Christmas Catalan Dishes

Barcelona does Christmas undeniably well. Whereas in many European cities, you are likely to have Christmas tat and poor Santa-imitations thrust upon you, the Catalans celebrate in style and yuletide joy is often accompanied by a range of delicious Catalan dishes and sweet treats. In Catalonia Christmas begins on 24th December and continues until Epiphany (Dia dels Tres Reis d’Orient) on 6th January when the presents arrive, providing ample time to fill your boots with some local culinary delights.

On Christmas Eve, We celebrate El Tío de Nadal (a Christmas log which poos presents) and whilst there are no traditional Catalan dishes to mark the occasion, no self-respecting Catalan would celebrate without having stocked up on Neulas (Catalan biscuits usually eaten with Cava) and Turró (a sweet food found in a variety of guises but its most original form is similar to that of nougat). Be sure to pick up your own share of these tantalising treats in any of the Christmas markets dotted around Barcelona.neules

December 25th in Barcelona is one big gastronomic treat. Catalan dishes served on Christmas day include escudella i carn d’olla (a sensational soup comprised of lamb, pig´s ear or cheek, potatoes, chicken, butifarra or Catalan sausage and Galets, a kind of pasta with a shape of a shell) , followed by pollastre farcit (oven roasted chicken stuffed with seasonal chestnuts and sausage meat). These Catalan dishes are washed down with Cava and sweet treats such as dried fruits and nuts, “Turrons” and “Neules”. You´ll also find giant Galets (pasta shells) along the streets of Barcelona in December which make great photo opportunities!

Escudella i Carn D'olla

Celebrations continue on St Steven´s Day (26th December) with family gatherings and once again, the opportunity to extend the Christmas waistlines with leftovers from the day before used to make “canelons”.canelons

Celebrate New Years Eve like a true Catalan with the surprisingly-tricky-to-master grape countdown in which you pop one grape in your mouth for every clock chime. Considered to ensure good luck for the year ahead, make sure you you don´t miss out – you can even buy packs of 12 deseeded grapes for the occasion! There are many theories attached to this tradition, but the most common explanation arises from the over-production of grapes around 1900. New Years Day hangovers aren´t usually soothed by a particular Catalan dish but stuffed chicken often crops up on the menu.uvas de Fin de año

Finally, the 6th January (Dia de Reis) provides yet another perfect excuse to indulge with El Tortell de Reis. This colourful, O-shaped cake is usually stuffed with marzipan or cream and glazed with fruit and contains two hidden surprises: a figurine of one of the threee kings and a fava, or dried field bean (yes, you read correctly, a bean!). Whoever is lucky enough to find the king gets to wear a paper crown whereas the less fortunate finder of the bean has to pay for the cake!

tortell-de-reis

So, loosen the belt and prepare to indulge. Catalan Christmas cuisine won’t fail to disappoint!

 

Most Famous Ski Resorts near Barcelona

Winter in Barcelona can be the perfect plan: Architecture, gastronomy, culture, beach and moreover, a day trip or a weekend to Ski!  We´ve put together a list of Ski Resorts near Barcelona within a drive or train. Keep reading to know which are the most famos catalan ski resorts. Time to hit the slopes!

Ski Resorts near Barcelona

  • Baqueira-Beret Ski resort

Baqueira-Beret ski resort is the biggest ski resort in Spain and boasts a wealth of trendy clientele. Set in Vall d’Aran in the Pyrenees and with a whopping altitude of over 120km and 33 ski lifts, it´s well worth the four hour drive from Barcelona. Snowfall here is pretty heavy and consistent throughout the winter months and there is great skiing on offer for all levels, including some eye-popping black runs off the top of the 2516m peak of Tuc Deth Dossau.

Baqueira-Beret has a wide variety of activities to suit your skitour Barcelona needs, such as ski classes or Heli-skiing, alpine skiing, snowboard, telemark, and Nordic. The apre-ski scene here is fab so after an energetic day on the slopes, you can reward yourself with a tipple or two! With an adult day ski pass costing 49 Euro it´s slightly pricier than some of the other resorts in the neighbouring areas but we think it´s well worth splashing out.

baqueira-beret-ski-resort

  • La Molina Ski Resort

Talking about Ski Resorts near Barcelona, If you are looking for something a little closer to Barcelona than a 4 hours ride, we highly recommend the resorts of La Molina (also accessible by train) and Masella. Both resorts are approximately a two hour drive from Barcelona. Spain´s oldest ski destination, La Molina, is the perfect spot for short ski breaks or even a day trip. It has around 67 kilometrers of ski-worthy slopes and also boasts additional activities such as ski Segway. However, if Apre-Ski is your thing, then perhaps this resort isn´t for you. It´s small and offers very few hotels (our favourite is Guitart Hotel La Molina Resort and Spa) but with a ski lift pass at around 40 Euro per day it won´t break the bank.

la-molina-ski-resort-near-barcelona

  • La Masella Ski Resort

A Ski trip from Barcelona could also take you to the giddy heights of La Masella. Much like its neighbour, La Masella isn´t for those wishing to paint the town red after a day on the slopes. So whilst Masella is unlikely to satisfy the needs of party animals, it is easy to get to and offers over 70 kilometres of brilliant slopes. An adult day lift pass in peak season will only set you back 43 Euro, so we think it’s well worth a visit.

la_masella_estacio_esqui

  • Grandvalira Ski Resort

If you are a pro, this is your ski resort: Grandvalira. This resort, which is the biggest Ski area in Andorra, has 110 pistes and an enormous skiable area of 205 kilometres! With peaks in this areas averaging out at 2500, the views won´t fail to disappoint. You can get here by train or car and for the coolest accommodation, head to the nearby villages of Soldeu and El Tarter. An adult day lift pass here costs around 47 Euro.

Grandvalira ski resort

  • Espot Ski Resort

This small ski station in the Lleida Pyrenees mountains is part of SkiPallars (a ski pass for two separate stations). It features 22 ski runs spread across 22.5 Km, 6 lifts, a children’s park and facilities such as snow cannons and is only a 3 1/2 hour drive from Barcelona. There are several packages available, but an adult (beginner) pass starts from 18 Euro.

espot-ski-resort

  • Vall de Núria Ski Resort

Vall de Núria is a charming resort accessible only by a train which departs from Ribes de Freser. The journey itself makes Vall de Núria worth the visit as it covers 12.5Km and climbs a staggering 1,000 meters in around 40 minutes. With 11 pistes catering for a variety of levels as well as a Children´s snow park, and amenities within the surrounding areas, Vall de Núria makes for an ideal ski getaway. There are various price packages available but a railway pass plus ski pass costs upwards of 27 Euro.

vall-de-nuria-ski-resort

So, ski fans, what are you waiting for? Hit the slopes and let’s Ski!

Barcelona at Christmas: Must see events and must do activities

Whether you´re simply passing through Barcelona in December or planning a more extended stay, we´ve compiled a list of unmissable events to mark the festive season. Keep reading, there are several things to do in Barcelona at Christmas.

Barcelona at Christmas: Must See events and must do activities

  • The Nativity Scene, Plaça de Sant Jaume

Every December Plaça de Sant Jaume comes alive with a giant nativity scene (Pessebre). Whilst all the traditional characters are represented (as well as Catalunya´s traditional Caganer or pooing man), they appear in different guises with the exception of the three kings. The nativity scene takes on a different theme each year and this year sees a more modern twist to the traditional setting with nine giant globes.

nativity-scene-barcelona

  • Christmas Markets in Barcelona

The Christmas market on Avinguda de la Cathedral, known locally as the Fira de Santa Llúcia, is another Barcelona must see at Christmas. It runs from 25th November until 23rd December, and, located in the heart of the Gothic quarter, offers the perfect setting to soak up the festive atmosphere. Here you can get your hands on some Catalan souvenirs such as él caganer (pooing man to go in the Nativity scene) or El Tió de Nadal (present-pooing log). However, if you prefer to pick up your Christmas gifts in a more intimate setting, make your way to smaller markets such as the Sagrada Familia market, The Three Kings Fair on Gran Via or the neighbourhood markets of Sants and Pedrables.

christmas-markets-in-barcelona

 

  • Xocolata amb Xurros in Barcelona

When thinking about chocolate with churros, it´s impossible not to think about the sweetest street in the city, Carrer de Petritxol, next to Plaça del Pi in the Gothic quarter. There you will find the best chocolatiers in the city such as La Dulcinea and La Pallaresa.

chocolate-with-churros-barcelona

  • The Kings Parade, January 5th

The Kings Parade (La Cavalgada de Reis) is a procession where the three kings arrive in Barcelona on their impressive floats with their royal pages. They parade around the whole city handing out thousands of sweets from 18:00-21:00 before continuing their night´s work of delivering presents to children across the world. On this day, children go to bed early in the hope of waking up to find the presents they had asked for in a letter to the kings. According to tradition, children who have behaved badly during the year will receive coal.

the-kings-parade-barcelona

  • Music and More

For a more relaxed way to get into the Christmas spirit, head to Palau de Musica, Liceu Opera House and Cathedral de Santa Maria del Mar for a variety of Christmas concerts. For those visitors with younger children, Poble Espanyol is packed with family-friendly events throughout December.

So, be sure not to miss out on these Barcelona must see Christmas events, there are loads of things to do in Barcelona at Christmas, and remember, we have several apartments in Barcelona that will make your holidays unforgettable, take a look!

 

 

 

 

 

El Caganer and El Tió de Nadal: Catalan christmas traditions

Catalonia is known for it´s often unusual traditions and Christmas time in the region is no exception. This article explains the mystery of two important figures that appear in the festive season – El Caganer and El Tió de Nadal.

Often found among the more traditional Nativity scene setting is El Caganer (or the crapper). This funny figure, which traditionally takes the form of a gnome-type figurine, is often depicted in a red cap (barretina) with his trousers down and defecating! This bare-bottomed figure is said to bring good luck and his popularity has spread in recent years. El Caganer can be seen throughout Catalonia as well as other areas of Spain (Murcia), Portugal and Italy (Naples).

El Caganer

Nowadays, caganer figures are available in many different forms, including key politicians, football players, and even the pope (!) and are available to buy at Barcelona´s Christmas markets.

The origin of the Caganer isn´t entirely clear but he is believed to have appeared in Nativity scenes by the late 17th Century. Some claim that his faeces represent the fertilizing of the Earth within the Nativity scene and consequently ensuring that the scene would be fertile for the following year. Others claim he is a response to comtemporary social issues such as immigration and some claim El Caganer borders on blasphemy.  The Caganer is largely tolerated in Catholic counties but opinion is divided as to whether Caganers are totally appropriate in Nativity scenes.

El Caga tió or El tió de Nadal is a popular fixture throughout Catalonia at Christmas.  El Tió is quite literally a smiley pooing Christmas log with a red Catalan beret, perched on stick legs and covered by a blanket. Children traditionally look after El Caga tió from 8th December (Dia de la Immaculada Concepció) until Christmas Eve, when he is placed by a fireplace and sung to. Whilst singing, children hit this cheerful pooing log with a stick before leaving the room to pray for presents (at which point, parents sneakily place presents under the blanket). Upon returning, children are met with a load of presents (typically sweets) that have been pooed out of the log.

Caga Tio

The Tió de Nadal, now available to buy in Christmas markets across Barcelona, dates back several centuries to a time when the fireplace was a central part of family life. Traditionally, the log was burned after Christmas celebrations were over and its ashes scattered on the crops to promote fertility.

So, get ready to celebrate this festive season Catalan-style and be sure to pick up your very own Caganer or Tió de Nadal at the Christmas markets in December!

Tipping in Barcelona ? How much shall I tip ?

For visitors to any new city, the issue of tipping often creates some degree of confusion. Tipping in Barcelona, and indeed throughout Spain, isn’t as common as in other countries such as the USA, and in the early part of the 20th century was once deemed inappropriate as it heightened the class divide. Nowadays, tipping is at the customers’ discretion. Keep reading for locals’ advice on the do’s and don’ts of tipping in Barcelona.

  • Tipping in Bars and cafes in Barcelona

Catalans tend not to tip much in bars or cafes, but if service is particularly good, they might leave some loose change once they’ve paid up, but rarely more than a euro.

  • Tipping in Barcelona Restaurants

Given that tipping in Barcelona isn’t expected, you are unlikely to receive exceptional service in restaurants. That said, if you wish to show gratitude for good service, you could leave a few euros on top of the bill and slightly more for large groups and in more exclusive restaurants (around 7-10%).

  • Tipping in a Taxi
If you plan to hop in a taxi to get around the city and want to leave a tip for good service (for example, if your driver has taken you the most direct route), it is common to simply round up the fare. So, if your ride costs €9.50, you may with to pay €10. However, tipping is not expected.
  • Takeaway/Delivery service
Again, tipping isn’t expected but some people give up to a couple of Euro to the delivery person for efficient, friendly service, particularly if someone has delivered goods to your apartment door and you don’t have an elevator!
  • Tipping in City Tours
In general, tips are included in the price of the tour, but if you feel that your guide has really looked after you and you’ve enjoyed the tour, you could leave up to €5 per person at the end of the day.
We hope this article gives you a bit of guidance when deciding when and how much to tip.

Top 5 best paella in Barcelona

Paella is a popular rice dish served across Spain and is often the focal point for family gatherings and long weekend lunches. Paella can be prepared with seafood, meat or vegetables and thus caters for a variety of culinary preferences. We’ve searched high and low for the best paella in Barcelona, so if you are a fan, pay careful attention to the following recommendations.

Top 5 best paella in Barcelona

  • At the top of our list for the provider of the best paella in Barcelona is Barraca, located a stone´s throw from the waterfront in Barceloneta. Barraca´s outdoor terrace on Passeig de Marítim provides the ideal spot to sit back and absorb the local atmosphere whilst sampling mouth-watering dishes from a menu prepared by acclaimed chef Xavier Pellier. The seafood paella here is not to be missed. However, if the idea of fresh seafood doesn´t tickle your tastebuds, the vegetarian paella comprised of organic produce is a great alternative. Due to its fabulous location and delectable dishes made from the freshest produce, Barraca undoubtedly serves up the best paella in Barcelona. barraca Best Paella in Barcelona
  • Coming in at a close second is La Mar Salada, famed for its prawn and lobster paella. The restaurant, frequented by locals and foodies alike, is a family run business which operates with the help of top Catalan chef Ferran Adrià. This family-run restaurant serves high-quality, authentic paella dishes and easily clinches a title of of of the best paellas in Barcelona.la-mar-salada-barceloneta
  • Next up is Suquet de l’Almirall.  This venue prides itself on using fresh produce straight from the port and offers a variety of paella dishes including mixed paella, noodle paella (fideuà) with lobster and a vegetarian option served with vegetables, olives and thyme. Suquet de l’Almirall´s maritime-inspired decor and attractive outdoor terrace make this place a true mecca for paella fans.suquet-de-lalmirall-barcelona
  • In fourth place for the best paella in Barcelona is Cheriff. Cheriff serves up a selection of paella dishes including the not-to-be-missed Paella Cheriff, in a traditional, relaxed setting ideal for families. With its exceptional quality, wholesome food, local feel and terrace, it is easy to see why Cheriff is one of the most celebrated paella destinations in the city.cheriff-barcelona
  • Last but not least, paella fans should head to 7 Portes for a fusion of tradition, innovation and seasonal produce. 7 Portes is one of the most emblematic and popular paella establishments in Barcelona and after sampling speciality dishes such as Paella Parellada, it´s easy to see why.7-portes
If you come to Barcelona to undertake a paella tour, we can help you with your stay. Are you ready to spend some incredible days in Barcelona?

5 ideas to celebrate Halloween in Barcelona

Fans of ghosts, ghouls and ghastly guises wishing to celebrate Halloween in Barcelona are in for a treat. We´ve scoured Catalonia´s capital for the best spooky celebrations on offer and have scouted out some great fancy dress shops to ensure that you are dressed to impress.

Whilst not traditionally a Catalan tradition, Halloween is now celebrated in Barcelona in the days leading up to 31st October. The celebrations also extend to 1st November for All Saint´s Day where you can also enjoy La Castanyada (chestnut festival) which sees people gather together to remember the deceased and eat seasonal fruits, such as chestnuts.

With so much on offer, choosing where to celebrate Halloween in Barcelona can present quite a challenge. Read on for our selection of the best events on offer.

5 ideas to celebrate Halloween in Barcelona

  • Phenomena Cinema

Film fans wanting to spook themselves on the creepiest night of the year should head to cinema Phenomena for a Halloween-themed movie marathon on October 31st. Films such as Child’s Play and Pet Sematary will be shown in original version with Spanish subtitles.

Phenomena Cinema Barcelona

  • Halloween in Port Aventura

For a more action-packed Halloween, visit Port Aventura theme park for the usual thrill-seeking rides as well as special Halloween-themed parades, performances, a haunted lake and creepy forest.

Halloween Port Aventura

  • Enigmatium Experience

From 29-31 October, Enigmatium restaurant offers a truly spooky dining experience with mysterious cocktails and Halloween-themed dishes. Diners will also experience live, interactive theatre shows.  Visitors with children should visit the family-friendly events on 30th October and 1st November. Booking is recommended.

Enigmatiu Halloween

  • Poble Espanyol for grown ups and for kids:

Dance the night away in Poble Espanyol on 29th October at “Un Brunch terrorifico”. The attraction, which comprises architectural styles from across Spain, will play host to DJs and musicians for a night of Halloween-themed fun from 16:00-04:00.

On Saturday it’s time for families to celebrate Halloween. There will be workshops, activities outfit contests and much more.

halloween_poble_espanyol_2016

  • Razzloween:

Party fans could visit Razzmatazz, a very famous disco in the city, for Razzlloween on 31st October from 1am onwards.

Halloween Razzmatazz

  • Where to hire/buy your outfits in Barcelona:

No Halloween celebration would be complete without a creepy costume. Famous costume hire store Menkes (Gran Via de Les Corts Catalanes, 642) has a brilliant range of costumes to hire to get you in the party mood. Atuendo for Fun (Roger de Llúria,25) is similarly equipped with a variety of hire costumes to suit your party needs.

For those wishing to purchase an outfit, we recommend visiting La Bolsera (Xuclà,15)  but if you are simply looking to accessorise, head to one of the Claire’s stores at various locations across the city.

Once you’ve got your hands on the perfect outfit and picked your party destination, we are sure that Halloween in Barcelona won’t disappoint!

 

 

 

 

 

Com rentabilitzar la meva propietat?

Aquest és un tema que ens pregunten molt sovint els nostres col·laboradors i per això expliquem en detall a l’article d’avui. Quan un propietari disposa d’un apartament, té diverses opcions a escollir. Però quines son aquestes fórmules i quins escenaris comporten cadascuna d’aquestes realitats?

A continuació t’expliquem amb detall els “pros” i “contres” del ventall de possibilitats dels que disposes amb l’objectiu que trobis la fórmula que millor t’encaixi per a rentabilitzar la teva propietat.

  • VENDA DE LA PROPIETAT

El Tercer trimestre de l’exercici 2016 ha comportat pujades de preu de la vivenda de segona mà a Barcelona deixant entreveure signes positius en la recuperació de la crisis econòmica. Addicionalment, l’augment de la demanda de pisos, ve estretament lligada a la poca oferta de vivenda existent a Barcelona.

En el cas de que decideixis vendre la teva propietat, trobaràs amb aquests pros i contres:

VENDA DE LA PROPIETAT
PROS          CONTRES
  • En cas de vendre la propietat, disposaràs de liquiditat. En cas de que existeixi hipoteca, la podràs pagar i potser inclòs disposaràs d’un remanent.
  • Potser hauràs de pagar més a la declaració de la renda a causa de l’augment dels ingressos.
  • Ja no hauràs de preocupar-te més dels impostos, ibis, quotes de veïns, recollides d’escombraries, etc.
  • Si, rebràs liquiditat, però recorda que els diners al banc generen uns interessos molt baixos.
  • TANCAR LA PROPIETAT

Un altre possible escenari podà ser considerar no vendre la teva propietat, fet que pot ser confortable en una primera instància però que a llarg termini comporta alguns inconvenients.manteniment però al cap dels anys la propietat es degradarà per manca d’ús i manteniment.

TANCAR LA PROPIETAT

PROS

CONTRES

  • No has de preocupar-te de manteniment però torna al cap dels anys i tampoc si han pagat els inquilins. Per manca dus es degraden.
  • El primer “pro” esmentat, també té el seu contra. No hauràs de preocupar-te pel manteniment però al cap dels anys la propietat es degradarà per manca d’ús i manteniment.
  • Hauràs de pagar impostos, ibis, comunitat de veïns, recollida d’escombraries, taxes municipals, etc.
  • No tindràs un rendiment econòmic de la teva propietat.
  • LLOGAR LA PROPIETAT DE FORMA TRADICIONAL

Durant els darrers anys a causa de l’economia i la dificultat d’accés al crèdit, el lloguer s’ha consolidat com l’alternativa a la compra d’habitatge, per tant el lloguer també es una bona opció donada la poca oferta de lloguer i alta demanda a la capital Catalana. La següent fórmula, t’ajudarà a solucionar molts contres de l’apartat anterior.

LLOGAR LA PROPIETAT DE FORMA TRADICIONAL
                PROS              CONTRES
  • Obtindràs rendiment econòmic de la teva propietat
  • Risc de que un llogater no pagui. A aquest fet, se li haurà de sumar tot el llarg procediment   i sovint costós dels tràmits legals per dur a terme desnonaments.(Actualment a Espanya no hi ha un bon sistema de valoració del risc de solvència o crèdit per saber si l’inquilí farà els seus pagaments correctament).
  • Hi haurà un manteniment mínim que evitarà la degradació de les instal.lacions. O bé els llogaters s’encarregaran de fer el manteniment o bé el propietari, però en ambdós casos, el pis es mantindrà millor que si és tancat.
  • Risc de que el llogater no cuidi el pis i l’entregui en mal estat. Aquest és un risc de probabilitat baixa però d’un cost elevat.
  • Impossibilitat de gaudir de la propietat durant un llarg període ja que el contracte pot durar de 3 a 5 anys i com a propietari tens unes opcions limitades per escurçar el període.
  • LLOGUER DE CURT TERMINI

Aquest tipus de lloguer és el que més ingressos generarà. Existeixen dues tipologies de lloguer de curt termini: El lloguer mensual en el qual el contracta ha de ser superior a 30 dies, i el lloguer d’habitatge d’us turístic (HUT) per contractes de menys de 30 dies. Més endavant tractarem aquest tema en un article especial per informar-te dels permisos, obligacions, on analitzarem granularment les diferencies entre el lloguer turístic i mensual.

LLOGUER DE CURT TERMINI
                        PROS                   CONTRES
  • Tindràs la possibilitat d’assolir ingressos superiors al lloguer tradicional.
  • Els ingressos de un mes a un altre varien en funció de l’ocupació o de la temporada.
  • La constant cerca de nous clients.
  • Possibilitat de disposar de l’habitatge per a us propi o familiar. Al tractar-se d’un ús discontinu per curt termini, si en algun moment en vols gaudir, ho pots fer.
  • El propietari ha d’estar molt pendent del manteniment del pis.
  • Inversió de temps per estar disponible pels clients i les seves sol·licituds i demandes durant el servei.
  • Donat que es fa un ús intensiu dels pisos, això comporta unes exigències de cura i manteniment molt elevades, per tant els pisos es mantenen en perfectes condicions.
  • Cal proveir al pis amb mobles, electrodomèstics, equipament, coberts, llençols, etc, en resum , tot el que necessita el client per poder entrar a viure-hi només portant el raspall de dents.
  • Càrrega burocràtica important tant pels HUTS com pels lloguers mensuals. Tot i que la càrrega serà major en els HUTS que en lloguers mensual.

Amb aquest article, esperem haver-te proveït d’un aclaridor apropament a l’escenari del que disposes.

En cas de tenir dubtes sobre quines possibilitats tens per la teva propietat, posa’t en contacte amb nosaltres al +34 936 394 343  o escriu-nos a info@bizflats.com

En breu seguirem informant sobre les possibilitats que tens per treure rendiment la teva propietat. Segueix-nos!