Posts Tagged ‘Barcelona accommodation’

October 22, 2008

Christmas time in Barcelona is to say the least, very special. This is a time for family, friends and fun, and whether you’re young or old, there is something for everyone to do here. It is important to have things to do at Christmas time because for many of us who have to spend copious amounts of time with family, (namely really old relatives or really young annoying cousins), the festive period can be a bit boring or trying, and thus it’s a good idea to plan ahead a bit in advance. This includes getting your flights and Barcelona apartment or Barcelona hotel sorted!

Then relax in your accommodation in Barcelona and put your Tio Nadal (Christmas Log) on the ground. This little chappy is the Catalan’s answer to Father Christmas and is a small figure with eyes, a nose and mouth. This log has the strange and magical ability to poo delicious treats such as sweets, nuts and torrons. Just like children believe Father Christmas is the one who brings all their presents on Christmas Eve, Caca Tió (the pooping log) brings the childrens’ presents too. When the children have sung the song to Caga Tió, (Caga Tió, almonds and turron, if you don’t poo sardines that are too salty or poo turrones that are the yummiest, Caga Tió, almonds and turron, if you don’t want to poo, I’ll hit you with the stick!) and hit Caga Tió with the stick, they lift up his cloak and underneath a heap of goodies is revealed. However, when the children find out that it is mummy and daddy who hide the sweets under Caga Tió’s cloak just before they sing the song, it is a sad day for all.

Make sure you stick around in Barcelona for 6th January. This special date is something that you should not miss, as it is the night of the Three Wise Men. This night is the night of presents and there are many parades with camels and trucks full of presents through the streets of Barcelona. The children of the city believe this is a unique event and thus every effort is made to pretend that it is only happening in Barcelona. The shops stay open until 12pm for parents to do last minute present shopping, and toddlers are weened off their dummies because they collectively give their dummies to the Three Wise Men.

Fireworks light up the sky, and at a certain time during the night, a special event takes place at the Town Hall, the mayor comes outside and presents the Three Wise Men with a huge magical golden key so that they can unlock all the doors of the city to bring the children their presents…


Tibidabo in Barcelona

October 22, 2008

This Magic Mountain can be seen from many different view points in the city of Barcelona and looks particularly striking at night when it is lit up and shines like gold. The Mountain of Tibidabo is 512 metres in altitude and is the highest point of the Collserola hills. Up until recently the amusement park there was in disarray but has recently been restored by the Generalitat of Catalunya. Famous for its hall of mirrors, it’s old charm and the fact that it was created 100 years ago, Tibidabo amusement park now has new attractions such as; the Plane, the Carrousel, the Automata Museum, the Talaia, the Panoramic and three children’s rides Les Llaunes, Pony Rodeo and Río Grande.

There is also a 12minute film, subtitled in Spanish and English in the Cel building which tracks the history of Tibidabo over the years starting from the 1920’s to the present day. It primarily celebrates the 100th anniversary of Tibidabo and shows its close links to the history of Barcelona. The amusement park dates back to 1899, to the founding of the “Tibidabo Company” by the pharmaceutical pioneer Salvador Andreu. One of his aims was for people to have somewhere in the city where they could come and relax and thus created this special recreational area on the hilltop.

After leaving your Barcelona hotel or Barcelona apartment, make your way over to Tibidabo by train (L7) to “Av Tibidabo”, then take the funicular, Tramvia Blau or Tibidabo Bus up to the top. You can also catch the Tibibus from Plaça Catalunya, which runs from 10:30 everyday. The Blue Tram and the Funicular were inaugurated on 29th Oct 1901, and shortly afterwards the first attractions were installed on Tibidabo. The park still conserves some of the most significant ones that have filled it during its hundred years of existence: for example, the Castle of Terror and the Big Dipper. One of its most unusual items is the aeroplane, which dates from 1928 and is a replica of the model that made the first flight between Barcelona and Madrid.

If you want to see a bit more than just the amusement park, Tibidabo is home to other interesting sites such as The Fabra Observatory and the Experimental Physics Museum.
As well as this, the two buildings erected between 1901 and 1905: the first by Camil Fabra, the Marquis of Alella, who built the astronomical observatory which bears his name, designed by Josep Domènech i Estapà, and the latter, nearby, in 1905, built by Ferran Alsina; the museum of experimental physics named “La Mentora”, which, due to the great interest of its collection of scientific apparatus of the time, has been conserved to the present day. Finally, in 1908 the slopes of the mountain were converted into a municipal park and it is lovely to take a walk here and leisurely make your way back to your Barcelona accommodation.

Fish and Chips in Barcelona

October 13, 2008

Finally, a little taste of England has come to Barcelona! On Rambla del Raval 26 has graced us with its presence. For those of you who don’t live in Barcelona as a Brit, you won’t know the craving that we get every now and again when think about what we would be eating if we were at home in England on a Friday night, or when we really cant’t be bothered cooking but don’t really fancy an Indian or Chinese. Yes, it’s that kind of hunger that only a lovely portion of home made chips, mushy peas and a lovely battered cod can fill. Make sure you get your Barcelona apartment and Barcelona hotel near to this wonderful smelling restaurant!

This fish and chip wittily named; “Fish and Chips”, has only recently opened and is the creation of two mothers; blah and blah. The cuisine here is taditional, authentic fish (just how we like it), where typical fresh cod in batter and chips made from freshly cut potatoes as well as all of the extra side dishes such as mushy peas, baked beans, curry sauce and much more are served. There are British drinks too, such as the lovely sugary obligatory drinks Vimto and Lilt, and for the Scots out there, good old Irn Bru and to add a Spanish touch you can even get a beer or a glass of wine with your meal.

In May 2008, the very special restaurant was featured in that months edition of Easy Jet Inflight Magazine and the two ladies who run the British food hot spot had their say. Julie, 43, who ran a bar in Liverpool, while Julia, 40, was in marketing in London, before they moved to Barcelona seven years ago.
After setting up a nanny service in the city, Tender Loving Canguros, the women seized upon the idea of running a fish and chip shop late one night, while trying to come up with money-making plans to ensure they need never leave Barcelona. (Aren’t we all!)
Besides the joys of the usual chip shop fare —everything freshly battered, cut, peeled and cooked on the premises—the Catalans have also been initiated into the pleasures of crumpets, haggis and English pies.

“As something new in Barcelona, it’s created a lot of excitement,” says Julie. “We’re the first stop for a lot of people straight off the plane. Some people come in every day and some find us at the end of their stay. We’re also fully licensed and sell the cheapest pint in town.”
“We haven’t had a day off in nine months, but we love it, especially now the weather is warm and we can chat to customers outside on our terrace. We also hold regular themed parties—Easter, Halloween, Christmas. All the locals watch us with amazement,” she laughs.
So, be sure to visit this spot on your trip to Barcelona, and right by it you will find a fine selection of Barcelona accommodation.

Dance Classes in Barcelona

October 13, 2008

I don’t know about you, but the end of summer and the start of the dreary, drab winter months makes me feel depressed, cold and chubby. Eating stodgy meals, wearing thicker clothes and getting the metro everywhere has certainly made me feel that I am not getting enough exercise. Luckily, one of the most exhilarating forms of exercise – dancing, takes place in bars across Barcelona all year round, keeping the heat and passion of summer going. Make sure you get your Barcelona accommodation booked and make the most of the dance classes Barcelona has to offer.

Take salsa for example. I can’t think of a more passionate, hot and lively form of dancing and it is for this reason that I decided to do a bit of research into what is available in Barcelona. To get an idea of some of the best ones, you simply have to try. Some classes will be more suited to your style and tastes, but needless to say, you’re bound to have a good time once you get the hang of it. Barcelona has an abundance of salsa classes for you to try out if you are living here or if you are staying in a Barcelona hotel or Barcelona apartment as a holiday maker.

With this in mind, I also thought about learning a bit of burlesque dancing… sexy, lively and definitely good for toning up your muscles, Barcelona is suprising low in the number of burlesque dance classes available. On the 9th October 2008 at 10pm there is a show with Little Victor and Dj Nino plus British Burlesque star Miss Polly Rae at Apolo. Burlesque dancing is certainly becoming a major form of entertainment and exercise, if not in Barcelona, in Paris. With the increase in traffic to websites such as suicide girls, which promote the average woman as beautiful and the ideal, not skinny models with no figure, the “burlesque look” is definitely making a comeback.

Buenavista is a specialist Salsa and Latino dance school who can mould your unrestrained energy (that I know I have and its fighting to get out), into something more artistic. To begin the only thing necessary is to have rhythm and enthusiasm although later on you might decide to buy some dance shoes. There are a range of different classes from beginners to experts. Dancing is always done with partners although you can attend the classes by yourself as the dance school will pair you up if necessary. Classes are run on a ten weekly basis and cost €10 for one hour. (Salsa courses: C/Roselló 217, Tel: 932376528 / Salsa Clubs:

Vintage Clothes in Barcelona

October 13, 2008

Are you desperately trying to search for some cool vintage clothing in Barcelona? I’ve been living in this fantastic city since June, and I must admit, although I’ve wanted to, I haven’t done much exploring of the city’s second hand and vintage clothes, simply because there is so much to do… That is, until now. If you want to check out what Barcelona has on offer in the vintage section during your holiday, make sure you stay in the centre in a Barcelona hotel or Barcelona apartment.

To my joy and amazement, Barcelona is full of pretty little boutiques and funky, Aladdin’s cave-like vintage clothes and furniture shops, you’ve just got to know where to go and how to seek them out… I started off with a trip to Raval, Barcelona’s slightly dingy but cool part of town, where the coziest bars and friendliest restaurants can be found, not to mention the millions of beer sellers who line the streets shouting; “sexy beer” “cold beer”. Raval was stocked with little vintage clothes shops, as well as second hand shops which are my favourite.

Amongst these I found the shops with the most variety to be Gallery on Carrer Torrent d’Olla and Lailo on Riera Baixa – this shop was amazing, not only because it sells clothes from as far back as the 1900’s, but because the jewelry it sells there is truly beautiful. Retro City – a shop that can be found in Gracia and Raval is a good place if you are looking for one off pieces in order that no one can steal your look, and Le Swing near Pintor Fortuny focuses on clothes from the forties Fifties and Eighties.

As well as this, there are many chains of second hand/vintage shops in Barcelona, although one off shops outside the Gracia or Raval area are few and far between. One of these; Moda Amiga, works in conjunction with the Obra Social de Caixa de Catalunya and is special in that like a charity shop, it sells people’s unwanted items but you deposit your unwanted items in bright orange bins which are then sorted out and many will end up in the Moda Amiga shop. The shop in Carrer Sant Salvador in Gracia caught my eye as it is a lovely shop that immediately invites you in due to the bright colours and exciting display in the shop itself. The prices here are quite high, many of the unwanted clothes are designer and the look of the shop is definitely retro, but you’ve got to bear in mind that this shop is a job creation scheme. Cheaper versions of this shop such as the one in Cornellà or Mollins de Rei will not sell designer or retro gear.

So, now you’ve got your vintage clothes sorted, go book your accommodation in Barcelona!

How To See Barcelona with (Seemingly) No Effort

September 25, 2008

So, you want to take a weekend break to Barcelona? Be smart, book your Barcelona apartment or Barcelona hotel as early as possible. Also, book flights as far in advance as possible, because no matter what people tell you, the more seats that are taken on a flight, the more expensive the price gets…

Research where you want to go before you head off. A weekend is not that long and even if you’re going for a long weekend, that’s still only four days with travel included. I would recommend that you do a shortlist of important places to see. For me, these would include;

The famous works of Antoni Gaudí; La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllò (fantastic interior and spectacular roof) or La Pedrera (famous for its ornate mosaic chimneys) and Parc Güell. La Rambla (make sure you got to La Boqueria market here), Port Vell/Barceloneta, Parc de la Ciutadella, Plaza Espana, Montjuïc and the Picasso Museum are all must sees too. By doing this you can schedule in a bit of shopping, a lovely meal and a bit of tapas at the top floor restaurant of El Corte Ingles!

To accompany your top 10 list, it is always a good idea to jot down the metro line needed to get there and or any information with it beforehand. This means you can relax and take your time with no need to stress about getting lost when you get there. Luckily, we’ve done this for you!

1) La Sagrada Familia – L2 Sagrada Familia, 10€ entrance fee, 8€ for students, open 09:00-18:00 (Oct-Mar) 09:00-20:00 (Apr-Sep), go round to Calle Mallorca 401 to enter.

2) Casa Battlò – L3 L4 Passeig de Gracia, (Address: #43 Passeig de Gracia, (+34) 93 216 03 06,, 16.50€ with 20% discount for students)

3) La Pedrera – L2 L3 L4 Passeig de Gracia (Address: Provenca, 261-265, 08008, 9.50€ entrance)

4) Parc Guell – L3 Vallcarca then follow street signs

5) La Rambla – L1 L3 Catalunya or L3 Liceu (further down la Rambla)

6) Port Vell/Barceloneta – L4 Barceloneta

7) Parc de la Ciutadella – L4 Ciutadella Via Olympica

8) Plaza Espana – L1 L3 Espanya

9) Montjuïc – L3 L2 Para-lel, then take the vernicular up to the top, then a further ski car upto the castle.

10) Picasso Museum – L1 Arc de Triomf, L3 Liceu, L4 Jaume I (Address: Montcada 15-23 08003, (+34) 93 256 30 00,

Once you’ve got that sorted, you can sleep easy in your Barcelona accommodation, enjoy a cracking paella at Barceloneta and be inspired by the amazing works of Gaudí!

Primal Scream in Barcelona!

September 22, 2008

This concert was absolutely great. It took place near to l’Hospital in Barcelona in the middle of the street, in what is known as a “manzana” which was packed out to the max! A completely free concert – I couldn’t believe my luck when I read “Primal Scream” on the official La Mercè programme for 2008.

I left my Barcelona apartment at about 9:30 and the concert began shortly after 10:30. There was an enormous crowd there already and we pushed our way in to get a good view. The band started off with a few favourites of mine; “Echo Dek”, “Vanishing Point”, “Can’t Go Back” and “XTRMNTR”. A real mix of songs from different albums, which is something that I really liked about the concert. They saved Country Girl for last, a song which will always be one of my favourites…

Perhaps one of the coolest things about this concert was that it was based right next to the Estrella factory in Barcelona. The factory opened its courtyard and had set up lots of bars selling all types of beer for 1€ each – absolutely fantastic! It made me laugh so much because in Britain, at an event like this, you would be absolutely rinsed for a pint of beer… concert time is prime time to milk us poor students dry, no?

So, the beer was flowing freely, the crowd was really hyped and Primal Scream were on top form. They played for about an hour and a half in total, coming back onto the stage two times to blast us with some more tracks from their most recent album –“Beautiful Future”. I mean, we were in Barcelona at the end of September in our shorts and t-shirts, it couldn’t really have got any better! If you are thinking of coming out here, make sure you book your Barcelona accommodation or Barcelona hotel early on for next summer…

If you haven’t seen this band live, you’ve got to. Or if you don’t even know who they are, make sure you download some of their tunes… Primal Scream formed in 1982 in Glasgow by Bobby Gillespie (vocals) and Jim Beattie. The current lineup consists of Gillespie, Andrew Innes (guitar), Martin Duffy (keyboards), Gary “Mani” Mounfield (bass), and Darrin Mooney (drums).

Many people would tell you to give their album Riot City Blues from but I would recommend you decide for yourself, I particularly like the track “When the Bomb Drops”.

Don’t miss the festival of La Merce!

September 16, 2008

This festival takes places during 19th til 28th September in the centre of this fantastic city at various sites. A festival not only dedicated to the cultural aspect of Barcelona, but the fun aspect, this festival has been running since 1902 and is definitely worth a visit! Don’t miss out on this amazing festival, Barcelona apartments and Barcelona hotels get booked up quickly around this time.

This street party is held in honour of held in honour of Mare de Deu de la Merce, the Patron Saint of Barcelona. Perhaps my favourite part of the festival is the Giants Parade (23rd to 24th). These giants with effigies of kings, queens and nobles march through the streets of Barcelona. These huge figures tower above the crowds and spin around and around so the crowds can see them in all their glory. The Parade is often accompanied by small percussion groups that beat out a rhythm on drums as the Giants go by.

Don’t miss out on the festivities, book your Barcelona accommodation in time and in particular, make sure you visit Montjuïc castle, as lots and lots will be taking place there, see: (although the timetable is only in Catalan, you will see the times and places). The circus will be the main attraction at Montjuïc Castle, another new festival site. Magic, gesture theatre, acrobatics and workshops will all feature at the castle, which was recently returned to the city and is now a public amenity. Some of the performances taking place at the castle include titles such as; “Espectacle ‘Les Enfants’, a càrrec de la Cia. Traüt Espectacles” “Electrikmim’, a càrrec de Manolo Carambolas”and “Freaks’, a càrrec de la Cia. Cikaros & TinCanCompany”, so I think it is safe to say there will be a huge variety of performances to see. This year marks the 800th birthday of the Catalan King Jaume I and as a result, another new site for this year will be the Moll de Barcelona wharf as the Jaume I Tower is there.

The poster for this year’s festival is bigger and brighter than ever. Designed by Peret, the 1998 National Design Award winner, the designer has tried to reflect the festive, naughty side of a smile to create the image of La Mercè this year. Singer-songwriter Jaume Sisa will give the opening speech at the festival, which starts on Friday19 September and continues to Wednesday 24 September. He will also be the star of a galactic night in Plaça Catalunya.

The Festival of La Merce in Barcelona this September!

September 16, 2008

This festival takes places during 19th til 28th September in the centre of this fantastic city at various sites. A festival not only dedicated to the cultural aspect of Barcelona, but the fun aspect, this festival has been running since 1902 and is definitely worth a visit! Don’t miss out on this amazing festival, Barcelona apartments and Barcelona hotels get booked up quickly around this time.

This street party is held in honour of held in honour of Mare de Deu de la Merce, the Patron Saint of Barcelona. Perhaps my favourite part of the festival is the Giants Parade (23rd to 24th). These giants with effigies of kings, queens and nobles march through the streets of Barcelona. These huge figures tower above the crowds and spin around and around so the crowds can see them in all their glory. The Parade is often accompanied by small percussion groups that beat out a rhythm on drums as the Giants go by.

Be sure not to miss the night of dragons, eagles and devils that breathe fire on 20th September at 20:30 to 22:30 at Porta Cambó, av. Francesc Cambó, pl. Antoni Maura, Via Laietana, pl. Antoni López i Consolat del Mar. Be careful, because often fireworks and sparklers are sprayed onto the crowd, so it’s best to wear protective clothing. There are two types of “correfoc” (running fire) and this activity is thus known due to the people who dress up as devils and chase the crowds up and down the streets with bangers and hand held fireworks. The first correfoc is for children and is not as chaotic, but the second is for adults which is a lot wilder and happens later on in the evening.

On 21st Sep, the castellers takes place. This is the formation of a human tower, (which takes a lot of planning and practice), where a child is then invited to climb to the top, a skilled and slightly dangerous act, I can tell you! However, the suspense is wonderful and the crowds go crazy for this festival gem which normally takes place in Plaza Jaume.

Festivities aren’t just kept on the ground either, La Mercè also celebrates the sky with static hot air balloon flights, kite displays and other aerial exhibitions taking place throughout the festival on the city’s beaches. Keep your eyes peeled for discounts on Barcelona accommodation and free entrance to many of the city’s museums, including; the Picasso museum, the Museum of History of Catalonia, the Maritime Museum and many more. For other exciting features of the festival, check out the Centro de Cultura Contemperanea de Barcelona where you can view street theatre, Moll de la Fusta which will be giving centre stage to numerous circus acts and Plaza St Rei where various dance troupes and performing artists will be performing.