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! 

 


The best museums and galleries in Barcelona

Barcelona is packed with places to visit if you feel like accepting some culture into your life. The amount of world-class art galleries and museums the city has to offer is staggering. Capture your imagination in the National Museum of Modern Art of Catalunya or if you have a penchant for all things maritime with a dash of Gothic architecture, head to the Maritime Museum. Wherever you wish to visit during your stay, there is a place to suit your tastes close to your Barcelona accommodation.

MNAC – Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
This is one of the world’s grandest museums, showcasing a variety of Catalan artwork that ranges from the Romanesque period to Gothic art and Modernism.

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Museum of History of the City – Museu d’Historia de la Ciutat
This museum tells the tale of the ancient city of Barcelona and explores her drainage systems, public baths, and even wine storage areas. You can also revel in Palau Reial, a former Royal Palace where you can admire the 14th-century banquet hall.

Maritime Museum – Museu Maritim
In days of yore much of Barcelona’s prosperity was dependent on trade from the sea. These ancient Gothic shipyards give a sense of the adventure and history of the area from the age of rafts to steam. There is also a full-size replica of the flagship belonging Don Juan of Austria. The story brings to life the existence of volunteers, prisoners, and slaves who lived aboard the ship.

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Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona – Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona
The expanding art collection at MACBA begins in a Gothic chapel and extends across the plaza into a glistening building of white. This museum showcases the best international, Catalan, and Spanish contemporary works of art. In addition to the temporary collections, there are also 1,600 pieces in the museums own collection, so they have to rotate the artwork.

Fundacio Antoni Tapies
If you have seen Gaudi and wish to delve deeper into the architecture and artwork of other famous Catalan visionaries, here is your chance. This foundation experiments with Catalonias Modernist art for which the city is renowned. The building itself is a delight to behold, with Tapies designing the structure to reflect his own mind at the time. Tapies political messages are hidden in his works; they are not easily decipherable but admirers can try to discover the meanings behind the collection.

Wherever you plan on visiting during your stay, there are museums and galleries on every street corner of the city. You are sure to find one close to your Barcelona holiday rental that fascinates and mesmerizes.

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Blanes: The gateway to the Costa Brava

Blanes was originally an old fishing town located approximately one hour north of Barcelona. The modern-day beach town is also just 50 minutes from Girona making it easily accessible from both of the region’s major airports. If you rent a villa on the Costa Brava it’s the ideal place to explore with all of the family. With over 4 kilometres of sandy beaches, characterful coves, and a town centre steeped in history, it is worth adding a day here to your travel itinerary.

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The Beach

The main attraction in Blanes for families is the beach. A pretty promenade flanks the entire coastline which is dotted with shops, bars, and restaurants. On Cala de San Francesc and Playa de Sabanell you can sign up for boats trips, hire sun loungers, and indulge in a multitude of water sports such as windsurfing, paragliding, sailing, and jet-skiing. Playa de Capellans is perfect for diving as the area of Santa Ana Point is particularly abundant with marine life.

 

The Gardens

Blanes is blessed with two wonderful botanical gardens with more than 11,000 species of plants such as aloes, cacti, and yucca palm plants. These gardens, popular with visitors to the town, exide natural beauty, shade, and seclusion which contrasts with the hustle and bustle of Blanes.

 

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The Culture

In addition to the archaeological ruins in the town centre and the myriad of shops, restaurants, and local bars, Blanes also hosts many markets and festivals throughout the year. Climb the hillside to the Castle of San Juan to visit the chapel and fortress, and enjoy views over the town, golden beaches, and azure Mediterranean Sea. If you do climb the steep walk to the top, remember to bring plenty of sunscreen as there aren’t many shaded areas – and don’t forget your camera!

If you are staying close to Blanes or a short drive or train ride away, take a day trip from your Costa Brava vacation rental to the charming coastal city of Blanes.


More than just a beach: Barcelona’s best July festivals!

Think summer in Barcelona means only sun and beaches? Think again! Barcelona has much more to offer in than just sand and salty turquoise water. A plethora of unmatched music festivals, an open-air cinema, a start-up fair, a motorcycle festival, and even a tap-dancing festival take place in the Mediterranean city come July.

The vast selection of music festivals held in Barcelona is sure to strike a chord with almost anyone. The shows range from rock and reggae to hip hop and electronic, drawing crowds from all over Europe, and even the world! From mid-July to mid-August, the Cap Roig Festival in the province of Girona features more than 20 national and international musical artists including Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett, and Sting.

Festa Major Gracia
Street festival in Barcelona

Festival Cruïlla is another massive music festival from July 10 to July 12 that caters to all musical tastes: reggae, hip hop, punk rock, electronic, you name it! It certainly takes the gold medal for the most well-rounded music festival in Barcelona.

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Hard Rock Rising Barcelona will take over the city on July 24 and 25, and will feature more mainstream acts including Kings of Leon, Robbie Williams, and Lenny Kravitz.

If you’re searching for more than just music, there are plenty of cultural festivals including Festival Grec (throughout the month of July) and Festival Castell de Peralada (July 10–August 6). There are even some themed festivals that cater to a passionate niche crowd: Harley Davidson hosts The Harley Days the first weekend of July that occupies Plaça d´Espaya, and it´s open to the public for free!

If you’re searching for a more relaxing way to unwind in this exciting city, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evening from July 3–August 7, the castle atop Montjuïc opens its gardens and hosts a cinema night, setting the perfect scene for a peaceful family outing.

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This brief list is just a taste of what Barcelona has to offer during the summer month of July. If you’re heading to Catalonia this summer, the opportunities for outdoor enjoyment will not disappoint.


Barcelona: An exhilarating place, both inside and out(doors)

Finding excitement in Barcelona is not just for those who love a big city; there are a multitude of different outdoor activities that this amazing area has to offer during your holiday.

 

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Of course, Barcelona´s beaches need no explanation: With more than 6 kilometers of bright blue Mediterranean shoreline, the Barcelona beach is a classic outdoor option. It seems like seven wonders of the world. What makes this beach truly special is the array of art and activities that are available such as the Biblioplatja (beach library) where you can borrow reading books to help you pass the time as you soak up the sun.

 

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If you want a more active beach experience, you can exercise on the outdoor gyms and admire the famous art and architecture that line the coast. While you´re at it, you can even take a windsurfing course on the Mediterranean Sea at Base Naútica! When it comes to surfing and skating, Barcelona is legendary. The large MACBA skate park in Raval district will provide an unforgettable skating experience.

 

If you´re into rock climbing or hiking, Barcelona´s very own Montjuïc serves as one of the best opportunities in the city to experience stunning Spanish scenery. At the top of the mountain, there is a beautiful castle that turns into a unique outdoor cinema in July.

 

You can also escape the buzz of the city street to relax in a row boat in Parc de la Ciutadella, surrounded by ornamental gardens and Gaudi´s grandiose waterfall. There are also urban safaris offered by the Jane Goodall Institute that are fun for all ages, and show off the incredible flora and fauna that bless the region.

 

If you prefer more relaxing activities, you can observe Sardanes, Catalonia´s national dance, in Plaça de Catedral. It involves gently bobbing in a linked circle of people, and it can seem hypnotizing when it is performed with large group. As well as dancing, Barcelona has enjoyable music concerts in Parc Central de Poblenou and El Turó Park.

 

Clearly, Barcelona has a wide array of activities to please all tastes. For this reason, Barcelona remains unmatched as the most well-rounded vacation destination!

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