutables de louer une villa en Espagne durant l’hiver!

Profitez du calme hivernal

Barcelone est une ville qui fourmille : les musées, les plages, les transports en commun, tout est bourré à craquer de gens, touristes et locaux. Comme perdre son enfant dans la foule est un cauchemar qui hante de nombreux parents, pourquoi ne pas contourner les périodes rouges et faire un séjour à Barcelone durant les mois froids? Ça permettra de profiter de la ville, de ses musées et attractions de manière tout à fait différente. Beaucoup plus relax!

Décorez pour les fêtes pendant vos vacances à Barcelone

Si vous faites un séjour à Barcelone d’au moins une semaine, pourquoi pas ne pas donner une touche personnalisée à votre villa Barcelone pour donner à vos espaces de vie une ambiance festive et cordiale? Surtout si vous avez acheté quelques décorations typiquement catalanes – un Tio de Natale, par exemple! Vous pourrez ainsi le remplir de bonbons locaux et reproduire une vraie ambiance de fêtes à saveur catalane! Vos enfants se réjouiront d’observer les rituels de la région pendant même qu’ils y sont!

Si ce n’est pas une manière extravagante et magnifique de faire découvrir à votre enfant la culture catalane, qu’est-ce qui pourrait bien l’être?

Préparez-vous pour les fêtes avec les cours in-villa

Vous comptiez donner une fête pour Noël où le jour de l’An? Pourquoi ne pas donner une touche espagnole à vos célébrations cette année en prenant un cours de cuisine espagnole – ou de flamenco, pour y mettre du piquant! Non seulement vous apprendrez à cuisiner de merveilleux mets qui épateront les invités, mais toute la famille pourra participer et assouvir leur curiosité en mettant aussi la main à la pâte.

Comme activité de famille hivernale, c’est assez chic et utile, non?


The Best Places for a Romantic Meal in Barcelona

Barcelona is a romantic city by nature, with ancient medieval quarters, bars overlooking rooftops, picturesque gardens and views over the Mediterranean it’s hard to beat. But what about when you want to find somewhere special to enjoy a meal? If you have a romantic dinner for two in mind and want to take a break from your Barcelona holiday rental, here are a few ideas of the best places to whet your appetite.

Con Gracia

Con Gracia are passionate about cooking, they believe in culinary creativity and serving dishes which not only taste incredible, but also look pretty fantastic too. It may not be the cheapest restaurant in town, but it’s popular and that can only be a good sign. With superb reviews across the board Con Gracia looks like it’s here to stay. The chefs tasting menu is perfect for a romantic special occasion with several courses on the menu to try in an intimate and relaxing setting.

Tram Tram

Tram Tram is a very charming restaurant nestled on Carrer Major de Sarria in Barcelona. Couples can enjoy outdoor courtyard dining in the summer months. The emerald vine covered walls and brightly coloured plants in decorative pots bring this restaurant to life making it a wonderful choice for a romantic rendezvous. The cuisine is Mediterranean with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal produce with a creative twist and if you wish to dine indoors the interior is just as inviting as the courtyard, it’s light and bright with intimate tables and a contemporary ambiance. The food is exquisitely presented and it tastes as good as it looks.

Mayura

If you prefer your dining with an Asian twist, Mayura in Barcelona’s Eixample district will definitely tantalise your taste buds. Serving contemporary Asian, Indian and Vegetarian cuisine it’s the ideal restaurant in which to enjoy a sumptuous dinner and cocktail while listening to tasteful lounge music. Diners can relax in the exotic atmosphere which is lit by lanterns and candles – it simply exudes romance.

 

Antigua

Tucked away in St. Gervasi-Santalo is Restaurant Antigua, a tasteful, authentic restaurant with exposed brickwork illuminated by subtle candlelight. This restaurant offers refined, Mediterranean cuisine with an innovative edge and offers intimate dining at its very best.

Whatever your gastronomic passion Barcelona has it catered for, don’t feel you have to cook each night in your Barcelona villa there are many romantic restaurants in the city waiting to be discovered.

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