Catalonia’s Volcanoes

Catalonia’s Volcanoes

When you think about Catalonia, what comes to mind? Sightseeing vacations in Barcelona, enjoying the hustle and bustle of the city? Luxury villas with private pool on the Costa Brava? How about… volcanoes? While we often think of Catalonia as being a very coastal and seaside-y place, it’s important not to forget about the region’s other side; the side that’s a bit wild, a bit unkempt, and very, very unpredictable!

Volcanoes in Catalonia

It is understood that there were once around 30 volcanoes in and around the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park, but today there are just 4 which remain visually identifiable as volcanoes, with the rest having been absorbed into the local woodland. Book a Catalonia vacation rental in the small town of Olot for a chance to see the volcanoes — Montolivet, Montsacopa, Garrinada, and Bisaroques — in person.

A Symbol of Catalonia

Of these 4 volcanoes, Montsacopa tends to be the most popular amongst visitors on holiday in Spain. That’s because this volcano is one of the best preserved in the region, with the classic cone and crater structure. There are numerous hiking and biking trails all across the volcano — and the other local volcanoes — but don’t worry; there hasn’t been any volcanic activity here for around 12,000 years!

Volcanic Weather

Due to the many volcanoes and mountains in the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park area, the weather here isn’t quite stereotypical for Spain. It tends to be very hot, very wet, and incredibly humid, which can make it a little uncomfortable for some people. If you want to learn more about Catalonia’s volcanoes without hiking them in the heat, why not visit the Museum of the Volcanoes in Olot? This is a great place to understand more about volcanic activity, and how it has affected the flora and fauna of the region.


Discover Girona’s Jewish Quarter

Have you already enjoyed a Barcelona holiday and are looking for somewhere new to explore in Catalonia? How about Girona? Located to the Northeast of Barcelona, the stunning city of Girona is home to one of the world’s best preserved Jewish quarters, known locally as ‘El Call’, and transports you back in time, through a true labyrinth of narrow medieval streets which wind throughout the city.

Girona’s Jewish quarter is believed to date from the year 982, although it is understood to have not become an established community until 1160. There is a dark yet fascinating history here, in such beautiful surroundings, and many have compared the beauty of Girona to Old Town Jerusalem.

Today, like many locations in Barcelona, Girona’s Jewish quarter is a real mix of old and new. While the stone walls and cobbled streets still remain, there has been an influx of bars, restaurants, and shops which have helped to rejuvenate this old district and make it a top destination for visitors to Spain.

Jewish Quarter Highlights

There’s lots to see and do in Girona’s Jewish quarter, but the main attraction for many is the Museum of Jewish History. The museum highlights Catalonia’s Medieval Jewish communities, and features glazed ceramics from the 12th century, bronze and silver artifacts recovered from the Montjuïc area, and even a miniature replica of the Jewish quarter! Maybe you could spot your Spain villa within the model? Another interesting activity in Girona is to visit the Mikvah; the Jewish ritual baths which were only discovered a few years ago, and excavated to become yet another great attraction in this historic city.

Staying in Girona

A Spain vacation rental close to Girona’s Jewish quarter is the perfect choice for anyone interested in history, architecture, or simply great photo opportunities. There’s a very strong community feel here, which makes Girona’s Jewish quarter a great place to stay; it’s warm, welcoming, and truly fascinating.


Tasty Churros – A Catalan Favourite

Picture the scene, you are strolling around the Sunday morning market close to your Costa Brava holiday rental and you happen to catch the scent of a deliciously sweet aroma coming from a local kiosk. Then you catch sight of locals dipping donut like sugary fingers into a cup of rich, warm hot chocolate and your mouth begins to water. You have just discovered Churros. Unbeknownst to most, you can also make this fabulous sweet treat easily from the comfort of your villa on the Costa Brava, here is the easiest way to ensure all of the family can enjoy a super sweet start to the day.

Firstly, boil the kettle and measure approximately 350ml of water into a jug. Add around 50g of melted butter (for four servings, adjust as applicable) and half a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Then sift 250g of baking powder into a bowl with a little pinch of salt and pour in the ingredients in the jug and stir until smooth, then leave for around 15 minutes.

When it’s ready put all of the ingredients into a pan and melt until your sauce is shiny and smooth, keep on a low heat.

Now fill a pan with one third of oil and heat a cube of bread until it browns (usually around 1 minutes or less). Cover a tray with greaseproof paper and mix 100g caster sugar and 2tsp of cinnamon together.

You will need a piping bag for the next part, around a 2 cm nozzle tip is a good size for piping. Fill the bag with the rested dough and pipe strips into the pan of oil and fry them until crisp and golden. Remove with a draining spoon and place on the grease proof paper then continue to cook the rest of the strips of dough. Sprinkle a little cinnamon and caster sugar onto the finished churros and you are almost ready.

The sauce is prepared at the same time with dark chocolate chunks, 100mls of double cream and the same of milk, a few tablespoons of golden syrup and a little vanilla extract. Melt the chocolate and add the syrup, cream, milk and vanilla and stir on a low heat until warm.

There you have it, quick and easy churros which you can enjoy in your Spain vacation rental at any time of the day or evening.


Have you heard of Tossa del Mar?

Although it may not be the largest town on the Costa Brava coastline, Tossa del Mar is arguably one of the most majestic and impressive. Not only is it home to three beautiful beaches, but it also has a dominating castle, quaint old town and an altogether relaxed vibe.

The town centre is bustling and vibrant, with friendly bars and plenty of shops selling souvenirs. The restaurants cater for all ages and tastes, and there is always room to sunbathe on one of the beaches. If you are looking to get out of your villa with a private pool on the Costa Brava for a bit, look no further than these activities.

Explore the old town

The old town is known as Vila Vella, and is the only fully surviving Medieval fortified town in along the coast of Costa Brava. Plus, it boasts stunning views of the sea below. Stepping through the walls you will find yourself in a maze of cobbled alleys, with many bars and restaurants to enjoy.

Castillo de Tossa del mar

The castle that stands perched on the hill is the town’s most impressive feature. You will need to climb a winding path to reach the summit, but when you do you will be rewarded with some beautiful views of the beaches and town. If you don’t fancy the climb, you can always hop on the little land train to take you to the top.

Dog walking

Located just a short walk outside of the town lies the Tossa del Mar animal shelter, and you will certainly hear when you are getting close thanks to the chorus of barking! The shelter is always looked for people to help walk their pooches, and the surrounding area is a great place to go for a stroll with a rescued dog by your side.

Water sports

Although Tossa del Mar is a sleepy little town most of the time, it certainly has its fair share of water sports. Adrenaline seekers can hop on the back of a banana boat, while those that fancy something a little more relaxing can hire a kayak or take to the water on a glass bottom boat.


Film Locations in Barcelona & Surrounding Areas

You don’t need to travel to Hollywood to see some famous TV and movie locations with your own eyes. Barcelona is actually one of the most filmed destinations in the world thanks to its sunny weather, great lighting, and, of course, it’s fascinating architecture. Filming in Barcelona is also relatively easy, with a range of permits on offer enabling filming at some of the city’s most notable sights, including thoroughfares, municipal markets, cemeteries, and a number of parks, gardens, and beach locations.

Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona showed off some spectacular Spanish properties (which left many viewers wanting to buy a home in Spain!), but it is, perhaps, most well known for the sightseeing scenes at Sagrada Familia and Casa Mila. These are two top film locations in Barcelona, and are very easy to visit during your trip. Sagrada Familia is famous for its unfinished facade, while Casa Mila is well worth visiting for its highly unusual blend of geometric design and asymmetrical twists: another Gaudi masterpiece!

If you’re a lover of older cinema, you may be surprised by how much Catalonia has changed in recent years. The Passenger, a Jack Nicholson film released in 1975, shows a much darker side to Barcelona than we’d see if we were to visit today. Gone is the unkempt, sparse, almost seedy Las Ramblas from the film, replaced with a much brighter, airier, and cosmopolitan street that’s fast become one of the city’s top places for shopping, eating, and drinking. Barcelona has evolved significantly within the past 30 years!

Recently, filming in Barcelona has enjoyed a new surge, and Catalonia has hit the headlines for featuring in what is arguably one of the hottest shows of the century: George R.R. Martin’s Games of Thrones. It comes as no surprise, really, as Catalonia is filled with historic castles, stunning nature, and cobbled medieval villages that look just like the fairytale kingdoms of Westeros. If you fancy laying your eyes on a Game of Thrones filming location, head to Girona, where the cast have been spotted hanging out!


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.


Travel to Palamos through 5 pictures.

Palamós is a town and municipality in the Mediterranean Costa Brava, located in the comarca of Baix Empordà, in the province of Girona, Catalonia, Spain.
Platja Gran.

View of the Port of Palamos.

Palamos, Old Town.

Port of Palamos.

Port of Palamos.

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!


June events in Barcelona

June is the month when Barcelona really starts to come alive for the summer with a huge range of events and celebrations to kick off the season. Booking a family villa in Barcelona just before the mass of summer tourists flock in is a wise move as the city exudes a festive atmosphere and gorgeous weather.

Sant Joan

On the June 23, Barcelona residents celebrate the festival of Sant Joan. On the night itself the street lights up with a huge display of fireworks and bonfires all over the city, but especially on the beaches. It is not unusual for these displays to last until the early hours of the following morning. You can enjoy the spectacle from the comfort of your Barcelona accommodation while sampling a glass of cava and piles of coca, a type of seasonal bread that is topped with candied fruits.

Pride Barcelona

One of the most colorful events on the Barcelona events calendar is the Pride Festival, a 10-day festival where Barcelona shows its gay pride. You can find parties, concerts, and more, all topped off with a spectacular parade.

Sonar

This three-day international music festival is a must-see for anyone who loves electronic music and contemporary arts. The festival is celebrating its 25th year and the days include record fairs, art displays, exhibitions, and conferences, while at night concerts and DJs perform at multiple venues just outside the city.

Musica als Parcs

Another great reason to have a Barcelona vacation rental in June is the free al-fresco concerts that run throughout the summer in some of the city’s main parks. There’s jazz, various classical music, and bands, so pack a picnic and enjoy a few blissful hours under the sun.


Celebrities who have properties in Spain

Mainland Spain and the Balearic Islands are coastal treasures with so much to offer on both land and sea, so it is no wonder that many celebrities look to buy properties in these regions.

Celebrity homes in Mallorca

When Brad Pitt purchased a property in Mallorca in 2016, he joined a plethora of fellow celebrities who have residences on the island. Pierce Brosnan (of James Bond fame) fell in love with the island of Mallorca when he visited, and thus decided to purchase his own piece of the island. Similarly, Claudia Schiffer has a long association with the island, and had her very own property developed from scratch in Camp de Mar. Undoubtedly the busiest of all the Balearics, Mallorca has a firm celebrity fan base with Catherine Zeta-Jones, Annie Lennox, Rafael Nadal, Michael Schumacher, and Andrew Lloyd Webber all having holiday homes there.

Tony Anstis, one of the biggest radio DJs on London’s Heart FM, has recently been looking for a place to enjoy picturesque beaches as well as a great clubbing scene. Ibiza was the answer, so he turned to locals on the island to help him find a villa with a budget of £250,000. Singer James Blunt also has a home on the island.

Ibiza villa

Menorca is arguably the quietest of the Balearic islands, therefore it tends to appeal to a slightly older generation of celebs. Sir Elton John, members of the rock band Led Zeppelin, and John Paul Jones all own property here, and use the island as a peaceful getaway that isn’t too far from the United Kingdom.

Football fans flood to Barcelona throughout the year, hoping for a glimpse of players from the world-famous team. Lionel Messi has a home in the charming town of Castelldefels, south of Barcelona. As the 12th most-visited city in the world, Barcelona attracts its fair share of celebs. Many of the rich and famous have chosen to buy property in Barcelona or in the region. Singer Shakira has recently purchased a house in Barcelona in the wealthy district of Pedralbes, and David Villa has purchased two penthouses worth 6.5 million euros, just a stone’s throw away from the Camp Nou football stadium.

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