La Roca Village shopping day trip from Barcelona

La Roca Village is a shopping concept operated by multi-national luxury retail group, Chic, who boast 11 such sites at cities like London, Paris, Munich, Shanghai, as well as several in Spain.  More of a Spanish architecture styled village than a shopping mall, La Roca Village is treasure trove of more than 130 outlets by top brands such as Moncler, Michael Kors, Armani, Boss, Gucci, Hackett, Jimmy Choo or Versace, all brimming with luxury articles available at low prices, sometimes saving up to 60% off high street prices.

Located in the region of El Vallès Oriental on the outskirts of Granollers – a large industrial town just outside of Barcelona where the famous Montmeló Formula One track is – La Roca Village offers a great day out for young couples, groups, singles or families.  It is a tourist destination in its own right due to the stunning design and innovative experience.

La Roca Village

It’s open seven days a week, 10am till 9pm, but normally closed for holidays such as Christmas Day, King’s Day… check their website before planning your day trip.  Private shopping services include an all-store baggage-guarding scheme and even a personal adviser service for complete makeovers.  There are more additional activities such as a gift card services.

There are plenty of fine eating establishments scattered around the shopping village with food for every taste with a beautiful play area for younger ones at its centre.  So how do you get there?

How to get to La Roca Village by Car

La Roca is easily accessible from the “Autopista del Mediterráneo” or AP7.  This motorway stretches all the way from the Spanish/French border in the North connecting through to Valencia and Vera in the southern part of the peninsula. Leave the AP7 Motorway at Exit 12A (Cardedeu) and follow the signs for Centre Comercial (GPS Lat. 41.610694, Long. 2.343342).  Prices for small to medium car rentals from leading companies such as Europcar, for example, start from 29 euro per day.

How to get to La Roca Village by train

Very regular services from City’s main rail station Sants connecting to Granollers, the stop near the shopping village, every 30 minutes.  From there, regular bus services or taxis will help you complete your trip with a 5-minute journey to the shopping complex.  It’s a well-trodden path to La Roca, so this is an easy option basically door-to-door.

City Centre Coach

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The most direct way is by the Shopping Express shuttle bus – operated by La Roca themselves and pre-booking is advised due to limited seat numbers.  Return trips cost €20 each for adults, children 3-12 at €10 and children under 3 travel for free Passeig de Gracia, 6. Usually by booking online, there are also plenty of discount opportunities in the shops, cafeterias and restaurants on offer.

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Sagales, a local coach service, also operates a direct route and has extra stops at the Mango Outlet and Nike Factory Store.  Children under 4 travel for free and adult returns are €20 at the departure point on Carrer Casp, 34.  Again, pre-booking is advised and will also earn you some further discount on your travel ticket costs.
If shopping is your thing, then Barcelona is definitely your place.  Find your ‘base camp’ from our selection of fine rental apartments throughout the city, and shop till you drop!

 

Here’s Everything You Need to Know about the Mercat de Sant Antoni

Shopping at the Mercat de Sant AntoniFun and excitement abound in the thriving city of Barcelona, Spain.  This area is the dream vacation destination for many reasons.  Whether you want to go for a hike, sunbathe on the beach, shop for souvenirs, or explore history, Barcelona contains the perfect activity for you.  With so many one-of-a-kind attractions, a colorful culture, and delectable dining, Barcelona contains all the ingredients for a vacation you’ll never forget.  One attraction you have to visit while you’re exploring this city is the Mercat de Sant Antoni.  You’ll find plenty of things to do here and you’re guaranteed to return with a shopping bag bursting with goodies.  Discover everything you need to know about the Mercat de Sant Antoni and be sure to stop by during your trip.  

3 Frequently Asked Questions about the Mercat de Sant Antoni

1. What is the Mercat de Sant Antoni?

The Mercat de Sant Antoni is one of the largest market halls in Barcelona that is still active to this day!  Found at  Carrer del Comte d’Urgell, 1 in Barcelona, this bustling market is overflowing with fantastic vendors.  It’s also a local favorite because not many tourists know about it.  They are open Monday through Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

2. What Can You See at the Mercat de Sant Antoni?

You will love experiencing all the sights, sounds, and smells of the Mercat de Sant Antoni!  This is also known as one of those most characteristic markets in Barcelona due its wide variety of different vendors and booths.  Outside, browse through the many displays.  You’ll find clothes, homeware, shoes, and, only on Sundays, books and coins.  The indoors part of the market contains fresh produce, meat, and fish.  

3. What is There to Do at the Mercat de Sant Antoni?  

You can do more than just shop and stroll at the Mercat de Sant Antoni!  You’ll discover a few places to grab a steaming cup of coffee to give yourself a boost.  There are also tapas bars located throughout this market if you start craving a bite to eat.  This area is surrounded by numerous other attractions as well, so be sure to keep exploring once your shopping is complete!

Come Stay with Us at bizFlats Vacation Rentals to Complete Your Barcelona Experience!

Find the best place to stay during your Barcelona getaway.  Treat yourself to lodging in the finest accommodations during your Christmas getaway to Barcelona to admire all the festive attractions!  bizFlats Vacation Rentals has everything you need to feel right at home while you’re on vacation!  We offer luxurious lofts, villas, cottages, and apartments located throughout the most picturesque parts of Barcelona.  Whether you want to treat yourself to views of the beach or settle down in the heart of the city, we have the perfect spot for you!  We know you’ll love our comfortable furnishings and incredible amenities, so check our availability online right now to book your favorite vacation rental in Barcelona!

Photo by LUNAMARINA / Thinkstock

You Will Love Exploring the Mercat dels Encants

Shopping at Mercat dels EncantsIf you’re looking for an unforgettable vacation destination that contains outstanding things to see and do, Barcelona, Spain, is your answer!  Overflowing with iconic landmarks and breathtaking wonders, this city is guaranteed to leave you with wonderful memories.  One attraction you won’t want to miss is the Mercat del Encants, a famous spot in Barcelona for many reasons!  Being the city’s largest and most popular flea market, as well as one of the oldest flea markets in all of Europe, this area is always buzzing with activity.  This market is also called Fira de Bellcaire, which roughly translates to “fair old charms”- and that’s what you’ll find here!  Visitors and locals alike flock to this market to eagerly browse the countless vendor booths, searching for hidden treasure.  With a wide spectrum of goods and trinkets, as well as friendly and helpful locals, you will find yourself spending hours and hours in this neverending selection of amazing items!  Discover everything you need to know about the Mercat dels Encants in Barcelona and start making plans to visit and shop today!

Everything You Need to Know about the Mercat dels Encants

Location and Hours

The address for Mercat dels Encants is C. Dos de Maig, 186.  Keep your eyes peeled for the market’s trademark tall canopy if you need help finding it!  You can visit this flea market on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.   

Things to Do at the Mercat dels Encants

The countless vendors of the Mercat dels Encants offer anything and everything you could ever want- and for reasonable prices!  Whether you’re searching for a new addition to your wardrobe or new decor for your home, it’s all here in this expansive market.  Items that vendors have for sale include furniture, toys, gadgets, decor, antiques, crafts, books, clothing, records, appliances, and much, much more!  This is the best place in Barcelona to find the perfect souvenir to commemorate your getaway to this exotic city.  A wide, expansive area, this flea market is also the site of numerous events and gatherings!  Many different events take place here, such as swing dances and antique auctions.  This place is always a treat to visit!

For more places to go shopping in Barcelona, visit the Encants Vells Flea Market during your vacation as well!

Book Your Dream Vacation Home with bizFlats Vacation Rentals!

No trip is complete without booking a wonderful place to stay. After your exciting day of exploring one of Barcelona’s finest attractions, take some time to unwind by relaxing in the best accommodations possible!  bizFlats Vacation Rentals offers luxurious lofts, villas, cottages, and apartments located throughout the most picturesque parts of town.  Whether you want to treat yourself to views of the beach or settle down in the heart of the city, we have the perfect spot for you!  We know you’ll love our comfortable furnishings and incredible amenities, so check our availability online right now to book your favorite vacation rental in Barcelona!

Photo by shalamov / Thinkstock

What is the Barcelona Gothic Quarter?

Spend a day at the Barcelona Gothic QuarterBarcelona’s tourist attractions are so numerous and intriguing; from the towering Sagrada Familia to the sunny Barceloneta Beach, you’ll never run out of things to do in this city.  While planning a trip to this incredible destination, you might have trouble choosing which sights you want to see first.  However, the Barcelona Gothic Quarter is, without a doubt, a must-see spot in this city; containing many different restaurants, shops, and historical sights, this area has all the ingredients for an enjoyable experience.  Discover everything you need to know about the amazing Barcelona Gothic Quarter and add it to your vacation itinerary today!

What is the Barcelona Gothic Quarter?

The Barcelona Gothic Quarter, or Barri Gòtic, is a beautiful historic district that draws both visitors and locals alike with its peaceful atmosphere and one-of-a-kind activities.  Comprised of a myriad of streets and squares, this neighborhood gives you a peek into Barcelona’s fascinating past.  This area contains the City Hall as well as the beloved Barcelona Gothic Quarter cathedral.  You can even see the remains of the ancient Roman temple of Augustus nearby.

Where is the Barcelona Gothic Quarter Located?

This place is easy to find; located in the center of the old city of Barcelona, it stretches from La Rambla to Via Laietana.  You might stumble upon it when you spot the tall spire of the Cathedral Santa Creu, a gorgeous cathedral that has been in the Barcelona Gothic Quarter since the year 1298, when its construction began.  Metro stops are located at both sides of this neighborhood, making it even easier to reach.  

What Can You Do at the Barcelona Gothic Quarter?

There are so many fun things to do at this favorite Barcelona tourist attraction!  First, you should take a Barcelona Gothic Quarter walking tour to see all the breathtaking sights of this area with a knowledgeable guide to teach you about the history of each one.  Next, settle down for a delicious meal at one of the many Barcelona Gothic Quarter restaurants; after all, no trip is complete without treating yourself to some delectable dining!  Head to Tapeo Bar if you’re craving some authentic Catalan food (like tapas, of course!) or El Quatre Gats, which is famous for being the site of Picasso’s first art exhibition ever.  After you’ve satisfied your appetite, complete your day here by browsing the many shops and stores lining these streets to find the perfect souvenir to commemorate your trip!

Come Stay with Us at bizFlats Vacation Rentals!

After your exciting afternoon of exploring Barcelona’s finest attractions, take some time to unwind by staying in the best accommodations possible!  bizFlats Vacation Rentals offers luxurious lofts, villas, cottages, and apartments located throughout the most picturesque parts of town.  Whether you want to treat yourself to views of the beach or settle down in the heart of the city, we have the perfect spot for you!  We know you’ll love our comfortable furnishings and incredible amenities, so check our availability online right now to book your favorite vacation rental in Barcelona!

Photo by thehague / Thinkstock

18 of the Best Things to Do in Barcelona, Spain

18 of the Best Things to Do in Barcelona, Spain

It’s no wonder why our beautiful city is on every international traveler’s bucket list. There are so many things to do in Barcelona! Its numerous historic attractions, beautiful parks, and bustling city shops create the perfect atmosphere for an exciting vacation.  To ensure that you get the most out of your vacation in Barcelona, we at bizFlats have compiled a list of the most fantastic activities and fun things to do in Barcelona, Spain!

The Top 10 Things to Do in Barcelona

1.Magic Fountain of Montjuïc

Barcelona’s  Magic Fountain of Montjuïc has earned its name after a century of virtually uninterrupted, crowd-pleasing performances in the heart of one of the world’s most beautiful cities. The fountain’s waters are known to jump and dance in a rainbow of colors and to a diversity of melodies and pictures. The performances have earned a genre all their own and are now called water acrobatics, and considered one of the best things to do in Barcelona in June.

  1. La Sagrada Familia Basilica

Located in the heart of Barcelona, La Sagrada Familia Basilica is a monument to Catalan culture dating back to 1882. Embracing the city and nation’s deep roots in Catholicism and talent in both design and architecture, this World Heritage Site is a beautiful and breathtaking symbol of both national and local identity. Although it is not finished, the ongoing project surrounding the Basilica’s creation is part of its intrigue and beauty. Wondering, why was La Sagrada Familia built, or when will La Sagrada Familia be finished? Read on to learn more!

  1. Palace of Catalan Music

In the heart of downtown Barcelona you’ll find the Palace of Catalan Music, which is just as much an historical institution as it is a center for the arts. Featuring world-renown art in both performance arts and in fine arts, this is certainly a stop worth making on your trip to Barcelona. Whether you’re seeing a performance, taking a tour, or just walking by you won’t be disappointed that you visited that Palace.

  1. Barcelona’s 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!

  1. The Pablo Picasso Museum

Among the city’s many cultural attractions in Barcelona is the famous Pablo Picasso Museum, housing a sizeable collection of the Spanish artist’s lifeworks. If you’re an art enthusiast or at all interested in the life and works of Picasso, this museum is central to understanding his career and the extensiveness of his talent. Located on the Carrer de Montcada, the city’s most important stretch of mediaeval architecture, the Pablo Picasso Museum Barcelona building is a site to see in itself.

  1. Las Ramblas

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.

  1. Barcelona’s Camp Nou

If you’ve ever happened upon Barcelona during a football match then you may have been surprised to see the red and blue streets filled with ecstatic fans cheering as if their very lives depended on victory. Catalonians couldn’t be prouder of their all-star team now sporting football heroes such as Lionel Messi, an idol of many Spanish youths, and soccer players around the world. Camp Nou was the team’s very first stadium in its inaugural year of 1957, carrying some of the team’s richest history in its bleachers as well as on the turf. Soccer fan or not, taking a tour of Camp Nou will provide a lot of insight into the heart of Catalan culture.

  1. Poble Espanyol de Montjuïc

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

  1. The Various Cathedrals in Barcelona

Exploring the cathedrals in Barcelona is one of the best ways for visitors to learn about the city’s history and architecture. With deep catholic roots, there is much to learn about Barcelona’s long heritage reaching back to medieval times by exploring the city’s many cathedrals and other holy places. Music is central to the experience, which you’ll discover as you tour the cathedrals in Barcelona and see or hear their enormous organs and perhaps even their majestic choirs. Another key characteristic to a cathedral is that they are the seat of a bishop, making it the central church of the diocese.

  1. Barcelona’s Beautiful Beaches

Though Barcelona has always been on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, it wasn’t always known for its lively beach culture. The beaches in Barcelona used to be almost entirely industrial space so they weren’t the most inviting destinations. As the city prepared to host the 1992 Summer Olympics, the governing powers began to reconsider Barcelona’s identity as a Mediterranean cultural center and decided to start cleaning up its beaches. Barcelona has since been known as one of Europe’s most recommended beach destinations where turquoise waters and white sand rub up against an epicenter of culture, history, and architectural beauty. With a climate as mild as on the Mediterranean, the beaches are beautiful year-round, though visiting the beaches here is one of the best things to do in Barcelona in July!

Even More Attractions in Barcelona, Spain

A list of the top 10 things to do in Barcelona barely scratches the surface of all the amazing reasons to visit our great city! Are you still wondering what to do in Barcelona? As locals, our list of favorite things to do here is quite long!

  1. 10 of the Best Restaurants in Barcelona

Barcelona restaurants are an attraction in and of themselves! Catalonian food is world renowned, and a visit to Barcelona and Catalonia in general wouldn’t be complete without enjoying as many fantastic restaurants as possible. There are plenty of romantic restaurants as well as amazing tapas restaurants in Barcelona to choose from.

  1.  The Opera is Spectacular at the Gran Teatre del Liceu

The Gran Teatre del Liceu is not only Barcelona’s premier opera house, but a historical institution founded on La Rambla in 1847. It is a symbol of the city’s diverse arts culture. Visiting the Teatre on La Rambla would be a great night out in Barcelona, is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. A nice meander down the tree-lined, open air mall, and maybe a meal or cappuccino at one of the outdoor cafes would be a great precursor or finish to a show. This outing in the heart of Barcelona will be all but disappointing whether it’s your first time in Barcelona, or you’re just looking for something new to try in this wonderful city.

  1. Go for a Hike on a Day Trip to Montserrat

Montserrat’s serene setting continues to attract not just spiritual pilgrims, but also naturalists and those in need of some time in mountains. This destination soaring above the Barcelona skyline, whose name means “sawn mountain”, makes not only for an incredibly unique horizon, but also a convenient natural retreat for locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re heading on your day trip to Monsterrat to visit the monastery, the museum or for an event, give yourself some time to explore one of the numerous hiking trails on the mountain. No matter your timing or fitness level there are varying degrees of difficulty to choose from, all offering breathtaking views and the peace and quiet unique to mountaintops. Taking a hike is one of the best things to do near Barcelona in the summer, especially in July or August.

  1. 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.

  1. Inspire the Artist Within at the National Museum of Catalan Art

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

  1. Dive With the Sharks at l’Aquàrium de Barcelona

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

  1. Visit the Joan Mirò Museum

Barcelona has long had a celebrated community of the arts, from incredible design and architecture throughout the city, to painters and sculptors like the amazing Joan Mirò, a Barcelona native known for his rebellious surrealism. If you have yet to visit the Joan Mirò Museum in Parc to Montjuïc in the heart of the city, it is well worth the trip and is easy to reach by public transportation or even on foot depending where you are staying when you visit.

  1. 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 most fun things to do in Barcelona, Spain!

A trip to our fantastic city would be incomplete without a visit to at least one of these Barcelona, Spain points of interest. Explore this city’s vast history, culture and ascetic beauty from your home base at a great short term rental in the heart of Barcelona. Our vacation rentals are an excellent alternative to Barcelona hotels. If you’re making the trip to enjoy the best of Barcelona tourism, you may as well do it right.

How to See Barcelona Like a Local

How to See Barcelona Like a Local

Barcelona is definitely a tourist hotspot- for good reason!  Its numerous historic attractions, beautiful parks, and bustling city shops create the perfect atmosphere for an exciting vacation.  However, Barcelona is bursting with hidden gems that not many visitors usually find.  If you’re looking to get off the beaten path and explore some lesser-known areas of the city, try these 5 activities to help you see Barcelona like a local!

5 Ways to See Barcelona like a Local

  1. Find Great Deals at the Flea Market

One of the oldest markets in all of Europe, Els Encants is a thriving flea market in Barcelona.  Open every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 9:00 a.m to 8:00 p.m, this huge collection of vendors and traders offer all kinds of vintage relics, authentic artwork, and much more.  You’re bound to find your new favorite souvenir at this fascinating Barcelona attraction!

  1. Have a Fantastic Dinner

If you want to enjoy authentic Catalan cuisine without the crowds of tourists, stroll through the beautiful area of Gràcia.  This historical village is under the radar to most non-locals and contains several delightful restaurants, perfect for savoring a peaceful meal while appreciating a quieter portion of the city.  There are several fantastic hole-in-the-wall restaurants and cafes in Gràcia, including Kuai Momos, an exotic spot serving dishes from all over the world, Botafumeiro Restaurant, which specializes in the freshest seafood, and Windsor, a classy joint that prepares traditional Catalan cuisine.

  1. Get the Best View

Want to see Barcelona in a new way?  Climb up to the Bunkers del Carmel, the abandoned anti-aircraft fortifications built during the Spanish Civil War, to see the entire city all at once.  These towering structures sit atop the hill of Turo de la Rovira, providing panoramic views of the surrounding area.  This little-known destination is high on the list of places not to miss in Barcelona.

  1. Go Green

In order to better immerse yourself in the culture of Barcelona, you should explore Can Masdeu.  A self-sustaining estate located in the Valley of Saint Genis just outside Collserola Park, this center houses a group of local inhabitants who want to shift their focus from the world of money.  Instead, they put their efforts into growing organic produce and medicinal herbs and spending time together as a community surrounded by nature, rather than the noise and crowds of the city.  Drop by this beautiful property to explore the building, grounds, and garden; you can also attend one of their workshops featuring topics such as activism and ecology.

  1. Enjoy the Nightlife

There is a multitude of things to do at night in Barcelona!  If you want to try a bar that isn’t overwhelmed with noise or people, there are several options available.  You can stop by TimeLine in Gràcia for a quiet evening; this bar serves coffee, brunch, and small plates during the day; at night it transforms into a bar scene with professional bartenders (who are all multilingual to help visitors).  Arena in El Born is another low-key joint; this bar is tucked away in an obscure part of town to create a more intimate and comfortable environment for playing pool and spending time with friends.  Or, if you want to dance the night away, check out the many nightclubs in Barcelona!  There are many spots by the beaches that are fun without being too packed.

Stay with Us at bizFlats!

Now that you can’t wait to see Barcelona, check out bizFlats to book the perfect place to stay for your getaway!  Our numerous vacation rentals create a comfortable environment so you can enjoy a good night’s rest in between your many Barcelona adventures.  Check our availability today to start planning a trip you’ll never forget!

 

Christmas in Barcelona is Like a Fantastic Dream

Christmas in Barcelona is Like a Fantastic Dream

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

An Overview of Christmas in Barcelona

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

Things to Do in Barcelona for Christmas

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

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

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

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

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

Come Stay with Us at bizFlats!

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

Photo: Núria / Flickr

 

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.

 

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.

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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.