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!


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.

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