Stay in the Best Flat for the Holidays Near Barcelona

Stay in the Best Flat for the Holidays Near Barcelona

Thanks to its countless attractions, amazing entertainment, and breathtaking scenery, Barcelona proves to be an unparalleled vacation destination.  During the holidays, this exotic city is even more beautiful with its elaborate decorations and festive activities.  With all that Barcelona has to offer during the Christmas season, you’ll want to start planning your amazing holiday getaway this second!  bizFlats Vacation Rentals wants to make your dream vacation a reality this holiday season by providing you with the best possible places to stay.  Our numerous apartments, villas, penthouses, studios, and lofts offer generous space, luxurious furnishings, and convenient locations.  Browse through our list of some of our best properties for a Christmas vacation and discover which one is the right fit for you to rent for the holidays near Barcelona!

Vacation Rentals for the Holidays Near Barcelona

1. Villa Upstairs

Lose yourself in bliss while you stay in this villa during the holidays near Barcelona.  Located in a quiet and secluded residential zone of the Sitges Village, the gorgeous rental is just a 25-minute drive from the city.  The Villa Upstairs includes 5 comfortable rooms, 4 complete bathrooms, and a spacious living room, complete with a working fireplace.  Revel in the views of the sea as you relax on the terrace, which is furnished with table and deck chairs and surrounded by a colorful garden.  You will always remember your stay in this peaceful haven, tucked away into one of the many mountains encircling Barcelona.

2. Villa Downstairs

Also located in the Sitges Village, the Villa Downstairs has 4 bedrooms and 2 complete bathrooms, with a nearby bungalow serving as a private area for two.  The garden connects the two areas and contains a 16-meter swimming pool and additional hot tub, perfect for warming up in chilly weather!  You’ll love residing in the heart of the mountains in this charming rental for the holidays near Barcelona.

3. kissMe

This cozy 2-bedroom apartment is nestled right in the heart of Barcelona!  Enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning as you sit on the balcony overlooking the bustling city streets.  kissMe also provides a fully equipped kitchen as well as a washing machine, smart TV, and WiFI.  Its modern furniture, lighting, and decor create a welcoming environment for your home-away-from-home.  Don’t miss the opportunity to lodge in the center of this exciting city!

4. Parsifal

This dreamy apartment is directly adjacent to the most dynamic part of Barcelona!  Parsifal is positioned just 20 meters from La Rambla, a lively part of the city filled with must-see attractions as well as excellent dining and shopping.  The apartment contains 3 bedrooms, 2 complete bathrooms, and a large common area divided into 3 different spaces with an abundance of comfortable seating for everyone.  Spend your holidays near Barcelona in this very close by and luxurious oasis!

Come Stay with Us at bizFlats!

Now that you’ve seen a few examples of our amazing vacation rentals, check our availability and book a stay with us today!  Our rentals encompass a wide range of sizes, from an intimate nook designed for a romantic getaway to a sprawling flat with enough rooms to sleep your entire family.  You will love spending your holidays near Barcelona in one of our sensational rental homes, specifically fashioned to accommodate all of your needs during your dream vacation.

How to Have the Perfect Day in Barcelona in Winter

How to Have the Perfect Day in Barcelona in Winter

Barcelona is the dream vacation destination for many reasons; one of which is it’s amazing to visit all year long!  If you’re planning a vacation to Barcelona in winter, you might have a few questions regarding what to wear or how to spend your day.  Read these tips to help you schedule your Barcelona winter day itinerary.

  1. Bundle Up- but Not Too Much!

As you’re getting ready to start your Barcelona winter day, you’re probably wondering what clothes are best suited for the weather.  Barcelona winters are typically blessed with beautiful weather.  Temperatures are mild; generally they tend to be around 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and around the 40s at night.  The days are usually sunny with rare glimpses of rain (although there might be a good many overcast days).  So grab your jacket and scarf but leave your heavy winter coat behind!

  1. Have a Good Breakfast

Barcelona prides itself on its coffee.  With bold flavors and higher amounts of caffeine, a cup of Barcelona coffee is the perfect way to start the day.  

There are a few variations of how their coffee is served:

-Café amb llet: Best enjoyed with a light breakfast, this morning delight is equal parts espresso and steamed milk.

-Un café or café solo: A simple shot of espresso with a thick layer of foam, usually saved for the end of a meal.

-Carajillo: A café solo with some added brandy!  Not for breakfast though- this alcoholic beverage is generally made to accompany bigger meals.

Along with your morning cup of joe, you need some wholesome food to give you enough energy for your Barcelona winter day. A traditional Catalan breakfast can be a large, substantial meal.  While some locals might just grab a cup of coffee and a croissant, many indulge in hearty breakfast sandwiches.  The Pa Amb Tomaquet is another traditional part of a Barcelona breakfast; it consists simply of warm bread moistened with ripe tomatoes and drizzled with authentic olive oil and sea salt.

  1. Use Your Afternoon to Explore!

This region of Spain is positively bursting with things to do: hikes featuring breathtaking scenery, museums honoring the history of the city, and more places to shop than you’ve ever seen before!  Take your afternoon to wander through museums and art galleries or rent a bike to see numerous parts of the city.  Barcelona is covered with various bike paths for you to tour historical monuments, beaches, and parks.  

  1. Dinner & Drinks

Spain is home to many of the best restaurants in the world.  Treat yourself to an amazing dinner after your busy day of exploring Barcelona.  Many places here offer a very unique cuisine made from the freshest local ingredients and provide views of the surrounding city to accompany your amazing meal.  Don’t let your Barcelona winter day end after dinner, though!  Barcelona has a bustling nightlife, perfect for letting loose and concluding a long day.

Come Stay at bizFlats!

No getaway is complete without comfortable accommodations.  bizFlats offers rentals of apartments, lofts, villas, and more so you can fully relax after a long day in your home-away-from-home.  Check our availability and find the perfect place for you!

Photo by rob st / Flickr

Not Sure What to See in Barcelona? Check Out Our Awesome Guide

Not Sure What to See in Barcelona? Check Out Our Awesome Guide

The eyes work tirelessly while exploring new places, constantly darting from side to side and up and down, trying to take in all the dazzling sights and scenery.  Maybe you’re a history buff who gazes in awe of ancient buildings or an art connoisseur who stares diligently at art displays to interpret their meaning.  Perhaps you’re an outdoors expert who is constantly gaping at the sight of breathtaking mountains… or you prefer to bask in the sun and watch the waves roll onto the beach.  Whatever you like to see, Barcelona has the perfect attraction for you!  Investigate sights that interest you or discover a new passion within the vast list of what to see in Barcelona!

Arts, Architecture, and History

As a region that can be traced back to the 2nd century, Barcelona has a rich history as well as spectacular art and architecture that developed throughout the years.  These are just a few highlights of Barcelona’s most famous museums and monuments.  (Also something to keep in mind: all city-run Barcelona museums are free on Sundays!)

Joan Miro´ Museum: Learn about the famous Joan Miro´ and observe rare paintings and exhibits in this unique museum.

Barcelona City History Museum (MUHBA): Study ancient artifacts as you discover more about Barcelona’s history and how it has developed since its founding.

Modernista Art and Architecture: Many modernista architects, such as Antoní Gaudi, have left their mark in Barcelona in the form of countless, breathtaking buildings all across the city for the public to admire.

Barcelona Ramblas: Once a rushing river, this significant part of Barcelona is now the most famous street in the city, filled with businesses, historical sites, restaurants, markets, and more!

Hiking

Since it is a city surrounded by hills, Barcelona is home to many beautiful hiking trails.  If you love the outdoors, lace up your hiking boots and investigate these magnificent scenes of nature.  

Montjuïc mountain: This towering hill, which historically served as a defense for the city, now contains gardens, parks, hiking trails, and even cable car rides to view the city from above!

Collserola Park: An ideal area for biking, this park has picturesque views of the city, the Mediterranean, and the countryside.

Montserrat: View the famous Montserrat monastery before hiking the peak of this mountain, which is known for possessing the best view of Catalonia.

Pyrenees & Montseny Mountains: You should reserve an entire day trip to fully appreciate what these mountains have to offer; you’ll find countless parks, trails, and views of the mountains as well as ancient towns and buildings.

Beaches

The beaches of Barcelona are truly a sight to behold.  Over four kilometers long, these beautiful beaches are spread along the Mediterranean and include multiple coastal towns and marketplaces to explore.  Many of these areas have a thriving nightlife as well, making these beaches a must on the list of what to see in Barcelona!

Sant Sebastià: The longest and arguably the most popular beach in Barcelona, Sant Sebastià stretches 1,100 meters long and possesses many sporting clubs for sea-related activities.

Nova Icària: Closeby to the Olympic Marina, this beach has a wide variety of restaurants in its adjoining town, offering some of the best Barcelona cuisine.

Mar Bella: This active and bustling beach is best known for its watersports.  Visitors and locals alike here can be seen windsurfing or kayaking; there’s also a perfect area for joggers and cyclists.

Barceloneta: The oldest beach in the area, Barceloneta is known as Barcelona’s classic neighborhood by the sea, where people from far and wide come to enjoy seafood in this traditional fishing district. 

Come and Stay with Us at bizFlats!

Now that you know all about what to see in Barcelona, check our availability and book a vacation with us today!  We offer a variety of different penthouses, studios, apartments, lofts, and villas, all designed for you to get more living space for less money than a hotel.

Photo by Rick Ligthelm / Flickr

 

Christmas in Barcelona is Like a Fantastic Dream

Christmas in Barcelona is Like a Fantastic Dream

If you’re looking for a Christmas celebration unlike any other you’ve ever experienced, Barcelona is the perfect place for you this holiday season! December is an ideal month in this exotic region; the Barcelona Christmas weather isn’t too chilly, holiday activities are in full swing, and the streets and buildings are lavishly decorated. Exciting festivities, traditional culture, and welcoming locals make Christmas in Barcelona a truly magical time of year.

An Overview of Christmas in Barcelona

The Christmas season in Barcelona officially begins on December 8th, which is known as the Feast of Immaculate Conception, a day centered on the belief that the Virgin Mary was conceived without sin.  The majority of families in Barcelona begin decorating for Christmas on this day.  Usually the most prominent Christmas decorations in the typical Barcelona home are the Nativity scenes (complete with the traditional caganer) displaying the stable of Bethlehem.  Christmas Eve (La Nochebuena) is observed with an extravagant dinner to celebrate the birth of Christ, and Christmas Day is celebrated December 25th with gifts and meals; most businesses are closed to honor this day.  The end of the Christmas season is marked by Three Kings’ Day on January 6th; this holiday, even more widely observed than Christmas Day, represents the day the Three Wise Men arrived to visit Jesus and is celebrated by a large parade the evening before.

Things to Do in Barcelona for Christmas

Barcelona Christmas Market:  Christmas fairs and markets are a must-see during Christmas in Barcelona! Some of the most popular markets are Fira de Santa Llúcia, which is filled with beautiful displays and performances, and the Fira de Reis, where you can find a wide selection of goods, candies, and toys (mostly handcrafted).  Many other fairs and Christmas markets are scattered amongst the villages during this season. There’s also the Festival de la Infancia, a fair with activities specifically for children, such as storytelling, games, and crafts.  

Skating:  Another popular activity during Christmas in Barcelona is ice skating; Catalunya Square, an iconic plaza surrounded by monumental buildings, is transformed into a temporary ice rink during the winter seasons and attracts visitors of all ages.   

Lights: Barcelona is well-known for their light exhibits during the holiday season!  Almost 300 streets are adorned with dazzling light displays and every district of the city presents its own towering Christmas tree.

Special Events: The Harbour Swim (Copa Nadal) is a swim across Barcelona’s freezing harbour on Christmas morning.  This tradition dates back to 1907 and has been a sight for spectators to enjoy every year since!  The Three Kings’ Parade is another famous Barcelona Christmas tradition that always occurs on January 5th.  This three-hour procession begins at 6:00pm and follows a 5 kilometer route.  Various artists, such as musicians, dancers, and circus performers, all participate to create this beautiful and traditional festivity.

Celebrate The Tradition of the Barcelona Christmas Log: One of the most unique aspects of Christmas in Barcelona is the tradition of the Caga Tió (the Spanish Christmas poo). A log with a cartoon face is placed by the hearth, and the children of the household present food to the log in exchange for gifts that it poops-out.

Come Stay with Us at bizFlats!

If any of these sights or events have peaked your interest, Christmas in Barcelona is the perfect winter getaway for you!  bizFlats offers a wide assortment of different lofts, studios and penthouses, apartments and villas to rent in spectacular areas of Barcelona.  Come experience luxurious living in one of the most exhilarating places on earth.  New Years in Barcelona is an amazing experience, as well!

Photo: Núria / Flickr

 

What is Cava?

What is Cava?

Cava is a champagne style sparkling wine made in Spain, and is known for being a more affordable choice for your celebratory occasions like New Year’s Eve and weddings. If you’re a fan of bubbly but have always wondered what the difference is between all these varieties like Champagne, Prosecco and Cava, we’re here to give you a little more information.

Naturally, we will be highlighting our Spanish preference and trying to answer the pressing question, what is cava? Because, well, we’re biased. We can only do so, however, in light of the other varieties, so get ready for your annual wine lesson – something it’s good to study up on at least a little before visiting Catalonia.

What is Cava?

Cava is a simple aperitif made primarily from three Spanish grape varieties. It is neither as sweet as Italian Prosecco nor as nutty as Vintage Champagne, making it the perfect middle ground and crowd pleasing bubbly beverage to serve your guests. While it typically uses Spanish varieties of grapes rather than French varieties, Cava is produced in the traditional French Champagne method. What makes Cava different, essentially, is that it is made in Spain with Spanish Grapes.

How Is Cava Made?

What sets sparkling wines apart from their counterparts is all in the bottling process, which is when the bubbles are formed. After being bottled, cava wine continues to ferment for months or even years. The bottles are capped with crown caps (like those used for beer bottles), and slanted down to allow all the yeast to settle in the neck of the bottle where the pressure will build up the most. After fermentation the tip of the bottle is then submerged in a freezing solution and a few inches of it are turned to ice, at which point the cap is removed, and the pressure in the bottle will actually expel the ice plug that has formed. The vintner will then top the bottle off and cork it.

Types of Cava

Finally, you probably want to know what all the different types of Cava are in your quest, asking questions such as “what is cava brut?” There are three types of Cava, all of which are made with a blend of the three main grapes used in cava production, which are Macabeu, Parellada, and Xarel-lo, all of which are white varieties. Brut and Brut Nature Cava is a fruity style that has become popular because it is lower in calories than the other styles. It is fruitier also, making it the perfect aperitif. Cava Rosé is, of course, pink, meaning that vintners add other grapes into the mix to get this color, which is most likely the Spanish Garnacha and Monastrell varieties. Pinot Noir is also becoming a common addition. Finally Vintage and Aged Cava is more in line with the original French Champagnes and is known for having a more nutty and toasty flavor with zesty aromatics like apple and almond.   

Now you are ready for your cava drinking experience here in Barcelona, which you’re sure to find at any cocktail hour or included in many a sangria recipe. You can either be spared having to ask your bartender, “What is cava champagne?” or you can boldly ask away and learn even more!

 

Things to Do at Marina Port Vell

Things to Do at Marina Port Vell

If you’re heading to the Mediterranean coast while visiting Barcelona, or maybe to check out the 1992 Olympic Complex while there, you’ll certainly catch a glimpse of the stunning Marina Port Vell. Whether you’ve got a thing for boats or just want to take a stroll along the water, this little cove of luxury is a wonderful place to enjoy the ocean views, and perhaps even a fancy cocktail. Translated into English as Old Harbor, the Marina’s recent rebuilding is a reimagination of this once industrial port.

About Marina Port Vell

Barcelona is in an ideal location for sea merchants and has been a central hub on the Mediterranean since the Middle Ages. Until the early 90’s and the arrival of the Olympics, however, the waterfront area remained largely industrial, with the city putting little effort into the attraction the waterfront could provide. Marina Port Vell and the other waterfront attractions are part of the new Barcelona.  

This upscale marina was built for the 1992 Olympic Games and has now been renovated into a 148-berth luxury yacht facility, docking some of the most stunningly beautiful boats you may ever lay eyes one. Aside from docking boats, which offer a wonderful tourist attraction, Marina Port Vell is also a luxury yacht club where you can enjoy a wonderful gourmet meal on the water, and even start planning your chartered yacht trip.   

The Restaurant at Marina Port Vell

One of the most highly acclaimed restaurants in Barcelona, Marina Port Vell offers a dining experience that is as luxurious as the yachts they dock. Aside from an inventive, beautiful and locally sourced menu, this restaurant also offers one of the most unique views of both the city and the Ocean beyond. If you’re headed here for dinner in the evening you can look forward to a delicious dinner based on age old Catalan cuisine traditions, and a port lit up as if it were Christmas. You can also stop by for a drink on the patio!

Rambla Del Mar

If you are exploring Las Ramblas, the great pedestrian street stretching from La Rambla all the way to Marina Port Vell, take the extra leg down to the water to discover this urban revitalization of Barcelona’s waterfront. Port Vell is much more than a Marina, which you’ll discover along the boardwalk. You’ll see the Maremagnum, a shopping mall with bars, restaurants and a movie Theatre, as well as IMAX Port Vell alongside the famous Aquarium. The Swing Bridge that you’ll cross on your walk allows ships in and out of the harbor and is a beauty to behold all its own.

 

Whether you’re looking for a romantic night out, a place to snap some great photos on the waterfront, or even to hire a private yacht charter for a few days in the Mediterranean, Marina Port Vell is the place to go in Barcelona. If you’re looking to enjoy some luxury on your vacation, or just want to see where the social elite flock to, you’ll love this beautiful area of the city, and it makes for a great walk!

8 Important Catalan Traditions

8 Important Catalan Traditions

Many Catalan traditions have been born of these centuries of intriguing culture and are still practiced today. People visiting Barcelona are often in search of these traditions, whether around holidays, food, or are just looking for the unexpected experience. A city of friendly people, you can easily ask around and get a feel for where to find these wonderful flourishes of Catalan culture. Here are the ones that are most well known and frequented by visitors to the area.

8 Catalan Traditions

  1. Castellers – Meaning “towers” in English, the Catalan Castellers are certainly one of the most famous Catalan traditions around. If you are visiting Barcelona during any national holiday, head to a public square where you may catch a glimpse of these agile natives making human towers reaching as high as three stories in the air. There is also an annual competition on the first Sunday of October in Tarragona that is bound to be breathtaking.
  2. Correfocs – Another wondrous, though a little scary, of the Catalan traditions, is the Correfocs festivals during which there are huge street parades. People run around dressed as devils. Though they aren’t partaking in evil perse, it is certainly tomfoolery involving drums, firecrackers and other wonders you’ll enjoy.
  3. Els Segadors – The national anthem, Els Segadors was written in 1693 when Catalonia fought for its freedom against the Spanish King. You’re bound to hear it sung if you’re around for any holidays, and give it a listen beforehand if you want to be able to sing along.
  4. The Catalan Donkey – The symbol of Catalonia, the donkey became important to the people of this region after nearly going extinct. Two natives circulated donkey silhouette stickers in defense of these animals and saved the species.
  5. Pa amb Tomàquet – Meaning, literally, bread with tomato, this is traditional tapas treat that can be found virtually anywhere in Barcelona.
  6. Calçotada – There is a harvest party each year celebrated mainly this leek-like vegetable. The celebration consists mainly of eating these onions in the traditional manner of roasting them over an open fire and until charred, peeling back the burnt leaves and eating the soft, sweet inner layers.
  7. Tió de Nadal – This Christmas tradition is an odd way that Catalonian children are accustomed to getting gifts in the form of sweets and goodies leading up to the holiday. In every home, you’ll find a hollow tree stump that is filled with little presents and on Christmas eve they take a stick to it and beat all the goodies out.
  8. Caganer – If you are here during Christmas, be prepared to see an odd figure as part of their nativity scene. Caganer is a little boy you’ll see in the manger, with his pants down, taking a poop and so fertilizing the earth for the coming years.

These are a just a taste of the great Catalan traditions you’ll find while visiting the area. Any meal will reveal a number of habits of the region that date back farther than you would imagine. A walk through the Gothic Quarter will likewise bring you right back to Medieval times. It’s a treat to visit this region any time of year!

 

FC Barcelona Legendary Players

FC Barcelona Legendary Players

In 1899 a new modern culture of leisure was born by a group of largely non native men living in Barcelona who were interested in starting a sports club and playing what were then largely British sports like football. Thus, FC Barcelona was born, and its roots are strong in the club’s culture today, who loves to celebrate international talent, but has also built a extensive Catalonian culture. Founder, Joan Gamper, was undoubtedly one of the first FC Barcelona legendary players, and not just for his skill on the pitch, but for his devotion to the growth and legacy of the club. Without Gamper, there would be no further FC Barcelona legendary players to celebrate.

FC Barcelona Legendary Players

  • Carles Comamala – Another one of the club’s founding players, Comamala was a friend and teammate of Gamper. Born to a Basque mother and a father from the Canaries, Comamala was actually from Madrid and brought up in Catalonia, making him a perfect fit for Barcelona’s early days when it was mostly made up of expats. And of course, the fact that he was a prolific striker.
  • Emili Sagi-Barba – Born in Argentina to Catalan parents, Sagi-Barba is considered one of the best FC Barcelona legendary players from the pre-Civil War era. Playing left wing, he was one of the first players to ever rock this side of the field, and become an expert in penalty and corner kicks.
  • Àngel Arocha – Considered one of the leading goal scorers in the Club’s entire history, Arocha’s record was 215 goals in just 207 games. He started his career as one of the FC Barcelona legendary players in 1927 and, from Santa Cruz, was an undoubted first choice striker for the club.
  • César Rodríguez – Yet another of the FC Barcelona legendary players, Rodríguez was a  fantastic goal scorer during his career from 1944 – 1951, and was part of the all star forward line of the 1950s. His best season was 1947 -48 when he scored 27 goals in 24 games, and was known for his powerful headers.
  • Ramón Villaverde – One of the best known South American imports, hailing from Uruguay, among the FC Barcelona legendary players, Villaverde’s career with the club ran throughout the 1950s and 60s. Not only was he a man of astounding endurance, playing center midfield, he was also known for his great humility. Having been loaned out from FB Barcelona for his last year on contract, he reportedly said, “I’m not too old for football yet, but I am too old to play for Barça.”
  • Sergi Barjuan – A Barcelona native, Barjuan is a product of the club’s youth soccer program and made his debut with the pros in 1993 as a first choice starter. He went on to play in the 1994 World Cup in the USA in his prized fullback position.

These FC Barcelona legendary players are just a small selection of the many team members over the years that have given this club such a successful history and loyal following. These men, especially from the early years, are even responsible for creating the rich and lively culture around football in Barcelona, something it would be hard to imagine this city without. Be sure to catch a game at Camp Nou the next time you’re in town during the season!