National Day of Catalonia Celebrations

Enjoy the festivities at the National Day of CataloniaEvery year on September 11th, Catalonians celebrate their national holiday throughout the region’s public spaces. With many of the businesses closed for the day, the National Day of Catalonia gives locals and visitors alike the chance to step back from daily routines to celebrate and commemorate. If you come to participate in this annual event you’ll witness the unique pride and patriotism found among this group of happy and passionate citizens who fought for their independence back on September 11th in 1714.

The holiday is celebrated by memorializing the Catalan heroes who fought in the War of the Spanish Succession, as well as many public and private parties throughout Barcelona and all of Catalonia. You may even catch a political demonstration by some of the still-fervent separatists, get to join in one of the many communal paella meals that are often taking place right out in the street, or catch a famous human pyramid in the making.

History of the National Day of Catalonia

Also known simply as La Diada, the National Day of Catalonia recognizes the day of September 11, 1714, towards the end of the War of the Spanish Succession, which marked the beginning of a long period in which French rule would take over the autonomous Spanish region of Catalonia. The government of Catalonia wasn’t restored until December 31, 1979, and September 11th was proclaimed as the Day of Catalonia to commemorate the painful memories of when the region lost its liberties. The National Day of Catalonia became an official holiday on September 11th, 1980.

National Day of Catalonia Events

  • Ofrena floral al Monument de Rafael Casanova Taking place at 9 am on La Diada each year is the laying of commemoration wreaths by Catalonia’s leaders such as current and former presidents, the Mayor of Barcelona, and other dignitaries from the area. It takes place at the Rafael Casanova Monument created by Rossend Nobas in 1886, a tomb at Iglesia de Sant Baldiri de Sant Boi. The wreaths are meant to pay tribute to all the Catalonian’s who died in the great War of the Spanish Succession.
  • Festa par la Llibertat – This outdoor freedom festival at the Arc de Triomf celebrates Catalan culture and the movement for the region’s independence from Spain. If you’re looking for a great time outside and some lovely music, concerts begin at 7 pm and continue into the night.
  • Government Open Houses – A few of the beautiful historic government buildings open their doors to the public as a way to celebrate the National Day of Catalonia each year. This year find both the Catalan Parliament at Parc de la Ciutadella open from 10 am to 7 pm, and the Palau de la Generalitat at the Plaça de Sant Jaume from 10 am to 5 pm.

The National Day of Catalonia is an exciting time to visit Barcelona this year. September 11th, 2016, falls on a Sunday, meaning that La Diada is the perfect opportunity to take a weekend away this fall. Barcelona is lovely in September as the temperatures start cooling down, and the busy month of August slips away. If you have yet to witness this epic street party and celebration of Catalan patriotism, make sure it’s on your list!

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Why Park Güell is One of the Most Beautiful Parks in Barcelona

Exploring Park Guell is one of the best things to do in BarcelonaAlthough Barcelona has countless extraordinary attractions, Park Güell is one you absolutely can’t skip!  Learn all about this beautiful treasure and buy your tickets today.  

All the Park Güell Information You Need to Know before You Visit

Park Güell History

This colorful attraction was originally commissioned by Eusebi Güell, who desired an upscale estate for the aristocrat of Barcelona to live in.  The famous Antoni Gaudí (the architectural genius behind other iconic Barcelona landmarks like the Sagrada Familia and Casa Batllo) was chosen to design this area; he began its construction in 1900.  Güell had spotted a beautiful window display that Gaudí had created one day and decided at once that he was the right man for the job.  Gaudí used his trademark style of bright colors and swirling patterns to establish a private estate that was truly unlike anything else around.  He built numerous villas for the wealthy figures in the area and even moved in himself a few years later.  However, this area lacked one essential thing: a good transportation system.  Due to this, people started abandoning their homes here a few years later and the area transformed into a private garden for public events.  It later became a public tourist attraction in 1960s so everyone could appreciate this magnificent place.

What to Do at Park Güell

You can spend hours and hours here at Park Güell.  One of the main reasons why it draws so many visitors is the Gaudí House Museum located here.  This building, which was once Gaudí’s home, contains countless artifacts and memorabilia that offer incredible insight into the life of this extraordinary and revolutionary architect.  You can also participate in guided tours of the other buildings in this park to learn more about Gaudí, the Modernisme movement, the people who loved here, and other interesting Park Güell facts.

Park Güell Hours and Location

The Park Güell hours vary from season to season, so check online before you visit so you know when to go.  This park is located off Carrer d’Olot in Barcelona.  Metros, buses, and taxis are all able to access this spot; you can also arrange for a coach to pick you up if you’re arriving with a group.

How to Purchase Park Güell Tickets

You can purchase your tickets at the Park Güell ticket office or you can conveniently buy them online.  Ticket purchases can be made up to three months before your visit, so start planning ahead and buy your tickets today to skip the lines!

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5 of the Best Bars in Barcelona that You Need to Visit!

Enjoying martinis at the best bars in BarcelonaBarcelona is truly the ultimate vacation destination!  With excellent dining, one-of-a-kind attractions, and breathtaking scenery, Barcelona contains endless opportunities for fun and excitement.  After a thrilling day of enjoying this area’s numerous activities, treat yourself to an excellent drink at one of the best bars in Barcelona!  This city is home to all kinds of fantastic places to grab a drink.  Discover a few of the best bars in Barcelona and experience some of this culture’s finest (and tastiest) creations!

5 of the Best Bars in Barcelona

1. Ginger

Located within the iconic Gothic Quarter, Ginger is a beloved spot in Barcelona due to its delectable Catalan dishes, incredible music selection, and, of course, wide variety of drinks!  One side of Ginger in Barcelona leads to a cocktail bar, while the other leads to a wine tasting bar.  This bar’s funky lighting and cozy environment will make you feel right at home the moment you walk in, so don’t skip this wonderful spot in one of Barcelona’s finest and most historic neighborhoods.  

2. Flaherty’s Irish Pub Barcelona

Without a doubt one of the best pubs in Barcelona, Flaherty’s Irish Pub Barcelona is the ideal place to grab a beer with friends while watching FC Barcelona play on one of the big screen TVs!  Their extensive menu of delicious foods and large selection of beer and cocktails will make you never want to leave this spot in Las Ramblas.  

3. Ajoblanco

Taste some authentic and mouthwatering tapas by visiting Ajoblanco, a bar that is also one of the best restaurants in Barcelona!  With a comfortable and easygoing atmosphere, this 1970s-styled joint is a great place to enjoy a meal paired with specialty cocktails.  They host DJ sessions and live music every week so you can get out on the floor with your friends and dance the night away!

4. Ideal Cocktail Bar

One of the most historic bars in Barcelona, Ideal was first established in 1931 as a stylish, classy joint that catered to some of Europe’s most influential and respected figures.  Today, this upscale bar contains a never-ending menu of delightfully creative cocktails.  There’s something for everyone here, so make sure to add Ideal Cocktail Bar to your Barcelona itinerary.  

5. Boadas Cocktails

You’ll feel as though you’ve taken a step back in time when you visit Boadas Cocktails in Barcelona!  This bar is rich in history and culture, which can be seen by the ancient, framed photographs adorning the walls and the priceless antique artifacts scattered throughout.  This fascinating gem of Las Ramblas is a wonderful place to spend some time sipping a cocktail and learning about Barcelona’s role throughout history.  

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Where to See a Flamenco Show in Barcelona

Enjoy a flamenco show in BarcelonaA flamenco show is a beloved form of entertainment in Spain!  This lively show is made of three key ingredients: guitar, song, and dancing.  Although it has spread to other countries and cultures throughout the years, flamenco originally came from Spain.  If you’re vacationing here and you’re wondering where to see a flamenco show in Barcelona, you have plenty of fantastic options!  There are many places in Barcelona dedicated to hosting fantastic flamenco shows while also serving some delectable dinner.  Beautiful, swirling dresses of the dancers combine with the thrilling, fast-paced beat of the music to create a magical and engaging performance that you can watch while enjoying your Catalan cuisine.  These shows are an excellent way to spend a night out on the town while experiencing some of Barcelona’s most celebrated culture, so start making your plans to see a flamenco show right away!

3 of the Best Places to See an Amazing Flamenco Show in Barcelona

1. El Tablao de Carmen in Barcelona

This esteemed attraction in Barcelona celebrates the life of Carmen Amaya, one of the most influential figures in the history and development of flamenco.  El Tablao de Carmen is a magnificent building with a spacious stage and excellent seating, so all audience members can get a good view of this captivating entertainment!  Reservations can be made online, so you can easily book a table and choose what delicious meal you’d like to eat.

2. Los Tarantos Barcelona

One of Barcelona’s oldest flamenco venues, Los Tarantos Barcelona holds three shows per night, each one lasting about 30 minutes in duration.  With a more intimate atmosphere and full service bar, this place draws visitors from far and wide to see these talented musicians and dancers perform.  Tickets are only 15 Euros for adults, so don’t skip out on seeing this incredible art form in an amazing spot!

3. Palacio del Flamenco in Barcelona, Spain

You’re bound to be impressed by the skills and passion of these outstanding flamenco performers at the Palacio del Flamenco in Barcelona, Spain!  This organization has developed a smooth blend of classical dance and traditional flamenco to create an entirely unique experience.  Their spacious theatre can seat up to 380 guests and hosts shows every day of the week.  With a menu of mouthwatering meals, including some of the finest tapas and other authentic Catalan cuisine, you’re guaranteed to leave this place with unforgettable memories!

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Festa Major de Gràcia: See the Streets Come Alive!

Enjoy the Festa Major de GraciaThe Festa Major de Gràcia is springing up in Barcelona again this year from August 15th through the 21st. One of the city’s foremost street festivals, this is a wonderful time to visit and experience traditional Catalan culture in one of the most beautiful and quirky neighborhoods in Catalonia. Both an opportunity to learn about Spanish traditions as well as enjoy delicious food and wonderful entertainment, Festa Major de Gràcia is truly an event of the year for many residents who graciously devote their public spaces to celebrating their ancestry, all the while welcoming guests – about 1.5 million of them each year – to share in this annual celebration.

A Local Tradition

Gràcia was once an independent town outside of Barcelona proper. As the city grew it engulfed this small community, but its roots have remained intact over the years through the hard work and commitment of the founding families. A way in which the area has remained such a tight community over the years is by hosting their annual Festa Major de Gràcia. Completely volunteer-led, members of the community have continued, year-after-year, to band together and host this outstanding celebration of Catalan culture in their very own streets. The communal feeling they create is indeed what keeps both residents and visitors returning every year for this event.

Grand Decorations

The main attraction is the outlandish and extravagant decorations that take months of planning, and days of setup before the festival each year. Local business owners and community members devote a lot of time to transforming the neighborhood into different scenes of underwater and Outerspace worlds, or even a zombie hangout. Every evening after sunset these displays light up, making for a beautiful evening stroll or an epic time to enjoy some tapas. The biggest crowds are found after sunset on August 15th as people flock to the streets to witness the first lighting of the year. Don’t miss seeing what worlds will arise at this year’s celebration!

Other Activities at Festa Major de Gràcia

Aside from the decorations, which are themselves worth the trip, festival goers can also look forward to tasting many dishes of Catalan tradition, drinking their wines, and enjoying their music that is played right in the street. This festival is completely free, besides the food and drink you might enjoy amid the created worlds, and is a the perfect activity for the whole family. The little ones will love exploring, eating and dancing in this festive atmosphere. More information on this year’s schedule can be found here in the coming weeks, so you can start getting excited for the Festa Major de Gràcia 2016.

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Where to Go for the Best Barcelona Cooking Class

Learn how to make tapas in a Barcelona cooking classOne of the most celebrated qualities of Barcelona’s unique and exotic culture is its incredible cuisine!  This city is known for creating some of the finest foods you’ve ever tasted; no matter where you go out to eat, you’re sure to enjoy a meal you’ll likely never forget.  Since this food is so amazing, why not take this amazing dining experience home with you?  There are countless different places you can go around the city to take a Barcelona cooking class while you’re visiting!  You can learn how to prepare some of the most classic Catalan dishes so you can make them at home once you return!  Learn all about four of the best places to take a Barcelona cooking class to help you start planning your vacation today.

4 of the Best Places to Take a Barcelona Cooking Class

  1. Cook and Taste Barcelona Cooking Classes

This organization will help familiarize you with some of Barcelona’s essential dishes, cooking styles, and seasonal ingredients.  Cook and Taste Barcelona has some skilled chefs on their staff to walk you through the tips and tricks of Catalan cooking.  This is bound to be an experience that’s both engaging and educational.  

  1. BCNKitchen Barcelona Cooking Class

Put on an apron and get ready for a class that’s both fun and insightful!  BCNKitchen Barcelona offers a wide range of classes to provide visitors with the opportunity to create numerous, traditional Catalan dishes and beverages.  You’ll be able to prepare tapas, arroces, pasta fresca, and much more.  At the end of the class, you’ll get the chance to sit down and savor the exquisite meal you’ve created!  

  1. Barcelona Cooking

Prepare your taste buds for a day with Barcelona Cooking!  They offer a variety of hands-on classes and activities to familiarize you with Catalan foods and cooking styles.  One of the activities includes a tour of La Boqueria, the local food market, during which the instructors teach the participants about the produce grown nearby, as well as other ingredients needed for Catalan cooking.  They’ll even show you how to pair exquisite Catalan wines with your meals!

  1. Travel Bound Barcelona

With some of the most enjoyable tapas cooking classes in town, you don’t want to skip taking lessons from Travel Bound Barcelona!  They’ll also show you how to make authentic paella while you sip on some sweet sangria.  These friendly chefs will walk you through every step of the process so you end up with some fantastic food at the end of the class.

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Take a Train from London to Barcelona for One of the Best Trips Ever!

Take a Train from London to Barcelona for One of the Best Trips Ever!

London is an incredible destination like no other; their iconic landmarks and countless things to do set the scene for an exciting vacation.  However, if you’re craving some time away from the busy city life, take a train from London to Barcelona!  Traveling by train is such a different experience than flying; you can trade rushing through crowded airports and stressing over delayed flights to sitting in a comfortable spacious seat as you watch the picturesque landscape passing by.  With all of the recent developments in transportation, you can take a train from London to Paris, then from Paris to Barcelona, all within a single day!  Discover some of the best trains to take from London to Barcelona to treat yourself to one of the most exciting trips of a lifetime!

5 Ways to Find the Best Train to Take from London to Barcelona

  1. Seat 61

This travel service will help you through every step of booking your travel from London to Spain!  Seat 61 guarantees that you can have breakfast in London, lunch in Paris, and dinner in Barcelona- all for a reasonable rate.  Their website is a great resource for any information you need regarding how to get around in these foreign areas.

  1. Loco2

Travel over 900 miles in just 10.5 hours!  Loco2 will help you find the best high-speed trains to take you to your preferred destination; they’ll also give you information to help you with the interchange process so you can travel efficiently and confidently.  

  1. Gopili

Find the lowest possible prices when you use Gopili to help you conquer the London to Barcelona distance!  This service compares a variety of different sources to help you find the cheapest train ticket to Spain.  They’ll also help you find other means of transportation if you need them, such as flights or ride sharing.  

  1. National Rail Enquiries

Save time and money by taking advantage of the many helpful tips and resources that National Rail Enquiries provides.  Find the route and time that accommodates your schedule best and get ready to see some new places and attractions!  

  1. Grounded Travel

Grounded Travel presents all kinds of options for your trip from London to Barcelona.  You can use specific services to get to Spain as quickly as possible, or you can choose to take a longer route by sleeper train to allow you some time to explore Paris during the day.  Make the most of your travel between these two incredible places by booking the trip that’s best for you!

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