Discover the El Born district of Barcelona

It’s easy to stick to the main tourist trails when you are venturing out of your Barcelona holiday rental for the first time. Sometimes, by doing this you miss out on some of the incredibly vibrant and historically rich areas of the city. There are many areas of Barcelona which remain relatively untouched by tourists, now is the time to visit the El Born district before everyone else discovers its magical allure.

About El Born

El Born has grown into one of Barcelona’s most fashionable districts, located next to the popular and touristy area of the Gothic Quarter, it was originally a settlement which was used to host medieval jousts and celebrations. These days El Born is the place where the hip crowd eat, drink and shop. The cafes and tapas bars are much cheaper than the main tourist areas so you can enjoy a full family meal even on a budget.

It’s not just about the shopping and nightlife either. The Picasso museum is located here with many works of art featured from when he resided in the city. Also if you have an interest in fashion, you can visit the famous textile museum which was home to the textile guilds of Barcelona.

The Church of Santa Maria del Mar has an interesting history and wonderful interior architecture which shouldn’t be overlooked. As these areas are relatively untapped by tourists, there are hardly any queues to visit the attractions and museums (with the exception of the popular Picasso museum).

If retail therapy is your thing, the multitude of shoe shops and boutiques will tempt your purse strings, many international upcoming independent stores have chosen El Born as the place to launch their flagship stores – you may even find the next Gucci or Chanel here!

With great shops, nightlife and café culture it’s hard not to love this area, but it’s catching on quickly, so take a day away from your vacation rental in Barcelona and discover it now while it is still relatively tourist free and reasonably priced.


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.


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


When in Catalunya, catch the Castells

Want to see something completely unique and a little bit off-the-wall during your holiday in Spain? Make it a point to check out the famous Catalan Castells: the human towers that have become a true spectacle. Translating into ‘castle’ in English, which refers to the overall structure of the tower, the Castells are a common display at many festivals and at other major community events in Catalonia. Believed to have been a Catalan tradition since 1712, the Castells have become a big part of the local culture, and were even given UNESCO Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity status.

Castell History & Evolution

If you were staying in a villa in Barcelona back in the 1980s, the type of Castells you will have witnessed would be totally different from the Castells you would see in the city today. Understood to have a religious meaning, this has become somewhat lost over the years. Today the displays are mostly for show, with towers getting taller and taller every year and including more and more acrobatics. There is a bigger performance aspect to modern Castells, and some towers can even reach up to 10 levels!

Where to See Castells

It is pretty easy to plan your vacation in Spain to coincide with the Casteller season as the season runs from February to November. The Castells regularly appear at festivals in the area, but perhaps the very best place to see them is in Valls, which is where they originated. Be sure to stop by the museum, Món Casteller: The Human Towers Experience, to learn more about this unusual Catalan sport.

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