Guide

Best places in Barcelona for a nice trip

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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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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February in Barcelona

You are coming to Barcelona this month and don’t exactly know what to do? We will tell you what the most important events in February are! HJ Lim & Barcelona Symphony Orchestra: HJ Lim is a young, South Korean pianist. She moved to France when she was twelve years old in order to become a composer. There, she studied under Marc Hoppeler and later graduated from the Conservatoire National Région de Rouen with First Prize. Today, she is giving concerts all over the world - in Asia, South America and Europe. This month, she will give a concert with the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Pablo González, in the Auditori de Barcelona. A full Rachmaninoff program will be performed on the 7th, 8th and 9th of February, tickets are available from around 25€ on. Find tickets here. hj lim Valentine’s Day: On the 14th of February it’s Valentine’s Day in many countries all over the world which is the day of the beloved. If you are in Barcelona and want to surprise your beloved, there are very romantic spots the capital city of Catalonia provides. First of all, there is the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc. Every night, it offers a spectacular show with music and colorful lights which your partner won’t ever forget. magic fountain Secondly, the Art Blau, an open air bar and restaurant, is perfect for Valentine’s Day. You can overlook Barcelona and enjoy a beautiful sunset in a casual, intimate atmosphere. Last but not least, the Horta garden is made for this occasion. It’s one of the oldest historical gardens in Barcelona and also one of the most beautiful ones. There are pretty pavilions, waterfalls and canals which make a walk in the park very romantic. romantic horta The Mobile World Congress: The Mobile World Congress is the biggest mobile communications exhibition in Europe and will be hold at Fira Gran Via in Barcelona, Spain from the 24th until the 27th of February.  The Congress is set to kick off at 6 pm with a speech held by this year’s very special keynote speaker Mark Zuckerberg, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Facebook. Each year, more than 70,000 visitors are coming to Barcelona to attend the big mobile communications exhibition which provides about 1,700 exhibitors from over 200 countries. These exhibitors present their new products and services to the visitors, also aiming at widening their networks. The goal of the exhibition is to address key developments of the technological mobile industry as well as defining the new and future mobile communications horizon. Carnival: Carnival in Barcelona starts on the 27th of February. This day is called the Dirty Thursday and marks the beginning of the carnival period which lasts until Ash Wednesday, the 5th of March. These days, people disguise themselves as wizards, clowns or pirates and celebrate. Huge events and parades are taking place and bars are full. It’s a very colorful event, full of joy and fun. After carnival, the Lent begins and lasts until Easter during 46 days. Carnival in Barcelona is a unique experience which you shouldn’t miss when you are there this month! Especially for children it’s a lot of fun! bcn karneval carnaval bcn Enjoy this wonderful month in Barcelona, a very variegated city :)
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Try the ice skating rink at Plaza Catalunya

Enjoy romantic Christmas

barcelona ice rinkWhat else makes Christmas more romantic than to do some ice skating with your love during the cold season?

For many people ice skating and winter simply belongs together. So what would Christmas in Barcelona be like without the typical ice skating? The second year now people can enjoy this activity at Plaza Catalunya in an outdoor ice skating rink.

The rink has an area of 1200m2 and is therefore the biggest outdoor rink in entire Europe. Hence, around 350 people are able to skate there at the same time. The ice rink opened already in November on the 22nd and is still open until the beginning of January. Last year over 80,000 people used the chance to do some romantic ice skating. Just take your friends and enjoy it!

The price for 1 hour amounts to 9 and for 30 minutes it amounts to 7€. The ice skate rental is included in both cases. There is also the possibility to get a hearty snack at the cafeteria for being prepared for the day. Within the changing area you can put on your ice skates.

Here are the opening times for the ice skating rink: Monday – Thursday: 10am to 9pm Friday, Saturday & public holiday: 10am to 11pm Sunday: 10am to 9pm

Additional information and a making of video can be found on their official webpage.

Here is the exact address of the rink: Plaça de Catalunya, 08002 Barcelona, Spain

You can get to Plaza Catalunya easily by Metro. The metro stop is called Catalunya. The hop-on-hop-off bus stops at Plaza Catalunya as well. Other bus lines, the Aerobus and night busses also have a stop at the place Picture credits: BCN Insiders

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Barcelona’s architecture

A video slideshow with pictures

Barcelona is full of unique, modern and old architecture making this city as exciting and cultural as it is. The city was shaped with a vision to make it sociable, open, colourful and distinctive. Therefore, the town planning of the city itself is unique. Besides the Sagrada Familia and all the famous buildings by Gaudi, who shaped the city’s architectures to a major part, there are many more wondrously buildings in various forms. Amongst others you can see the Torre Telefonia, the Barcelona Pavilion and the Santa Caterina Market in this video slideshow, all with a completely different architectural style.

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What to do on New Year’s Eve in Barcelona

Tips and recommendations for 2013/2014

2014 New Year Ornaments If you are the lucky one and visit Barcelona over New Year’s Eve, you might want to know what you can do these days in the wonderful city! And as NYE is already coming nearer you should be prepared. Therefore, we collected traditions, recommendations and helpful tips to experience New Year’s Eve in the best way! :-)

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Top 3 language schools in Barcelona

Learn Spanish in an intensive way!

language school title picture

We collected the top 3 language schools for you to learn Spanish in the best way possible! :)

ABCHumboldt

ABC HumboABCHumboldtldt is a language school situated in Barcelona since 1986. It is located in a building with 6 floors with many different facilities and amenities. The school combines two different famous language institutes: abc College and Centro Humboldt Comunicación Intercultural. Participants can find a lounge, a cafeteria and a rooftop terrace as well as many more comfortable amenities. Most classrooms are designed with a TV and natural light to prepare the best possible learning atmosphere.

A standard intensive Spanish course for 2 weeks with 20 lessons per week costs around 320€. The school charges an administrative fee of approximately 32€. Therefore, without accommodation one needs to pay around 350€ for two weeks. You also have the possibility to do an intensive personal course of 800€ per week with 20 hours of work. There are various courses for groups and individuals available. Better check their webpage for further details.

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What to do on a rainy day in Barcelona

Top 3 tips

To be honest, Barcelona includes rainy days or even weekends as well! Just take this weekend … it rained and nearly didn’t stop. But there is no need to be sad about that … Barcelona offers wonderful activities to make the best out of a rainy trip. Here are the best 3 recommendations for you to rescue yourself from the rain. :-P

barcelona museumsMuseums Where can you explore Barcelona better than in the plenty of museums it serves? If you don’t know which museum to visit, here are the top 5 in a former article. These top 5 are of course not the only ones! There is a wonderful Chocolate museum where you can experience the world of chocolate with all senses. Make also sure to don’t miss the famous Picasso museum, but be prepared for long waiting hours! If you want more from Gaudi’s work, Casa Mila, Casa Batllò and the Gaudì museum at Park Güell might be the right museums for you. Read more about the Gaudì houses here.

  blog shopping barcelona

Shopping To get the perfect memory from your trip, a shopping tour might be the perfect choice. As Barcelona is THE shopping paradise, you have several opportunities. You can either shop on the famous Passeig de Gracia, where also the legendary Shopping Night takes place, or you can also decide to visit one of the malls, where you will find all necessary shops under one roof. Find out where to shop best in the ultimate shopping guide for Barcelona. It includes several malls, where you can spend hours with the motto "shop until you drop" ;-) . Las Arenas – an old bull fight arena transformed into a shopping mall is not included, just because of space issues! However, make sure you visit it at least for a short trip, since it includes so much cultural background.

 

l'aquarium barcelonaL’Aquarium You are in Barcelona with your children and need the perfect activity for a rainy day? No problem: L’aquarium in Barcelona is the perfect solution. Directly located at the port, the aquarium serves 11.000 different species of fish, corals, penguins and many more! Additionally, there is a 80 meters long glas tunnel, where you can walk inside while the sharks are swimming above you. Read more about the aquarium in this article.

With these tips your trip to Barcelona, also with rain, is absolutely safe :-) . Credit pictures: Flickr Galleries vito7, Klearchos Kapoutsis
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Where to shop in Barcelona

Find out about the best shopping areas

We found a short informative video about shopping in Barcelona! It sums up some of the main shopping areas in Barcelona. To complete a perfect shopping guide, we have another article for you, which pretty much presents the ULTIMATE SHOPPING GUIDE. Passeig de Gracia, Corte Inglès, Las Ramblas, Margemagnum ... these and many more places welcome you to fill your closet around the year. Believe me : Barcelona is a shopping paradise so better bring enough money to be prepared ;)

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