Shopping in Barcelona

Looking for some unique gifts and souvenirs to bring back for friends and family from your Baecelona holiday rental? You’re in luck! Barcelona is one of Spain’s best shopping destinations, with many great stores to check out. Here are just some of the best shopping locations in Barcelona that are perfect for browsing:

 

Barcelona Malls

 

If you like to have everything in one place, then La Maquinista is the ideal solution. One of Catalonia’s biggest malls, La Maquinista is home to more than 230 shops, giving you a fantastic selection. It’s here that you can find big international brands, like Adidas, Calvin Klein, and Foot Locker, interspersed with Spanish brands like Cortefiel, Dormity, and Furest. There’s also some small supermarkets, like Carrefour, which is great for picking up supplies and ingredients to make dinner at your villa in Barcelona.

 

Top Brands

 

For those who love top brands, it’s time to take a stroll along Passeig de Gràcia, which is one of the best locations in Barcelona for high end products. Chanel, Gucci, Boss, Mango, Guess, Burberry, Cartier, and Stella McCartney all have stores along this stretch of road, so there’s lots of places to choose from. Shopping is thirsty work, but don’t worry — there’s plenty of cafes and restaurants here, too! If you make it all the way to the end of this long street, you can relax in the beautiful Salvador Espriu gardens.

 

Small Stores

 

If you much prefer smaller, more local shops, then take a walk down Carrer de Verdi, which has a reputation for being one of Barcelona’s most quirky, unusual, and offbeat streets. You won’t find any high end brands here, but what you will find is a range of stores that allow you to make your own jewellery by selecting different beads and gems, shops selling handmade sweets and treats, all manner of recycled wood furniture, and accessory shops which are ideal for picking up some presents!


Holiday in Spain: What You Need to Know Before You Go to Barcelona!

Most people agree that Spain is one of the best holiday destinations in the world. And they are correct for many reasons. If you are planning to take a vacation and heading to Spain, more specifically Barcelona, you should know a few things. This will not ruin your holiday experience. On the contrary, this will enhance your holiday Spain experience because you will be well informed.

Forget Queuing

Typically, queuing makes everything run smoothly, in an organized manner. However, in Spain, queuing is not common. The only place you will find queues is in tourist attraction sites. Even at these places, someone will jump queue unapologetically. Do not mind pushing and shoving, with a smile on your face. Everyone does it anyway. If you are going to Barcelona during the high season, prepare your elbows.

Be Polite but Do Not Overdo It

You are used to saying the words ‘thank-you’ and ‘please’ most of the time, which is okay. These words come automatically without giving much thought. In Barcelona, you will have a different experience. Please note that people in Barcelona are not rude. It is only that they do not use these words unless they mean them. Therefore, use your word ‘sorry’ sparingly. When you are looking for your Barcelona accommodation, be polite but do not overdo it.

Stay Alert

There are many pickpockets in Barcelona. Do not drop your guard once you arrive in this beach city because pickpockets will ruin your holiday experience. You can lose your camera, wallet or any other valuable item within a blink of an eye. All you need to do is stay alert because most pickpockets distract you first before stealing from you. Your holiday in Spain will go smoothly if you avoid suspicious characters who engage in vague conversation. They want to confuse you before taking off with your stuff.

Prepare for a Laidback Environment

You will feel like screaming in frustration if you are accustomed to fast services. You are on vacation anyway so slow down. Everything is laidback in Spain. It will take some time before you get seated in a restaurant (even if you have made a reservation). When you rent a villa in Barcelona, you can practice patience and adjust to this laidback lifestyle. Make sure you allocate extra time for everything you do if you do not want to yell in frustration.

No Shopping on Sundays

You will not rest because you want to; circumstances will force you to. Most restaurants and shops do not open on Sundays. It is a Spanish tradition and perhaps the only thing you will accomplish on a Sunday is booking a villa in Barcelona.


5 Restaurants in Barcelona that Offer Local Cuisine!

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Barcelona is not just a beautiful city with hundreds of things to do. When you’re ready to take a break from your beautiful rental villa, why not check out these five restaurants that offer cuisine local to Barcelona, so you can truly get a taste of what this city has to offer?

1. Cera 23

If you’re looking for a place to find amazing tapas or to go on a special occasion, Cera 23 is the place for you. The restaurant is intimate, elegant, and relaxing, and the staff is friendly and inviting. Though the menu is small, each dish is made with care. Delicious flavors, unique presentation, amazing cocktails, and delicious desserts await you at Cera 23.

2. El Xampanyet

El Xampanyet offers a unique dining experience in Barcelona with a delicious food bar. Just go up to the counter and order what looks good to you! They do, of course, also have a drink bar with nice cold beer and cocktails. The restaurant is a bit tight and cozy, but friendly and vibrant. If you want to be around people, this is the place to be.

3. Tosca Palau

A traditional restaurant with plenty to offer, Tosca Palau’s menu is large enough that you are certain to find something for everyone. If you want tapas and wine, you’ll want to head to this restaurant. With friendly staff, large open windows, and a great atmosphere, Tosca Palau’s makes a great stop before you venture on to your nighttime activities.

4. La Cova Fumada

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Looking for an authentic Spanish dining experience? Look no further than La Cova Fumada. You will be seated with other diners, so you can get to know the local people or other tourists. The cuisine is like eating a family recipe passed down from generation to generation. Each dish is amazing and you’ll want to try more than one. They have plenty to offer, including alcoholic beverages, and you definitely will not be disappointed.

5. La Peninsular

Craving seafood? La Peninsular is certain to satisfy your craving! They offer some of the best and most authentic Spanish seafood dishes in Barcelona. Their restaurant is fun, family-friendly, and casual.
We hope you enjoyed the local cuisine that Barcelona has to offer! Now you can return to your amazing vacation rental, or continue on with your night (or afternoon) in this awesome city!


What to Pack When Visiting Spain!

You’ve booked your holiday rental for your trip to Spain, you’ve even looked up where to visit, maybe even found some places to eat. But now you’re staring at your open suitcase and wondering what you need to pack. Well, check out the tips below to know what you definitely do (and do not) want to pack!

Important Documents

It may seem like an obvious one, but make sure you have your important documents packed and ready. You’ll need your passport and you may want to consider buying a passport pouch, so you can keep it close to you at all times and won’t lose it.
You also need to remember to sign up for traveler’s insurance in case anything bad happens on your trip. Although we’d love to believe that everything will go exactly as planned, it’s better to have contingencies in place just in case.

Clothing

Although Spain is one of the fashion capitals of the world, most of its people are very religious so you’ll want to be cautious with how you dress if you want to fit in.
First, don’t dress immodestly unless you’re at the beach. It isn’t considered appropriate. In fact, unless your arms are already completely covered, it’s even respectful to wear a shawl when going inside churches and cathedrals.
Second, don’t wear flip-flops anywhere except the beach. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes, tennis shoes or flats, something you can do a lot of walking in. Do not wear high heels unless going to a formal event.
Finally, make sure you check the weather before you go and also while you are there. The weather changes depending on different seasons and different locations. Northern Spain tends to be colder and rainier than Southern Spain. Bring layers! Even if you go during the warm months, many of the buildings are air-conditioned and you’ll want a sweater or cover-up of some kind.

Extras

Here are some other things you may want to bring:
• Water bottle with a built-in filter
• Travel toilet paper
• Waterproof phone case
• Power Adapter (for Spain)
• Portable Charger
Remember to leave plenty of room in your suitcases for souvenirs. Pack anything you’d take on a normal trip with a few extras because you won’t be in your home country and other countries have different laws and items available in their stores.
Most importantly, have fun!


Barcelona’s Tallest Buildings!

Although Spain is known for its wonderful weather, glorious beaches, and luxury villas with private pools in Barcelona and other popular resort destinations, it’s not exactly famous for its skyscrapers. However, there are certainly a few buildings of note in the country, with Barcelona itself boasting some impressive structures that are well worth visiting. Here’s a guide to Barcelona’s tallest buildings above 100m:

  • Torre Mapfre — 154m

Located in the Port Olímpic area of the city, Torre Mapfre is an office building home to many different firms, spread across 44 floors. However, it’s most famous for featuring Spain’s highest helipad. If you’re staying in a Barcelona holiday rental nearby, it’s worth popping out after sundown to see it all lit up.

  • Torre Agbar — 144m

Opened in 2005, Torre Agbar is one of the newest skyscrapers in Barcelona. Primarily an office building, the unusual (and somewhat phallic!) design of the building is considered to be a prime example of modern ‘high tech’ architecture. Again, slip out of your Barcelona villa at night to enjoy the illuminations.

 

  • Diagonal ZeroZero — 110m

Yet another example of high-tech architecture, Diagonal ZeroZero is another looming office building that can be seen from the streets of Barcelona. With 25 floors in total, this building holds a prime location in Barcelona, overlooking the stunning coast and close to some of the city’s most beautiful beaches.

The Skyscraper that Never Was

While we’re talking about Barcelona skyscrapers, let’s spare a thought for the 148m tall Torre La Sagrera: the Barcelona landmark that was never built! Designed by Frank Gehry, the proposed office building was supposed to me much more than just a structure; it was anticipated to become the hottest location in Barcelona, with a public park, transportation museum, and other attractions built in the grounds.


Guell Palace – 3 Things that you probably don’t know!

1.The first and (most important!) thing that you may not know, is that you can visit for free Pallau Güell every first Sunday of the month!

2. This palace was actually the house of Eusebi Güell, the good friend of the architect Antoni Gaudí, which was the one who designed the palace as well.

3. It has the title of the world’s first Art Nouveau building and features a darker palette with an explosion of color on the roof. (Specially recommended to visit during sunset hour).

Photographer : Elina Aktipi

Copyright © September 18. All rights received.


48 hours in Barcelona. What to see first?

1. Sagrada Família (Church of the Holy Family).

  • Tips and tricks:

Plan on 15-30 minutes to walk around the basilica, which is free.

Plan to spend 1-2 hours inside – there are long lines all year long, therefore it would be smart to pre-buy skip-the-line tickets.

Best to visit in the morning or afternoon, because of the beautiful natural light shinning through the windows.

Dress accordingly and cover shoulders inside.

  1. Park Güell

Tips and tricks:

The park is on Carmel hill so you will need to walk uphill 900m. Consider your footwear and bottle of water.

  1. Picasso Museum – journey through Picasso’s early years in Barcelona.

  • Picasso (1881–1973) lived in Barcelona from 1895 until 1904;
  • The only one museum created during the artist’s life;
  • Collection includes his first major works, The First Communion and Science and Charity;
  • Established by Picasso’s lifelong friend and secretary, Jaume Sabartés, whom Picasso had gifted many paintings, drawings, and prints since start of a friendship in 1899;
  • At first, Sabartés came with the idea to found the museum in Málaga, Picasso’s birthplace. Picasso himself suggested that Barcelona would be better location.
  1. Sagrat Cor church & Tibidabo amusement park.

  • The park is among the oldest in the world still functioning;
  • At the park is the Museum of Automatons, Walt Disney offered to buy the museum’s entire collection for any price chosen by museum, but it refused;
  • Tibidabo hill can be seen from all over the Barcelona city.
  1. Arc de Triomf & Parc de la Ciutadella

  • There are reliefs on one side symbolising agriculture and industry, and commerce and art on the other.

  1. La Rambla street

  • There you can feel the pulse and atmosphere of the city. There are usually many people, thus taking awalk will best suit those who like to get lost in a crowd;
  • Spanish poet Federico García Lorca once said ‘It is the only street in the world which I wish would never end‘.

Tips and tricks:

Be aware of your belongings when you watch street art performances.

If you want to buy souvenirs, you probably can not find better place for it.

7. Barceloneta Beach

Located in the traditional fishing district, this is one of Barcelona’s oldest and best-loved beaches. It is thought to have inspired Miguel de Cervantes as the setting for the fight between Don Quixote and the Knight of the White Moon. It was here that the knight errant was finally defeated and abandoned his quest. These days, Barceloneta beach as become a symbol of Barcelona’s status as a major tourist destination – a cosmopolitan culture capital and sunny beach town. Barceloneta beach is remarkable for being on the doorstep of the city centre, literally just a few hundred meters from famous sites such as La Rambla, mentioned before. This makes getting to the beach incredibly easy and makes for spending a couple of hours at the beach easy to fit into your day.


Experience Girona through the art of photography!

Girona, is a city and Spanish municipality, capital of the homonymous province and the region of Gironés, in the autonomous community of Catalonia.

River Oniar, Girona

River Oniar, Girona

La Devesa Park, Girona

Old town, Girona (Barri Vell)

Old town, Girona (Barri Vell)

Old town, Girona (Barri Vell)

Old town, Girona (Barri Vell)

Photographer : Elina Aktipi

Copyright © July 18. All rights received.


Football Fever in Barcelona

Four years have flown by, and suddenly football Fever is upon us again with the arrival of the World Cup. No matter where people are on the earth, there will be people frantically searching for that ultimate place to watch the game, one that not only has big screens, but also a fantastic atmosphere. If you have a Barcelona holiday rental while the world cup is on, then fear not, there are plenty of places where you can catch a match.

CocoVail Beer Hall

This venue not only offers 6 flat screen TVs to capture the action, but also surround sound, resulting in an electric atmosphere. There are 24 craft beer taps, and plenty of delicious food, plus they do some great food and drinks deal for larger groups to get in the mood.

Belushi’s Bar

This bar is a favourite not only for travellers, but also for locals who want to watch live sports. There are over 10 TVs, plus a projector, so no matter where you sit, you are sure to have a great view. During the World Cup the bar is running some great promotions, or you can book a World Cup package in advance.

Wild Rover

If your vacation villa in Barcelona is near Last Ramblas, then this classically Irish pub is perfect. Every single match is screened on 2 projectors and 6 large TVs, all but the Spanish matches with English commentary.

Shenanigans

Although still located in the heart of the city, this bar is a little less well known for tourists, which means that you are much more likely to find a seat and be able to watch your match in ultimate comfort. There are 5 TVs, 20 different types of bear and a delicious food menu, its likely this bar will not stay hidden for much longer!


4 Beaches to Visit in Costa Dorada

If you want to hang out outdoors in Costa Dorada, there are certainly plenty of places to do it. Of course, if you’ve rented a private villa with a pool, you’ll want to spend time there. But if you want a change of pace, check out these four beaches!

1. Llevant Beach

This gorgeous beach is near Salou and has beautiful sand, gorgeous water, and a stunning view of the city. Go swimming, get a floating device (some look like giant inflatable slides or water rides), or find a place for boating, diving, and snorkeling. There are plenty of restaurants, shops, and nightclubs nearby if you get hungry or want a little more amusement when you’re done with the beach. This beach is perfect for families of all shapes and sizes.

2. Llarga Beach

At the top of Salou is another amazing beach, this one a little more isolated and not as crowded because it is further from the city. They have a beach bar, a banana boat, plenty of sun loungers, and beautiful surf and sand. You can admire the view of both the ocean, the tropical vegetation, and the rock formations around you as you relax in the sun.

3. Playa de la Pineda

A quiet resort beach, Playa de la Pineda is most well-known for the giant plastic plant sculptures nearby. This area is great if you want to get away from the crowds and sunbathe in peace and quiet. The area is surrounded by trees, the water is warm and wonderful, the sand is perfect, and the view is stunning. There are still plenty of restaurants and shops around if you get peckish or just want to get out of the sun.

4. Capellans Beach

Busy yet clean, the Capellans Beach is surrounded by resorts and hotels, so you’re certain to have company at all times. The view is amazing though, part tropical island, part city, all beautiful. You’ll find plenty of sun loungers, some in the sun, some under umbrellas, and some under awnings. There are several restaurants, shops, and nightclubs nearby if you want some extra fun. And, of course, this beach offers a lot of watersports that you can check out if you’re tired of sunbathing or just swimming in the gorgeous waters.
Did you get a sunburn? Hopefully not! Either way, we’re certain you had a great time! Now you can head back to your vacation rental in Costa Dorada to think about what an awesome time you had and maybe plan what you’re going to do tomorrow.

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