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.

laberinto_horta

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.

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.

Get Lost in the History of the Barcelona Gothic Quarter

Get Lost in the History of the Barcelona Gothic Quarter

You won’t just get lost in the history of the Barcelona Gothic Quarter but also in the amazing variety of things to do in this corner of the city that is among the most visited places by tourists and residents alike. With its labyrinthine streets, it’s best to pay extra close attention to your surroundings as it’s common to literally get lost in the area. Along with beautiful squares that make for the perfect place to relax for an afternoon with a bottle of wine or a good book, there are numerous great boutiques for shopping, a grand cathedral, and a lively nightlife. During your next visit to Barcelona, be sure to take a walking tour though the Gothic Quarter!

History of the Barcelona Gothic Quarter

The Gothic Quarter is the center of the old city of Barcelona. Many of its buildings maintain their medievally designed integrity though there were many additions and improvements throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The Roman Wall remains are evidence that the gothic quarter dates as far back as the Roman settlement in Barcelona. The labyrinthine street layout is further evidence, with many of the streets opening up into squares that would have been markets and meeting places in medieval times.

barcelona gothic quarter
Photo Credit: bbsferrari/iStock/Thinkstock

Barcelona Gothic Quarter Attractions

  • The Barcelona Gothic Quarter Cathedral is one of the main attractions in this area and is the seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona, as well as breathtaking sight. Having been constructed from the 13th to the 15th centuries, its neogothic style is complete with rooftop gargoyles and other domestic and mythic animals.
  • Plaça Sant Jaume is located at the heart of the Barcelona Gothic Quarter and is the administrative center of the city as home to both City Hall and the Palace of the Generalitat of Catalonia. The square is home to many big events throughout the year.
  • Plaça Reial sits between the Gothic Quarter and La Rambla and is a popular attraction. It is well known for its rich nightlife as it is home to many famous nightclubs and outdoor venues. It is one of the most popular spots for national celebrations like New Year’s Eve.
  • Portal de l’Àngel is known among locals for being one of the poshest streets in the city both for its rental prices and its collection of classy boutiques and designer shops.
  • The Barcelona Gothic Quarter also has its own collection of remains, such as the Temple of Augustus, an old Roman temple built during the Imperial period. After being demolished, its remains were not discovered for centuries and have been slowly restored as they have been found.

A Few Fantastic Gothic Quarter Restaurants

There are far too many romantic restaurants in Barcelona‘s Gothic Quarter, but a few highly-recommended spots to eat include: Bilbao Berria, Cal Pep, and Pla Restaurant.

Whether you like shopping, nightclubs or are more interested in a beautiful place to sit outside and take in the atmosphere, you will enjoy the Barcelona Gothic Quarter.  There are numerous short term holiday rentals around this area giving you a historic experience on your stay here. While they are in the medieval corner of Barcelona, these flats are all newly remodeled with all the modern features you’re used to at home. Our Gothic Quarter apartments are conveniently located at the center of the city giving you easy access to whatever you might want to see on your stay. Our vacation rentals are where to stay in Barcelona, and are a perfect alternative to Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter hotels.