Blanes Botanical Gardens!

Blanes is Home to arguably one of the best botanical gardens in Europe. If you have a Spain holiday rental around the Blanes area then this is definitely something that can’t be missed.
Marimurtra Botanical Garden

The garden itself is perched on a mountain top, therefore offers spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea. It was first created in 1920 by the German businessman Carl Faust, and since then has expanded greatly. Overall the gardens cover around 15 hectares with over 4000 different plant species for you to enjoy. Faust decided to dedicate much of the plant life to Mediterranean and sub-tropical flora, as well as a range of cacti, plants endemic to Catalonia, and beautiful plants from regions of central and southern America.

If you rent a villa in Costa Brava in the town itself, it is possible to walk to the attraction, with the gardens located just 1.5km from the city centre. It is open every day and charges just a small entrance fee. Once you are there you should be prepared to do a little bit of climbing, as due to its location there is a lot of steep slopes and long flight of steps that lead up to the Linnaeus temple.

Many people choose to combine their visit to the gardens with exploring the coves below, before retiring back to their vacation villa in Spain ready for a nice long siesta!

Pinya De Rosa

Pinya De Rosa is the second botanical garden in Blanes, and has officially been declared a de interes nacional. Covering around 50 acres, it contains over 7000 tropical species of plants such as cactuses, palm trees and aloe vera plants. These gardens are perfect if you are visiting off season due to their staggered flowering throughout there year, so there will always be something to see.

Again these gardens are open all day every day for just a small fee, plus if you are driving from your catalonia holiday rental, there is free parking available.


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!


Finding that perfect souvenir in Mallorca!

Sometimes it is nice to take a little something home with you when you have a great holiday abroad. Not only will it remind you of what amazing memories you made, you can also find some stunning high-quality goods to fall in love with.

Majorca Pearls

Mallorca is known for its pearls, but not those that you would typically find in the sea. The island features a number of top brand pearl manufacturers, such as Orquídea to Majórica, all of which have factory shops located inland. Some of the shops will even have their factories open, so you can go and see the pearls being made before heading to the shop.

Traditional Sausages

If you are a foodie, you should not leave the island before snapping up some traditional Mallorcan sausages, which are known locally as ‘Sobrasada’. The sausages are made by families across the island, so you shouldn’t have to travel too far from your Mallorca holiday rental to find them. The sausages are cured so should be fine for travel!

Leather Goods

Leather goods are world famous in Mallorca, with many leather outlets scattered across the island. You will be able to find some high quality good such as jackets, belts and hand bags. For some of the best quality products, you should head to Inca, which is located between Alcudia and Palma, and is often dubbed as the ‘city of leather’.

Coloured Pottery

In the Mallorcan region of Marrattxi, which is located around an hour away from Alcudia, you will find an area that has a strong tradition of pottery making. Shopping for this pottery is an experience itself, as spending an afternoon wandering around the area’s quaint markets can be extremely relaxing and interesting. From colourful pots and vases to some more unique items, you are sure to find something you will fall in love with.


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.


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.


The many cathedrals of Barcelona

Like many cities in the Catalonia region, Barcelona is steeped in history and stunning architecture. In addition to the copious Roman remains, the city is home to handfuls of churches and cathedrals, some of which have become tourist destinations in their own right.

The best way to see these towering works of art is to consider a Barcelona holiday rental or hotel so that you can be in the heart of the action and stay for a least a few days.

Sagrada Familia

Considered one of the most famous churches in the world, the Sagrada Familia sits proudly on the Barcelona skyline. This architecturally stunning building was first designed and construction began back in 1882, but it has yet to be finished. In 2010, the church was declared a minor basilica by Pope Benedict XVI.

The best time to visit is early in the morning before the crowds of tourists descend upon the property.

Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar

This incredible church was built between 1329 and 1383, and the building is a stunning feat of Gothic construction. Like the Sagrada Familia, it is one of the most visited spots in the city.

Cathedral of Barcelona

This Gothic-style cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona, and its distinguished Gothic style is a sight that shouldn’t be missed. The cathedral that you see today was built over the old cathedral in the 13th century. Every year around Christmas time the square outside of the building is host to a spectacular Christmas street market, full of food and music.

Catedral de Barcelona

Templo Expiatorio del Sagrado Corazon

When you first arrive in Barcelona for your holiday in Spain, this impressive building is one of the first sights you will see. Built on a mountain high above the city, its lofty location offers stunning views of Barcelona below. Right in front of the church is one of the oldest amusement parks in Europe, Tibidabo Amusement Park.

Although Barcelona is a large city, it has great public transport allowing you to visit each location with ease. Villas in Barcelona create an ideal base from which to go out and explore the many sites and architectural feats on offer.


The bridges of Catalonia

If you can’t decide whether to take a holiday in a historic destination or stay in a modern environment, why not do both? When you take a holiday in Spain, you’re combining the old and the new, as clearly evidenced by the spectacular bridges of Catalonia. Here are some of the region’s oldest, and newest, crossings.

Besalú Bridge

Catalonia’s Historic Bridges

Besalú Bridge
Believed to have been built sometime between the 11th and 14th centuries, this unusual L-shaped arch bridge crosses the Fluvià river and is one of the most photogenic bridges in all of Spain. This medieval, castle-like bridge looks even more amazing at dusk when it lights up with hundreds of twinkling lights.

Old Bridge of Vilaller

Located in the Province of Lleida, this is a classic three-arch bridge, although only one remains today. Built in the 17th century, two arches collapsed in August 1963, falling into the Noguera Ribagorçana. If you’re wondering why it hasn’t been rebuilt, the bridge is now a protected local cultural heritage site.

Pont del Diable

Also known as ‘Devil’s Bridge’, this unusual arch bridge was constructed in the 13th century at the site of an old Roman structure. The views of the Llobregat running underneath are fantastic, but the real amazement is how the bridge is a massive contrast to the modern flyovers and overpasses of Martorell.

Catalonia’s Modern Bridges

Sant Feliu Bridge
If you rent a villa on the Costa Brava, be sure to check out this modern bridge, built in 1998. While the steel frame isn’t much to look at, it has been nominated for a number of prestigious engineering awards. The bridge connects Sant Feliu Square with Deveda Park, which is one of the best parks in Catalonia.

Sant Feliu Bridge

Sant Boi Bridge
Crossing the high speed railway between Barcelona and Madrid, this bridge is located close to the airport, so you may see it if you stay for a night at the airport before or after your holiday in Barcelona. Measuring 870m in length, this bridge crosses the Llobregat and has an eye catching steel frame.

Vilafant Bridge
If you book a Spain holiday in Girona, it’s well worth taking some time to visit Vilafant and its bridge. Constructed in 2011, this is one of the most contemporary bridges in Catalonia, made from stainless steel and incorporating geometric shapes. It crosses the train line between Barcelona and France.

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