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.


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.


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.


Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter

Booking your vacation rental in Barcelona puts you just a short train or car ride away from the city’s Gothic Quarter where you are surrounded by stunning architecture and a hub of activity. The streets of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter are filled with medieval buildings and trendy bars, clubs, and restaurants. What’s more, you are in the heart of the city, thus within easy reach of all the other main attractions.

Barcelona Cathedral

History

The area is known as the Gothic Quarter due to its former existence as an ancient Roman village. You will still be able to find many remains of its glorious past. Because of the constant modernisation of the area, it’s not unusual for you to spot a modern building right next to an ancient one. It’s this eclectic mix of old and new that brings people from all over the world to this historic barrio.

Shopping

There is an abundance of shopping opportunities in the Gothic Quarter. For commercial shopping head to Carrer Portal de l’Angel, or you can spend hours popping in and out of the little boutiques of Carrer d’Avinyo. You are also in close proximity to Las Ramblas, which has an abundance of shops and market stalls.

Architecture

When exploring the narrow labyrinth of streets, be sure to look up so as not to miss all of the best bits. Bridges and archways span across the roads, and the decor on some of the buildings is extremely detailed.

Plaça Reial

There are many squares where you can sit outside with a drink and enjoy your surroundings. In the heart of one is the areas main attraction, the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulàlia. The cathedral was constructed from the 13th to the 15th centuries and is a stunning example of Gothic architecture. One of its most notable features is the roof, scattered with gargoyles and a host of other mythical creatures.

Dining

If you don’t want to dine in your villa in Barcelona, you will be spoilt for choice with the amount of restaurants and bars in this area. Plaça Reial is always popular during both the day and night, and there is a great deal of nightlife on offer.


Best viewpoints along the Costa Brava

The coast of Costa Brava is truly stunning, with impressive cliffs, quaint coves, golden beaches, and small towns. It is no wonder that so many people want to rent a villa in Costa Brava! Let’s take a look at some of the best viewpoints in the region.

Mas Ventos

Mas Ventos is a special spot in Cap de Creus Natural Park. It offers one of the best viewing points over the Bay of Roses and the Saverdera Valley. Visitors are able to combine their trip with a picnic or barbecue as there are a number of wooden and stone tables.

Mirador del Cap de Creus

This is one of the most well-known viewing points in the area, and although it may be full of tourists, it is still worth a visit. From this point you will be able to see Cap Norfeu, the Illes d’en Forcat, Cadaques, Cala Fredosa, Cala Jugadora, and maybe even your Spain vacation rental.

Mirador de l’Hostatgeria

People claim that the best sunsets can be seen from this spot on the Costa Brava. The area was recently converted into a hotel and restaurant that are completely open to the sea, sitting on top of the cliff between Llafranc and Tamariu. If you have hired a car then it is easily accessible from your villa in Costa Brava.

Mirador dels Cards Tossa

This is the viewpoint for nature lovers. Surrounded by nature on every side, you can enjoy spectacular views of the beaches and cliffs that surround the town of Tossa del Mar, as well as the medieval wall and the castle on top of the hill.

El Mirador dels Tres Canons

In the heart of Port de la Selva is a viewing terrace that stands 40 metres high, perfect for taking in the sights of Port de la Selva and the Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodesand La Verdera. Unlike the other viewpoints, this urban setting offers a little something different.


Catalonia: Beyond the border

Spending a holiday in Catalonia means experiencing one of the most diverse and stunning locales in Europe, but just as much beauty and splendour lie just beyond the borders of the region in northeastern Spain. Venturing a little further is a great way to extend your holiday in Spain and see more of the region and what it has to offer. Here are three nearby towns and regions that are well worth visiting.

Monzón

Monzón is a small place with a very rich and fascinating history. It offers breathtaking scenery thanks to the two rivers that flow through the area — the Sosa and the Cinca — and many come here to view the impressive hilltop castle which boasts a very ornate and somewhat Moorish design.

Journey time from Barcelona: Approximately 2 hours

Peñiscola.

Peñiscola

Peñiscola is located just down the coastline from the Ebro Delta, narrowly missing out on being a part of Catalonia. Often called the ‘City in the Sea’, Peñiscola is said to be one of the most beautiful towns in Spain and attracts large numbers of visitors who are drawn to the old medieval walls and castle.

Journey time from Barcelona: 2.5 hours

Journey time from Tarragona: 1.5 hours

Perpignan

Although located just outside of Catalonia in Southern France, Perpignan is highly influenced by Catalonia, and many street signs are actually written in both French and Catalan. The area is famous for its wine, olive oil, and cork, as well as for its attractive bridges that cross the River Basse.

Perpignan.

Journey time from Barcelona: 2 hours by car

If you’re looking for a few day trips or overnight stays to enjoy as part of your Barcelona vacation, and you’re thinking of exploring the world beyond the Catalan border, then these three places are definitely worth adding to your list.


Family-friendly adventures in Costa Brava

When you’re in your vacation rental in Costa Brava with your family and eager to get out and explore your surroundings, here is a list of family-friendly outings that you and your children can enjoy!

Vila Vella (Old Town)

Vila Vella is a medieval town in Costa Brava that features a fortress built centuries ago to protect the city against North African pirates. Head into the city to find restaurants and shops. Climb the hill to the top of the fortress to enjoy the stunning views and all the greenery.

Castillo de Tossa de Mar

This gorgeous castle on the sea looks out on the beach, water, and beyond. You can hang out on the beach and look for seashells, take a tour of the castle, hike around the surrounding area, do a little shopping, and stop and grab lunch at one of the many restaurants.

Castillo de Tossa de Mar.

Fenals Beach

As you leave your holiday rental in Costa Brava, make sure you make a day trip to Fenals Beach. Spend an afternoon on the warm sands and sunny surf. It is the second largest beach in Lloret de Mar and is sheltered in a bay, protecting you from high winds. You can enjoy parasailing, kayaking, ice cream, skating, restaurants, and much more.

Camino de Ronda

If you and your family are active and love walking and hiking, you’ll love the Camino de Ronda. Travel the road that skirts the coast of Costa Brava, providing gorgeous views, geologic formations, and even wildlife! You can take the linear or circular route, and hire a tour guide to lead you to the best areas and point out all the interesting sights. You can even stop at a few beaches along the way.


Girona: The Flower City

To see a city completely draped in flowers, with aromas as pleasant as the rainbow of colours, head to Girona! The Temps de Flors festival has been taking place every year since 1954, and each year the city transforms into a floral paradise. The festival occurs annually in May and lasts for about one week, so to catch this spectacular festival, plan your Spain holiday with one of our vacation villas in Girona.

Girona by night.

What to See

The beauty of the flower festival is that you never know what’s around the next corner. From displays arranged by local children to designs that have clearly been the result of very intricate planning, there’s all sorts of arrangements to enjoy. Your vacation rental in Spain may even be decorated for the event! While there are amazing blooms to see all around Girona, it is said that there are 10 ‘essential’ places that you simply must see when you visit Girona during the festival, including the following:

● St Nicholas Chapel – one of the city’s oldest churches
● Plaça dels Jurats – a historic square
● Arab Baths – Roman hot spring spa
● Sant Feliu – a gothic cathedral
● The Cathedral – large cathedral and museum
● St Luke’s Church – near the main cathedral, in the Old Town
● Sant Martí – a 17th-century baroque convent
● The Sarraïnes Building – an old building near the Arab Baths
● Casa Lleó Avinay – a small house and museum in the Jewish Quarter
● Jardins dels Alemanys – spacious German gardens

Where to Stay

Prices can rise during the festival, but it’s still possible to get a good deal. Instead of booking a popular hotel, why not try something different and choose a family villa in Spain? Girona is also not too far from Barcelona – 1.5 hours by car – so a Barcelona accommodation is also a great option.


Barcelona’s spectacular Tibidabo mountain

If you are renting a villa in Barcelona, it is highly likely that at some point in your trip you will be able to see the mighty Mount Tibidabo dominating the skyline. The mountain reaches a height of 512m, and is the highest mountain in the bordering back country of Barcelona. Upon reaching the peak, you will be rewarded with stunning views of the whole city with the Mediterranean Sea as a backdrop.

Getting There

If you are not up for a lengthy hike, there is a much easier way to reach the mountain’s summit. The best way to get to the top is first by tram, and then by using the funicular railway. The tram will stop halfway up the mountain, and the funicular will take you straight up the side of the mountain, an adventure in itself. The train has been in service since 1901, making it one of Spain’s oldest funiculars.

Amusement Park

Although you wouldn’t expect it, one of Tibidabo’s main attractions is its amusement park that sits at the summit. Feel the adrenaline rush on one of the attraction’s many rides combined with spectacular views across the whole city. The park has six different zones to be explored, but currently is only open during the weekends.

Templo Expiatorio del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús

On the way to your Barcelona holiday rental, it is highly likely that you will spot this church dominating the horizon, no matter which way you enter the city. The church is almost out of a fairy tale with its tall spires and detailed décor. The Temple of the Sacred Heart was built between 1902 and 1961 and features stunning mosaics as well as a crypt that visitors can access.

Viewing Platform

The viewing areas of the Torre de Conserolla offers some amazing views of the city. On a clear day you may be able to see all the way over to Montserrat mountain, or at least you Barcelona accommodation! The tower was used for the Olympic games back in 1992 and measures 268 metres high. It can be reached by with the mountain cable car, tourist train or bus.

No matter where your vacation villa in Barcelona is location, a visit to the city wouldn’t be complete without a trip up the famous Tibidabo mountain.

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