The days are getting warmer and longer and winter is certainly on its way out. With the Easter holidays just around the corner, we’re already thinking about getting out of the city and making the most of the sunshine.
Cadaqués, located in the province of Girona, makes for the perfect springtime day trip from Barcelona. A few hours’ drive away, this picturesque seaside town is one of the Costa Brava’s best-kept secrets.
The endearing fisherman’s village is home to whitewashed houses with periwinkle-blue doors and is lapped by the Mediterranean sea. If you’re planning to visit Cadaqués on your next trip to Barcelona, we’ve put together this small guide to ensure you make the most of your day there!
Stroll along the seafront promenade
Soak up the tranquility of this Mediterranean village with a pleasant stroll along its seafront. With each step you’ll spot a new delight, with plenty of opportunities for postcard-perfect photos, small, local restaurants to grab a drink or a snack in the shade, and wooden benches where you can stop and simply take in Cadaqués.
We’d recommend you follow the coastline along to Cala es Ros to enjoy the turquoise waters and escape the crowds. If you feel like walking a bit further, head on to Sa Conca, a secluded, rocky cove often only frequented by locals.
Explore the historic centre
From the promenade, head into the heart of Cadaqués and exploring its medieval historic centre. Get lost among the narrow cobbled streets adorned with purple and pink bougainvillea. Be sure to head up to the Santa María church, which offers breathtaking views over the bay.
Visit the Casa Museu Dalí
Just outside of Cadaqués is the small village of Portlligat, where Dalí lived for a considerable number of years with his wife, Gala. Their house, which is actually several fishing huts merged together, has been preserved exactly as it was when the couple lived there together. For only 11 euros you can discover this unique museum.
With the great Catalan artist taking much inspiration from this coastline, you’ll spot his influence everywhere and see just why he fell in love with what he called the most beautiful part of the world.
Try the local food
A trip to Cadaqués would not be complete without sampling the local food. Grilled fish freshly caught that morning is a specialty, with lobster and prawns, sea urchins and fish stews being the protagonists of most menus. You also can’t leave without trying the local black rice dishes or a simple breakfast overlooking the turquoise waters.
Don’t be put off by Cadaqués being that little bit harder to reach. Its secluded location nestled among the mountains has been a blessing, with fewer tourists than other coastal resorts.
If you have a hire car, bear in mind that parking in Cadaqués can be difficult. Follow the winding road from Barcelona and you’ll find a parking lot on the outskirts of the village, but get there early to secure a spot. The journey takes around two and a half hours.
There’s also a bus from Barcelona’s Estació Nord with tickets costing around 25 euros one-way.
We hope you enjoy your day trip to Cadaqués! Let us know what you discover!
Just like many places around the world, Easter Week in Barcelona is an important time of year at which locals get together with friends and families to celebrate many a festivity.
Easter Week is celebrated across the country, from the largest cities to the smallest villages, yet in Barcelona you’re sure to experience celebrations like no other with a long line of typical Catalan traditions.
So if you’re thinking of spending Easter in Barcelona, here are a few useful tips to make sure you don’t miss out on the most typical events and cultural traditions.
This year Holy Week starts on Palm Sunday, 5thApril, 2020 ending with Easter Sunday on 12thApril and Easter Monday on 13thApril. Restaurants and bars tend to be open to cater for family meals, but don’t forget that shops and museums will be closed over Easter weekend.
Palm Sunday is most likely the most important of all Holy Week in Barcelona. We recommend you head to the Gothic quarter and catch the “La Burreta” (donkey) procession that commemorates Jesus’s arrival in Jerusalem.
Keep an eye out for the olive and palm branches carried by children to the local churches to be blessed. You’ll also see them hanging from doors and balconies to ward off evil spirits.
Good Friday is another important date in the liturgical calendar. The Cathedral of Barcelona, and many other local churches, will commemorate this day and the Stations of the Cross with a Via Crucis mass.
When it comes to food, Easter wouldn’t be Easter without its sweet and savoury delicacies. In between exploring the city and its Easter customs, we recommend taking a break and recharging your batteries with the best of Catalan cuisine.
“La Mona” is a local Easter cake typically made from chocolate and decorated with small figures and animals, chocolate eggs and other sweet treats. Today these cakes are true works of art, but they were originally made from a round sweet brioche and topped with hard-boiled eggs with its tradition dating back to Roman times.
Be sure to drop in to a local bakery to marvel at these fantastic creations or pick one up and try it for yourself!
What’s more, as it is Christian tradition not to eat meat on Good Friday, make sure you also try the typical cod dishes served at local restaurants. Our favourite is the salted codfish in a vegetable sauce, bacalao con sanfaina.
If you’re spending the whole week in Barcelona, we’d also recommend day trips to the villages of Cervera or Verges with processions that you won’t see anywhere else in the world. From Cervera’s skeletons that dance the “Dance of Death” to the Verges Procession in which the entire village takes part, be prepared to be amazed.
So however you decide to spend Easter Week in Barcelona, why not stay at one of our centrally located flats to make sure you don’t miss a thing!
What better way to welcome in the New Year than a bracing dip in the Mediterranean? Since 1996, hundreds of bold bathers have flocked to Platja de Sant Sebastià for the first dip of the year (Primer Bany de l’Any). Why not join these brave souls on January 1st 2017 at midday as they charge into the sea, clad in only their swimming costumes and the occasional Santa hat?!
The event, organised by el Club Natació Atlètic-Barceloneta, is totally free and is a sure-fire way to rid your cobwebs from the night before! And, if the prospect of an icy dip is a little daunting, you can register at the club´s reception prior to the event for a hot shower afterwards. This is a brilliant affair and a far better alternative to a day spent hibernating under the duvet, cradling a packet of Alka-Seltzer to nurse your hangover.
Whilst not for the faint-hearted (medically speaking), proponents of icy dips claim that the health benefits are numerous. Swimming in cold water can help your immune system, improve libido and boost circulation. Some even claim to experience a natural high so surely that´s reason enough to tempt you!
Join Europe´s Popular New Year´s Day Tradition
By taking part in Barcelona´s Primer Bany de l’Any, you’ll join the tradition of thousands of people who mark the start of the New Year with a dip in the sea, rivers or lakes and, with an average water temperature of 13 degrees in January, Barcelona provides a comparatively gentle winter bathing experience!
For over 30 years, bathers have braved the freezing waters off Barry Island (Wales) for a New Year´s Day swim and in Edinburgh (Scotland), locals take part in the Loony Dook – an icy plunge into the River Forth where the water is decidedly chilly! Similarly, in Rzeszów (Poland) bathers refuse to be deterred by the bitingly cold waters year on year.
The Netherlands boasts over 60 locations for a New Year´s Day plunge, and insist there is no better way to start the year. With a whopping 25,000 participants each January, the Dutch are arguably the champions of this watery tradition. The largest scale event is the annual nieuwjaarsduik in Scheveningen which welcomes approximately 10,000 swimmers.
So, what are you waiting for?! Get 2020 off to a great start and make this January 1st a day to remember by heading to Barcelona for a New Year’s Day dip!
Are you planning on spending the New Year in Barcelona and looking for a special way to ring in 2020? Then look no further; we’ve compiled a list of the best parties for you to celebrate the night away with your partner, friends or family.
For locals, the celebration starts at home with a family meal and the traditional eating of 12 grapes at midnight, before hitting the town. However, we’ve selected a range of events starting before and after midnight at restaurants, bars and clubs so you can find the best event for you.
So what are you waiting for, start planning a New Year you’ll never forget in the centre Barcelona!
Fireworks: Plaça Espanya, Av. María Cristina
Unlike other cosmopolitan cities, it was only in 2013 that the tradition of an official outdoor New Year’s event began in Barcelona. Now locals and visitors alike can wrap up and get together to be awed by a fantastic performance of fireworks and music! This family-friendly celebration is free and starts at 9.30 pm.
Sutton: C/ Tuset, 13
Looking to spend the New Year in style? Then we have the place for you! With tickets starting from €50 (including 3 drinks) and VIP tables starting from €1,000, this New Year’s Eve the exclusive nightclub venue plays host to DJs and artists such as Juanpa Claret, Gerard Roig and Xavi Ques.
Bling Bling: C/ Tuset, 8–10
One of the city’s most exclusive nightclubs offers you an unforgettable evening starting at 1 am. With a selection of DJs, the option of VIP tables and the best music, ring in the bells with your loved ones at home then get the party started. We’re sure you’ll dance the night away.
Gatsby: C/ Tuset, 19
This themed restaurant come nightclub will take you back to the 1920s. Enjoy an exquisite menu of local and international dishes plus nightlong entertainment with singers, dancers and much more. After dinner, grab a cocktail and hit the dance floor. This luxury space won’t disappoint!
Sala Apolo: C/ Nou de la Rambla, 107
From 01:00 to 05:30 you’ll have access to two exclusive events held at one of Barcelona’s most renowned nightclubs, with over 75 years of clubbing tradition. In the main room, enjoy Nitsa live electronic beats from Shelby Grey, DJ Kosmos and more. In room 2 or “La 2” discover Astin, Nitsa’s house and disco alternative. Early Bird tickets are only €25 – what are you waiting for!
Razzmatazz: C/ dels Almogàvers, 122
With five different rooms, Razzmatazz really does have something for everyone. Choose from two ticket types, with entry either from 22:30 or after midnight, including two drinks and a special edition T-shirt – plus grapes, party favours and cava if you choose to see in the New Year there. Tickets cost €54.50 or €44.50 respectively.
Pacha: Passeig Marítim Barceloneta, 38
Head to the Barcelona seafront to party the night away at Pacha, with a selection of Europe’s most famous DJs. As well as being a nightclub, the Pacha restaurant also offers a dinner right by the sea and includes entry to the club to the exclusive New Year party.
Poble Espanyol Av. Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, 13
Starting at 10.30 pm, discover a traditional Spanish street party in the centre of Barcelona at the Poble Espanyol. A standard ticket costing €40 (until December 26) will grant you access to three different outdoor spaces. Grab a VIP table with your friends and loved ones starting from €120. Tickets include four drinks, grapes and party favours.
Catwalk Carrer de Ramon Trias Fargas, 2–4
Catwalk boasts the best of R&B and hip-hop music in an exclusive space located on the seafront. With a range of tickets starting from €30 right up to €3,500, enjoy three rooms, neon lights and an outdoor terrace.
Wherever you choose to celebrate the end of 2019 and the start of 2020, we hope you have a blast!
With another year coming to a close, we’re already thinking about 2020 and the celebrations it will bring with it.
If you’ve not had the chance to experience a local festival in one of Barcelona’s many buzzing neighbourhoods, we’re sure that 2020 will be your year. With over 70 festivals set to be scheduled, you’ll be certainly spoilt for choice.
As 2020 is just around the corner, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite festes majorswith their preliminary dates so you can start planning your next trip!
Festa Major de Sant Antoni
Dates:17–26 January 2020
2019 was this festival’s debut year, so we’re sure its second year will be an event not to be missed. Enjoy a range of activities centred around the neighbourhood’s recently renovated market.
Festes de Santa Eulàlia
Dates:7–12 February 2020 (tbc)
Coinciding with the day of former patron saint of Barcelona (12 February), expect to see the centre of Barcelona come alive with castellers(human towers) and an array of parades in her honour.
Festa Major de la Sagrada Família
Dates: April–May 2020 (tbc)
Experience this renowned Gaudi masterpiece with over a week of various events and activities suitable for all ages.
Festa Major del Casc Antic
Dates:June 2020 (tbc)
No one can deny that Barcelona’s old quarter has a unique charm – so why not discover its more traditional side. Head to Sant Pere and Santa Caterina i la Ribera to see castellers, parades of giant puppets and the modestsardanes dance.
Festa Major del Raval
Dates:June 2020 (tbc)
In honour of the neighbourhood’s patron saint, this bright and colourful festival in the centre of Barcelona stands out thanks to its castellers and artisans selling local craft products.
Festa Major del Poble-sec
Dates:July 2020 (tbc)
The festival of Poble-sec will take you on a journey through its most emblematic, local locations, from the Semblador square and the El Molino theatre. Be sure not to miss its blazing correfoc fire run.
Festa Major de Gràcia
Dates: 15–22August 2020
Perhaps the most eagerly awaited of all the festes majors of Barcelona, discover how the streets of Gràcia are transformed by the local residents with decorations of every colour.
Festa Major de Sants
Dates:August–September 2020 (tbc)
From concerts, decorations and correfocs, the Festa Major de Santstransforms this residential and professional district for a week of celebrations in honour of patron saint Bartholomew.
Festa Major de Poblenou
Dates:11–20 September 2020
One of the largest of the festivals with around 500 activities, this event is not to be missed. Discover the magnificent cercavilaparade, sign up to run the 5 or 10 km race or take part in some of the artistic workshops that run alongside this celebration.
Festa Major de la Rambla
Dates:September 2020 (tbc)
This special celebration of one of Barcelona’s most renowned landmarks sees the façades of its buildings decorated with fresh flowers. What’s more, museums in the area are free during these celebratory dates.
Festes de la Mercè
Dates:18–24 September 2020
In honour of the patron saint of Barcelona, the entire city comes together to celebrate with popular culture, live music, castellers,correfocs and much more. There’s something for everyone at a range of locations throughout the city centre.
Festa Major de la Barceloneta
Dates:September 2020 (tbc)
In this beachside festival that celebrates the best of one of Barcelona’s most traditional neighbourhoods. We recommend catching a havaneresconcert (colonial songs sung by local groups) on the beach.
Is the festa majorof your favourite neighbourhood missing? Don’t worry; very soon the entire list of Barcelona’s local festivals will be published here, where you will also be able to check their exact locations on the map.
The nights are drawing in earlier, the mornings are chillier and soon lights of every colour will illuminate the streets of Barcelona.
This can only mean one thing! Christmas is almost upon us. And if you’re spending Christmas in Barcelona this year, we can recommend a different plan to ensure you make the most of time with your loved ones. Amidst the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping and preparing for the many family gatherings and meals, take some time out to enjoy a unique musical experiences.
We’ve compiled this short guide to concerts during the festive season for you to sit back and be regaled by local choirs and orchestras. What better way to get in the festive mood!
Christmas on Broadway
When: Friday 20 and Saturday, 21 December 2019
Join the Symphonic Orchestra of Barcelona on a journey through the musicals of Broadway in a fantastic gala show to kick off the festive season in style. With music from works by Rodgers and Hammerstein (2015), Lloyd Webber (2017) and Bernstein (2018), there’s something for everyone.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Where: Gran Teatre del Liceu
When: Saturday, 21 and Sunday, 22 December 2019
Enjoy this Christmas classic surrounded by loved ones. Music by Albert Guinovart together with Symphony Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu and the Amics de la Unió children’s choir.
Star Wars & OCM: Original Soundtracks by John Williams
Where: El Palau de la Música Catalana
When: Thursday, 19 and Saturday, 21 December 2019
Relive some of John William’s most emblematic soundtracks from the big screen including Star Wars, E.T., Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List. We’re sure that you’ll laugh, cry and be entertained by the favourites of this renowned and prize-winning composer.
Where: Gran Teatre del Liceu
When: Various dates from 5–22 December 2019
This December enjoy a unique double opera session of two acclaimed Royal Opera House productions. These two Italian classics set in the 1950s will be performed side by side in what is sure to be an epic evening of emblematic opera.
The Magic World of Hans Zimmer
When: Wednesday, 25 December 2019
What better way to spend the most magical day of the year than enjoying music from some of the most epic films of the century. From The Lion King, Gladiator, Pearl Harbour, Pirates of the Caribbean and many more, bring this special day to a close surrounded by your loved ones.
St. Stephen’s Choral Concert: Christmas at the Palau
Where: El Palau de la Música Catalana
When: Thursday, 26 December 2019
Take part in this festive tradition of Catalonia with this unique concert held every St. Stephen’s Day. The charming melodies of the Orfeó Català and a combination of choirs are sure to bring the whole family together in an enchanting venue.
If you’re spending Christmas season in Barcelona, we’re sure one of these magical concerts will make for an unforgettable experience with your loved ones.
La Mercè 2017 is the main event on Barcelona’s festival agenda, uniting all of its neighbourhoods and serving as the city’s Festa Major. This year it aims to extend further throughout the city by adding even more new venues and activities.
Every year, Barcelona invites a city from around the world to jointly celebrate the festival. This year Icelandic capital Reykjavik has been invited to be this year’s special guest city and will be honoured throughout La Mercè.
Overall, it is a religious festival that has been celebrated since the Middle Ages and observes the holy feast day of Our Lady of Mercy. It is the biggest weeklong festival in the city and an age-old tradition, but there are very up-to-date activity items as well, such as specialty markets, art displays and musical performances for example.
Gegants & Capgrossos – La Mercè 2017
Catalunya has a great tradition for processions of giants or bigheads, which are tall, hollow structures with very large papier-mâché heads, each with a unique identity and character. They are carried on top of people’s shoulders in a parade as they dance and run at the crowds. Also, there are the Bestiari – which are figures of medieval, folkloric creatures. This parade happens on the first day of the La Mercé celebrations.
Gegants Procession, September 22, Palau de la Virreina on La Rambla, 99, at 19:00h
The Correfoc – La Mercè 2017
The famous fire run is always on September 24 – the actual saint’s day for La Mercé. Performers dressed as devils and fiery dragons dance in a long procession through the city. Hordes of “diables” hoist pitchforks, or forquilles, above their heads, with spinning fireworks attached that spray in all directions. If you’re going to get a close-up photograph, then protective clothing is advised. There is also an early fire run for children.
Correfoc (Adults), September 23, Via Laietana at 20:15h
Correfoc (Children) September 23, Via Laietana at 18:30h
Castellers – La Mercè 2017
The Catalans are very good at building human structures. In fact he last few world records – 10 persons high – have been have been set in the region. Participants, or Catsellers, climb on top of each other, interlocked into a delicate balancing act to get people to reach into the sky as far as possible. The human tower is supported by a large number of people at the bottom, and then it’s a race to reach the highest point in strict formation before the structure breaks.
Human Towers, September 23, Plaça de Sant Jaume at 11:30h
Human Towers, September 23, Plaça de Sant Jaume at 12:30h
Barcelona Acció Musical has been running for over 20 years and hosts more contemporary rock and pop music concerts. It runs in parallel to the main festival, and as Reykjavik is the partner city for this year’s La Mercé, then a contingent of its artists will perform, as well as national and internal artists. Concerts usually take place at Plaza Real, Plaza Catalunya and at the MACBA, among many other intimate places and open-air venues around the city.
BAM, September 22-25, various venues http://lameva.barcelona.cat/bam/en
Piromusical – La Mercè 2017
This is a critically acclaimed, professional fireworks display that takes place on the last night of La Mercè 2017 on Avinguda reina Maria Cristina. You need to arrive early for the big finale, as thousands of people gather to watch this spectacular show.
Check the official agenda for more firework displays and digital light mapping events throughout the festival, at http://lameva.barcelona.cat/merce/en.
Piromusical, September 25, Avinguda de Reina Maria Cristina (Plaça Espanya) at 22:00h
The La Mercè Festival is a great way to see Barcelona at its best. Your stay could be much more convenient with your own apartment. Check our website for an excellent selection of short-term holiday rentals so that your stay in the city is as comfortable as possible.
Michelin starred restaurants in Catalonia: restaurants with one star
Today it’s time to talk about the Michelin starred restaurants in Catalonia with one star. Recently we published an article about Michelin starred restaurants in Barcelona with one star to be your definitive guide of all the gastronomical wonders in the city. But Barcelona doesn’t have all the glory, there are even more one-star Michelin restaurants surrounding the city in Catalonia’s beautiful villages and countryside.
For a day or two away from the city, Els Casals is the perfect destination. It is located outside Sagàs, a picturesque village nestled in the Pre-Pyrenees valley. The country house hotel/restaurant is situated on lush farm land and sprawling gardens. Els Casals is down to earth fine dining – all the ingredients come from the farm itself, or from families nearby (Tatjé‘s family’s pigeon, boneless and roasted orange duck from Bessa’s family).
This gorgeous converted farmhouse is a scenic hour’s drive from Barcelona. The dining room is a romantic haven of stone walls and soft lighting. Their tasting menu samples a vast range of their culinary talents from Grandmother’s canneloni to sliced roast veal and foie, each garnished with a different herb.
Venture an hour north of Barcelona to the foothills of the Pyrenees for a breath of fresh air. Fonda Sala has had its Michelin star for longer than most and its dining room reflects its timeless dedication to fine food and wine, free of any fads or pretension, but still at the forefront of innovative cuisine with dishes like sweet and sour wild rabbit.
To the north of Barcelona, not far from the Montserrat monastery you can find L’Ó, a modern hotel/restaurant nestled amongst the medieval houses and churches that mark the area. The town in which L’Ò is situated, Sant Fruitós de Bages, has its own monastery and the food at this restaurant is indeed worthy of the gods; slow-cooked baby goat shoulder with mushrooms and truffle, and oyster with ponzu sauce, apple and codium.
Another restaurant worth venturing out of Barcelona for, Santa Coloma de Gramenet is home to a Michelin-starred restaurant that offers the most affordable tasting menu (dinner Tuesday to Thursday and lunch Tuesday to Friday) at just 40€ per person. Dishes like solid mojito, Campari & orange stuffed olive and Mojito truffle signal a restaurant that is not afraid to experiment.
In a converted farmhouse about an hour’s drive from Barcelona, Can Jubany offers a sumptuous choice of menus, from their own signature dishes (Catalan cured sausage ‘llonganissa’ and crispy pancetta), a gastronomic tour of Catalonia (pigeon rice with pork belly and sausage) and their sublime meal (Salad of red shrimps from Palamós with a thousand islands sauce ice cream).
If you fancy a day on the coast, head to El Masnou, just past Badalona. It’s less than a 30 minute drive away and features seafood of the highest quality such as slow-cooked red tuna belly with potato cream and “allioli” of avocado, basil, spinach and sesame as well as Duck Royale with foie gras. It’s renowned for its vermut too, so be sure to start with the local aperitif or have a light lunch of burrata with pear and walnuts or steak tartar.
Just plan a daytrip away from Barcelona and taste the best of the rest from Michelin’s one-star A-list in Catalonia!