6 of the Best Beaches in Barcelona

6 of the Best Beaches in Barcelona

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 mild climate, it is always appropriate to spend a day at one of the most beautiful beaches in Barcelona, no matter what time of year you’re visiting. One of the best things to do in Barcelona is to visit our spectacular Barcelona beaches, even in October!

The Best Beaches in Barcelona

1. Barceloneta Beach

This is one of the most famous beaches in Barcelona, as it is the most centrally located to frequently visited areas of town like Las Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter. Although it will certainly be the most populated stretch of sand in the city, it is often the most entertaining with numerous seafood restaurants, and Port Vell to explore with its museum and IMAX theater. La Champaneria is one of the most popular places to grab some tapas, a bottle of cava and simply hang out at a beach bar.

2. Mar Bella Beach

This is the place for a party. Not only is this one of the only specifically nudist beaches in Barcelona, but it is also home to the windsurfing center. Mar Bella Beach is a popular hangout for gays and lesbians and is known for its Sunday night raves throughout the summer.

3. Bogatell Beach

Slightly northeast of the city center, this beach is significantly more quiet and clean than the Barceloneta stretches right downtown. It is accessible by the Metro and is about a fifteen-minute walk from the Bogatell Metro Station. This beach is known for its great accommodations and laid back atmosphere. It’s a great place for a truly relaxing day at the beach.

4. Ocata Beach

If you want to get out of the city and to a real pristine and quiet beach destination, head north to Ocata in the town of El Masnou. It’s a half-hour trip by train and is worth every minute. Not only is the train ride beautiful, but the beach is a haven of golden white sand and plenty of space to spread out and play.

5. Sitges Beach

This is one of the most popular day trips to make from Barcelona. The train ride there is less than 45 minutes south the from the center of Barcelona, and drops you off in one of the most popular beach towns in the Barcelona area, with stretches of well populated beaches and a bustling town center around them offering every amenity you might be looking for during your day at the beach.

6. Nova Icària Beach

A very peaceful beach,  Nova Icària Beach, is close to the marina and features plenty of facilities for beach activities like beach volleyball and table tennis.

The variety of beaches in Barcelona and its surrounding towns make this Mediterranean city the perfect beach destination for you next vacation. If you’re traveling here on business, take a break from your work to hit the beaches, some of the most famous Barcelona attractions, and look into these beachside short term rentals right in the city.

 

 

Explore the Cathedrals in Barcelona

Explore the 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.

Here are four of the most famous cathedrals in Barcelona worth visiting on your stay.

  1. La Sagrada Familia Basilica is one of Barcelona’s famous architect, Antoni Gaudi’s, most celebrated masterpieces. Part of what makes this extravagant cathedral so remarkable is that it has been under construction cathedrals in barcelonasince 1882 and isn’t expected to be finished until at least 2020, which will be the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death. This gothic style cathedral, when completed, will have eighteen spires and three epic facades featuring different Catholic scenes. It is a mix of Spanish Late Gothic, Catalan Modernism, and Art Nouveau styles and is one of the most astounding things to see in all of Barcelona.
  2. To walk through medieval times, visit Santa Maria Del Mar, located in the Ribera district of Barcelona. Built between 1329 and 1383 during Barcelona’s prominence as a maritime merchant city, this imposing cathedral is designed in the pure Catalan Gothic style that is unique to the area. The exterior is a looming contrast to the open interior flooded with natural light through stained glass windows.
  3. The Cathedral of the Holy Coss and Sant Eulalia, also known as the Barcelona Cathedral was built between the 13th and 15th centuries. Originally it had a nondescript exterior that was typical of Catalan churches at the time, and in the late 19th century the neogothic facade, which you will see there today, was constructed. The Barcelona Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona and is well known for its roof that is home to statues of gargoyles and other mythic creatures.
  4. The Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor, which in English is the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, was completed in 1961. It was designed by the famous Catalan architect Enric Sagnier and was completed by his son, Josep Maria Sagnier i Vidal. Located on the summit of Mount Tibidabo its construction was motivated by the Protestant-Catholic divide when there was talk of the site being purchased to build a protestant church. The cathedral displays gorgeous architecture and beautiful views of the surrounding countryside and city below. 

If you’re planning a trip to the city you don’t want to miss the chance to explore some of the spectacular cathedrals in Barcelona. Look into these Barcelona short term rentals located in and around the Gothic Quarter where you will be closer to the old medieval city of Barcelona. You’ll love exploring Barcelona’s’s Roman roots from one of these luxurious flats.

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.

Experience the Lights and Sounds of the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc

Experience the Lights and Sounds of the 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.

Attending a magic fountain show is integral to the Barcelona experience. If you’re staying at one these great Barcelona short term rentals you definitely want to make the fountain a priority on your sightseeing list. It’s a great and free way to spend a night out in this temperate Mediterranean city.

Magic Fountain of Montjuïc History

This city landmark was built in 1929 with its first performance taking place on May 19th during the Great Universal Exhibition, which was the reason for the fountain’s construction. Carles Buigas was the ambitious architect who designed it as early at 1922. Buigas oversaw the building of the fountain, which took over 3,000 workers less than a year to complete.

During the Spanish Civil War, the fountain was completely decimated, resulting in the only period since its construction that it wasn’t in operation. It was up and running again in 1955 after Buigas oversaw its reconstruction. In the 1980’s music was incorporated into the fountain performances, bringing the show to a whole new level. A decade later, prior to the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, the Montjuïc was completely restored, and the performances have since come to include film as well.

Visit the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc

The fountain performances are considered magical largely due to the astounding synchronicity of the numerous technical elements that complete the show. The over three million liters of water dance using five different pump systems, 134 electric motors, and 109 hydraulic valves. The lights create over 50 different shades and hues, turning the water nearly every color you could imagine. This isn’t just a beautiful show, but it’s an engineering masterpiece, demanding the consultation and planning of the city’s greatest talents.

Since the advent of music and film, the fountain has included some of the world’s most famous acts. Historic film showings have included The GodfatherThe Lord of the Rings, and Gladiator. Some reputable musical acts that have been part of the shows are the Spanish zarzuela movement, and “Barcelona” by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé.

The Magical Fountain of Montjuïc is chosen each year as the site for the “Pyromusical”, which is part of La Mercè festival. This is typical fountain performance accompanied by an epic fireworks and laser show.

Showtimes:

Autumm & Winter:
Friday & Saturday, from 7pm to 9pm.

Spring & Summer:
Thursday to Sunday, from 9pm to 11.30pm.

When you’re visiting Barcelona, be it for business or pleasure, be sure not to miss a chance to see a show at the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc. This is a great activity for the kids, and also makes for a lovely night out with your sweetheart. Grab some dinner around Plaça de Carles Buigas and make an evening of it.

9 of the Best Barcelona, Spain Points of Interest

9 of the Best Barcelona, Spain Points of Interest

An old Roman city from the Middle Ages later to be filled with the wonders of the famous Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi, and now one of the world’s most famous beach cities, Barcelona, Spain is worth visiting for a myriad of reasons. Whether you’re a history buff who loves exploring old gothic quarters, a spiritual visionary in search of some of the world’s most notable religious sites, or a beach bum looking for a nice bar to sidle up to by the sand, Barcelona is a destination you ought to visit. The city is also home to numerous luxury short term rentals that will make your visit more convenient, cost-effective and homey, giving you a wonderful retreat from the bustling city.

While there are more Barcena, Spain points of interest than can be mentioned here, these are just a few things you definitely want to check out while you’re visiting. Get the facts about Barcelona, Spain before you arrive!

  1. Casa Milà – La Pedrera
    This is one of Gaudi’s beautiful masterpieces, and also one of the last civil projects he completed before his death. There are numerous things to see at La Pedrera, including a historical overview of Gaudi’s works, an apartment depicting the life of a bourgeois family, as well as the famously picturesque rooftop covered in architectural sculptures.
  2. Mirador De Colom – Columbus Monument
    This tribute to the explorer, Christopher Columbus, dates back to 1888. It was built by Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand for the Universal Exposition (what would today be known as the World’s Fair) in honor of Columbus’ exploration achievements.
  3. Parc de la Ciutadella
    This park in the center of Barcelona is a wonderful place for picnics and walks. A lake with a baroque fountain in its midst is a highlight of this urban green space that was once a military citadel.
  4. La Boqueria Market
    This market housed in a glass and steel structure along Las Ramblas street is full of delicious local treats, and a great place to take pictures of all its colorful foods. The market was built in 1840, but before the structure was erected the same space was said to have been used as a market since medieval times.
  5. Port Vell
    Dating back to the medieval period when Barcelona was at the center of the Mediterranean’s’s maritime trade, Port Vell has a rich history. In more modern history it gained a reputation for being a seedy neighborhood but in recent years, with the Olympic games civil projects, it has been revamped into a wonderful tourist attraction. It is home to Europe’s largest seawater aquarium, an IMAX theater, the Maremagnum Shopping Mall, and wonderful ocean views.
  6. Arc de Triomf
    This gorgeous arc was also built for the Universal Exposition of 1888. The Exposition was held in the Parc de la Ciutadella, with the arc serving as the main entrance to the promenade.
  7. Sagrat Cor
    A Roman Catholic Church and minor basilica located at the summit of Mount Tibidabo offers another beautiful church to visit as well as a fantastic view.
  8. University of Barcelona
    At the forefront of Barcelona, Spain’s colleges and universities is the University of Barcelona, located in the heart of the city, near to the Teatre Coliseum and the Museu del Modernisme de Barcelona. Exploring the campus is a fantastic opportunity to experience a historic Barcelona landmark.
  9. Fundació Joan Miró Museum
    Situated at the summit of Montjuïc, the Joan Miró Museum of Barcelona is a modern art museum honoring Joan Miró.

A trip to this ancient 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. If you’re making the trip to enjoy the best of Barcelona tourism, you may as well do it right.

 

A Monument to Catalan Identity: La Sagrada Familia Basilica

A Monument to Catalan Identity: 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!

La Sagrada Familia Construction

La Sagrada Familia Basilica was designed in part by the famous Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudi, with construction beginning in 1882. The next year Gaudi took the project over completely to see that his vision was fulfilled by the best means possible. He was in charge of it until his death in  1926, having completed less than a quarter of the building. The construction progressed slowly, waiting on private donations to continue, and was derailed completely by the Spanish Civil War. In the 1950s the gradual building began again, and the half-way mark was recently reached in 2010. The Basilica is projected to be completely finished by 2026, and has been expedited with the use of computer modeling and other new technologies. Since Gaudi’s death the construction has been a point of contention among Catalan people who wonder if the original vision is being carried out or not. Nevertheless, the project goes on. La Sagrada Familia’s completion date is expected to be 2026, the 100-year anniversary of Gaudi’s death.

Design

A mix between Spanish Late Gothic, Catalan Modernism and a Art Nouveau styles, La Sagrada Familia Basilica was the dream of a bookseller who returned from the Vatican inspired to build a Gothic revival church. Gaudi greatly influenced the design when he took over the project, being inspired mostly by nature. Though it was never intended to be a cathedral, it was planned to be that size, and can now accommodate 9,000 people. When completed it will have eighteen spires representing Twelve Apostles, the Virgin Mary and the four Evangelists. Gaudi’s Cathedral has three facades: the east-facing Nativity, the west-facing Passion, and the south-facing Glory.

Visiting

There are multiple ticket types available for purchase online and at the box office. You can choose whether to take a guided tour, an audio tour, or just enter and show yourself around. Visitors can also choose to explore more of La Sagrada Familia Basilica like the House Museum or towers. Group tours are also available. Of the things to see are the museum, exhibitions, galleries and also the occasional live music event. The Basilica is always a place for prayer and worship, and mass times are posted on the website.

Stay in Barcelona

For those visiting the city, bizFlats offers diverse options for short term rental properties throughout Barcelona. These comfortable and modern flats are a great and affordable option, whether you’re traveling for business, or coming to town for a family vacation. With your own kitchen and entertainment systems, you’ll feel right at home in one of these spots, and will have easy access to famous sites around town like La Sagrada Familia Basilica.

 

There are few experiences around Barcelona that embrace the history of Catalan culture like a trip to La Sagrada Familia Basilica. No matter the reason for your trip to Barcelona, you definitely want to at least take a walk past this truly spectacular site.

Go for a Hike on a Day Trip to Montserrat

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.

Here are some of the most popular hikes to be enjoyed on a day trip to Montserrat:

  1. The walk from Montserrat Monastery to the Degotalls is a perfect, leisurely walk recommended for those seeking a time for self meditation. Just 3.2 kilometers in length, it should take you about 50 minutes to complete. On this hike you’ll get a great view of the Pyrenees and the flat lands of the Llobregat Valley.
  2. One of the most popular walks is from the Monastery to Santa Cova, an important pilgrim site. This is a more challenging trail with a steep incline at the end of its 2.7 kilometers. It should take about an hour and ten minutes to complete.
  3. There is a funicular lift on site at Montserrat to make its challenging terrain accessible to all. The trails from the Sant Joan Funicular Station to the Monastery make for two great hikes. The first option brings hikers to the peak of Montserrat Mountain, offering some of the most amazing views in all the the Montserrat Natural Park, and is 7.5 kilometers in length. The second option is a gradual walk stretching for 5.2 kilometers with great views of the Llobregat Valley and its river, and is significantly easier than the first route.

    day trip to montserrat
    Photo Credit: Nellmac/iStock/Thinkstock

A day trip to Montserrat is easy to do from your vacation rental in Barcelona. You can take public transit to the base of the park, and hop on the Cramallera train to the peak, or ride the Cable Car up. If you have a car you can also drive up, but if you’re feeling particularly adventurous you can even walk up the Montserrat mountain, which is an age old tradition. The Montserrat Natural Park attracts many with its unique jagged shape of its limestone peaks and evergreen forests, which are also scattered with maple, lime and hazelnut trees. The setting offers great wildlife viewing opportunities, especially for being so close to the city. Bird watchers love to come for a walk on the mountain, and there are annual wild boar hunting trips organized in-season.

Whether you’re seeking spiritual solace, or just a beautiful landscape to breathe in on an easy day trip to Montserrat, you won’t be disappointed by what you find on your trek up the mountain. Barcelona is unique for its proximity to both mountains and sea, making it a wonderful vacation option with a myriad of great rental properties throughout the city.