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.


Blanes Botanical Gardens!

Blanes is Home to arguably one of the best botanical gardens in Europe. If you have a Spain holiday rental around the Blanes area then this is definitely something that can’t be missed.
Marimurtra Botanical Garden

The garden itself is perched on a mountain top, therefore offers spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea. It was first created in 1920 by the German businessman Carl Faust, and since then has expanded greatly. Overall the gardens cover around 15 hectares with over 4000 different plant species for you to enjoy. Faust decided to dedicate much of the plant life to Mediterranean and sub-tropical flora, as well as a range of cacti, plants endemic to Catalonia, and beautiful plants from regions of central and southern America.

If you rent a villa in Costa Brava in the town itself, it is possible to walk to the attraction, with the gardens located just 1.5km from the city centre. It is open every day and charges just a small entrance fee. Once you are there you should be prepared to do a little bit of climbing, as due to its location there is a lot of steep slopes and long flight of steps that lead up to the Linnaeus temple.

Many people choose to combine their visit to the gardens with exploring the coves below, before retiring back to their vacation villa in Spain ready for a nice long siesta!

Pinya De Rosa

Pinya De Rosa is the second botanical garden in Blanes, and has officially been declared a de interes nacional. Covering around 50 acres, it contains over 7000 tropical species of plants such as cactuses, palm trees and aloe vera plants. These gardens are perfect if you are visiting off season due to their staggered flowering throughout there year, so there will always be something to see.

Again these gardens are open all day every day for just a small fee, plus if you are driving from your catalonia holiday rental, there is free parking available.


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!


Travelling with Teens? Give Them a Day to Remember!

If you’ve booked a family villa in Barcelona with the kids, then it’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to do during your holiday. There’s plenty to do in the city for younger children, such as visiting the Barcelona Zoo and splashing in the sea, but what about activities for older kids and teens?

The Urban Jungle

The answer? Bosc Urba, which translates to ‘Urban Jungle’. Part amusement park, part treetop adventure, Bosc Urba is one of the most exciting (and scary!) activities that teens can take part in during their holiday in Barcelona. From ziplining to treetop trekking, and from climbing to wire walking, this is a place to really push yourself to the limits, challenge yourself, and see just what you’re capable of doing.

The Courses

There’s 4 separate courses that you can choose at Bosc Urba. Younger children, and those who don’t want to climb too high, are often encouraged to take the Yellow Trail, while the Orange Trail is ideal for children aged around 7 or 8. The Blue Trail is considered to be one of the most challenging, while the Red Trail is only for the very brave! The Blue Trail and Red Trail take you high up into the trees for spectacular views. If you look closely you may be able to spot your Barcelona villa from these great vantage points.

Getting to Bosc Urba

Bosc Urba is located in the Port Forum area, so it is quite a hike from most central Barcelona accommodations. However, the journey takes just 20 minutes by car or taxi, or it’s just a short walk from the El Maresme metro station. Be sure to check out the Diagonal Mar shopping centre while you’re there; this American-style mall is one of the best in the city, with stores like Lacoste and Mango.


What to Pack When Visiting Spain!

You’ve booked your holiday rental for your trip to Spain, you’ve even looked up where to visit, maybe even found some places to eat. But now you’re staring at your open suitcase and wondering what you need to pack. Well, check out the tips below to know what you definitely do (and do not) want to pack!

Important Documents

It may seem like an obvious one, but make sure you have your important documents packed and ready. You’ll need your passport and you may want to consider buying a passport pouch, so you can keep it close to you at all times and won’t lose it.
You also need to remember to sign up for traveler’s insurance in case anything bad happens on your trip. Although we’d love to believe that everything will go exactly as planned, it’s better to have contingencies in place just in case.

Clothing

Although Spain is one of the fashion capitals of the world, most of its people are very religious so you’ll want to be cautious with how you dress if you want to fit in.
First, don’t dress immodestly unless you’re at the beach. It isn’t considered appropriate. In fact, unless your arms are already completely covered, it’s even respectful to wear a shawl when going inside churches and cathedrals.
Second, don’t wear flip-flops anywhere except the beach. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes, tennis shoes or flats, something you can do a lot of walking in. Do not wear high heels unless going to a formal event.
Finally, make sure you check the weather before you go and also while you are there. The weather changes depending on different seasons and different locations. Northern Spain tends to be colder and rainier than Southern Spain. Bring layers! Even if you go during the warm months, many of the buildings are air-conditioned and you’ll want a sweater or cover-up of some kind.

Extras

Here are some other things you may want to bring:
• Water bottle with a built-in filter
• Travel toilet paper
• Waterproof phone case
• Power Adapter (for Spain)
• Portable Charger
Remember to leave plenty of room in your suitcases for souvenirs. Pack anything you’d take on a normal trip with a few extras because you won’t be in your home country and other countries have different laws and items available in their stores.
Most importantly, have fun!


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.


Guell Palace – 3 Things that you probably don’t know!

1.The first and (most important!) thing that you may not know, is that you can visit for free Pallau Güell every first Sunday of the month!

2. This palace was actually the house of Eusebi Güell, the good friend of the architect Antoni Gaudí, which was the one who designed the palace as well.

3. It has the title of the world’s first Art Nouveau building and features a darker palette with an explosion of color on the roof. (Specially recommended to visit during sunset hour).

Photographer : Elina Aktipi

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