Explore the Montserrat Monastery, One of the Best Attractions of Barcelona

Explore the Montserrat Monastery, One of the Best Attractions of Barcelona

Barcelona is a dream vacation spot due to its countless, intriguing attractions!  The Montserrat Monastery near Barcelona has been a place of great religious significance for generations.  What began as a Roman temple to worship Venus transformed into a monastery in 880 A.D. by hermit monks.  It has been said that unbelievable miracles occurred here in the 12th century that caused tremendous growth in the monastery.  Today, this attraction is still a destination of pilgrimages and also serves as a place for people to visit and learn about the history of this area.  Discover what this attraction has to offer and make plans to see it today!

Getting to the Montserrat Monastery from Barcelona

The Montserrat Monastery is perched atop a towering mountain, overlooking breathtaking views of Spain.  If you’re traveling to this attraction from Barcelona and wondering how to get there, you can catch a train from the Barcelona-Plaça Espanya Station that leaves every hour and will carry you up the steep, dizzying incline to this majestic destination above.  The Montserrat Monastery hours are 10:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. and is open all week long.  Tickets can be purchased through the Montserrat Monastery website.

History and Art of the Montserrat Monastery

Over one thousand years of preserved artwork and historical artifacts are kept here in this beautiful establishment.  These pieces total to almost 1,300 items; the oldest of these collections can be traced all the way back to 13th century BC Egypt.  In addition to numerous icons and liturgical objects from all places and time periods, the Museum of the Montserrat is home to countless paintings created by some of the most talented artists in the world, including Picasso and Salvador Dali.  One of the most beloved pieces here, however, is the statue of the Black Madonna at Montserrat Monastery; visitors and locals alike flock to see this beautiful representation the patron saint of Catalonia.  

Things to Do at the Montserrat Monastery

In addition to touring the many art displays and history exhibits, the Montserrat Monastery offers many other activities as well.  An interactive audiovisual room is available to help visitors learn more about the three pillars that support this institution: the mountain, the sanctuary, and the monastery.  For further education, you can also take a Montserrat Monastery map and an audio guide to lead you on a tour of the Holy Cave, the Basilica, and the Degatolls’ Path.   

Hiking near the Montserrat Monastery

This area also includes the Montserrat Nature Park, a gorgeous portion of the great outdoors that contains numerous trails for walking and hiking.  Go on a stroll along the Hermitage Trail, where individuals traversed for years and years to reach a place of peace for quiet meditation and contemplation.  You can also climb to the top of the Montserrat Peak for jaw-dropping, panoramic views of the surrounding scenery, or take a one-day course on rock climbing to learn a new, exciting skill!  Experienced hikers love the challenge that the Cavall Bernat presents; this long, slender rock needle protruding from the face of the mountain is a climb meant only for expert outdoorsmen!

Come Stay with Us at bizFlats Vacation Rentals!

Complete your fantastic getaway to Barcelona by treating yourself to a stay in the finest accommodations!  bizFlats provides luxurious vacation rentals, each equipped with amazing amenities, throughout the most stunning areas of the city.  Check our availability and book your stay today to start planning a trip to remember!

Photo by Андрей Шевченко / Thinkstock

Gain a Unique Perspective When You Explore Barcelona by Bike

Gain a Unique Perspective When You Explore Barcelona by Bike

If you’ve decided on a dream getaway to Barcelona, you’ll want to see as much of the city as possible while you’re there!  Barcelona, Spain, is practically bursting at the seams with historical monuments, stunning scenery, amazing architecture, and delicious dining.  One of the best ways to visit all of these numerous and marvelous attractions is with the help of two wheels.  Witness the beauty of Barcelona by bike when you sign up for one of these entertaining Barcelona bike tours!

6 of the Best Tours to Help You See Barcelona by Bike

  1. Bike Tours Barcelona

Bike Tours Barcelona is ready every day of the week to take you on a journey through this city!  With all kinds of scenic routes available, you can choose to have an experienced guide lead you through the city and teach you facts along the way, or rent a bike for yourself so you can enjoy Barcelona at your own pace.  

  1. Fat Tire Bike Tours

Ditch the crowds so you can see even more of the city!  Fat Tire Bike Tours will guide you along flat, easy paths and less busy boardwalks to some of the city’s most renowned landmarks, like La Catedral and Parc de la Ciutadella.  

  1. Terra Diversions

Choose from family tours, guided tours, or self-guided tours through Terra Diversions!  These unique Barcelona bike tours include mountain bike adventures through the elevated terrain of the surrounding mountains and parks and a wine and cava tour, during which you can taste some of the finest beverages of Barcelona.  

  1. Born Bike Barcelona

Just five minutes away from the Barcelona beaches, Born Bike tours will take you off the beaten path to see the many hidden treasures of this incredible city.  They have many different variations you can enjoy, including a beach bike tour to admire the gorgeous sand and surf, and a tapas tour so you can taste your way through Barcelona!

  1. Green Bikes Barcelona

See some of Barcelona’s most famed attractions or focus on the Modernism style featured throughout the city on a Green Bikes Barcelona tour!  You can also choose to rent a bike and see the city for yourself without a guide; this company has several different types available, including the Barcelona folding bike.  

  1. Ajo Bike

You can easily find the Ajo Bike shop just one minute away from the popular Rambla del Raval.  This one of the best places to get a Barcelona bike rental; they possess a huge variety of both new and used bikes for reasonable rates.  They also offer exclusive private tours for those desiring an local’s view of the city.  

Come Stay with Us at bizFlats!

Complete your vacation of a lifetime by staying in the best accommodations while you’re exploring Barcelona!  bizFlats Vacation Rentals provides some of the most luxurious apartments, villas, and lofts, all located throughout the most picturesque parts of the city.  Each property is equipped with the finest furnishings and amenities so you’re bound to feel right at home.  Check our availability today to find the most incredible place to stay during your visit!

Photo by aitcheyedigital / Thinkstock

How to Make the Most of Your Weekend in Barcelona

How to Make the Most of Your Weekend in Barcelona

Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline-packed vacation with your best friends or a romantic getaway with your special someone, Barcelona has everything you need!  A last-minute break to Barcelona is the perfect solution to the everlasting debate of where to spend your weekend; this exotic location has everything from shopping in the city to hiking in the mountains.  After visiting this amazing area, you’ll want to spend all your weekends away in Barcelona! Three days is such a brief amount of time to pack in all of the countless Barcelona attractions, so check out this guide to five of the best tours that will help you see as much of this city as possible!

The 5 Best Tours for Your Weekend in Barcelona

  1. Feel Free Walking Tours

The best way to discover the true culture of the city during your weekend in Barcelona is to attend a walking tour.  The Feel Free Walking Tours offers daily tours to see the best attractions; these tours are completely free of charge, making a great addition to a bargain break in Barcelona!  Learn all about Gaudi modernism, ancient monuments, and art history through these multiple tours. These are a great way to educate and engage visitors of all ages; they even provide a Kick Scooter Tour, a fun activity for kids.  

  1. Barcelona Photo Walk

You have to take lots of pictures so you will always remember your weekend in Barcelona!  Get the best shots on a Barcelona Photo Walk, held the second Saturday of every month.  This tours will guide you throughout the most picturesque scenes of the city so you can take fantastic photographs to commemorate your visit.  This is a wonderful way to meet other individuals interested in photography while exploring during your Barcelona weekend break.  

  1. Discover Walks Barcelona

Learn all about the area from a Barcelona native during the Discover Walks of Barcelona.  Navigate through the famous Ramblas, enjoy skip-the-lines visits to local attractions, and view the best must-see landmarks.  Your weekend in Barcelona is not complete without one of this fantastic tours; group tours, private tours, and family specials are all offered.

  1. Barcelona Bike Tours

See all the best sights during your weekends away in Barcelona- all on a bike! Cycle through beaches, mountains, city streets and more on one of these awesome guided bike tours.  Rentals are available and Barcelona Bike Tours are offered daily to give everyone the opportunity to see the most of the area as possible.

  1. Barcelona Food Tours

Taste the best of Barcelona!  Participate in a Barcelona Food Tour to sample all kinds of traditional dishes from the greatest restaurants in the city.  These tours can be customized to accommodate all kinds of dietary restrictions and preferences so you can have the most delicious food experience possible.  Make sure your dream vacation includes legendary meals every day!

Stay in the Best Barcelona Rentals with BizFlats!

bizFlats wants to provide you with the most luxurious accommodations to accompany your Barcelona weekend break!  Book one of our amazing rentals to receive a relaxing weekend in the perfect vacation home, fully equipped with the best amenities.  Savor breathtaking views of the sea and city- right from your balcony!  Check our availability and plan a last minute break to Barcelona today!

Photo by Jose Mesa / Flickr

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

 

Avinguda Diagonal – Barcelona Diagonal Avenue… Take a Walk on the Wild Side

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On this last weekend of August in Barcelona… today, a unique sun is my ally, my best spotlight… a great part of Avinguda Diagonal is closed to traffic, so I get my phone and a pair of sneakers and invite you to join me in the adventure of finding unique buildings, hidden places and relaxing corners.  So sew your shadow to my feet Peter, and up we go “second to the right and straight on till morning”.

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Let’s start our journey at Plaça Francesc Macià.  I follow the characteristic pavement pattern, onto this urban catwalk.  I have to be careful not to miss a thing… sleek modern buildings next to old classics and Gaudi’s trademarks, make for beautiful patchwork.  The awesome Casa Sayrach (Avinguda Diagonal corner with Enric Granados), stands so elegant, as one of the last buildings of Barcelona modernism. Curved shapes characterize its façade.

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Back to the avenue, amongst luxury shops and nice cafés and restaurants, I get to the terrace, of José Luis, a classic in Barcelona, the restaurant with posssibly the best “tortilla de patata” in town.  Next to it, “Ajo Blanco” (Carrer de Tusset), the other side of the coin, a cool new designer restaurant.  Diagonal-Tusset-Granados… the most interesting edge, an explosion of architecture … La Casa Mas de Miquel, La Casa Sayrach, and the stunning Metro 3 building, where the Habitat store (designer furniture) is located.

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Now I run into the “Barcelona Equestrian circle” (Diagonal corner with Balmes) – SPOTTED:  I’ve heard that you can belong to this select club for a small fee of 12,000 euros, plus the endorsement of four partners and, of course, you must pass a test prior to admission.  Then the doors of the Barcelona Equestrian Circle will never be closed to you.  You can get together with the economic and social elite of Barcelona, enjoy an exquisite coffee or a drink until the wee hours of the morning… but yes, YOU HAVE to wear a tie [at least of you’re a gentleman]. The Circle completely renovated the interior in 1992, including a full gym, a rooftop pool & café and 16 rooms for members and guests.

The club is hosted in the palace “Casa Perez Samanillo” built in 1910, and what catches the eye is one of the most striking elements of the building, a huge oval window overlooking Diagonal… locals call it the “fishbowl of Barcelona”.

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This is amazing!!! No traffic and I’m walking in the middle of the street!!!  I’m arriving at Pilma, one of my favourites deco shops. Not far in distance, now I can see the obelisk marking the cross between Diagonal and Passeig the Gràcia.  To my right, the building of the Barcelona Provincial Council, advising the beginning of another great promenade, the boulevard of Rambla de Catalunya.

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A little further along are the Jardins del Palau Robert and in front of it, on the other side of the avenue, between two glass monsters, the headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce and Deutsche Bank respectively, the Pompeya Church, a jewel of Neo Gothic contemplates the passage of time, unperturbed by it’s big neighbours.

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Those deck chairs are so inviting… I’m done, hope you found it so appealing that you are eager to get your ass away from La Rambla, and discover an atractive brand new world!

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Barcelona Ramblas: Things to Do and See

Barcelona Ramblas: Things to Do and See

The Barcelona Ramblas is the most famous street in the whole city. Stretching for 1.2 kilometers through its midst, this street has been a central meeting place for residents since the 18th century. Originally situated outside the walls of the medieval city, Barcelona Ramblas was once the site of a flowing river. In fact, the word ramblas originates from the Arabic word ramla, meaning a sandy riverbed. When the walls came down and the river dried up, sometime around 1766, covenants, monasteries, and a university were built along this new city limit.

Barcelona Ramblas quickly became the ideal place in the city to stroll and congregate, as the rest of the streets were narrow and winding. As it gained in popularity as a meeting place and a crucial aspect of social life in the city, the original buildings were torn down and replaced with marketplace businesses typical of urban gathering places. Known most frequently as La Rambla or Las Ramblas, this busy promenade is actually home to six separate ramblas that were different streams and tributaries before being built up.

Rambla de Mar

From the name you may have inferred that this is the rambla closest to the ocean and is a boardwalk area with little seaside shops and movie theaters. This is the newest addition to Barcelona Ramblas, as for most of its existence the city did not embrace its seaside location. Rambla de Mar was a successful attempt to integrate the beach into the life of the city.

Rambla de Santa Monica

This rambla is named for its original covenant that is now a museum, Centre d’Art Santa Monica. Central to this rambla is the roundabout whose central focal point is the famous Columbus Monument representative to most visitors of the Barcelona Ramblas.  

Rambla dels Caputxins

Named for the demolished Capuchin monastery, this rambla is known for the famous Gran Teatre del Liceu, where visitors and residents alike go to see the classics like Swan Lake and also contemporary composers like Mozart Gerhaher. If you’re a fan of the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi you’ll love this portion of the promenade where you can see some of his most famous designs like Palau Güell and Plaça Reial.

Rambla Sant Josep

The vibrant marketplace, Mercat de la Boqueria is a favorite place to stop along the Barcelona Ramblas, which replaced yet another covenant in the mid 1900s. Central to this wonderful market is the gorgeous Joan Miró mosaic, an Art Deco masterpiece.

Ramblas dels Estudis

Named for the university that once stood here, there are several historic buildings still to see in this area, including one that houses the city’s first public clock!

Ramblas de Canaletes

Home to the famous Plaça de Catalunya, this rambla is named for the beautiful Canaleta fountain found at its center. The fountain has long been central to the city’s lore, as someone who “drinks water from Canaletes” is known to come from the Barcelona. It has also been said that those who have drunk from the fountain will keep returning to the beautiful Barcelona.

 

Walking Barcelona Ramblas is the perfect pastime when you visit the city, and is conveniently located at the center of the all the best hubbub. Whether you’re looking for shopping, cafes, or the chance to see some historic buildings, you’ll have no problem spending the better part of a day exploring this street.

 

Spend a Day at the Beautiful Parks in Barcelona

Spend a Day at the Beautiful Parks in Barcelona

Squares and parks in Barcelona have long been a part of its way of life, especially since the 1980s when the city decided to give precedence to urban green space rebuilding projects to ensure that not only were their parks throughout the city, but that they were beautiful places. There are now many beautiful parks in Barcelona that are engrained in the way of life and are themselves attractions. Whether you’re looking to witness architectural wonders, unique wildlife, or just sit down and play a game of chess or read a good book, the parks throughout this busy city are the best places to find some serenity amidst the busy metropolitan life.

Here are some of the best parks in Barcelona worth exploring while visiting the city.

Park Güell

Among the most famous and historic parks in the city, Park Güell is both an urban green space, as well as a monument to Barcelona’s most celebrated modern architect, Antoni Gaudi. Amidst the natural landscape, you will find a forest of shocking and inspiring masterpieces. From the main entrance to the market and everything in between, Gaudi certainly succeeded in his mission to build a garden city.

Parc de la Ciutadella

The city’s greenest park, la Ciutadella is the perfect place to relax in nature either taking a long walk, picnicking along the shores of the lake or taking a row boat out exploring its perimeters. Also home to many of the city’s most popular sites, one could easily spend a day exploring this beautiful outdoor haven while taking breaks to see the zoo, the Catalan Parliament, or the Museu d’Art Modern.

Jardí Botanic

Barcelona’s botanical gardens are breathtakingly beautiful, boasting the plant life of six different Mediterranean climates, as well as that of the Canary Islands. Situated between the freight port and the Olympic stadium, the garden’s lush landscape is in perfect contrast to its urban setting, making it among the most interesting parks in the city. Aimed at the conservation of rare plant species, you’ll be sure to see some of nature’s most unusual specimens right here in the city.

Parc de Joan Miró

This park is named for the artist Joan Miró whose famous Dona i Ocell sculpture is on display in the southern end. An impressionist piece depicting a woman and bird, it is meant to be lingered over, as well as the 30 smaller sculptures throughout the park that give visitors a wonderful feel for Miró’s work and style. The park is also home to the city’s former slaughterhouse, which is another interesting site to explore. In the shade of the palm and pine trees scattered throughout the area, Catalonians can often be found playing a round of bowls or chess, keeping cool and occupied on the warm Mediterranean afternoons.

 

The parks in Barcelona are some of the best places you can enjoy the city’s history, as well as get an understanding of its easy going culture. Whether you’re looking for insight into its interesting architecture or simply to relax with a bottle of wine while people watching, you’ll love the experience. These Barcelona short term rentals are all near one or other of the city’s parks, making for an easy habit of daily visits.

Un Paseo Romántico por Barcelona

Sin duda alguna, Barcelona es una de las ciudades europeas que más atraen a los turistas para estancias cortas, fines de semana y recorridos románticos.  Un fin de semana como el de Sant Jordi  se convierte en un momento ideal para realizar un recorrido con la pareja, puesto que Barcelona ofrece muchísimos sitios para ver y divertirse.

Desde las bulliciosas calles, las sofisticadas plazas y los paisajes urbanos diferentes y atractivos, Barcelona simplemente tiene todo para un fin de semana romántico, ya sea para celebrar Sant Jordi, como escapada romántica antes de la boda o como festejo por las bodas de plata.

Son muchas las actividades que habrá para este 23 de abril en Barcelona pero, si eres de los que busca escapar de las masas y relajarte junto a tu pareja, en Bizflats te sugerimos estos tres planes increíbles e inolvidables que se escapan de las guías turísticas.

Un Paseo en Golondrina por el Puerto

Barcelona tiene la fortuna de ser una ciudad portuaria. Su puerto, contenido entre la desembocadura del río Llobregat y la Barceloneta, se abre al mar Mediterráneo y es una metáfora perfecta de la historia y la actualidad de esta cosmopolita ciudad. Quizá esta íntima relación con el agua es lo que hace que uno de los paseos estrella en Barcelona es aquel que se hace en el agua, en las famosas Golondrinas de Barcelona. ¿Qué son las Golondrinas? Son barcos turísticos que funcionan a motor y que en general, realizan travesías no muy extensas que muestran el litoral barcelonés, lo que permite admirar la ciudad desde el mar. Este representativo paseo cuenta ya con una larga historia, pues las primeras golondrinas empezaron a realizarlo en el año de 1888, claro que su motor era a vapor y eran más pequeñas: sólo tenían capacidad para veinte personas.

Para aquellos que quieren tener varios puntos de vista diferentes y complementarios de su visita a esta ciudad, estos paseos marítimos representan una excelente alternativa. Para una escapada romántica, es simplemente soberbio, debido a que te da un tiempo para estar en completa paz y tranquilidad con tu pareja, disfrutando a la vez del paisaje urbano y de la paz que ofrece el agua.Golondrinas_barcelona

Las Golondrinas parten de un punto ubicado muy cerca del Mirador de Colón. Los centros de información y taquillas están localizados específicamente en el Portal de la Pau, dentro de la zona del muelle.

Se puede elegir realizar dos tipos de recorridos diferentes. El primero es el tradicional y más corto, que nos llevará por el puerto de Barcelona, permitiéndonos admirar todas las instalaciones portuarias, paisajes urbanos que incluyen el Word Trade Center, la Estación Marítima Internacional, los muelles Llevant y Ponent, el Puente de la Porta d’Europa, el puerto pesquero, la Torre del Reloj y la Nueva Bocana.

El segundo recorrido es más largo (dura en torno a los noventa minutos), y agrega una nueva embarcación, un catamarán, que permite llegar más lejos, hasta el Fórum Universal de las Culturas 2004, dándonos un paseo aún más profundo, en el que se puede disfrutar al cien por cien de la dicotomía mar-ciudad que nos ofrece Barcelona.

Es importante remarcar que a pesar de que en condiciones normales hay salidas diariamente y en diversos horarios, el estado del mar puede afectar esta situación, así que no viene de más consultar antes de ir y también intentar comprar los billetes con al menos una hora de anticipación para evitar quedarnos fuera o tener cualquier contratiempo.

Un último dato curioso sobre las Golondrinas: el porqué de su nombre. La idea fue de Feliciana Goñi, su creadora, que les otorgó este nombre en honor al ave que lo porta: la golondrina cubana. Toda la idea desde este recorrido es eminentemente romántica y evoca una visión calmada y pacífica de la ciudad, por lo que resultan ideales para una escapada en pareja.

Picnic al Atardecer en El Mirador del Búnker del Carmel

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¿Qué puede ser más romántico que apreciar unas hermosas vistas de 360° de la ciudad de Barcelona? Ya sea al amanecer, al atardecer o en la noche, cuando la ciudad se ilumina gracias a las luces artificiales, el apreciar toda la ciudad desde un solo sitio es la idea perfecta para pasar con alguien a quien apreciamos mucho y obsequiarse mutuamente con un momento de paz y belleza.

Un sitio para pasar un momento semejante es sin duda el Mirador del Búnker del Carmel en Barcelona. A pesar de que en las últimas fechas (y sobre todo con su reciente rehabilitación y reapertura) los turistas se acercan un poco más a recorrerlo y visitarlo, sigue siendo una especie de oasis con respecto a otros sitios de la ciudad que siempre están llenos de turistas, de tal forma que permite hacer un rico picnic vespertino en compañía del ser querido.

El sitio que recomendamos, el búnker del Carmel, es un recinto histórico puesto que fue construido durante la Guerra Civil como refugio antiaéreo, en la cima del turó de la Rovira, en el centro del barrio del Carmel. La melancolía rodea este emplazamiento puesto que fue construido como protección para los habitantes de Barcelona en el año de 1937. Su intención era netamente la protección, puesto que los bombardeos a la Ciudad Condal perseguían sobre todo el objetivo de asustar e intimidar a la población. Es por ello que se seleccionó este punto alto, en el que los abandonados cañones continuaron vigilando sombría y mudamente la ciudad hasta que fueron retirados en la década de los cincuenta. El búnker continuó ahí, testigo silencioso de los cambios de la ciudad. En cierta etapa albergó barracas cuyos habitantes fueron reubicados y sus precarias viviendas destruidas antes de los Juegos Olímpicos de 1992.

A partir de entonces, el sitio fue reclamado por el Patrimonio Histórico Español, convirtiéndose en uno de los miradores por excelencia de esta ciudad. Se pueden apreciar desde ahí el litoral de la ciudad, la diferencia en el trazo de los barrios de la ciudad (el contraste entre el Eixample y el Carmel, la geometría y la historia…), la Torre Agbar, la Sagrada Familia, el puerto. El hecho de poder hacer un giro completo y apreciar toda la ciudad en su totalidad, hace de este sitio un emplazamiento irresistible para cualquier apasionado de la fotografía o simplemente para quien quiera que desee realmente fascinarse con el paisaje urbano de Barcelona.

La guinda del pastel sería sin duda, como ya comentábamos, hacer un pequeño picnic al atardecer. Llevar algo sencillo para comer y beber, un mantelito o manta y observar la caída del sol dándonos la mano con nuestra pareja: un momento imbatible de un fin de semana en Barcelona.

Cómo llegar al Búnker del Carmel: Para llegar en transporte público lo preferible es tomar el autobús porque desde las paradas más cercanas del metro se tiene que hacer una pequeña caminata de alrededor de dos kilómetros. Como líneas de autobús pueden cogerse la 24, la 92, la 119 y la V7. De noche, puede seleccionarse entre la N4 y la N5. En cuanto a la llegada en vehículo privado, si se busca bien la ruta de antemano, veremos que hay mucho sitio para aparcar en las cercanías, así que no representa ningún problema.

Perderse en El Laberinto de Horta

Nuestra propuesta es pasear por un hermoso jardín: el parque del Laberinto de Horta. Este hermoso parque tiene un diseño clásico, quizás debido a que es el más antiguo de Barcelona, y por fortuna para los enamorados, uno de los menos frecuentados por los turistas. Normalmente la entrada cuesta dos euros, pero los miércoles y los domingos la entrada es gratuita.

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Este parque se ubica en una antigua finca, la de la familia Desvalls, próxima a la localización de la sierra de Collserola, y su punto fuerte son sin duda el jardín del siglo XVIII, en estilo neoclásico, y el jardín del siglo XIX, en un estilo romántico. La disposición del parque es muy especial: en tres terrazas a la forma de grandes escalones, con un gran contenedor de agua en la parte superior que sirve como reserva de agua para el riego. En el medio, hay una preciosa zona dispuesta con cúpulas y columnas de tipo toscano. En la parte más baja, está el laberinto que da el nombre al parque y que se ha convertido en el principal atractivo del jardín. Desde la entrada se puede observar y disfrutar la arquitectura de la casa del dueño y su familia, el marqués de Llupià i Alfarràs. Este hermoso espacio incluso ha sido elegido para el rodaje de distintas cintas y videos, por su mágica disposición laberíntica.

Pero el jardín es más que el laberinto. También cuenta con más de veinte distintos detalles acuáticos, desde estanques y fuentes hasta albercas y cascadas, pasando por canales y riachuelos, que no sólo embellecen el espacio y le otorgan una sonoridad especial, sino que permiten el desarrollo de numerosas especies vegetales. Además, todas estas fuentes y estanques, cuya agua se mantiene sin clorar, permiten la protección de especies anfibias (sapos, ranas verdes, reinetas), que se conservan en espacios separados a los peces, para que todas las especies disfruten de suficiente espacio y se encuentren a gusto.

El número de visitantes a la vez se limita a setecientas cincuenta personas, lo que permite disfrutar de este espacio verde en completa paz y tranquilidad. Detalle romántico: al recorrer todo el laberinto y llegar hasta el centro, podemos apreciar una estatua de Eros, el dios griego del amor… ¿podemos encontrar una forma más simbólica de concluir un fin de semana romántico en esta hermosa ciudad?

Además, independientemente del laberinto, el parque cuenta con otras áreas muy interesantes, como el parque temático que servía en sus tiempos para entretener a los invitados de la realeza y nobles que se daban cita en lo que en la época era un sitio alejado del centro de Barcelona. Como toque final, hay un canal para enamorados con pequeñas barquitas y cisnes, desde la cual se puede llegar a la sala de té que sólo funciona en verano.

El parque se encuentra en excelentes condiciones y representa un oasis de tranquilidad respecto al tumulto turístico que suele recorrer los sitios “bandera” del paisaje urbano de Barcelona.

Estos tres rincones de la geografía de nuestra ciudad ofrecen un espacio de paz, relajación e intimidad a las parejas para celebrar un día tan especial como Sant Jordi.

Al seleccionar un apartamento de alquiler turístico en Barcelona, podrás disfrutar de estos tres hermosos lugares y muchos más, además de llenarte de la vitalidad, paz y romanticismo que emana de las calles de Barcelona para estas fechas.

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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.