Holiday in Spain: What You Need to Know Before You Go to Barcelona!

Most people agree that Spain is one of the best holiday destinations in the world. And they are correct for many reasons. If you are planning to take a vacation and heading to Spain, more specifically Barcelona, you should know a few things. This will not ruin your holiday experience. On the contrary, this will enhance your holiday Spain experience because you will be well informed.

Forget Queuing

Typically, queuing makes everything run smoothly, in an organized manner. However, in Spain, queuing is not common. The only place you will find queues is in tourist attraction sites. Even at these places, someone will jump queue unapologetically. Do not mind pushing and shoving, with a smile on your face. Everyone does it anyway. If you are going to Barcelona during the high season, prepare your elbows.

Be Polite but Do Not Overdo It

You are used to saying the words ‘thank-you’ and ‘please’ most of the time, which is okay. These words come automatically without giving much thought. In Barcelona, you will have a different experience. Please note that people in Barcelona are not rude. It is only that they do not use these words unless they mean them. Therefore, use your word ‘sorry’ sparingly. When you are looking for your Barcelona accommodation, be polite but do not overdo it.

Stay Alert

There are many pickpockets in Barcelona. Do not drop your guard once you arrive in this beach city because pickpockets will ruin your holiday experience. You can lose your camera, wallet or any other valuable item within a blink of an eye. All you need to do is stay alert because most pickpockets distract you first before stealing from you. Your holiday in Spain will go smoothly if you avoid suspicious characters who engage in vague conversation. They want to confuse you before taking off with your stuff.

Prepare for a Laidback Environment

You will feel like screaming in frustration if you are accustomed to fast services. You are on vacation anyway so slow down. Everything is laidback in Spain. It will take some time before you get seated in a restaurant (even if you have made a reservation). When you rent a villa in Barcelona, you can practice patience and adjust to this laidback lifestyle. Make sure you allocate extra time for everything you do if you do not want to yell in frustration.

No Shopping on Sundays

You will not rest because you want to; circumstances will force you to. Most restaurants and shops do not open on Sundays. It is a Spanish tradition and perhaps the only thing you will accomplish on a Sunday is booking a villa in Barcelona.


Barcelona’s Christmas markets

Travellers come from all over the world to the famous European Christmas markets, which are a festive blend of handmade decorations, beautiful gifts, local foods, and, of course, plenty of grog. So if you’re considering taking a holiday in Spain during December, here’s what to expect from the Christmas markets like in Barcelona.

As a winter festive location, Barcelona isn’t quite as renowned as places in Germany or Poland, for example. If you’ve visited the markets in Northern Europe in the past, you may find Barcelona’s offerings to be a little less atmospheric, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth making the trip. In fact, Christmas is actually one of the very best times in Barcelona, accompanied by winter sun, mulled wine, and sparkling cava.

There are two main markets in Barcelona, both of which are centrally located so they’re very easy to get to from your Barcelona accommodation. The biggest market (which is still relatively small by European standards) is the Santa Llúcia market which is held in the square at the front of the Barcelona Cathedral. This is an excellent place to pick up some Catalan decorations for your Christmas tree. The smaller market is located at La Sagrada Família, and is a wonderful place to peruse unique and unusual trinkets.

It’s not just the markets that make Barcelona a great holiday choice for the winter. Shops and department stores often feature amazing Christmas displays, and twinkling lights illuminate the street at dusk. So while Barcelona’s Christmas markets aren’t the biggest or most spectacular, they’re still incredibly magical, and they help make Barcelona a great year-round destination. Take a few days away from the stresses and strains of Christmas shopping back home, and enjoy a relaxing pre-Christmas break in Spain!

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Celebrate Halloween and All Saints’ Day in Barcelona

If you choose to take a holiday in Barcelona during the week of October 31 and November 1, you’ll have the chance to take part in Barcelona’s yearly Halloween and All Saints’ Day celebrations.

Halloween

On the night of Halloween, people of all ages dress in costumes and decorate their houses and businesses in scary decor. Children go trick-or-treating, or truco o trato in Spanish, while adults choose to party at popular local venues. There are many nightclubs available for Halloween parties like Opium Mar, Sala Razzmatazz, and Sala Apolo.

If you prefer restaurants, the Enigmatium offers an interactive show that promises a night of comedy, mystery, and puzzles. Be beware, this restaurant doesn’t reveal its location. You must find it by following the clues! Alternatively, check out La Posada Maldita, where the waiters dress as scary creatures and the entire theme of the restaurant is horror. You can even check out a horror show while you dine!

There are many other great options to help you celebrate such as the Nocturna Festival, PortAventura, and the Sandemans New Halloween Tour.

All Saints Day

After you spent time recovering in you Barcelona villa from your experiences the night before, make sure to check out the culture and traditions that encompass the solemn celebration of All Saints’ Day.

Many locals go to church to remember the saints or visit the graves of their loved ones to lay flowers.

On the streets of Barcelona, you’ll find vendors, dancers, artists, and food. The most common food is panellet, a Catalan pastry of cinnamon bread with sugar, potatoes, almonds, eggs, pine nuts, and cherries. Also served are boniatos (sweet potatoes), candied fruit, and muscatel wine.

Panellets

Catch a production of the famous “Don Juan Tenorio” which will be performed in many theaters throughout the city as well as in the Poblenou cemetery.

The city also offers its annual Castanyada, which is a festival where everyone gets together over a huge fire in an open space. There they place a pan on the hot coals and cook castañas (chestnuts), which are available for sampling to get into the autumn spirit!

Take a break from your beautiful Barcelona vacation rental and make sure you check out these unique holiday celebrations, great for all ages!


Park Güell to Sagrada Família: The scenic route

Antoni Gaudí’s Park Güell and Sagrada Família are two of the top attractions that cannot be missed on a holiday in Barcelona. Separated by just 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometres), many visitors choose to walk between the two sights, and the fastest and most direct option is along Carrer de Sardenya, taking the curved Ctra. del Carmel at the Park Güell end, where you can exit the park near the Mirador Virolai observation deck.

However, while this may be the fastest route, it’s not the most scenic. For those who really want to make the most of their Barcelona vacation, take a slightly longer route that takes you past some of the city’s most fascinating sites and interesting spots. The scenic route takes you through the beautiful Gràcia neighbourhood for a glimpse into local life.

Here’s your guide to walking the scenic route between Park Güell to Sagrada Família:

Instead of leaving Park Güell via Ctra. del Carmel, take the other exit, which brings you out onto Carrer d’Olot, and then onto Carrer de Larrard. Heading south, your first stop should be the Gaudí interactive museum, where you can learn more about the architect’s life and works.

Keep walking until you hit Travessera de Dalt, and cross over almost directly to get onto Carrer del Torrent de les Flors. This will bring you into the heart of Vila de Gràcia, home to a large number of Barcelona villas.

If you’re feeling peckish, there are some tapas places in the area. If not, turn to stroll through the pretty Plaça de Rovira i Trias park and gardens. Turn south at the end of the park, and then head along Carrer de les Tres Senyores, past the Hideout Bar which is a good place to stop for a break and a cerveza.

By turning south at the dance school, you’ll find yourself staring at the stunning Parish Church of St. Joan and the grand Virreina Palace. This baroque-style building was built in the 18th century for Manuel d’Amat i de Junyent, a celebrated Spanish military officer.

Turn at Carrer de l’Or, and then onto Carrer del Torrent d’En Vidalet. Stop for a drink at the Elephanta bar — it may seem basic, but they have more than 40 gins on offer, and more than 40 teas, too! Turn onto Carrer del Terol for shopping and a peek at the old evangelical church.

Enjoy a stroll through Plaça de la Revolució square, and then join Plaça Vila de Gràcia park by walking along Carrer de Ramón y Cajal and Carrer de Mariana Pineda. By walking through the busy shopping district here, you’ll find peace and relaxation at the Salvador Espriu Gardens.

Once you’re at the end of the gardens, you’re on the home stretch! It’s a straight route along Avinguda Diagonal and Carrer de Provença to the Plaça de la Sagrada Família. The walk should take roughly an hour; you can put your feet up at your Barcelona villa at the end of the day! 

 


Barcelona locations for families with children

Barcelona is a great family-friendly destination, and it’s the perfect place to enjoy a holiday with your children. Not only can you find a lot of family villas in Barcelona, but there are also 10 beautiful beaches and a number of kid-friendly museums, too! However, there are a few considerations to take into account to ensure your Spain holiday is simple and stress-free, the most important of which is deciding where to stay.

Barcelona’s Districts

Although many people who take a Barcelona holiday love the old city area, including the districts of Sant Pere and Barceloneta, these may not be the best areas for families with very young children. Historic and cobbled, with narrow, winding streets, it may be difficult to maneuver a pushchair in these areas, and the uneven surfaces could increase the risk of trips and falls. Instead,  look into villas in Barcelona outside the city center. These properties will have gardens where kids can play, and some even have private, secured pools.

 

Barcelona’s Beaches

Many kids love spending the day at the beach, but families often prefer quieter areas than some busy and bustling beaches. If the beaches close to the heart of the city sound a little hectic, why not rent a house in Barcelona that’s just a little further down the coast? From Sitges to El Vendrell to Tarragona, these Costa Dorada beaches tend to be less crowded and much more enjoyable for families.

Things to Do

Barcelona’s residents are renowned for their friendly nature, so if you’re not sure if a building is equipped with a lift that is suitable for pushchairs, or for young children, don’t hesitate to ask a member of the staff! Take the kids on a day trip to the Barcelona Zoo or Port Aventura for an afternoon of fun rides as you collect precious family memories.

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Helpful tips for holiday travel with a group

Holidays can be hectic: deciding what to pack, organizing transportation, and arranging accomodation can all be holiday stressors. When traveling with your friends or family, follow the tips below to ensure that you next vacation is as stress-free as possible.

 

Plan, plan, plan. Travel can get crazy once you’re on the road. Bring the group together before you depart to draft a tentative plan for your holiday. While you’re at it, draft a Plan B in case weather or unforeseen circumstances get in the way. Spain is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world.

 

Search for group discounts. Loosen your travel budget by looking for group discounts for accomodation, excursions, and vehicle rentals.

 

Take time for yourself.
Take time for yourself.

 

Take private time. When you’re not used to people around you 24/7, it’s perfectly normal to get a bit overwhelmed when traveling with a group. Take a step away from the group if you need to and seek out relaxing activities.

 

 

Communication is key. Telling your travel mates about what you want to see and do will help you learn who shares your desires and can help the group organize the agenda. If problems arise, get them out in the open right away so that the issues do not weigh on the group throughout your holiday.


Fun family activities during your Spain holiday

While on holiday with family and friends, children can get restless, and sometimes the beach isn’t enough to compete with their tireless spirits. Parents, you are in luck! We are providing a list of activities that both children and the adults can enjoy together. It is like watching one of the 7 wonders of the world.

lloret_de_mar

Amusement Parks are obvious entertainment options that offer kilometers of thrilling attractions. One of the notable amusement parks in Catalonia is PortAventura. This adventure park in Salou, Costa Dorada, is both a theme park and a water park, all in one. At the Costa Caribe Aquatic Park in PortAventura, you can go water rafting, slip and slide downs water slides, or spend the day lounging by the water. Its one-hour distance from Barcelona makes it an accessible day trip destination.

 

If you´re keen to explore other water parks to keep cool under the Spanish sun, you might consider Aquopolis Costa Dorada or Water World in Lloret de Mar. Both parks have various rides and attractions for all ages and offer ultimate refreshment during the hot summer days.

 

Lovers of the outdoors will enjoy Arbre Aventura Park and Gnomo Park. For children with adventurous spirits, Arbre Aventura Park has zip lines, suspension bridges, balance logs, and networks connecting between trees to challenge your athleticism. Gnomo Park is a movie-themed park set in a pine forest with obstacle courses, indoor playgrounds, and even film screenings.

 

For calmer days, the city of Barcelona has abundant attractions that will bring out children´s curiosity and wonderment.

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The Barcelona Aquarium and the Barcelona Zoo are perfect for exploring and snapping photos with the animals. Those with a sweet tooth and imaginative spirit will delight in the Chocolate Museum. If the history of chocolate is not educational enough for you, there is also CosmoCaixa Barcelona, a hands-on science museum that features exhibits like the “Flooded Forest” and the “Room of Matter.

 

Regardless of what you choose to do, take advantage of this precious time with your family as you create memories that will last a lifetime!

 


Barcelona’s can’t-miss annual events!

Spending your holiday in Barcelona in this year? Don’t miss out on these exciting events that appeal to every taste.

 

Although this year’s Congress has already passed, next year’s Congress plans to be bigger and better than ever. More than 93,000 attendees descended upon the event that was held at both Plaça Espanya and Montjuic. Exhibits and speakers from companies like Accenture, Lenovo, and IBM informed guests of the latest in the world of mobile communication as well as what is in store for the future. You must see these 7 wonders of the world.

 

The race begins and ends just below the picturesque Montjuic Park, a hillside park that overlooks the city and the Mediterranean Sea. The course takes runners past Barcelona’s most famous sights including Camp Nou (FC Barcelona’s football stadium), Gaudi’s masterpiece La Sagrada Familia, and the boardwalk of the Mediterranean beaches.

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La Playa Barceloneta

On the heels of the Festival of Sant Joan is Barcelona’s Gay Pride festival that spans multiple days and features a parade, a high-heel race, parties, and concerts.

 

Located approximately 30 minutes outside of the city of Barcelona, the Circuit de Catalunya is abuzz during this annual event that attracts Formula 1 fans from all over the world.

 

Since 1994, Sonar has brought together music and technology, performed by international musicians, DJs, and other artists for an audiovisual experience like no other.

 

The Strokes, Tori Amos, and Damien Rice are just a few musical acts who will be appearing at this multi-day music festival in Barcelona.

 

The shortest night of the year is one of the most colorful and exciting in Barcelona. The ‘Nit del Foc’ (Catalan for ‘Night of Fire’)  kicks off the summer season in the Catalan capital. Residents and tourists head to the beaches where all-night fireworks light up the sky over the Mediterranean and musicians play along the boardwalk.

 

During this multi-day, mid-summer festival, the streets of the Barcelona neighborhood known as Gràcia fill with pedestrians who admire live music and the street decorations contest put on by local businesses. All decorations are made from recyclable materials, and the results are truly incredible!

Festa Major Gracia
Festa Major Gracia

Barcelona’s last festival of the summer kicks off a new season with more than 500 events and activities including parades, street concerts and performers, and the Fire Festival complete with fireworks and a ‘Fire Run.’


Travel trend: Vacation rentals in Catalonia, Spain

Renting a villa in Spain is an increasing trend in the travel industry for the year 2014. The vacation rental experience involves kicking off your shoes and making yourself at home in someone else´s home in the Catalonia region of Spain. Private vacation rental properties are growing in popularity, and Catalunya Casas is the place to find the perfect property for your Northern Spain vacation.

Comfort and affordability

What makes a Catalonia vacation home rental from Catalunya Casas so attractive to travelers? For one, they remove the formality of an overwhelming and impersonal hotel or resort, and allow families and groups to really relax in a spacious and comfortable environment. Instead of allotting a major portion of travel expenses for pricey hotel restaurant dinners and having to depend on predetermined hotel dining hours, guests are in control of their own meals in fully equipped kitchens during and can use the unique food and spices for which Catalonia and Spain are famous.

Space

Multiple bedrooms and bathrooms are also appealing advantages to renting a private home. If you feel like you need some space from your overbearing relatives, you can (literally) put a wall between you.

Fully equipped kitchen and dining room
Fully equipped kitchen and dining room

Private pools

Not to be overlooked, private pools are one of the most alluring (and refreshing!) attributes of a private home rental. Swim and sunbathe in complete privacy without having to worry about operating hours. Families with young children can keep a close eye on the little ones as some villa pools are surrounded by protective fences.

Pools that offer complete privacy
Pools that offer complete privacy

Local flavour

Travel is not what it used to be: Long gone are the days spent waiting in line at overpriced tourist attractions. Instead, travelers want to explore and experience their surroundings like a local, and private villa rentals are ideal for such excursions It is like 7 wonders in the world. Maybe the family next door to your vacation villa has lived in the region their entire lives and know the perfect place for a glass of sangria. During a trip to local bakery, practice your Spanish with the cashier and profit from true conversational immersion.

If privacy, space, and cultural authenticity are what you picture when you think of an ideal holiday, you´re in the right place! Browse through our incredible villas that bring you directly to the heart of the real Catalonia.

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