The Gothic Quarter And Five Magical Legends of Barcelona

When staying in your villa in Barcelona you will have to explore the place like the locals that will give you the insight to the rich local cultures and the legends that are a part of their rich traditions. There is plenty to explore that you can only undertake when you plan for an extended stay in one of the inexpensive rented accommodation.

A gaggle of geese

Go to the Barcelona Cathedral is the home to a gaggle of thirteen geese that are a symbol of the tragic past of the Church. Santa Eutalia, the patroness of the city, was killed at the age of thirteen. Going to the Cathedral at noon or afternoon will give you free entry!

The magic fountain

The Magic Fountain that is the Canaletes Fountain is situated on top of Las Ramblas and is also decorated with the shield of Barcelona while being topped by an iron lamp. Drinking water from the fountain will assure your return to the city. It is also the place where FC Barcelona come and celebrate their victories.

The lucky turtle

Go to the Casa de l’Ardiaca that is the wall outside the Cathedral and you will find the little turtle patting whom is said to being in luck. He sits pretty on the stone rectangle that was a former mailbox of a lawyer’s home. The story of the birds around is to depict justice that is free and unbound and the tangled ivy, and the turtle indicates the slowness of the process. When you enter the Casa de l’Ardiaca, there are several Roman aqueduct that you can see those that once ran through the city. There are also several exhibitions and public archives.

The spitting Gargoyles

The Spitting Gargoyles are those that are jutting out of the walls of the Cathedral and include the lions, elephants and unicorns and some eternal monsters. When the Corpus Christi were passing by they spat, and now they are punished as the plumbing on the walls of the cathedral.  When it rains they actually spit and drench the passersby – so be careful.

Sant Jordi and the dragon

Sant Jordi and the Dragon is best found in the Gothic Quarters where there are several statues of St. George, the patron saint of the city. He stabbed the dragon, and there are several reliefs like the one in the Carrer del Bisbe. A subtle image that you will come across is on the top of Gaudi’s Casa Batllo that is said to be inspired by the skin of a dragon. April 24th is he day of the saint with many celebrations in the country.


Shopping in Barcelona

Looking for some unique gifts and souvenirs to bring back for friends and family from your Baecelona holiday rental? You’re in luck! Barcelona is one of Spain’s best shopping destinations, with many great stores to check out. Here are just some of the best shopping locations in Barcelona that are perfect for browsing:

 

Barcelona Malls

 

If you like to have everything in one place, then La Maquinista is the ideal solution. One of Catalonia’s biggest malls, La Maquinista is home to more than 230 shops, giving you a fantastic selection. It’s here that you can find big international brands, like Adidas, Calvin Klein, and Foot Locker, interspersed with Spanish brands like Cortefiel, Dormity, and Furest. There’s also some small supermarkets, like Carrefour, which is great for picking up supplies and ingredients to make dinner at your villa in Barcelona.

 

Top Brands

 

For those who love top brands, it’s time to take a stroll along Passeig de Gràcia, which is one of the best locations in Barcelona for high end products. Chanel, Gucci, Boss, Mango, Guess, Burberry, Cartier, and Stella McCartney all have stores along this stretch of road, so there’s lots of places to choose from. Shopping is thirsty work, but don’t worry — there’s plenty of cafes and restaurants here, too! If you make it all the way to the end of this long street, you can relax in the beautiful Salvador Espriu gardens.

 

Small Stores

 

If you much prefer smaller, more local shops, then take a walk down Carrer de Verdi, which has a reputation for being one of Barcelona’s most quirky, unusual, and offbeat streets. You won’t find any high end brands here, but what you will find is a range of stores that allow you to make your own jewellery by selecting different beads and gems, shops selling handmade sweets and treats, all manner of recycled wood furniture, and accessory shops which are ideal for picking up some presents!


Things to do on a rainy day in Majorca!

Although renting a villa in Spain will get you on average around 300 sunny days, there will be that odd time when it rains. If you have a Mallorca holiday rental, you shouldn’t let this get you down, take a break from the beaches for the day and see what else the island has to offer.
• Visit the caves – Mallorca is home to several large caves, the biggest and most well-known of these are the Coves del Drach, which features huge chambers and even an underground lake. Every day the cave is host to a concert of classical music which is performed by musicians on a lit up boat, which proves to be quite a magical experience. Other caves include the Coves de Campaner of Coves de Arta.
• Spa Trips- Although you can get a villa with a private pool in Spain, there is nothing better than indulging yourself at one of the many spas, many of which offer hydropools, jacuzzies, saunas, indoor pools and a range of treatments. Rent a villa in Majorca in Pollensa or Son Brull to get treatments using only natural products.
• Visit Historic Buildings- There a huge range of historic buildings that are scattered across the whole of the island. The many castles, monasteries, palaces and estates reveal Mallorca’s fascinating past.
• Shop until you drop- If you have a Mallorca holiday rental in Palma, then you have a range local and international shops right on your doorstep. Alternatively head to Fan Mallorca, the island’s biggest shopping centre that is located just 5km from the capital.
• The pearl factory- Mallorca is famous for its artificial pearls, and you can find the Majorca Factory Shop located in Manacor. You will be treated to a guided tour which will show you the production process, view the exhibition space and then get taken to the gift shop where you can buy a souvenir to take back to your Mallorca holiday rental.
• Wine tasting- Just because the sun isn’t shining, it doesn’t mean that you can’t taste some of the delicious local wines on offer. Why not enjoy a guided your of Bodega followed by some wine and tapas.


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!


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.


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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