May in Barcelona

May in Barcelona is more than awesome! Since the temperatures in general are already perfectly warm and enjoyable, visitors have the possibility to show off their brand new, light summer fashion. Where to wear some airy outfits can be discovered right here – just read through our Top 4 Barcelona events taking place in May.
Primavera Sound: Watch out, we’ve got a treat for your ears right here! Being not just Barcelona’s most important and exciting Music Festival but also the number one in Spain, Primavera Sound is an institution of great tunes. The wonderful town of Barcelona has been hosting the annual event since 2001 which every year attracts beat-lovers from all over the world. This year from May 28th to 31st visitors can enjoy an amazing weekend getting lost in music – just next to beach! Primavera Sound is not one of those festivals advertising with its load of trendy stars but is especially known for featuring rather unknown artists to let people discover the sounds of the future first hand. But of course there will again be some big names playing as well, for example the Nine Inch Nails, Arcade Fire or Kendrick Lamar. If you want to save yourself some tickets, hurry up!

bcn_primaverasound
Labor Day: In Spain May 1st is one of its national holidays. Spanish people join in in the international tradition of celebrating the Labor Day at the very beginning of May to enjoy a day off work spending it with friends and family. To honor working people’s achievements in economy and sociality, the May 1st celebration was established in 1975 after the end of Franco’s dictatorship and first publically celebrated two years later in 1977. May 1st makes a great opportunity for visitors to discover Barcelona’s cultural offers, since museums and Co. stay generally open while shops and offices are closed. If you like, you can also watch or take part in various peaceful meetings and demonstrations being hold all over town.

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Formula 1 Grand Prix: Fasten your seat belts and focus – the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix is ready to start engines! From May 9th to 11th friends of super-cars and speed can experience the atmosphere of high-technology vehicles turning their laps. Since the early 1990 this famous event takes place a little outside the Catalan capital in the little town Montmeló. With the goal of successfully complete 66 fast rounds, the ambitioned professional drivers will take over the Circuit de Catalunya – a race track being famous for guaranteeing very exciting competitions. Special speed-fans can go for a whole Formula-1-Weekend since there are not just tickets for the main race on Sunday, but also for the test-driving and qualifying on Friday and Saturday available.

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Ciutat Flamenco: This wonderful event of the art of dancing is a total must for all of those who just can’t stop their feet from stomping the beat when music is playing. Ciutat Flamenco is a multiple and colorful festival celebrating the loveliness of the beautiful and traditional dance of Flamenco, annually taking place in the Catalan capital. From 23rd to 26th of May interested visitors can populate the halls of “El Mercat de las Flors” in order to take part in the various, flamenco-themed offer. Regarding classical as well as contemporary interpretations of dancing Flamenco, people are welcome to enjoy shows, concerts, exhibitions, workshops, dance sessions and competitions. More information can be found on the official website.

bcn_flamenco

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Vegan Barcelona: Juicy Jones for President

What do we know about the Spanish cuisine? It’s famous for specialties like dry ham, Paella, Crema Catalana, Tortilla and many more. All of those may sound great and pretty heavenly for most people – but what if you just can’t eat all of the above because you abdicated to animal products? Vegans coming to Barcelona could struggle with the fear of not finding ANYTHING to eat except plain salad and fruits, since Spain isn’t exactly known for a lot of vegetable delicates. DON’T WORRY ANYMORE – we found the perfect place for you to enjoy fancy and delicious vegan food!

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“Juicy Jones” is what we are talking about. This amazing location is a vegan restaurant right in the heart of Barcelona offering delicates to die for. On the menu is a great selection of starters, main dishes and desserts: you can for example start with a great hummus dip, afterwards order a lasagna and finish your dinner (or lunch) with a tasty, creamy cheesecake. All completely vegetable and animal-free, all fresh! Don’t miss to accompany your food with one of Juicy Jones’ amazing juices which can be ordered in all different flavors and ingredient combinations. If you have trouble to decide, just go with the “zumo del dìa” that comes to a special price. The colorful restaurant is located just off Barcelona’s famous Las Ramblas and therefore makes a great place to have a quick bite while spending a shopping day in the city. The food is amazing, drinks are refreshing, its design is lively and creative and the staff is friendly – sounds quiet perfect, right? :)

bcn_juicyjones1
Address:  Calle Hospital 74
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun, 10.00 am – 23.00 pm
Price: Cheap
Our Recommendation: Mexican Burger

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April in Barcelona

Barcelona is a great holiday destination throughout the whole year – so it can’t be considered something else than a good idea to plan a trip to the Catalan capital in the springtime. To make your preparations a bit easier we summed up the Top 4 events hold in Barcelona during the lovely month of April.
Easter Processions: Since Spain is basically a Christian country, of course Easter is celebrated. Being known to take their religion quiet serious, the Spanish people worship the feast with a whole week called the “semana santa” (holy week) starting on Palm Sunday and ending on Easter Monday. In 2014 this means Easter festivities take place from April 13th to 21st. It may almost be unnecessary to explicitly say so, but since Barcelona is a pretty popular destination for a lot of Europeans during the Easter time, the city will probably be quiet packed again. But that should really not hold you back because in addition to the common attractions Barcelona has to offer, there will be a lot of worth-seeing Easter processions, for example:

  • Iglesia de Sant Augustin: Friday 18th, Placa de Sant Augustin 2, 17.00 pm
  • Santa Maria Del Mar: Friday 18th, Placa de Santa Maria 1, 9.30 am
  • Barcelona Cathedral: Friday 18th, Pla de la Seu, 15.30 pm

bcn_easter3

Barcelona Beer Festival: Everybody who really appreciates a good glass of beer should definitely not miss the Barcelona Beer Festival! This annual event – taking place from April 11th to 13th – always attracts beer fans from all over Catalonia and should therefore be marked red in your calendar if you are a true lover of the famous hop drink. Featuring more than 200 international brewers populating the halls of the Museu Marìtim, visitors can of course taste all different kinds of beers but also get to know more about their favorite refresher from beer experts all around the world. An extra bonus: the entrance is free!

bcn_beer_festival
Salon del Còmic: The Salon del Còmic is an international comic fair taking annually place in Barcelona and is already entering its 32nd round in 2014. Offering a great range of different comic books, there will probably be the right one to find for everybody. This four-day event takes place from April 15th to 18th at the Fira Montjuic Exhibition Centre (halls 1 and 2) and attracts all kinds of comic fans and friends. Since this fair runs under a different motto every year, the responsible bodies chose “War” for 2014 – so you might want to take out your soldier costume to wear it somewhere else than at the annual carnival party :-)

bcn_salon_del_comic
Sant Jordi’s Day: Watch out lovebirds, this may be the most romantic day of Barcelona. The Sant Jordi’s Day on April 23rd worships Catalonia’s saint patron Sant Jordi and is therefore not just celebrated in Barcelona but in the whole region. To make a point it can definitely be said that this festivity is the same to Catalan people as Valentine’s Day is to Americans: one romantic, hearty matter. Since the Sant Jordi’s Day is also known as the “day of lovers” or the “day of roses”, you can easily recognize that it’s all about love. Following the legend of Sant Jordi – who is said to have conquered a dragon for a princess and afterwards gave a red rose to her – it is very common to give either roses or books to your beloved ones on this special day. So, buy a pretty bouquet and surprise your sweetheart :-)

bcn_sant_jordi

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Casa Batlló: Visual and augmented tour coming soon

These are really great news. The Casa Batlló is not only one of the most impressive and famous buildings of Barcelona, now it is even about to be one of the cities most progressive sights when it comes to technologies.

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The Casa Battlò is just about to launch a brand new way of visit based on augmented and visual reality. By cutting edge mobile devices spectators soon will be able to see Gaudí’s impressive building from the very beginning of the 20th century. By simply holding up a tablet people can spy on how the Batlló family used to live in its now world-famous residence, including details like furniture, decoration etc. With the aim of giving visitors the best possible experience and adding a feature that used to be impossible, the Augmented Reality Tour is really a great bonus to anybody’s visit to the already very worth-seeing Casa Batlló.

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You want to be one of the first to explore this new technology? Until May 1st you can book tickets online – a special bonus: the first 80 registrations can enjoy the pleasure of entering FOR FREE. More information plus the registration form can be found here.

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Barcelona y Flamenco: Where art meets passion

Everybody who loves music and dancing should really not skip the following passages and keep on reading because we would like to introduce you to one of Barcelona’s best and most famous shows: Barcelona y Flamenco.
As you’ve probably already recognized by its name, this project is all about the great art of flamenco. Being established since 2004 Barcelona y Flamenco does now even offer two different productions. First, there is Opera y Flamenco which actually is Barcelona’s most seen flamenco show. Combining the sensual dance and opera there really is a lot an interested audience can enjoy. To sum it up, people can see an intense mixture of high-arts broaching the issue of different love stories presented by fantastic dancers and singers.

bcn_barcelonayflamenco
As a newer adaption Barcelona y Flamenco came up with another show called Gran Gala Flamenco which is a little more traditional at heart than its successful forerunner. Not having its focused set on telling stories, the Gala is more intended to give an overview of what flamenco actually is, where it came from and what different sides there are to it. Since the passionate dance was already born in the 18th century and does now offer so many different and lovely interpretations this journey worshipping the original dance of gypsy people is nothing else but worth seeing.
In addition to great art comes the pleasant fact that both of these shows take place in remarkable locations like the Palau de la Música and the Teatre Poliorama – so even architecturally interested people get their money worth. Everybody who is interested to see one – or both – of these amazing spectaculars by now can buy their tickets easily online. In this sense: “Ay”! :-)

bcn_palaudelamusica

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Formula 1: Barcelona welcomes the Spanish Grand Prix again

Get ready, fasten your seatbelts and focus: the Formula One is back on track. The new season is just about to start with its first race on the upcoming weekend, March 16th to be precise, in Australia and will travel the world as every year. Of course also in 2014 the racing machines will stop by in Spain to hold the annual Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.

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From May 9th to 11th racing fans can enjoy the heat of high-technology super-cars waiting impatiently to take home the glory of victory. As it does since the early 1990s the Spanish Grand Prix takes place a little outside of Barcelona near a small town called Montmeló. In order to complete 66 rapid rounds the professional drivers will populate the famous Circuit de Catalunya – a race track known to provide pretty exciting racing. With its well balanced mix of fast, middle and slower bends the track may offer quiet comfortable basic conditions, but at the same time the 4655km long Circuit de Catalunya is said to constantly change during one race. As a result of permanent wind gusts there is always new sand on the track which can affect the road cover enormously. Also the changing wind strength and directions can cost a lot of trouble. Above that there are just a very few overtaking opportunities which make managing this special track a rather hard business for drivers.
What makes driving so challenging for the sporty participants makes watching them for interested visitors extremely exciting at the same time which may be a reason why the Spanish Grand Prix is one of the most popular ones regarding an average audience of around 140.000 people. Although the main race won’t start until Sunday Formula 1 enthusiastics are welcome to watch the test driving and qualifying taking place on Friday and Saturday too since there are three-day-tickets offered. Interested? All different kinds of tickets can be easily bought online.
So, for the time remaining expectations are very high to who will be the one leading the pole position in Barcelona. Will four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel continue his series of victory? It’s going to be interesting…

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Barcelona District Guide: Welcome to Gràcia

There are truly so many places in Barcelona that should be seen. Besides all the famous sights and spots like Las Ramblas or Placa Cataluny this lovely city has so much more to offer – and to discover! Therefore today we are headed to show you something slightly different to the usual tourist path: Gràcia.

Gràcia is an area of Barcelona and one of the districts you shouldn’t miss during your stay – and not just because there is the Park Güell nearby . As a matter of fact Gràcia actually was an independent town until the late 19th century, which might be a reason for the very unique atmosphere around there. Being just two train stops away from Placa Catalunya,  Gràcia still is in the midst of activities but does nevertheless surprise people by its own magical charm that does not have too much in common with the busy and crowdy lifestyle right around the corner.

gracia_streets

Very special are the many beautiful, bohemian buildings in the streets that might not be as tall as those in the city centre, but in fact it’s precisely this that gives the district its special, cosy look.

Besides its lovely architecture Gràcia does of course also strike out because of so many other great features.

Everybody who loves relaxing inside a sweet, little café, sipping a tasty Café Latte will feel very well-placed in Gràcia. There are a tone of small owner-managed coffee shops and bars in which you can enjoy great food and drinks in a very familiar and down-to-earth atmosphere. In that case “Mama’s Café” can be especially recommended – a cute place with a lovely terrace where you can enjoy quality products in a comfortable ambience.

Also those of you who might be tired of packed shopping centers hosting just common brands will be happily pleased by the shopping possibilities in Gràcia.

shopping_gracia

While doing some “slow shopping” people can walk from one tiny boutique to another discovering all different kinds of treasures. From handmade jewelry, over creative home interior to unique clothes from young designers – quality and uniqueness is definitely emphasized. As a hint: take a look at the urban pieces from “Suite”.

Another fun fact is that Gràcia holds its own festival every year in august. During this 5-day festivity called “La Festa Major de Gràcia” people are competing in street decoration and turn the area into one colorful beauty. The results are often pretty creative and spectacular and definitely worth a visit.

festa_major_gracia

Well, whoever longs for his or her very own Barcelona district experience with a big portion of real “neighborhood-feeling” should consider Gràcia as the place-to-be.

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Yummy Barcelona – 5 foods you NEED to try

Let’s be honest: who doesn’t simply love food? Especially trying something new can be a tasty pleasure – as long as you are making the right choice. To help you find your way through the colorful world of all kinds of foodstuff, we summed up precisely five dishes you need to give a try during your stay in Barcelona to make your trip a complete satisfaction. A quick reminder: yes, Tapas are great – we all know that, so we decided just to skip on these.

What you really need to try are Calçots. Never heard of that? Well, you might probably not be the only one not knowing how delicious this specialty can be. Calçots are basically just green onions grilled until they are pretty burned outside. Ordering them you will probably get around 10 – 12 served with salvitxada, a sauce made of almonds, tomatos, garlic, oil and spices you can dip your onions in. To be honest, this does not sound too fancy but indeed is pretty delicious!

calçots_bcn

It is no great secret that Spain is famous for its love of meat. Since Barcelona does not make a difference there, you won’t be able to ignore all the meaty temptations all over the Catalan capital. One of these is called Jamón Ibérico, a Spanish delicacy of great fame and basically omnipresent. Jamón Ibérico is smoked ham and exists in all different kinds of variations. You can not only buy it at the butcher or the supermarket of course, cut in very fine slices it is also a very popular thing to snack around Barcelona. Whether as a sandwich filling, a salad topping or pure and fried like French fries – people seem not to get enough of their ham. For a reason!

jamon_iberico_bcn

Less meaty but not less delicious are Patatas Bravas. This typical dish contains boiled potatoes which are cut in small wedges and then deeply fried in hot oil until they are perfectly crispy. You can get these tasty pieces almost everywhere solid food is sold such as cosy restaurants, bars or snack stands. Traditionally they are served with a spicy, tomato-based sauce, but you can also eat them with mayonnaise or just ketchup. Do yourself a favor and skip your French fries at least once to order some Patatas Bravas instead.

patatas_bravas_bcn

A truly healthy and vegetarian – even vegan – snack is Escalivada. This grilled Catalan salad can be perfectly eaten at a barbecue, as a side or also as a light snack for lunch. Escalivada traditionally is made of eggplants, bell peppers, tomatoes and onions which are grilled and mixed with a dressing out of oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Especially its smoky taste makes this salad so popular and a lovely alternative to a plain Cesar’s Salad.

escalivada_bcn

Our list would definitely not be complete without a dessert! For that reason we would like to introduce you to the Crema Catalana. This delicacy is a Catalan pudding made with milk, egg yolks, orange peel, vanilla and cinnamon. Often served in little cups topped with caramelized sugar it is very similar to the French Crème brûlée, but said to be even a littler creamier than its famous sister. If you are looking for something sweet and delicious to finish your menu with, the Crema Catalana should be your choice in any case!

crema_catalana_bcn

In this sense: Buen provecho :-)

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March in Barcelona

You are travelling to Barcelona in March but you don’t know what to do there? Whether there are events or concerts you should visit? We reveal some insider tips to you of what to do in Barcelona this March.

Barcelona Sitges Rally 2014 – Vintage Car Rally: On the Second of March, the 56th Vintage Car Rally will be taking place. The real name of this rally is “El Rallye Internacional de Coches de Época Barcelona-Sitges 2014”. This event will start at Plaza Sant Jaume in Barcelona and end at Port d’Aiguadolç in Sidges, which is about 45 kilometers away. Only cars, which have been manufactured before 1928, are taking part in the rally and race together until Sidges – the oldest car taking part is from 1905, which means it is 109 years old. To make the rally even more special, the drivers and their companions dress up in period costumes to make it seem as if it was back in the 20th century.

rally sitges

The Rally attracts a lot of tourists – especially when it’s sunny – and thus is a lovely event you should visit. Find more information here.

FC Barcelona vs. Manchester City: On the 12th of March, an important football match is being held in Camp Nou in Barcelona: FC Barcelona is playing Manchester City. If you are a football fan, you should definitely visit this match. Camp Nou is the largest stadium in Europe, seating almost 100,000 people. The atmosphere is unique as all the Barça fans are coming to support their club. Tickets can be bought here.

fc barca

Marathon Catalunya: As every year, the Marathon Catalunya will be hold in Barcelona. This year, it is taking place on Sunday, the 16th of March, starting at 8:30am. More than 17,000 runners are being expected to participate. The race is very flat, not passing many hills, which makes it easy to reach a good time. The marathon goes throughout the city, passing wonderful sights like the Camp Nou stadium, the La Pedrera and La Sagrada Familia, sights built by Antoni Gaudí. The entrance fee depends on the number of participants, it can be between 61,50 and 84 Euros. The race starts at the Magic Fountain at the Montjuïc hill where it also ends.

marathon barcelona

If you are interested in running a marathon, this is the perfect event for you. You’re not only running, but also seeing a lot of Barcelona, the capital city of Catalonia. Find more information on marathonrunnersdiary.com.

Beyoncé: This month, a very special event will be taking place in Barcelona – Beyoncé will give a concert at Palau Sant Jordi. Beyoncé Knowles became famous in 1997 as the lead singer of Destiny’s Child.  In 2003, she started her career as solo artist with her debut album Dangerously in Love. Today, she is one of the most famous singers in the world.

beyonce

Find more information and tickets here.

We wish you a pleasant stay in Barcelona; we hope you liked are insider tips :)

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Apps, which will make your trip to Barcelona perfect!

You are travelling to Barcelona, but you don’t know the city at all? Which are the most famous and most important sights, where can you find the best Spanish restaurants? Where can you get a good coffee or drink a beer? And what if you get lost in the city, how are you going to find your way back to the hotel?
There are a lot of useful apps for Android and iOS which will bring solutions to all of these problems; we will introduce some to you!

1. Barcelona Metro Map: You arrive at your hotel in Barcelona but don’t know how to get to the city centre or to any other place? This app will show you which line of the metro you have to take and how long it will approximately take you until you reach your destination. It works offline – a good feature as you will probably not have internet on the way. Moreover, the app is for free. Attention: the app only serves for the metro in Barcelona! At the airport, there is no metro, so read up on how to get away from the airport before you arrive.

metro bcn

2. Spanish English best dictionary: You are in Spain but you don’t speak any word of Spanish? This app may be very useful for you. It translates English to Spanish and the other way around, you can search for words and you can listen to each word being spoken out loud, both languages. Another app, Franklin ViDICTO (English-Spanish Visual Dictionary), works completely offline and offers you the words you need for accurate situations within different categories, e.g. “At the airport”, “In the hotel room” or “Dinner”. You can find pictures with the right term on it and thus easily communicate in Spanish. Both apps are for free.

dictionary vidicto

3. Barcelona tripadvisor: The Barcelona tripadvisor app unites everything: it has a city map, knows the best restaurants and hotels and the most famous sights, it can tell you where to go shopping and where nightlife takes place. All of these features can be used offline, which makes the app the perfect match for your trip to Spain – you just need to download the city “Barcelona” having internet in order to make all the features work offline. It’s free of cost.

trip advisor

4. City Walks Barcelona: This app tells you which sights you have to see, it offers you different tours, like for example the “Antoni Gaudí Tour”, the “Gothic Quarter” tour, the “Picasso Tour”, “La Barceloneta” tour and many more.  Choosing one tour, the app shows you the corresponding sights (“Antoni Gaudí Tour”: La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, La Pedrera etc.) and clicking on the sight tells you the story about it: when has the Sagrada Familia been built, what is the architecture meant to symbolize?
Moreover, it offers a listing of the best specialty shops (porcelain, mosaics, hats, leather etc.), a listing of the best shopping zones and of the best gift and souvenir shops.
If you have internet on your phone in Barcelona, the app will localize you with its GPS and guide you to all the sights of the tour you chose – be it all the castles, the beautiful churches or the Raval district.
Last but not least, you can also create your own tour. Choose the sights you want to see – the beach, la Sagrada Familia and the Boqueria Market for example – and City Walks Barcelona will guide you there.

city walk bcn

5. Barcelona Bus Turístic: If you don’t want to walk much in Barcelona, there is a bus for tourists that brings you to all the sights you want to see. The correspondent app shows you the routes of the touristic bus lines which exist in Barcelona (the blue, the red and the green route) and tells you which line is going to which sights. Moreover, you can click on each sight the bus passes and the app shows you a picture and shortly explains the sight is. This app is for free and works offline.

bus turistic

With all these apps your trip to Barcelona will be much easier and more organized. We, as Habitat Apartments, wish you a pleasant stay in this wonderful city, enjoy your holidays! And by the way: we also have an app which we would like to offer to you! Next Stop City Guides provides a map of Barcelona and also knows the best places to go, be it sights, bars, restaurants or events! :) It also works offline and is for free, thus you can use it during your whole trip!

next stop app

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