Sant Joan 2020 – Will beaches open?

Sant Joan 2020 will be held on the night of Tuesday 23rd – but this year may be different to past years. Now the the city entered into “the new normal” of its deconfinement plan, many of us are wondering how Sant Joan will be celebrated this year.

How is Sant Joan normally celebrated?

Dating back to Pagan traditions, Sant Joan is celebrated on the eve of the Summer Solstice, which falls on 24 June 24. This festival both marks the beginning of summer and the birth of Sant (Saint) Joan. You can discover more about one of the biggest celebrations on the Catalan calendar in our article here

Sant Joan - Saint Joan

In normal years, you would find huge groups of people along the beaches of Barcelona gathered around grand bonfires and the city’s skyline decorated with exploding fireworks.However, given certain restrictions imposed this year in Barcelona due to COVID-19, the city’s mayor, Ada Calau, has announced that this year’s Sant Joan will be different from others.

So if you’re spending this Sant Joan in Barcelona, we’ve put together this article so you can celebrate San Joan safely and in line with government-issued regulations.

Will the beaches in Barcelona be open this Sant Joan?

Following advice from health experts, this year the city’s 10 beaches will be closed from 8 pm on 23 June. This will be the first time Sant Joan celebrations will not be permitted on the city’s sandy shores. 

In Barcelona, Sant Joan has become synonymous with mass gatherings of thousands of people on the city’s beaches, therefore this measure has been implemented to prevent large crowds from forming and to ensure safety distances.

This Sant Joan, you should also bear in mind that beach bars and restaurants will also close at 8 pm on 23 June. The beach and beach facilities will be open to the public as of 10 am on 24 June with the usual social distancing measures and controlled capacity.

How many people can I celebrate with?

Sant Joan 2020 will be celebrated when Barcelona has entered phase 3 of its de-confinement plan. In line with government guidelines, you may celebrate with 15 and 20 friends or members of family. It is also recommended that, unlike previous years, the use of fireworks should be kept to a minimum.

Organised local festivities and events are allowed – but with social distancing regulations and capacity restrictions. Open-air events, as are typical on the eve of Sant Joan, can be attended by up to 800 people. Closed events that will take place inside this San Joan can be attended by 80 people.

We advise you to check with your local neighbourhood civic centre regarding any celebrations that might be held.

Are bonfires allowed this Sant Joan?

As we have mentioned, this Sant Joan will not see the traditional celebrations along the city’s 10 beaches. The city council has also decided to not allow large bonfires.  

Small fires are allowed provided that they are no bigger than one metre squared and are duly protected, e.g. on a brick surface or brazier. Permission must be requested to have a bonfire.

Can I still buy fireworks?

This Sant Joan, fireworks will be sold as in past years. There are 117 sale points around the city where you can buy fireworks, always in line with social distancing regulations. 

The Barcelona municipal police force, known as the Guàrdia Urbana (Urban Guard) will deploy additional forces to prevent large crowds, to reinforce social distancing, and to control alcohol consumption.

What are some alternative Sant Joan plans?

This year, why not celebrate a safe Sant Joan among friends and family. If you’re looking for an alternative plan, our Barcelona apartments boast locations with privileged views of the city and are perfect for gazing in awe at the colourful fireworks over the city.

Why not try your hand at baking a Coca de Sant Joan? This sweet bread topped with candied fruit and pine nuts is traditionally enjoyed as a Sant Joan treat and can be bought from many a bakery leading up to the celebrations. Read more about it in our article here.

There will also be virtual DJ sessions broadcast by the Casa Groga, Teixonera and Carmel civic centres on their YouTube channel for those of us who will party to dawn but from home.

We hope you enjoy this slightly different Sant Joan and, above all, stay safe! 

Safety measures Barcelona apartments

Covid-19 Health and Safety Measures in bizFlats Apartments

After almost three months of lockdown, little by little the city of Barcelona is returning to a high level of activity. With this comes the reopening of travel and accommodations and the simultaneous easing of restrictions for those who wish to stay in and visit our beautiful city. By July 1, we expect that travellers from Schengen countries, the broader EU and the UK will have open borders to visit Barcelona, Catalonia and all of Spain as well. We also anticipate that our borders will open up to the rest of the world progressively, and we will update you as we get official confirmation.

If you’re anything like us, you probably cannot wait to regain a sense of normalcy, albeit it might be a new normal. Yet, at the same time, you may also be feeling slightly apprehensive about travelling once again. Read on to learn more about how we at bizFlats are working toward your peace of mind by implementing some safety measures in bizFlats apartments.

Getting ready for travel

Is your health and wellbeing and the health and wellbeing of those who are travelling with you your number one priority? If you organize travel for a company or organization, is the health and wellbeing of those for whom you organize travel your number one priority? With this in mind, bizFlats has put into a place a health and safety policy for all its employees and guests to ensure your safety and the safety of everyone who works with us.

Given the current situation, staying in an apartment is the safest option to choose when visiting Barcelona since you will not have staff entering and leaving your room, you will not have to share communal areas like in a hotel, and you will be able to cook your own food.

We want you to know that we are putting your health at the forefront during these uncertain times and reducing health and safety risks in all our facilities.

This article outlines the COVID-19 health and safety measures in bizFlats apartments, that we have put into place in line with the government regulations from the Spanish Health Ministry and  Catalonia’s Public Health Department, and the guidelines published by the World Health Organization (WHO)..

Information posters

● We recommend that you take the time to carefully read the rules of use for the apartment where you are staying and whether some services you may like to use have limitations.

These posters also include hygiene measures all guests should follow to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you have any questions regarding this information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

safety measures in bizflats’ apartments

Cleaning and disinfection procedures

With regard to the cleaning and disinfection of all bizFlats apartments and facilities, we are following a rigorous cleaning protocol in line with the guidelines recommended by local and international health authorities. In order to prevent the spreading of COVID-19, the following tasks will be performed and logged for all of our apartments and facilities: restocking of goods and removal of waste from accommodation, cleaning of accommodation after check-out, and preparation for incoming guests.

What’s more, we will also log the exact location of cleaning tasks within the apartment, the order in which the tasks are carried out, the cleaning product and personal protective equipment used, and how the cleaning products and materials are handled after their use.

Check-in

● To ensure both your safety and the safety of bizFlats personnel when checking in, the two-metre safety distance will be observed between bizFlats staff and guests. Our staff will wear protective masks at all times. Alternatively, we can set up a minimal contact check-in, where you can pick up the keys from our office, or if the apartment has a fully electronic smart lock. Let us know your preference in advance.

● Guests will receive a pack of four face masks  and a hand sanitiser gel for use during check-in and during their stay.

Communal Areas

● We ask that all our guests limit their use of lifts in our apartment buildings and facilities to a necessary minimum, and to use the stairs if possible.

If it is necessary for you to use the lifts, only one person should use it at a time, in case they are not from the same party. Exceptions to this rule are when the lift is big enough for you to observe the two-metre safety distance when inside, or in the cases of individuals who require the assistance of another person.

● Areas that may not be accessed or used will be completely cordoned off or marked with clear restrictive access signs.

The health and safety of our guests and our employees is our utmost priority as we begin this transitional phase of transition as mentioned.

As you can imagine, this is a process that calls on us to keep a close eye on updates and adapt continually as we receive further inputs. Thus, we will monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and update these guidelines as required to ensure your safety, always in line with government and health authority guidelines.

We’d like to thank you for your help and cooperation during this time and we appreciate the time you take to get familiar with these guidelines. If you should have any questions about your upcoming trip or the health and safety measures we are implementing in our facilities, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Taxis in Barcelona – The best guide step by step

Taxis in Barcelona are available 24-hours a day thanks to the city’s ample cab network. Getting a taxi can be one of the quickest and simplest ways to get around the city. Prices can be cheaper than other cities throughout Europe and waiting times dramatically lower.

Whether you need to take a taxi from the Barcelona El Prat airport, if you miss the night bus mid-week after an evening of dinner and drinks, or when returning to your apartment after a day sight-seeing, getting a taxi in Barcelona is often an essential part of your stay in Barcelona.

We understand that jumping in a taxi abroad can be a daunting experience if you’re not prepared. That’s why we’ve put together this brief guide to taxis in Barcelona.

taxis in barcelona

Official taxis in Barcelona

You can’t miss the taxis in Barcelona thanks to their black and yellow colours. Keep an eye out for the lights on top of the car: green means available and orange means that the taxi is occupied.

If you’re staying in one of our well-located apartments, you’ll probably only have to wait a few minutes before spotting a taxi to hail down. Remember that some of the central streets in Barcelona are pedestrianised, so you may have a to walk to a main street to get a cab.

Taxi ranks in Barcelona

As in many cities, it is very common to hail a cab down by raising your hand from the side of the road when you see a taxi with a green light. However, there are of course many taxi ranks scattered throughout the city to make finding a taxi that little bit easier.

Bear in mind that the taxi driver can only stop if their car is free and it has not been reserved, and you are currently more than 200 metres away from a taxi rank. What’s more, taxi drivers can refuse to drive passengers under the influence of alcohol and drugs. They are also not obliged to accept animals (with the exception of guide dogs).

There are more than 300 taxi ranks around the city, all which can be consulted here. The city’s biggest ranks can be found at the three airport terminals, the four stations of the Barcelona Port (Moll Adossat) and Estació de Sants.

How much are taxis in Barcelona?

Taxis in Barcelona are more expensive than other forms of public transport in the city such and the bus and metro, however they are affordable and not as expensive as other European cities, as we have mentioned.

All taxis in Barcelona use a meter, so you don’t have to worry about being ripped off. Fares in Barcelona depend on the time of day and if you are travelling on a national holiday. The minimum price for taxis in Barcelona is €2.25 except on Saturdays and holidays between 8 pm and 8 am, when the minimum charge goes up to €3.20.

Remember that the following supplements are added to the final price shown on the meter at the end of the journey:

  • Airport (origin/destination): €4.30 (see below for more information about getting a taxi to/from the airport)
  • Port station (Moll Adossat) (origin): €4.30
  • Main city stations (Sants Station and Fira Exhibition Centre): €2.50
  • Vehicles for 4–8 passengers: €4.30
  • Special nights*: €3.10

*23/06 – 24/06, 24/12 – 25/12 and 31/12 – 01/1

Here you can find a breakdown table of the fares and tariffs for taxis in Barcelona. You can also calculate the estimated cost of your route in advance of your journey here or download the official app for your phone to use it on the go.

If you are unsure whether you should leave a tip or not, check our article here about tipping in Barcelona.

Taxi in Barcelona

Taxis in Barcelona to/from the airport

When you land at Barcelona El Prat airport, we understand that you want to get to your apartment as soon as possible and start enjoying the city straight away. Getting a taxi from the airport is simple – you’ll find several taxi ranks at both terminals. Simply follow the signs after passport control

The minimum cost of a taxi to and from Barcelona airport is always €20 and generally journeys tend to cost between €30–€35 to and from the city centre.

Getting a taxi in Barcelona during the COVID-19 pandemic – May 2020

It is still possible to take a taxi in Barcelona during the COVID-19 pandemic, however it is mandatory to observe the following rules:

  • As of 3 May 2020, it is mandatory to wear a mask when using public transport
  • A maximum of one passenger is allowed per journey, unless you are accompanying a disabled individual or a minor
  • Open the taxi door using your non-dominant hand
  • Sit in the back of the taxi and follow social distancing rules
  • Taxi drivers will issue receipts only on request

Getting a taxis in Barcelona can be a daunting task – but not any more! Remember you can consult the Barcelona official public transport page here to find further information on taxis in Barcelona in English.

Top 10 places to visit in Barcelona

Choosing the places to visit in Barcelona in a city so rich in culture and entertainment, can present quite a challenge, particularly if your time here is limited. In order to help with this dilemma, we have compiled a helpful list of places to visit in Barcleona.

Top 10 places to visit in Barcelona during your stay

La Sagrada Familia

No visit to Barcelona would be complete without a trip to Antoni Guadí´s spectacular church, La Sagrada Familia. The structure, although still incomplete, is a UNESCO world heritage site which welcomes nearly 3 million visitors a year. With this in mind, it is worth buying tickets in advance as queues can be lengthy. Places to visit in Barcelona - sagrada familia

La Pedrera

Continue along the Guadí trail to Casa Milà, commonly known as La Pedrera. This beautiful building, complete with roof terrace, attic space, courtyards and exhibition hall, provides ample opportunity to admire and understand the work of this architectural genius.Places to visit in Barcelona - La Pedrera

Parc Güell

Set on the hillside, Park Güell boasts beautiful views of the city. Originally, commissioned by Eusebio Güell for Barcelona´s aristocracy, this space reflects Guadí´s passion for nature, colour and unique architectural form.

Places to visit in Barcelona - Parc Güell

La Rambla

Stroll down Barcelona´s vibrant, street La Rambla and you´ll find live performances, artists, human statue art, a Miró mosaic and stalls. Spanish poet Federico García Lorca once commented, “It is the only street in the world I wish would never end” and, after a walk down this leafy, pedestrianised street, it’s easy to see why.Places to visit in Barcelona - La Rambla

La Boqueria Market

Located off La Rambla is one of Europe´s most famous food markets. Whether you simply want to peruse the specialist food stalls or pull up a stool at one of the bars for a snack, this venue is definitely worth a visit.Places to go in Barcelona - La Boqueria Market

Montjuïc Hill

Escape the crowds and head to Montjuïc hill. The area plays host to several museums such as the Joan Miró Foundation, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya and the castle, which is an old military fortress dating back to 1640.

Places to go in Barcelona -Montjuïc Hill

The Magic Montjuïc Fountains

At night witness the Magic Fountain Show. This explosion of colour, water, movement and light set to music lives up to the name and provides a truly magical experience. By the way, this is one of our favourite places to visit in Barcelona, you will love it!

Places to go in Barcelona -Montjuïc Fountain

Poble Espayol

Located near the Montjuic Fountains is Poble Espanyol (Spanish Village). The village, built in 1929, has 117 buildings resembling architecture from across Spain´s regions and offers a variety of shops, eateries, stalls and craft workshops. poble-espanyol-barcelona

Camp Nou

For football fans, no visit to the city would be complete without a trip to Camp Nou, home of the legendary Barça. Even if you aren´t able to coincide your stay with a match, it is worth taking a tour of the impressive 99,354 seat stadium and museum. Camp nou

Barri Gòtic

Finally, take time to meander the winding streets of the Gothic Quarter and admire the beautiful Roman and Medieval architecture. Dotted among impressive buildings such as the cathedral and iconic squares are plenty of bars and cafes for you to take time out and sample the local cuisine or simply sit back and soak up the atmosphere.

Barcelona Gothic quarter, Carrer del Bisbe

This  Top 10 places to visit in Barcelona, are a must during your visit, but also they are just an starter. Also remember we will be pleased to help you finding your apartment in Barcelona.

Also you can check the places to visit in Barcelona depending on the days  you are going to spend in the city:

Barcelona is waiting for your, are you ready for the trip to one of the most amazing cities in the world? Let’s go!

Pa de Sant Jordi Recipe

The Origin

Sant Jordi is one of the most eagerly awaited days on the Catalan calendar. This year the great literary event has officially been postponed to 23rdJuly, yet as we explain in our article here, you can still celebrate this much-loved event from home on 23rdApril.

So whilst at home this Thursday why not try your hand at baking one of our favourite Sant Jordi recipes? What better way to enjoy your favourite books than with the smell of freshly baked bread floating through your home?

We’d like to share with you the recipe for Pa de Sant Jordi (Sant Jordi bread), which was first made 25 years ago by a baker in Barcelona. Normally sold in bakeries across the region, with this traditional yet simple recipe that even the youngest members of the family can help with, you can recreate the colours of the senyera (the Catalan flag) at home. Enjoy!

Ingredients

500 g of strong flour
– 80 g of grated emmental or Parmesan cheese
– 80 g of Mallorcan sobrasada sausage 

– 40 g of walnuts or mixed nuts
– 8 g of yeast
350 ml of lukewarm water
– 2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter
– 1 teaspoon of salt
– 1 teaspoon of sugar

Method

Please note: Remember to wash your hands thoroughly and any work surfaces before starting to bake.

Finely chop the nuts and put them to one side. Take the Mallorcan sobrasada out of the fridge.

Next measure out 350 ml of lukewarm water. Add the yeast and stir making sure there are no lumps.

Measure out the flour and add it to a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the water and yeast, the salt and the olive oil.

Mix together and knead slowly until the dough no longer sticks to your hands or to the side of the bowl. If necessary add more flour. Cover the dough with a cloth and put it aside for 30 minutes. 

Next, divide the dough into three equal parts – one for each of the flavours.

Add the room temperature Mallorcan sobrasada sausage to one, the cheese to another and the chopped nuts to the final part. Mix each section of the dough together with its ingredient and knead well for ten minutes. Cover with a cloth and leave them to rest for one hour.

Now it’s time to shape the bread. Shape four strips of sobrasada mix and five of strips of cheese mix. With the nuts mix make one longer and thicker strip, which will act as the frame of the flag. Stick the strips together in the form of the Catalan flag using wet fingers if necessary.

In a pre-heated oven at 190 degrees, cook the bread for around 45 minutes. It’s really important not to open the oven during this time to ensure the bread rises properly

Once the bread is golden brown, take it out of the oven and let cool on a rack.

The Final Result

PA-DE-SANT-JORDI RECIPE final result as seen in Barcelona

Serve with your favourite book!

We hope you enjoy your Pa de Sant Jordi from home this year!

Travel to Barcelona 2020: Facing Trying Times

Hello from Barcelona

One year ago Mercedes took this picture of me on the terrace of our lovely Ferran Batik apartment in sunny Barcelona. Little did we know at the time, that today there would be no travel to Barcelona, or anywhere else, and I would be writing this message from the cocoon of our home as we follow the rule book of a new world: instructions to stay home, maintain social distances, etc. In short, everything that all visitors to Barcelona used to like doing is now verboten.

Read more
Dolphins in Barcelona during quarantine

Dolphins take advantage of lockdown in Barcelona to swim in one of the city’s ports

The quarantine is generating a whole parade of animals that can be seen in places where until a few days ago it was unimaginable.

 

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Sant Jordi 2020 – When and how will be celebrated?

Books and Roses

A new date has been announced for Sant Jordi 2020. This year, given the current circumstances, the official Booksellers Guild and Florists Guild of Catalonia have decided to postpone this eagerly awaited event on the Catalan calendar in line with Government guidelines. 

Sant Jordi – which is normally celebrated every year on World Book Day on 23rdApril – will be postponed to 23rdJuly with the safety of all in mind. All events, workshops and readings will also be postponed to this date, in addition to the Sant Jordi discount on books.

The proposal of the Booksellers Guild and Florists Guild foresees limited stops and pre-organized book signings to comply with security measures and hygiene. The proposal for Sant Jordi 2020 is pending approval by Procicat and the corresponding municipalities. In Barcelona has been planned to install a thousand stops, for which will be needed the approval of the Municipal Events Commission.

In addition, queues and movement between stops will be regulated, for which a maximum space will be set. All visitors must come with a mask, respect the distance of 1.5 meters and follow the instructions on safety and hygiene given by the organization.

Sant Jordi 2020

Why is Sant Jordi so important?

If you’ve had the chance to experience this day in Barcelona before, you’ll understand just how important it is. It is a day on which the young and old alike take to the streets to buy their loved ones a gift. All the main streets of Barcelona are lined with bookstalls and on every corner you’ll find rose sellers selling single roses. 

The origin of this literary celebration is a popular story in many cultures and is based on the story of Sant Jordi and the dragon. To read more about its history and how it’s celebrated, check out our Sant Jordi article here.

Sant Jordi 2020 will definitely take place in a very different way than usual

Sant Jordi 2020 at home

Lovers of Sant Jordi don’t despair! If you don’t want to walk around to visit the different bookstalls on the 23rd of July, you can also celebrate Sant Jordi 2020 from home!

This year, Casa Batlló is encouraging the citizens of Barcelona to bring the magic of Sant Jordi into their own homes. Every year on this day, this beautiful Gaudí house inspired by the mythical dragon is normally adorned with hundreds of red roses. 

So, be sure to follow the #SantJordialBalcons (SantJordiBalconies) initiative on social media and join in from home by decorating your own balcony with pictures, roses, dragons and book covers. Avoid boredom by getting creative and painting, drawing and making together with your loved ones.

Sant Jordi at home

Remember to upload your pictures to social media with the above hash tag. The ten publications with the most likes will win a collection of children’s books. 

Supporting local booksellers

Additionally, don’t forget that it’s still possible to buy books online from local sellers. Thanks to the platform “LlibreriesObertes” (OpenBookstores), you can order your books and pick them up once the lockdown regulations have been lifted.

The initiative was launched in order to support these local publishers and bookstores during these times of hardship. With the objective of selling 30,000 books, these advance sales will ensure the survival of the city’s bookstores.

Sant Jordi 2020 - books

Check out the website here and help support Barcelona’s bookstores: https://llibreriesobertes.cat

These are days of reading from home, this is why we also recommend you also 8 books about Barcelona that you will love.

How will you be celebrating Sant Jordi 2020 this year? Let us know!