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


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!


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.


Top day trips from Palma

When it comes to seeing the sights and staying active, there is no shortage of things to do from an accommodation in Mallorca. From the largest city of Palma, there are heaps of adventures that await outside the city. Due to the size of the island, you will never have to travel more than a couple of hours by car for some of the best excursions, many of which can be reached by car or organised tour.

Coves del Drach

Located to the far west of Mallorca you will find the Coves del Drach. This attraction receives thousands of visitors every day and for good reason thanks to its impressive and glistening rock formations. The entrance fee includes a classic concert played by musicians on illuminated boats, and visitors can take rides on the boats as well.

Bodegas of Mallorca

What better way to spend an afternoon than to have a glass of wine in hand and spectacular views? That is exactly what the many bodegas offer its guests, as well as a tour of the bodegas and traditional Mallorcan snacks.

Soller

If you don’t have a car then one if the best day trips is to the picturesque town of Soller. It can be reached by the famous train that will take you straight through the mountains to the heart of the village. Spend a few hours wondering the cobbled streets of Soller and enjoy lunch in one of the many cafes in the square before catching the train back down to your Mallorca vacation rental.

Marineland

Catch the bus from Palma to Marineland to enjoy a full day of fun. You will have time to see energetic shows by both dolphins and sea lions, as well as a whole host of other sea creatures including turtles and sharks.


Springtime in Mallorca

Spring is a fantastic time to rent a villa in Mallorca as it is when the island really starts to come alive, but without the crowded beaches and increased prices that the summer season brings. The weather is just starting to creep up at this time of year, making the island and ideal location for outdoor excursions and possibly a bit of sun bathing.

Stunning Scenery

This is the time of year when the island showcases its almond blossom in full bloom, and it is arguably when the island looks its best. Lush and green with plenty of wildlife, the Tramuntana mountains are a must-see in the spring, so try to book a villa in Mallorca on the west coast of the island.

Some of the most idyllic hotspots include Valldemossa, Deia, and Soller. These towns exhibit an old-fashioned beauty thanks to their cobblestone streets and stone Mallorquin houses, many of which are decorated with exotic flowers.

Hiking

Hiking in this region in the peak of summer is not always a good idea. Although in the mountains the temperatures do tend to drop slightly, it can still be very hot. The milder weather that spring brings offers the perfect conditions for hiking or cycling.

The most popular route in the area is the Dry Stone Route which is an eight-day trek up the mountains and can be completed in parts.

Culture

If cycling and hiking are not appealing, there are plenty of other things to keep visitors occupied in the springtime. There are art galleries and museums to visit, or simply exploring some of the towns and enjoy the local cuisine and coffee shops. Alternatively, many people come at this time of year to escape the tourist crowds and enjoy some quiet time in their villas with pools in Mallorca.


Exploring the Ibiza coastline

Ibiza is a very picturesque island, but sometimes in order to see it in all its glory, it is best to view it from the sea. There are countless tour companies that will take you out on a boat for the day to see various parts of the dramatic coastline. Some will even take you around the entire circumference of the island. It is easiest to catch one of these trips if your Ibiza holiday rental is in one of the main coastal towns and resorts, but if you are located inland, you will still be able to get there using a hired car or public transport.

From the sea, you will be able the see the island from an entirely different perspective. The beaches and cliffs look particularly impressive, and you may even get the chance to tour some of the smaller out lying islands and take a dip in the waters that surround them.

Chances are that the boat that you travel in will be a traditional Ibiza boat, made by local craftsmen for an original boating experience.

If you don’t fancy an organised excursion and still want to escape the crowds, opt for hiring your own boat and touring the island. Contrary to what you might think, this option will not break the bank, especially if you reserve a vessel with a large group. Getting out of your vacation rental in Ibiza and onto the seas can be one of the most memorable parts of the trip, whether you simply want to explore the coastline, find hidden coves, visit Formentera, or get a glimpse of a beautiful sunset at Es Vedra.

Es Vedra

There are many types of boats to choose from depending on the sort of activity that you are looking for. Many opt for speedy motor boats to whizz around from place to place, or if you are looking for something a bit more relaxing, then a sailboat might be a better choice.


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.


A brief history of Palma

The Mallorca capital city of Palma is steeped in history, remains of which can still be seen around the town today. Like other major islands in the Mediterranean, it has attracted its fair share conquerors and invaders over the years, all of whom have helped shape the island into the place we know today. You can still see the remains of some settlements, churches, and fortresses around the central city of Palma.

Due to the size of the island, no matter where your Mallorca holiday rental is located you should still be able to reach the capital with relative ease. There is a decent road network into the city if you want to rent a car, or alternatively if you are staying in a bigger town you can hop on a local bus.

A Short History

For many, the history of Mallorca began when the Catalans took the island back from the Moors in the 13th century. Because of its location, the island found itself in the centre of trading routes that crossed the Mediterranean.

In 123 BC, the Romans conquered the island, after which Mallorca rode the many ups and downs of Roman fortune for more than five-and-a-half centuries.

Although the Romans did have an influence on the culture of Mallorca, it was the Moors that helped to develop the crafts and commerce, and you can still see this contribution in the folklore, language, and cuisine today.

At the end of the 15th century, the Balearic islands were united with the Kingdom of Spain.

Historical Sites

Renting a villa in Mallorca is a great way to relax while also viewing the history that the island has to offer. The Cathedral of Mallorca is undoubtedly one of the most famous historical buildings, standing tall on Palma’s skyline. It took approximately 300 years to build during the 14th and 17th centuries. Inside the royal chapel are the tombs of Kings James II and III.

The 10th-century Arab baths are one of the only artifacts that still remain of the old Arab city. Historians believe they formed part of an old nobleman’s house. Another great landmark is Bellver Castle, which is home to the city’s history museum. The castle dates to 1309, and since its building has been the summer palace for the island’s monarchy as well a prison.


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.

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