Why should I visit Andorra?

It may be a little further afield for those renting a villa with private pool on the Costa Brava, yet it’s still a popular day trip destination. Many excursions run to this tiny country lodged between France and Spain, in the summer months the flora and fauna is amazing and during winter months it has some of the Pyrenees best ski slopes. So why would you make the 2.5 – 3-hour trip from the coast?

Here are a few reasons:

Firstly, Andorra has a rich and interesting history, legend has it that Charles the Great granted the people of Andorra a charter if they fought against the Moors. The small country previously had a joint allegiance with both Spain and France, in fact during the Spanish Civil war the French troops rallied to protect Andorra. During the second world war the country became a smuggling route from France into Spain, so it’s had its fair share of excitement over the years. These days the predominant language spoken is Catalan (although there is still some French and Castellano Spanish), the country is part of the United Nations and to this day remains independent.

The capital city Andorra La Vella is nestled high in the Pyrenees and enjoys spectacular mountain views all around. The surrounding lush, green country parks and walks are beautiful and in the city there are incredible examples of Andorran Romanesque art and architecture.

There are a variety of mountain sports to enjoy which are suitable for all the family, the two ski resorts have a Nordic ski centre and plenty of alpine ski activities, there is also a special area for children called Naturlandia. Just outside Andorra La Vella is the perfect location for rock climbing with many areas surrounding the city. Dense forests are filled with canyoning adventures and zip wiring and on the main roads cyclists are out in force especially during the spring and summer months.

For Golfers the Soldeu course ascends to 2250 metres of altitude, access is gained via an 8-person gondola, the journey offers unsurpassed panoramas even before you begin to play the course!

In the city itself architecture is typical of a Pyrenean town, grey slate and alpine stone is used to create chapels, towers, bridges and fortifications typical of the area. Visitors will see ancient traditions blend with contemporary lifestyle as they wander the streets. The old stone houses on the outskirts of the city contrast with modern shopping centres and edgy steel sculptures in Andorra la Vella. The shops offer the latest fashions and technologies at reasonable prices which are ideal for a gift to take home.

If you plan on renting your Spain holiday rental for a while and you have access to a car during your stay, take a drive to Andorra, its unique traditions and fascinating culture make for an interesting visit.


4 Awesome Places in Barcelona for Tapas

Tapas are one of the staples of Spain. They aren’t a specific food, but rather a small portion of many different kinds of foods – almost like samplers. But many people, tourists and locals alike, enjoy tapa hops, which is like bar hopping (and often does include alcohol), where you head to different bars and restaurants to try a variety of tapas. Some of these may even be near your holiday rental. To help you on your tapa journey, here are four awesome places where you can find delicious tapas in Barcelona!

1. Guru Bcn Food & Cocktails

This Asian-style restaurant and bar may be dimly lit, but it is still warm and welcoming and makes a perfect stop for your tapa hop. You’ll find Guru Bcn Food & Cocktails in the Gothic Quarter of Old Barcelona. Expect Mediterranean flavors from these tapas, and make sure you grab a delicious cocktail or two as well! Whatever you order, it is certain to be delicious and an amazing gastronomic experience.

2. Palosanto

The tapas at Palosanto are from a variety of European cuisines, so expect a unique experience each time you go. This adorable rustic and French-country-style café makes another excellent stop on your tapa tour. The staff is friendly, the sangria delicious, and every dish a tasty work of art. It is a small place so you may want to make a reservation, but it is well worth the wait!

3. 9 Nine

If you want great, meaty tapas look no further than 9 Nine, which is a steakhouse and also includes Mediterranean and International cuisines. Every dish is served with flair and pizzazz. The interior is elegant and modern with a wall of wine. Make sure you get a glass of wine or two to go with your delicious tapas! You may also want a lemon sorbet to clear your palate before moving on to your next tapa stop.

4. Sensi Bistro Barcelona

A rustic yet bright and fun Spanish café awaits at Sensi Bistro Barcelona. Spanish, Mediterranean, and European cuisine make up the menu and the restaurant can be found in the Gothic Quarter of Old Barcelona. The best tapas are the truffle ravioli, so don’t miss out! Their dessert and wine are excellent as well.

We hope you enjoy your tapa hop! Get a taste for Spain and a feel for the culture as you try all new experiences, like your rental villa or apartment that makes you feel right at home!


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.


A Golfing Holiday!

If you are looking for a Golf vacation Spain, the Costa Brava region offers some fantastic courses for both beginner and experienced players. The region boats not only a fantastic climate for the majority of the year, but also four golf courses that are ranked in Europe’s top 50 as well as many other popular courses.
There are many villas to rent in Catalonia that will provide you with the ideal base for your golfing holiday. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular.

Club Golf d’Aro

This course is located high on a hilltop near the coastal resort of Platja d’Aro. The course has spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding coast, and proves to be quite a challenging course with many water hazards and bunkers.

Emporda Golf

Considered one of the best in the Catalunya region, Emporda Golf has four 9-hole courses which have combined to make two 18-hole courses. Take your pick between lakes, dunes and bunkers or Mediterranean pines. If you have a Spain vacation rental close enough, you could spend your whole holiday here.

Girona Golf

Hole #15

There are many villas around golf courses Catalonia, and the region around Girona is no exception. The Girona Golf course relies on the natural hills of the land to provide a challenging course and has a beautiful clubhouse make of natural stone.

Club de Golf Costa Brava

For those looking for both a beach and a golfing holiday, rent a villa in Spain around the beaches of Platja d’Aro and Snt Feliu de Guixol. The course here is surrounded by cork oak and pine forests, a very stark contrast to other courses in the area. Why not spend a few days here and a few days soaking up the Spanish sun on one of the local beaches?


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.


Football Fever in Barcelona

Four years have flown by, and suddenly football Fever is upon us again with the arrival of the World Cup. No matter where people are on the earth, there will be people frantically searching for that ultimate place to watch the game, one that not only has big screens, but also a fantastic atmosphere. If you have a Barcelona holiday rental while the world cup is on, then fear not, there are plenty of places where you can catch a match.

CocoVail Beer Hall

This venue not only offers 6 flat screen TVs to capture the action, but also surround sound, resulting in an electric atmosphere. There are 24 craft beer taps, and plenty of delicious food, plus they do some great food and drinks deal for larger groups to get in the mood.

Belushi’s Bar

This bar is a favourite not only for travellers, but also for locals who want to watch live sports. There are over 10 TVs, plus a projector, so no matter where you sit, you are sure to have a great view. During the World Cup the bar is running some great promotions, or you can book a World Cup package in advance.

Wild Rover

If your vacation villa in Barcelona is near Last Ramblas, then this classically Irish pub is perfect. Every single match is screened on 2 projectors and 6 large TVs, all but the Spanish matches with English commentary.

Shenanigans

Although still located in the heart of the city, this bar is a little less well known for tourists, which means that you are much more likely to find a seat and be able to watch your match in ultimate comfort. There are 5 TVs, 20 different types of bear and a delicious food menu, its likely this bar will not stay hidden for much longer!


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.

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