Panoramic view of Montserrat, with the Monastery at the base

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.
Panoramic view of Montserrat, with the Monastery at the base
Panoramic view of Montserrat, with the Monastery at the base

Easy day trip from Barcelona

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 Cremallera 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.

Barcelona Bike Tours are a Great Way to See the City

Barcelona Bike Tours are a Great Way to See the City

Barcelona is known for being one of the most bike friendly cities in the world. With designating bike lanes, lights and rentals throughout town, it’s not only one of the most beautiful places to see atop a bicycle, but also one of the safest. Because of the great convenience of cycling these streets, many visitors opt for one of the many Barcelona bike tours as a way to explore this place. There’s no better way to mingle exercise and sight seeing than on a Barcelona bike tour, on which you’ll get to see things you can’t from a bus.

Here are some great options for Barcelona Bike Tours:

  1. Barcelona City Tour
    This is the classic Barcelona bike tour, taking you to all the biggest tourist sites, including the Barri Gotic, Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, the Parc de la Ciutadella as well as Olympic Village. This four hour tour offers a break at a beach bar where riders can do some more mingling and enjoy the Mediterranean atmosphere.
  2. Private Group Tours
    If you’re traveling with a larger group consider booking one of these private Barcelona bike tours at your convenience. Both day and night tours are offered, combining the riding with stops for drinks, tapas or whatever else your group desires. The tours are completely catered to meet your group’s expectations.

    barcelona bike tours
    Photo Credit: Metropolis Magazine via Flickr
  3. The Less Touristy Tour
    Are you the kind of traveler who loves to see the local’s side of a new place? If so then this is the tour for you. This is more of a Barcelona bike ride. Forget the itineraries and factual recitations, and gear up for a back street adventure, exploring Barcelona’s hidden gems like hillside cafes, farmhouse cheese tastings, vintage shops, organic eateries and other little known treasures of city life.
  4. Barcelona Barrios and Beaches Bike Tour
    This tour is similarly geared around skipping the main tourist attractions in favor of seeing what life in the city is really like. Bikers will pass by some main sights on the way out to the beaches, passing through many residential neighborhoods and their daily amenities. If you like to see a city’s real street life, this is the ride for you.
  5. Barcelona Tapas Bike Tour
    This tour is the perfect way to mingle culture and cuisine in an experience you can’t miss while visiting Barcelona – eating famous Catalan tapas. Along the way you’ll see some of the city’s most famous sights, with frequent stops to get a taste of the nation. This is a leisurely ride through the city that is perfect for groups of any size.

If you’re looking for more than a typical sight seeing tour try one of the above Barcelona bike tours for fresh eyes on an old city. Exploring atop a comfortable city bike is a completely different experience than sitting on a bus or driving a car around. At a slower pace you’ll see more, and feel closer to the people and places you’re observing. This is also a great way to meet other travelers in town, and ones that are like-minded in their idea of adventure and fun.

 

Ayrton Senna, Twenty Years Tribute

Formula One is synonim of adrenaline and speed but it has a history of injuries and death too. Thirty five drivers have lost their lives doing what they love the most.

During San Marino 1994, two pilots lost their lives:

Roland Ratzenberger crashed at over 190mph. He had damaged the wing on the previous lap but had decided to continue.

The day after, Ayrton Senna died when his car lammed into a concrete wall at around 135mph. Ironically, officials found an Austrian flag which, had he won, Senna would have raised in honour of Ratzenberger.

Twenty years has past since that  fatal weekend at San Marino. This year over the four days of Imola circuit an exhibition to homeage and remember these two pilots will be open to public.

Yes, Formula 1 is a dangerous sport but isn’t life dangerous too? Seven times a champion, Michael Schumacher is still in comma after a skiing accident last December. Thankfully, some weeks ago his manager Sabine Kehm said he is starting to “show signs of consciousness and awakening”. I really hope he would make it.

The lesson to remember is that it doesn’t matter what you are up to or what your plans are…enjoy each second! Life is a race too. But you will never know your remaining laps.

Don’t miss the chance to visit Circuit Catalunya. Last apartments here.

Apartment for Formula One Barcelona

Formula 1 – a Fascinating Sport

The fifth round of the 2014 season, Circuit Catalunya, is fast-approaching!

In few days Montmeló, Barcelona will become the meeting point of the world’s best drivers and speed lovers.

Last year I had the great opportunity to enjoy this exciting competition. Nothing matches the adrenaline rush on this motorsport event. Believe me, listening to Formula 1 will leave you breathless – and deaf for a day if you don’t use appropriate ear plugs (experience talking!).

Outstanding in every sense each lap is a battle for victory but two of my favorite parts are cornering and the pit lane. Both are the key between making it to the podium or not.

For those – like me – that didn’t know, Formula One drivers are some of the most highly conditioned athletes on earth. If you think about it, it’s obvious.  Driver’s neck must support the weight of both the head and helmet under intense loadings. These cornering forces cannot be easily simulated by conventional gym equipment so, many drivers train using specially designed equipment that enable them to specifically develop the muscles they will need to resist cornering forces. Powerful arm muscles are also required to enable the car to be controlled during longer races.

alonso f1 trainning

Drivers get most of the attention during the race but in the pit lane the success lays on the team. Changing a car’s tyre is a perfect choreography that can be over in less than three seconds. Amazing!

Maybe you are an adrenaline adict. Perhaps you are just planning your next holidays or you are part of the lucky ones that will be doing business in  Barcelona during these days. Either way Circuit Catalunya is a great opportunity to live a unique experience at one of the world’s most important competitions: Formula One.

Hurry up! Reserve one of our last apartments here.

Formula 1 Apartment

Are we human or are we dancers?

El Beso - Iker Casillas & Sara Carbonero - Johannesburg 2010

¡Somos los campeones del mundo!  escribo esto con lágrimas en los ojos…  ¡que maravillosa y voluptuosa frase!…  nos lo hemos merecido.

Un mes ha sido, en el que se ha ido formando la bola poco a poco, en el que las pantallas más o menos megagigantes, han ido atrayendo gentes a pulsos, como polillas a la luz (y desde luego con mucha más convicción que con la que iba Caaaaroolaaainnnn…)   Aquí ha dado igual que te guste el fútbol o que lo aborrezcas, ha sido imposible permanecer en la isla del desconocimiento, porque esto ha ido más allá.  Es la fuerza de los sentimientos que nacen del corazón y del estómago, del hígado y del páncreas, de todas las vísceras juntas que gritan y te mueven el cuerpo sin que lo puedas controlar.

No sé que tiene el fútbol éste, que nos hace olvidar.  He visto gentes preparándose para los partidos con auténticos festines.  Mesas con marisco, el mejor jamón, lomo, chorizo, tortilla de patata… y todo ello regado con los mejores caldos (y no me refiero a los de pollo, naturalmente)… todo muy español.  He visto ventanas y fachadas y caras y gafas y sombreros teñidos de rojo y amarillo, de nuestros colores.  He visto el cielo rojo esta noche.  He oido gritos y consignas y petardos y fuegos artificiales y bocinazos para que el mundo se entere…

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