A Local’s Guide to Nightlife in Barcelona

A Local’s Guide to Nightlife in Barcelona

In true European fashion, evening activities typically start on the later side in Barcelona. Cocktails, meals and the nightlife all commence hours past the acceptable times in other parts of the world, which means that the late afternoon siesta is a must if you plan on getting the full experience of nightlife in Barcelona. Head back to your short term rental, take a snooze after a long day of exploring the city’s beautiful sites, then grab an espresso and get ready to hit the town for some wine, tapas, and finally the epic Barcelona clubs!

There are a number of districts throughout that city that are known for their nightlife, each of them housing a variety of clubs to choose from. Here are some of the most popular areas to check out for the best nightlife in Barcelona.

The Gothic Quarter

The most historical part of the city with many buildings dating back to the old medieval village, this is probably the most popular downtown area to experience nightlife in Barcelona.

  1. Club Elephant Restaurant & Lounge is perfect if you want to experience the nightlife without the disco club scene, but rather at a laid back lounge.
  2. Sidecar Factory Club is the quintessential disco nightclub in Plaza Reial with different DJs every night who will be playing until dawn.
  3. Macarena Club is a tiny underground type of place known for its raging techno beats and its proximity to the famous Las Ramblas.
  4. MOOG is another famous discotheque known for hosting pioneers in electronic music.

Nightlife at the Beach

Known for being Europe’s premier beach city, Barcelona nightlife doesn’t stop once you hit the water, it only gets louder.

  1. Catwalk Club is one of the most famous clubs in all of Barcelona, frequently hosting international DJs.
  2. Mondo Club sits back off the beach, unlike other clubs in the area, and is known for its terrace overlooking the yachts docked at the port.
  3. CDLC Club is Barcelona’s most exclusive beachside club attracting many of the city’s most rich and famous inhabitants and visitors.

Montjuïc Clubs

Have you ever been to a club on top of a mountain that overlooks a world class city below? Poble Espanyol de Montjuïc has its own nightlife scene attracting many locals and visitors alike to this gorgeous place that undoubtedly has the best view of the stars of any other place in the city, something you can appreciate while staying up all night partying. Can you imagine any better way to end a night of fun and dancing than to watch the sun rise over the city? La Terrrazza Club is a large outdoor club in the center of Poble Espanyol that is the ideal place for an all-night party anytime this summer.

 

The nightlife in Barcelona is impressive, and always a lot of fun whether you’re interested in the all-night scene or just want to experience the late night tapas and drinks that the locals call dinner. If you are looking for a late night – or rather, an early morning – but want to forego the crowded disco then seek out one of the lounge clubs that are becoming all the more popular all over the city. A night out in Spain is bound to be full of delicious food, great music, and a colorful crowd.

Dive With the Sharks at l’Aquàrium de Barcelona

Dive With the Sharks at l’Aquàrium de Barcelona

Of the 450 different species living in harmony at l’Aquàrium de Barcelona, the sharks are by far the most popular, with many different activities to wow the crowds with their beauty and ferocity. This is the largest Mediterranean-themed aquarium in the world, meaning that the variety of sharks who call it home are all from the waters that surround the Barcelona Marina. Its six million liters of water are home to 11,000 different organism, all living happily with the sharks who also welcome divers and observers of all kinds. While reportedly a dangerous species, at l’Aquarium de Barcelona you’ll learn what they truly are.

Diving With the Sharks

If you are a qualified scuba diver, a visit to l’Aquàrium de Barcelona means you’ll have the chance to safely dive among the sharks in their main tank, housing thousands of other fish. This experience is actually a safety course in scuba diving with sharks, which begins with a guided tour of the aquarium, a lecture of sharks that will teach you about how these fish live, where they came from and whether they are victims or killers. Finally, you will dive into the Oceanarium and observe firsthand what you have learned. All of the equipment and your insurance is included in the price, and you will receive a souvenir as well as the opportunity to bring two friends into the aquarium with you for free.

l'aquàrium de barcelona
Photo Credit: Klaerchos Kapoutsis via Flickr

Shark Cage Diving

If you are not an experienced scuba diver but would like to learn, then this is the perfect beginners class for you. First you will learn the basics of scuba diving on your first ever dive. Get used to being underwater while learning hand signals, how to use a regulator, and the proper way to breath. You’ll also figure out buoyancy control and moving around with underwater rings. After you’ve got the basics down you will get to witness l’Aquàrium de Barcelona’s main tank for an underwater observation platform where you will be completely safe. Your course fees include all your equipment, insurance, and the option to invite two friends who can come witness and document this unique experience.

Shark Feedings

Not exactly a scene from Jaws, visitors can come three times a week to watch these majestic creatures eat what they love. Divers swim among them with sacks full of their favorite food of oily fish and squid, feeding these elegant predators. They use rods to reach the fish close to the sharks’ mouths to be sure that they get what is intended for them.

Sleeping with Sharks

This overnight experience for children aged eight to twelve is an educational and fun sleepover party. Kids will do a fun investigative workshop of sharks, eat dinner, play shark games and hear shark stories before bedtime. Following breakfast in the morning, they will get a technical area tour about how the animals “wake up” each morning.

 Plan a Visit to l’Aquàrium de Barcelona

Ready to plan a visit to El Acuario de Barcelona, or the Barcelona aquarium? Tickets for the Barcelona Aquarium range from €6.50 to €18.00 from the age of a toddler to the age of an adult, and hours are from 9:30 to 21:30 on weekdays, 9:30 to 23:30 on weekends. The Barcelona Aquarium address is Moll d’Espanya del Port Vell, s/n, 08039 Barcelona, Spain.

While all of l’Aquàrium de Barcelona is a great time waiting to happen, the sharks are a particular draw for many of the guests, with people traveling here especially to partake in the Diving with Sharks course. If you’re a serious scuba diver coming to Barcelona for that reason, look into these wonderful short-term rentals at the beach!

Electronic Music Lovers Unite at Sónar Festival Barcelona

Electronic Music Lovers Unite at Sónar Festival Barcelona

One of the best things about visiting Barcelona is their thriving creative community whose members are undoubtedly drawn there by things like the myriad works of Gaudi throughout the city. With both a prevalent creative class and large universities who are contributing to the global new media movement, Barcelona was the perfect choice as one of the world’s Sónar destinations. The Sónar Festival Barcelona, taking place June 18th through the 20th is a celebration of creativity, technology and business, aiming to inspire artists and entrepreneurs alike to start thinking without limits. This Barcelona stop is one that features both the world’s frontier-minded electronic musicians, its most inventive new media artists, and most forward thinking entrepreneurs.

Sónar Festival Barcelona Musicsonar festival barcelona

One part music festival, Sónar-goers can expect earth-shattering sounds from an eclectic mix of electronically inspired musicians. You’ll recognize names like Duran Duran, Hot Chip, DJ Fresh, The Chemical Brothers, Skrillex, and Southern Hospitality, who are on a long list of over 100 emerging artists of the mixed genre. If you love to move to unique beats, and that strange place where technology meets music, Sónar is definitely a world you will want to explore. You will very easily get lost in the music, and enter the artists’ worlds of creation.

Sónar +D

Sónar +D is a sensory experience. Not only will you witness the most cutting edge electronic music scene, but you’ll also get to experience completely new art forms from a the place where digital fabrication and rendering meet the tangible world and interact with audiences of the Sónar Festival Barcelona. Whether you’re coming as an entrepreneur, a creative job seeker or someone who’s interested in a little bit of everything, +D will inspire you to go to lengths you would never have imagined.

This interdisciplinary gathering of creative-minded businesspeople happens in an intriguing mental space where creativity and technology meet the transformation of cultural industries. Taking place at Fira Montjuic, alongside the ongoing musical performances, +D will be a conference and showcase for innovative people to display their ideas and creations. The diversity of things present will certainly be astounding as you’ll witness innovations in everything from turntables and computer innovation to robotics and virtual reality.

Part of what makes the +D such an excellent addition to the music festival is the impressive list of speakers and presenters who travel from around the world to share their innovate ideas that apply to both work and lifestyle. This year’s showing will include multiple Mego executives, Amy Robinson from EyeWire; Christina Hug from The Maker’s Nation; David Cuartielles, the creator of Arduino; Indy Saha from the Google Creative Lab; and Jeremy Boxer, the Creative Director of Vimeo. These giants in the creative class have some things to share for people interested in using crowdsourcing and technology for trailblazing their industry.

 

The Sónar Festival Barcelona is one of the best events of the year, and well worth booking a short term rental for. From the comfort of your very own city flat, you’ll have the true Barcelona experience, getting a feel for the creative class here in Catalonia!

 

Inspire the Artist Within at the National Museum of Catalan Art

Inspire the Artist Within at the National Museum of Catalan Art

Located on Montjuïc Mountain where there is an overwhelming number of fantastic things to see and do, the National of Museum of Catalan Art captures the spirit of this unique region within Spain. While this is a place for art enthusiasts and certainly artists themselves, it is also a wonderful place for leisure and reflection, as its location offers a unique vantage point from which to see both city and yourself. Enjoy the art collection as well as the bird’s eye view of the city while you explore one of the Barcelona’s best art collections.

Collections

  • Medieval Romanesque Art – This collection is comprised of 11th to 13th Century art ranging from mural and panel paintings that are the largest in Europe, to breathtaking metalwork, and wood and stone sculptures.
  • Medieval Gothic Art – The first documented Catalan artists belong to this era from the 13th to the 15th centuries. The famous painters from this time and whose art is housed in the National Museum of Catalan Art are Jaume Huguet, Lluís Dalmau, Bernat Martorell, and Lluís Borassà. This collection also includes many sculptures and liturgical pieces.
  • Renaissance and Baroque Art – This is a period of great evolution for art in Europe, ranging from the 16th to 18th centuries. Spanish artists such as Ayne Bru and Antoni Vladomat worked alongside international colleagues such as Tiziano, El Greco and Veláquez to bring about whole new styles and many religious works.
  • Modern Art – Covering the 19th and 2oth centuries and a wide range of styles from Neoclassicism to Avant-garde. This collection was reopened in 2014 after a renewal process bringing a more dynamic experience for viewers.
  • Drawing Prints and Posters – It’s always nice to see the less produced works of famous artists in order to get a sense for their talent and personality. What are the things they did for fun or practice? If you like to see that side of art, you’ll love these pieces.
  • Photography – This contemporary collection is home to more than 40,000 items from the 19th and 20th century with names such as Pere Casas Abarca.
  • Numismatics – This is the collection for collectors, and houses more than 135,000 examples of coins from the 6th century to the present day.

Education at the National Museum of Catalan Art

If you’re on vacation with the family and looking for some great activities for the kids then the museum is the place to visit. School holidays are packed with activities and camps for the little ones, covering a wide range of interests. It also hosts frequent story times where your imaginations will be awed by the what is behind some of Catalonia’s most famous artworks. If you have an especially curious child, consider the detective games offered by the museum programming for a fun way to spend the day. Sundays are family days at the National Museum of Catalan Art with creative activities for the whole family.

 

While staying at a Barcelona short term rental, there are few places as exciting to visit as Montjuïc Mountain and the National Museum of Catalan Art. Be sure to take advantage of this centrally located destination where you can enjoy both leisure and learning.

Poble Espanyol de Montjuïc: Discover Spain’s Architectural Diversity

Poble Espanyol de Montjuïc: Discover Spain’s Architectural Diversity

Located in the center of Barcelona, the Poble Espanyol de Montjuïc is Barcelona’s intriguing open-air architectural museum. Whether you want to take a tour, attend a special event or class or just wander its old streets and buildings for hours and maybe enjoy some delicious food and drink, a trip to Montjuïc is well worth it. It’s also not much of a trip since it is so centrally located, accessible by public transportation or even by foot or bicycle if you so desire. Enjoy the beautiful Mediterranean climate in the midst of Spain’s most famous architecture all within a few blocks of breathtaking buildings and alluring alleyways.

History

Poble Espanyol de Montjuïc was built in 1929 for the Barcelona International Exhibition. The goal in building what has become Barcelona’s fourth most visited attraction was to showcase architectural features that are quintessentially Spanish in one little inner-city village. Modeled after the typical Iberian village, it’s architectural features encompass a variety of styles found throughout the entire peninsula, with 117 buildings, streets and squares from around Spain reproduced at scale. While the village was planned to be demolished after the fair, its impact reached far and wide, causing both the artisan community along with many interested locals to speak out against its destruction. This collage of Spanish life was built by four famous architects of the time, who traveled throughout Spain, gaining inspiration from each area’s unique architectural accents. The idea was not to bring together Spanish masterpieces, but to be a monument to Spain and therefore a masterpiece in itself.

The Architectural Museumpoble espanyol de montjuïc

Built on Montjuïc Mountain, Poble Espanyol de Montjuïc is a cultural attraction you don’t want to miss featuring architecture dating back to 11th Century. At Calle Cuna you’ll notice the Arab influenced architecture while Torre de Utebo, the bell tower, is in the Aragonese Mudejar and Gothic style. Enjoy the Neoclassic mansions, and gates from the wall of the oldest town in Europe, Ávila. Baroque and Renaissance-Herrera style palaces will wow you with their extravagance and the intricacies of their design. While all the buildings, streets, and squares are simply replicas made with more modern equipment, the architecture won’t fail to leave you in awe of what people centuries ago were capable of building without modern construction equipment or design software. Be sure to stop by the Monasterio Romántico de Sant Miguel to witness one of the most beautiful and quaint monasteries in all of Barcelona, which also has sweeping views of the city.

 

A trip to Poble Espanyol de Montjuïc isn’t simply educational, it’s downright entertaining. Aside from wandering its fascinating streets and getting a glimpse of Spain through the centuries, you can also enjoy the many wonderful events it hosts. Whether you’re heading there for weekend brunch, for the early may Biergarten, or for one of their nights of food and entertainment, you will surely have a wonderful time while enjoying breathtaking views of the city below. Be sure to visit Montjuïc while staying at one of these Barcelona short term rentals.

 

The F1 Spanish Grand Prix Will be Here Soon

The F1 Spanish Grand Prix Will be Here Soon

The F1 Spanish Grand Prix is just one circuit of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the highest class of single-seat auto racing that exists under the sanction of the Fédération Internationale do l’Automobile. The Barcelona circuit takes place in Montmelo, Barcelona, Spain, just 30 minutes northeast of the city’s center.

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is one of the best places to catch what can be a life-changing event for any auto racing enthusiasts. Located amidst the Catalonian mountains, the changes in elevation not only make for an exciting race, but also for great spectating, with many great vantage points. Race weekend is coming up on May 8th through the 10th, which is also one of the best times of the year to visit Barcelona, as the weather will be perfect for exploring the city and its surrounding countryside.

F1 Spanish Grand Prix
Photo Credit: Salvador Mendez via Flickr

With two national competitors in the 2015 F1 Spanish Grand Prix, there are sure to be many people from around Spain coming out to support their contingent among the 18 racers. Fernando Alonso, born in Oviedo, Spain got his Grand Prix debut in Australia in 2001. Now a member of the McLaren-Honda Team, he has been in the World Championships in both 2005 and 2006. He is known for his all around talent, but also for lacking patience in the race. Carlos Sainz Jr is from Madrid, Spain and is one of the F1’s youngest drivers this year at just 20-years-old. This is his debut year on the Grand Prix circuit and has only 2 races under his belt. Sainz will be one of the most exciting new talents to watch this season, and has been overlooked in years past.

The British racer, Lewis Hamilton is the defending champion and this year’s favorite. Probably the fastest guy you’ll see at the F1 Spanish Grand Prix, you can expect his biggest challenge to be the German force, Nico Rosberg, who lost to Hamilton in 2014 in Abu Dhabi. If Hamilton does take the win yet again this year, he will be the first Briton to retain the world title, making Grand Prix history.

Whether you’re into watching the whole weekend long or just for the final race on Sunday, you can buy your tickets online and start planning your trip to the beautiful Barcelona, Spain, one of the world’s favorite beach cities. On Friday, May 8th the practice runs will happen, followed by the qualifying round on Saturday, and finally the race on Sunday. With two nationals in the race you can expect a carnival atmosphere in the grandstands with many Spanish enthusiasts out to cheer the competitors on their home turf. You can also look forward to perfect weather and plenty of sunshine for this great event.

Being that spring is such a perfect time of year here, plan to explore the city. Staying in Barcelona will give you a great opportunity to experience both the race and the Catalonian city culture. Hit the beaches, the restaurants for tapas and wine, and maybe even take a walking or biking tour of this coveted destination.

Enjoy a Day Cycling the Serra de Collserola

Enjoy a Day Cycling the Serra de Collserola

Nearly bordering the city, Serra de Collserola natural park is a wonderful place to enjoy the wild beauty that surrounds Barcelona. From the sea to the mountains, this Catalonian city is not just a dream destination for urban junkies, but outdoorsy types as well, with everything from boating, mountain climbing, and cycling to participate in. Tours leave from downtown Barcelona daily to take groups exploring the area’s natural heritage. Whether you’re a road cyclist or a mountain biker, you’ll find the perfect routes at Serra de Collserola to explore. The views are spectacular and the terrain can be as challenging or laid-back as you’re looking for, with plenty of places to stop for bathrooms, food and drink along the way.

Mountain Biking Routes at Serra de Collserola

serra de collserolaThere are numerous options throughout the mountainous regions to hop on your bike and tear through the dirt tracks. Here are two of the most famous rides in the region:

  1. Green Collserola I is a 24 km ride that takes about two hours to complete. Starting at the Plaça Karl Marx, you will head up to Cami Antic de Sant Llàtzer. Take the next right turn up the dirt road to Can Masdeu past the city’s old leper hospital. The path will then cross the Carretera del Cementiri de Collserola where you will veer left towards another junction beneath a power line pole. Turn right and head back down to Carretera del Cementiri and towards the path for Can Catà. Head back the way you came or ride the train back down.
  2. Green Collserola II starts at the Sant Cugat del Vallès station and heads towards the monastery of Sant Cugat. Follow the cycling lanes on Francesc Macià, and take a right on Av. de les Corts Catalans. From this track, you can catch a glimpse of Montserrat if it’s a clear day. You can follow this all the way to the Reserva Natural de la Font Groga from which it will be all downhill.

Road Cycling at Serra de Collserola Natural Park

There are similarly many great routes to explore through the natural park sticking to the roads, either on your own or with a group. Here are two great road biking options:

  1. Tibidabo is a nearly 7 km ride starting at the Tibidabo Fairground, from which you can get all the way to Vallviderera and then descend to Molins de Rei. This is a scarcely traveled part of the mountain, making it an ideal bike path and a ride you don’t want to miss.
  2. Half-Day Bike Tours from Barcelona are a great way to explore the Sierra de Collserola. Being so close to the city you can literally ride all the way to the mountains and back in less than a day. With the knowledge of the guide, you won’t have to worry about getting lost or taking yourself on a ride that is beyond your fitness level.

When staying at a beautiful Barcelona short term rental you can bring your bike along if you’re planning on multiple rides. These spacious flats make for easy storage and will save you the expense of having to rent while here, as well as giving you a great mode of transportation around Barcelona.

Where to Enjoy the Views While Hiking in Barcelona

Where to Enjoy the Views While Hiking in Barcelona

You won’t run out of great things to do and places to see in Barcelona though you may find yourself seeking some outdoor adventure to break up your urban exploring. While Barcelona is at the heart of Catalonia, the majority of this unique Spanish region is surrounded by beautiful mountainous country for hikes, backpacking, or rock climbing. If you’re interested in doing some hiking in Barcelona while visiting, there are plenty of options. Whether you’re inclined to grabbing a map and exploring the country on your own or would prefer to take a group tour, the experience will be breathtaking as well as enlightening as you begin to understand the Catalonian culture from a larger vantage. It’s one of the best things to do in Barcelona!

Montserrat

hiking in barcelona

An easy day trip from Barcelona, Montserrat offers many attractions to keep you busy, including some great hiking trails. A short journey away on public transportation, when you arrive you can explore the monastery or museum, or just head straight out exploring the Sawn Mountain. Many visitors follow in the footsteps of the old tradition, walking to the mountain’s highest peak from the base. While most people drive or taking the tram, walking will give you an extra challenge and spectacular views of the city below.

Montseny

Montseny

This verdant region of national park land is a scenic area perfect for doing some hiking in Barcelona. Similarly an easy trip on public transportation from the city, prepare yourself for lovely trails through the woods. Ranging from 8 to 25 miles in length, this will be an epic outdoors experience giving you a real sense for the Catalonia backcountry, as well as some of its villages.

Parc de Collserola

Rising up over the city of Barcelona is this beautiful park that is nearly touching the city. This immense natural area is a preserved 8,000-hectare area which is predominantly forested, with lakes scattered about, making it among the best hiking near Barcelona.  There are numerous hiking trails throughout the park, but it is also a great place for leisure and education. The Serra de Collserola is a wonderful option for hiking in Barcelona, also accessible by public transportation.

Hi. This is Barcelona…

If you would prefer that someone show you around an unfamiliar countryside, there are plenty of tour options for hiking in Barcelona. Similar to guided walking tours throughout the city, knowledgeable guides at this great tour company will lead you through some of Catalonia’s most remarkable settings, all the while explaining their natural and historical significance.

Pyrenees Mountain Tour

hiking in barcelona

This is noted the only tour that leaves the city and heads for the famous Pyrenees Mountains, leading guests through this awe-inspiring landscape that many visitors travel to Spain exclusively to see. Hikers will not only get to explore some of the many trails throughout the region, but will also ride the mountain train up to 6,000 feet, getting one of the most spectacular views in Catalonia.

 

Hiking in Barcelona is an opportunity you don’t want to miss while visiting. While the city itself is enough to keep you busy and excited, the surrounding countryside is unforgettable. The juxtaposition of the rich city life to the simple countryside will be an enlightening cultural Catalonian experience.

The 8 Best Barcelona Tourist Attractions

The 8 Best Barcelona Tourist Attractions

Aside from Spain’s second largest city, Barcelona is also packed with wonderful sites to see and activities to experience, which can make the opportunity to visit a bit overwhelming. In a world of many choices, it is helpful to have someone narrow down the list, starting with accommodations. To make your visit to Barcelona as homey as possible book one of these short term rentals scattered throughout the city. If you prefer to be right downtown, or would rather walk out your front door and onto the beach, you’ll find the property you’re looking for.

With your shorter accommodations list, now take a look at eight of the most visited Barcelona tourist attractions:

  1. Barcelona Aquarium –  Located right by La Barceloneta and easily accessible by public transportation, the aquarium makes for a great day trip. Check out their various aquariums, especially their sharks that you can go cage diving with! There are fun shark sleepover parties for the kids as well.
  2. Poble Espanyol – Located on Montjuic Mountain, the Poble is a multi-faceted destination with an architectural museum, contemporary art gallery, historic village, lively nightlife, and fantastic gastronomy experiences to be had. There are great events happening all year round in this beautiful historic village surrounded by a Barcelona forest.
  3. F.C. Barcelona Museum – If you are a football fan then you definitely want to head to the Barcelona Museum for an educational experience in Spain’s most famous football team, as well as the history of the sport in the country.
  4. Zoo Barcelona – If you’re traveling with little ones then they will have a blast at the downtown Barcelona Zoo. From elephants and giraffes to dolphins and giant anteaters, there is so much to keep you busy at the zoo, making it a perfect day trip of learning about the world’s diverse species.
  5. Museu Picasso – For a more grown-up adventure head to the Picasso museum where you can explore some of this brilliant artist’s most famous works. For art buffs, this museum’s collection is key to understanding the artist’s formative years.
  6. IMAX Port Vell – This theater has two giant screens and three different projections systems. Each screen is seven stories high and they are the largest ones in the entire country. The Omnimax experience is one you don’t want to miss.
  7. Fundació Joan Miró – This museum features and celebrates the works of this Barcelona native whose first drawings date back to the turn of the century. The foundation has become a notable reference on the international art circuit, featuring the famous works of many contemporary artists.
  8. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya – Celebrating the art of Catalonia, this museum was constructed for the International Exposition of 1929. It’s medieval and Romanesque collections are very informative of the city’s history and culture.

While we’ve only scratched the surface of all the Barcelona tourist attractions, these will keep you busy for a good portion of your trip to one of Europe’s favorite beach cities. While exploring a new city can be exhausting, you’ll be able to completely relax once back at your short term rental with a comfortable living space all to yourself.