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.


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.


Barcelona’s Tallest Buildings!

Although Spain is known for its wonderful weather, glorious beaches, and luxury villas with private pools in Barcelona and other popular resort destinations, it’s not exactly famous for its skyscrapers. However, there are certainly a few buildings of note in the country, with Barcelona itself boasting some impressive structures that are well worth visiting. Here’s a guide to Barcelona’s tallest buildings above 100m:

  • Torre Mapfre — 154m

Located in the Port Olímpic area of the city, Torre Mapfre is an office building home to many different firms, spread across 44 floors. However, it’s most famous for featuring Spain’s highest helipad. If you’re staying in a Barcelona holiday rental nearby, it’s worth popping out after sundown to see it all lit up.

  • Torre Agbar — 144m

Opened in 2005, Torre Agbar is one of the newest skyscrapers in Barcelona. Primarily an office building, the unusual (and somewhat phallic!) design of the building is considered to be a prime example of modern ‘high tech’ architecture. Again, slip out of your Barcelona villa at night to enjoy the illuminations.

 

  • Diagonal ZeroZero — 110m

Yet another example of high-tech architecture, Diagonal ZeroZero is another looming office building that can be seen from the streets of Barcelona. With 25 floors in total, this building holds a prime location in Barcelona, overlooking the stunning coast and close to some of the city’s most beautiful beaches.

The Skyscraper that Never Was

While we’re talking about Barcelona skyscrapers, let’s spare a thought for the 148m tall Torre La Sagrera: the Barcelona landmark that was never built! Designed by Frank Gehry, the proposed office building was supposed to me much more than just a structure; it was anticipated to become the hottest location in Barcelona, with a public park, transportation museum, and other attractions built in the grounds.


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.


Girona: The Flower City

To see a city completely draped in flowers, with aromas as pleasant as the rainbow of colours, head to Girona! The Temps de Flors festival has been taking place every year since 1954, and each year the city transforms into a floral paradise. The festival occurs annually in May and lasts for about one week, so to catch this spectacular festival, plan your Spain holiday with one of our vacation villas in Girona.

Girona by night.

What to See

The beauty of the flower festival is that you never know what’s around the next corner. From displays arranged by local children to designs that have clearly been the result of very intricate planning, there’s all sorts of arrangements to enjoy. Your vacation rental in Spain may even be decorated for the event! While there are amazing blooms to see all around Girona, it is said that there are 10 ‘essential’ places that you simply must see when you visit Girona during the festival, including the following:

● St Nicholas Chapel – one of the city’s oldest churches
● Plaça dels Jurats – a historic square
● Arab Baths – Roman hot spring spa
● Sant Feliu – a gothic cathedral
● The Cathedral – large cathedral and museum
● St Luke’s Church – near the main cathedral, in the Old Town
● Sant Martí – a 17th-century baroque convent
● The Sarraïnes Building – an old building near the Arab Baths
● Casa Lleó Avinay – a small house and museum in the Jewish Quarter
● Jardins dels Alemanys – spacious German gardens

Where to Stay

Prices can rise during the festival, but it’s still possible to get a good deal. Instead of booking a popular hotel, why not try something different and choose a family villa in Spain? Girona is also not too far from Barcelona – 1.5 hours by car – so a Barcelona accommodation is also a great option.


Santiago Rusiñol and the Catalan modernist movement

Many art enthusiasts think of Pablo Picasso as being a main driving force behind the Catalan modernist movement, but Picasso was actually influenced by another great Catalan artist, Santiago Rusiñol, who was instrumental in transforming Catalonia into an artist’s paradise.

Born in Barcelona in 1861, Rusiñol was one of Catalonia’s most important and influential artists. Many of his works depict beautiful and famous locations in Barcelona and other parts of Spain, including the paintings ‘Girona’, ‘Montserrat’, and ‘Sitges Interior’, as well as the drawing ‘View of Barcelona Port’.

The Cau Ferrat Museum

To learn more about Rusiñol during your next holiday in Spain, pay a visit to the Cau Ferrat Museum in Sitges. Located on the site of Cau Ferrat, which was the artist’s former home and studio, today the museum is a massive assortment of Rusiñol’s personal art collection. Some of the art is Rusiñol’s, while other pieces have been collected from other well-known Catalan artists, such as Picasso and Pichot.

Cau Ferrat Museum

The museum offers you an opportunity to explore the office, bedroom, great hall, dining room, fountain room (yes, fountain room!), and entrance hall, all of which are filled with an array of beautiful, eye-catching, and mesmerising decorative ironworks, glassworks, furniture, sculptures, and ceramics.

Where to Stay

Cau Ferrat is located in the heart of Sitges, so any villa on the Costa Dorada would be ideal for offering quick and easy access to the museum. However, Sitges is located just 40 minutes by road from Barcelona, so you could also rent a property closer to Barcelona and enjoy Cau Ferrat as part of a day trip.


Barcelona: Beyond the border

Taking a Barcelona holiday provides you with both the beach and the mountains on your doorstep, as well as numerous opportunities to discover the city’s historic architecture. While it’s easy to be blinded by the beauty of Barcelona, it’s important not to overlook some of the spectacular places that are located just outside of Barcelona’s border, such as the following.

Villa Torrelles de Llobregat.

Agrari Park

Situated just south of Barcelona’s Llobregat district, Agrari Park is often referred to as ‘Barcelona’s backyard’. A historic agricultural area, there is an extensive agro-ecosystem here with all sorts of plants, crops, and wildlife. Tours to the park have recently been introduced in an effort to encourage more people to eat fresh and highlight ecotourism in Spain. If you’ve ever eaten artichoke when you’ve been on holiday in Spain, chances are it came from the Agrari Park region!

Rubi

The little town of Rubi lies about 9 miles north of Barcelona and makes for an excellent day trip from your Barcelona accommodation. Rubi is a real blend of old and new with historic Roman ruins mixed with more modern architecture, built following the flood of 1962. One of the biggest attractions here is the town museum, located inside an old converted farmhouse. The museum tells stories of the town’s history and offers an extensive open space for exhibitions and concerts.

Badalona.

Badalona

The coastal city of Badalona is very close to Barcelona and is home to old Roman baths, a historic 19th-century theatre, neoclassical churches, great shopping streets, and golden beaches.


Dine with the stars at Barcelona’s Fabra Observatory

If you’re looking to enjoy a romantic getaway with a loved one, why not consider a holiday in Barcelona? They may say that Paris is the ‘City of Love’, but Barcelona is the ‘Capital of Romance’, and it has fast become a favourite holiday destination for lovers from across the globe.

There are plenty of romantic options in and around Barcelona for a night out for two. First, opt for booking a villa with private pool in Spain for the ultimate in luxury and relaxation, followed by a dinner underneath the stars at one of the city’s most romantic restaurants.

 

 

Dinner With Stars’ (or Sternalia) isn’t a restaurant, it’s an experience. Taking place in the summer months, availability is limited as couples from all over the world flock to Barcelona to enjoy this unique outing that includes fine dining with a view of the solar system. While cooking up a romantic dinner at your Barcelona villa is certainly a wonderful option, nothing quite beats the incredible experience of Dinner With Stars.

The Dinner With Stars experience takes place at the Fabra Observatory. Built in 1904, it is one of the world’s oldest working observatories, and the 32P/Comas Solà comet was actually discovered here. Located on Mount Tibidabo, the observatory is easy to reach from most Barcelona accommodations.

Fabra Observatory

All dishes at the Fabra Observatory are themed and take on galaxy-related names. Some of the top choices include the ‘Star Nebula’ salmon, and the ‘Textures in Cosmos’ beef tenderloin. If you’ve booked a family villa in Barcelona and have brought the little ones with you on your romantic getaway, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s also a great children’s menu here, with macaroni, French fries, and ice cream! Whether you have the kids in tow or it’s just you and your beloved, the experience is an unforgettable way to celebrate your love.

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Barcelona: Catalonia’s ‘Smart City’

Catalonia may appear to be a very quiet and historic part of the world ― and it is! ― but it also is one of the most technologically advanced hubs in Europe and is considered to be one of the world’s only ‘smart cities’. Along with destinations such as Amsterdam, Madrid, Manchester, and Stockholm, Barcelona is changing the way we live, work, and take holidays.

Image from barcinno.com.

What is a Smart City?

A smart city is a city that makes use of digital technology to improve everyday life for both residents and visitors. At some locations in Barcelona, for example, you may notice that live traffic data is transmitted to road signs to provide drivers with up-to-date, real-time information to help them determine the most efficient route. Another example is in in Stockholm where snow clearance data can be transmitted.

Smart Barcelona

How can technology help visitors have a safe and enjoyable holiday in Barcelona? The city’s ‘smart’ street lamps that illuminate when the sun goes down help improve safety in the city at night, and urban development programmes help make cities like Barcelona a great place to explore and discover.

View from Parc Guell.

Barcelona is home to an impressive fibre network which allows for excellent internet connectivity for residents and visitors, especially in the city. Many villas in Barcelona are able to offer their guests a fast and reliable internet service, although some properties in the rural parts of the region are still working to make the connection as efficient as that in the city, and have made tremendous strides in recent years.

Old & New

Catalonia is a fascinating mix of old and new, combining tradition with the latest technological advancements. This makes it one of the most interesting places to take a holiday in Spain, and allows you to enjoy a touch of history and culture while staying in a very modern and contemporary environment.

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