How to Make the Most of Your Weekend in Barcelona

How to Make the Most of Your Weekend in Barcelona

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

The 5 Best Tours for Your Weekend in Barcelona

  1. Feel Free Walking Tours

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

  1. Barcelona Photo Walk

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

  1. Discover Walks Barcelona

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

  1. Barcelona Bike Tours

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

  1. Barcelona Food Tours

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

Stay in the Best Barcelona Rentals with BizFlats!

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

Photo by Jose Mesa / Flickr

Celebrate a Unique Barcelona Holiday with Carnival

Celebrate a Unique Barcelona Holiday with Carnival

The Carnival is a traditional Barcelona holiday in February created to acknowledge the week before Lent begins.  This celebration, known for its vibrant masks and colorful costumes, is considered a way for locals to enjoy a few guilty pleasures before their time of fasting and praying begins on Ash Wednesday and continues throughout Lent, which ends Easter Day.  Generally known as a week of debauchery and gluttony, the Carnival in Barcelona is a series of extravagant events consisting of costumed performers, exciting games, and lots of eating meat (particularly hot dogs), since it is encouraged to sacrifice eating meat during Lent.  Learn more about how Carnival began and how it has developed to include the activities that this Barcelona holiday presents today.

All About Carnival, a Barcelona Holiday

History

Carnival can be traced back all the way to the Middle Ages.  This holiday is reported to have originated in Rome, influenced by their Saturnalia celebration, and then spread throughout the regions of Europe.  The early motivation of this week-long holiday was to embrace the concept of throwing social norms out the window and becoming whatever you wanted to be before you were forced to abide by the 40 days of fasting and submissiveness during Lent.  Locals would dress up in animal costumes and attend parades to celebrate this wild time of freedom before Lent began.  Today, these festivities have expanded to include even more entertaining events and activities!

Present-Day Carnival: Events

Today’s Carnival celebration in Barcelona involves a variety of live shows and performances, including parades jugglers, singers, dancers, bands, plays, and much more.  Locals and visitors of all ages, usually dressed in masks and costumes, attend this event spread throughout the city.  This Barcelona holiday begins on Dijous Gras, meaning “Dirty Thursday” or “Fat Thursday,” during which people gorge themselves on decadent, greasy, and fattening foods.  The week continues with countless events, including La Taronjada, a “battle” of orange balloons and confetti.  The Carnival celebration ends on Ash Wednesday with the Burial of the Sardine; this tradition, which is comprised of feasting and music, represents the death of the party and the rebirth of society.  This year’s Carnival will take place from February 4- February 6, 2016.

Come Stay with Us at bizFlats!  

Barcelona is bursting with countless attractions and festivals, making it the perfect vacation destination!  bizFlats wants to make your dream getaway a reality; our numerous apartment rentals are the perfect place for you and your family to stay while attending Carnival, this magical Barcelona holiday!  We offer a variety of beautiful apartments, villas, penthouses, lofts, and suites, all thoroughly accommodated for your comfort.  These rentals can sleep up to a large number of guests and possess features like luxurious beds, full equipped kitchens, pools, terraces, gardens, and much more.  Our short-term rentals are fantastic for holiday vacations; they provide the comfortable and welcoming environment that a standard hotel just cannot match.  Our rentals are located within and around the city of Barcelona, offering gorgeous views of the surrounding picturesque scenery.  Check our availability and book your dream vacation getaway today!  

Photo by motiqua / Flickr

Stay in the Best Flat for the Holidays Near Barcelona

Stay in the Best Flat for the Holidays Near Barcelona

Thanks to its countless attractions, amazing entertainment, and breathtaking scenery, Barcelona proves to be an unparalleled vacation destination.  During the holidays, this exotic city is even more beautiful with its elaborate decorations and festive activities.  With all that Barcelona has to offer during the Christmas season, you’ll want to start planning your amazing holiday getaway this second!  bizFlats Vacation Rentals wants to make your dream vacation a reality this holiday season by providing you with the best possible places to stay.  Our numerous apartments, villas, penthouses, studios, and lofts offer generous space, luxurious furnishings, and convenient locations.  Browse through our list of some of our best properties for a Christmas vacation and discover which one is the right fit for you to rent for the holidays near Barcelona!

Vacation Rentals for the Holidays Near Barcelona

1. Villa Upstairs

Lose yourself in bliss while you stay in this villa during the holidays near Barcelona.  Located in a quiet and secluded residential zone of the Sitges Village, the gorgeous rental is just a 25-minute drive from the city.  The Villa Upstairs includes 5 comfortable rooms, 4 complete bathrooms, and a spacious living room, complete with a working fireplace.  Revel in the views of the sea as you relax on the terrace, which is furnished with table and deck chairs and surrounded by a colorful garden.  You will always remember your stay in this peaceful haven, tucked away into one of the many mountains encircling Barcelona.

2. Villa Downstairs

Also located in the Sitges Village, the Villa Downstairs has 4 bedrooms and 2 complete bathrooms, with a nearby bungalow serving as a private area for two.  The garden connects the two areas and contains a 16-meter swimming pool and additional hot tub, perfect for warming up in chilly weather!  You’ll love residing in the heart of the mountains in this charming rental for the holidays near Barcelona.

3. kissMe

This cozy 2-bedroom apartment is nestled right in the heart of Barcelona!  Enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning as you sit on the balcony overlooking the bustling city streets.  kissMe also provides a fully equipped kitchen as well as a washing machine, smart TV, and WiFI.  Its modern furniture, lighting, and decor create a welcoming environment for your home-away-from-home.  Don’t miss the opportunity to lodge in the center of this exciting city!

4. Parsifal

This dreamy apartment is directly adjacent to the most dynamic part of Barcelona!  Parsifal is positioned just 20 meters from La Rambla, a lively part of the city filled with must-see attractions as well as excellent dining and shopping.  The apartment contains 3 bedrooms, 2 complete bathrooms, and a large common area divided into 3 different spaces with an abundance of comfortable seating for everyone.  Spend your holidays near Barcelona in this very close by and luxurious oasis!

Come Stay with Us at bizFlats!

Now that you’ve seen a few examples of our amazing vacation rentals, check our availability and book a stay with us today!  Our rentals encompass a wide range of sizes, from an intimate nook designed for a romantic getaway to a sprawling flat with enough rooms to sleep your entire family.  You will love spending your holidays near Barcelona in one of our sensational rental homes, specifically fashioned to accommodate all of your needs during your dream vacation.

How to Have the Perfect Day in Barcelona in Winter

How to Have the Perfect Day in Barcelona in Winter

Barcelona is the dream vacation destination for many reasons; one of which is it’s amazing to visit all year long!  If you’re planning a vacation to Barcelona in winter, you might have a few questions regarding what to wear or how to spend your day.  Read these tips to help you schedule your Barcelona winter day itinerary.

  1. Bundle Up- but Not Too Much!

As you’re getting ready to start your Barcelona winter day, you’re probably wondering what clothes are best suited for the weather.  Barcelona winters are typically blessed with beautiful weather.  Temperatures are mild; generally they tend to be around 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and around the 40s at night.  The days are usually sunny with rare glimpses of rain (although there might be a good many overcast days).  So grab your jacket and scarf but leave your heavy winter coat behind!

  1. Have a Good Breakfast

Barcelona prides itself on its coffee.  With bold flavors and higher amounts of caffeine, a cup of Barcelona coffee is the perfect way to start the day.  

There are a few variations of how their coffee is served:

-Café amb llet: Best enjoyed with a light breakfast, this morning delight is equal parts espresso and steamed milk.

-Un café or café solo: A simple shot of espresso with a thick layer of foam, usually saved for the end of a meal.

-Carajillo: A café solo with some added brandy!  Not for breakfast though- this alcoholic beverage is generally made to accompany bigger meals.

Along with your morning cup of joe, you need some wholesome food to give you enough energy for your Barcelona winter day. A traditional Catalan breakfast can be a large, substantial meal.  While some locals might just grab a cup of coffee and a croissant, many indulge in hearty breakfast sandwiches.  The Pa Amb Tomaquet is another traditional part of a Barcelona breakfast; it consists simply of warm bread moistened with ripe tomatoes and drizzled with authentic olive oil and sea salt.

  1. Use Your Afternoon to Explore!

This region of Spain is positively bursting with things to do: hikes featuring breathtaking scenery, museums honoring the history of the city, and more places to shop than you’ve ever seen before!  Take your afternoon to wander through museums and art galleries or rent a bike to see numerous parts of the city.  Barcelona is covered with various bike paths for you to tour historical monuments, beaches, and parks.  

  1. Dinner & Drinks

Spain is home to many of the best restaurants in the world.  Treat yourself to an amazing dinner after your busy day of exploring Barcelona.  Many places here offer a very unique cuisine made from the freshest local ingredients and provide views of the surrounding city to accompany your amazing meal.  Don’t let your Barcelona winter day end after dinner, though!  Barcelona has a bustling nightlife, perfect for letting loose and concluding a long day.

Come Stay at bizFlats!

No getaway is complete without comfortable accommodations.  bizFlats offers rentals of apartments, lofts, villas, and more so you can fully relax after a long day in your home-away-from-home.  Check our availability and find the perfect place for you!

Photo by rob st / Flickr

Not Sure What to See in Barcelona? Check Out Our Awesome Guide

Not Sure What to See in Barcelona? Check Out Our Awesome Guide

The eyes work tirelessly while exploring new places, constantly darting from side to side and up and down, trying to take in all the dazzling sights and scenery.  Maybe you’re a history buff who gazes in awe of ancient buildings or an art connoisseur who stares diligently at art displays to interpret their meaning.  Perhaps you’re an outdoors expert who is constantly gaping at the sight of breathtaking mountains… or you prefer to bask in the sun and watch the waves roll onto the beach.  Whatever you like to see, Barcelona has the perfect attraction for you!  Investigate sights that interest you or discover a new passion within the vast list of what to see in Barcelona!

Arts, Architecture, and History

As a region that can be traced back to the 2nd century, Barcelona has a rich history as well as spectacular art and architecture that developed throughout the years.  These are just a few highlights of Barcelona’s most famous museums and monuments.  (Also something to keep in mind: all city-run Barcelona museums are free on Sundays!)

Joan Miro´ Museum: Learn about the famous Joan Miro´ and observe rare paintings and exhibits in this unique museum.

Barcelona City History Museum (MUHBA): Study ancient artifacts as you discover more about Barcelona’s history and how it has developed since its founding.

Modernista Art and Architecture: Many modernista architects, such as Antoní Gaudi, have left their mark in Barcelona in the form of countless, breathtaking buildings all across the city for the public to admire.

Barcelona Ramblas: Once a rushing river, this significant part of Barcelona is now the most famous street in the city, filled with businesses, historical sites, restaurants, markets, and more!

Hiking

Since it is a city surrounded by hills, Barcelona is home to many beautiful hiking trails.  If you love the outdoors, lace up your hiking boots and investigate these magnificent scenes of nature.  

Montjuïc mountain: This towering hill, which historically served as a defense for the city, now contains gardens, parks, hiking trails, and even cable car rides to view the city from above!

Collserola Park: An ideal area for biking, this park has picturesque views of the city, the Mediterranean, and the countryside.

Montserrat: View the famous Montserrat monastery before hiking the peak of this mountain, which is known for possessing the best view of Catalonia.

Pyrenees & Montseny Mountains: You should reserve an entire day trip to fully appreciate what these mountains have to offer; you’ll find countless parks, trails, and views of the mountains as well as ancient towns and buildings.

Beaches

The beaches of Barcelona are truly a sight to behold.  Over four kilometers long, these beautiful beaches are spread along the Mediterranean and include multiple coastal towns and marketplaces to explore.  Many of these areas have a thriving nightlife as well, making these beaches a must on the list of what to see in Barcelona!

Sant Sebastià: The longest and arguably the most popular beach in Barcelona, Sant Sebastià stretches 1,100 meters long and possesses many sporting clubs for sea-related activities.

Nova Icària: Closeby to the Olympic Marina, this beach has a wide variety of restaurants in its adjoining town, offering some of the best Barcelona cuisine.

Mar Bella: This active and bustling beach is best known for its watersports.  Visitors and locals alike here can be seen windsurfing or kayaking; there’s also a perfect area for joggers and cyclists.

Barceloneta: The oldest beach in the area, Barceloneta is known as Barcelona’s classic neighborhood by the sea, where people from far and wide come to enjoy seafood in this traditional fishing district. 

Come and Stay with Us at bizFlats!

Now that you know all about what to see in Barcelona, check our availability and book a vacation with us today!  We offer a variety of different penthouses, studios, apartments, lofts, and villas, all designed for you to get more living space for less money than a hotel.

Photo by Rick Ligthelm / Flickr

 

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

 

What is Cava?

What is Cava?

Cava is a champagne style sparkling wine made in Spain, and is known for being a more affordable choice for your celebratory occasions like New Year’s Eve and weddings. If you’re a fan of bubbly but have always wondered what the difference is between all these varieties like Champagne, Prosecco and Cava, we’re here to give you a little more information.

Naturally, we will be highlighting our Spanish preference and trying to answer the pressing question, what is cava? Because, well, we’re biased. We can only do so, however, in light of the other varieties, so get ready for your annual wine lesson – something it’s good to study up on at least a little before visiting Catalonia.

What is Cava?

Cava is a simple aperitif made primarily from three Spanish grape varieties. It is neither as sweet as Italian Prosecco nor as nutty as Vintage Champagne, making it the perfect middle ground and crowd pleasing bubbly beverage to serve your guests. While it typically uses Spanish varieties of grapes rather than French varieties, Cava is produced in the traditional French Champagne method. What makes Cava different, essentially, is that it is made in Spain with Spanish Grapes.

How Is Cava Made?

What sets sparkling wines apart from their counterparts is all in the bottling process, which is when the bubbles are formed. After being bottled, cava wine continues to ferment for months or even years. The bottles are capped with crown caps (like those used for beer bottles), and slanted down to allow all the yeast to settle in the neck of the bottle where the pressure will build up the most. After fermentation the tip of the bottle is then submerged in a freezing solution and a few inches of it are turned to ice, at which point the cap is removed, and the pressure in the bottle will actually expel the ice plug that has formed. The vintner will then top the bottle off and cork it.

Types of Cava

Finally, you probably want to know what all the different types of Cava are in your quest, asking questions such as “what is cava brut?” There are three types of Cava, all of which are made with a blend of the three main grapes used in cava production, which are Macabeu, Parellada, and Xarel-lo, all of which are white varieties. Brut and Brut Nature Cava is a fruity style that has become popular because it is lower in calories than the other styles. It is fruitier also, making it the perfect aperitif. Cava Rosé is, of course, pink, meaning that vintners add other grapes into the mix to get this color, which is most likely the Spanish Garnacha and Monastrell varieties. Pinot Noir is also becoming a common addition. Finally Vintage and Aged Cava is more in line with the original French Champagnes and is known for having a more nutty and toasty flavor with zesty aromatics like apple and almond.   

Now you are ready for your cava drinking experience here in Barcelona, which you’re sure to find at any cocktail hour or included in many a sangria recipe. You can either be spared having to ask your bartender, “What is cava champagne?” or you can boldly ask away and learn even more!

 

Things to Do at Marina Port Vell

Things to Do at Marina Port Vell

If you’re heading to the Mediterranean coast while visiting Barcelona, or maybe to check out the 1992 Olympic Complex while there, you’ll certainly catch a glimpse of the stunning Marina Port Vell. Whether you’ve got a thing for boats or just want to take a stroll along the water, this little cove of luxury is a wonderful place to enjoy the ocean views, and perhaps even a fancy cocktail. Translated into English as Old Harbor, the Marina’s recent rebuilding is a reimagination of this once industrial port.

About Marina Port Vell

Barcelona is in an ideal location for sea merchants and has been a central hub on the Mediterranean since the Middle Ages. Until the early 90’s and the arrival of the Olympics, however, the waterfront area remained largely industrial, with the city putting little effort into the attraction the waterfront could provide. Marina Port Vell and the other waterfront attractions are part of the new Barcelona.  

This upscale marina was built for the 1992 Olympic Games and has now been renovated into a 148-berth luxury yacht facility, docking some of the most stunningly beautiful boats you may ever lay eyes one. Aside from docking boats, which offer a wonderful tourist attraction, Marina Port Vell is also a luxury yacht club where you can enjoy a wonderful gourmet meal on the water, and even start planning your chartered yacht trip.   

The Restaurant at Marina Port Vell

One of the most highly acclaimed restaurants in Barcelona, Marina Port Vell offers a dining experience that is as luxurious as the yachts they dock. Aside from an inventive, beautiful and locally sourced menu, this restaurant also offers one of the most unique views of both the city and the Ocean beyond. If you’re headed here for dinner in the evening you can look forward to a delicious dinner based on age old Catalan cuisine traditions, and a port lit up as if it were Christmas. You can also stop by for a drink on the patio!

Rambla Del Mar

If you are exploring Las Ramblas, the great pedestrian street stretching from La Rambla all the way to Marina Port Vell, take the extra leg down to the water to discover this urban revitalization of Barcelona’s waterfront. Port Vell is much more than a Marina, which you’ll discover along the boardwalk. You’ll see the Maremagnum, a shopping mall with bars, restaurants and a movie Theatre, as well as IMAX Port Vell alongside the famous Aquarium. The Swing Bridge that you’ll cross on your walk allows ships in and out of the harbor and is a beauty to behold all its own.

 

Whether you’re looking for a romantic night out, a place to snap some great photos on the waterfront, or even to hire a private yacht charter for a few days in the Mediterranean, Marina Port Vell is the place to go in Barcelona. If you’re looking to enjoy some luxury on your vacation, or just want to see where the social elite flock to, you’ll love this beautiful area of the city, and it makes for a great walk!