48 hours in Barcelona. What to see first?

1. Sagrada Família (Church of the Holy Family).

  • Tips and tricks:

Plan on 15-30 minutes to walk around the basilica, which is free.

Plan to spend 1-2 hours inside – there are long lines all year long, therefore it would be smart to pre-buy skip-the-line tickets.

Best to visit in the morning or afternoon, because of the beautiful natural light shinning through the windows.

Dress accordingly and cover shoulders inside.

  1. Park Güell

Tips and tricks:

The park is on Carmel hill so you will need to walk uphill 900m. Consider your footwear and bottle of water.

  1. Picasso Museum – journey through Picasso’s early years in Barcelona.

  • Picasso (1881–1973) lived in Barcelona from 1895 until 1904;
  • The only one museum created during the artist’s life;
  • Collection includes his first major works, The First Communion and Science and Charity;
  • Established by Picasso’s lifelong friend and secretary, Jaume Sabartés, whom Picasso had gifted many paintings, drawings, and prints since start of a friendship in 1899;
  • At first, Sabartés came with the idea to found the museum in Málaga, Picasso’s birthplace. Picasso himself suggested that Barcelona would be better location.
  1. Sagrat Cor church & Tibidabo amusement park.

  • The park is among the oldest in the world still functioning;
  • At the park is the Museum of Automatons, Walt Disney offered to buy the museum’s entire collection for any price chosen by museum, but it refused;
  • Tibidabo hill can be seen from all over the Barcelona city.
  1. Arc de Triomf & Parc de la Ciutadella

  • There are reliefs on one side symbolising agriculture and industry, and commerce and art on the other.

  1. La Rambla street

  • There you can feel the pulse and atmosphere of the city. There are usually many people, thus taking awalk will best suit those who like to get lost in a crowd;
  • Spanish poet Federico García Lorca once said ‘It is the only street in the world which I wish would never end‘.

Tips and tricks:

Be aware of your belongings when you watch street art performances.

If you want to buy souvenirs, you probably can not find better place for it.

7. Barceloneta Beach

Located in the traditional fishing district, this is one of Barcelona’s oldest and best-loved beaches. It is thought to have inspired Miguel de Cervantes as the setting for the fight between Don Quixote and the Knight of the White Moon. It was here that the knight errant was finally defeated and abandoned his quest. These days, Barceloneta beach as become a symbol of Barcelona’s status as a major tourist destination – a cosmopolitan culture capital and sunny beach town. Barceloneta beach is remarkable for being on the doorstep of the city centre, literally just a few hundred meters from famous sites such as La Rambla, mentioned before. This makes getting to the beach incredibly easy and makes for spending a couple of hours at the beach easy to fit into your day.


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!


4 Beaches to Visit in Costa Dorada

If you want to hang out outdoors in Costa Dorada, there are certainly plenty of places to do it. Of course, if you’ve rented a private villa with a pool, you’ll want to spend time there. But if you want a change of pace, check out these four beaches!

1. Llevant Beach

This gorgeous beach is near Salou and has beautiful sand, gorgeous water, and a stunning view of the city. Go swimming, get a floating device (some look like giant inflatable slides or water rides), or find a place for boating, diving, and snorkeling. There are plenty of restaurants, shops, and nightclubs nearby if you get hungry or want a little more amusement when you’re done with the beach. This beach is perfect for families of all shapes and sizes.

2. Llarga Beach

At the top of Salou is another amazing beach, this one a little more isolated and not as crowded because it is further from the city. They have a beach bar, a banana boat, plenty of sun loungers, and beautiful surf and sand. You can admire the view of both the ocean, the tropical vegetation, and the rock formations around you as you relax in the sun.

3. Playa de la Pineda

A quiet resort beach, Playa de la Pineda is most well-known for the giant plastic plant sculptures nearby. This area is great if you want to get away from the crowds and sunbathe in peace and quiet. The area is surrounded by trees, the water is warm and wonderful, the sand is perfect, and the view is stunning. There are still plenty of restaurants and shops around if you get peckish or just want to get out of the sun.

4. Capellans Beach

Busy yet clean, the Capellans Beach is surrounded by resorts and hotels, so you’re certain to have company at all times. The view is amazing though, part tropical island, part city, all beautiful. You’ll find plenty of sun loungers, some in the sun, some under umbrellas, and some under awnings. There are several restaurants, shops, and nightclubs nearby if you want some extra fun. And, of course, this beach offers a lot of watersports that you can check out if you’re tired of sunbathing or just swimming in the gorgeous waters.
Did you get a sunburn? Hopefully not! Either way, we’re certain you had a great time! Now you can head back to your vacation rental in Costa Dorada to think about what an awesome time you had and maybe plan what you’re going to do tomorrow.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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