The best Picnic spots in Barcelona

Barcelona is the ideal city for picnicking outdoors. Year round sunshine makes any season ideal for a picnic in Barcelona, even the odd winter day! This is a city all about outdoor eating in all its forms, a city with many terraces overflowing onto sidewalks and plazas. Outdoors living is a part of the Catalan way of life!

For those travelling on a budget a picnic is always a fine option, and Barcelona is full of wonderful markets full of wonderful fresh baked breads, hams, cheeses, olives and fresh fruit (La Boqueria, el Mercat de San Antoni on Las Ramblas is a popular option). So why pay extra for a sandwich at an outdoor table among the seething crowds when you can relax under the shade of a tree in one of the cities beautiful parks?

Or if you are travelling with children and feeling the heat, a trip to the park is always a great way to let them burn off some steam. Last but not least, relaxing in a park with some nice food and wine is an enjoyable way to relax, see the city as locals see it, and idle away some hours people watching.

Once you’ve got your hamper nice and full, head to one of these local parks:

El Parc de la Cuitadella

This is one of Barcelona’s most attractive and central parks. Located on the site of the once feared Ciutadella fortress (which was built to keep the cities populace under control by the Madrid government in the 18th century) it is now a decidedly peaceful and unthreatening part of town. There is plenty of well kept grass to spread your picnic out on, and plenty of trees to shelter from the sun under. In the centre of the park is a boating lake. Points of interest include Barcelona’s Zoo and and the Catalonian Parliament.

Montjuic

Another centrally located picnic spot is the mountain of Montjuic. An unmistakable part of the Barcelona skyline, Montjuic offers a huge green space with views all over the city and out to sea. Look for El Font del Gat park, a truly magnificent park within the park.

Parc Guell

Parc Guell is one of Guadi’s, and Barcelona’s, many Barcelona masterpieces. Originally conceived as a housing project for the wealthy Guell family, Gaudi gave full flight to his vivid imagination in it’s landscaping.

Laberint d’Horta

Barcelona’s labyrinth park is a top insider’s tip for a picnic. If it seems familiar, the labyrinth was featured in the film of Patrick Susskind’s bestselling novel Perfume. The surrounding gardens are charming and one of the finest green spaces in the city.

There are picnic tables at the park’s entry, but if you aren’t picky try grabbing a seat somewhere inside the gardens – there are park benches and the superior views.

If you have the energy, climb to the highest part of the park and be rewarded with the reservoir where you can watch the fish swimming and enjoy the reflections of the trees and blue skies.

El Parc de Joan Miró

Parc Joan Miró is best known for Joan Miro’s 22-metre sculpture, “Dona I Ocell” (woman and bird), which Miro donated to the city he loved.
Built on the land once occupied by the city slaughterhouse (and still known to some locals by it’s old name – Parc de l’escorxador), the park offers a green space and refuge only a stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of Plaça Espanya and Las Arenas shopping mall.

Parc Miro also boast two Chiriguitos (informal outdoor bars) where you can enjoy a drink and a tapa, these are open 365 days a year barring any day when there is rain!

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The Barcelona Aquarium

The Barcelona Aquarium is located in the old port, next to the Mare Magnum shopping centre. Las Ramblas is just a stone’s throw away. This is one of Europe’s biggest marine leisure and education centres, with over 11,000 marine animals from 450 different species housed in over five million litres of water.

The main highlight for many is the vast Oceanarium, where you can see sharks, ocean sunfish and rays. A spectacular close-up view is assured thanks to an 80 metre long underwater glass tunnel passing under the Oceanarium. Aquariums are wonderful for children and provide a source of endless fascination. But at the Barcelona Aquarium there is an exhibit designed especially for children, called Explora. This hands-on exhibit features over 50 interactive activities to touch, look at, listen to, investigate and discover the undersea world from. The tour also features the Miniaquària where children can learn more in detail about marine flora and fauna.

The Planeta Aqua display features fascinating aquatic life that has adapted to the most diverse conditions under the sea such as icy cold, the darkness of the deep ocean floor or the warmth of tropical waters. As well as examining these diverse conditions and their effect on sea life, Planeta Aqua also looks at the important role aquatic life has played in human and planetary evolution, with species such as alligators, piranhas and penguins, as well as fossil exhibits.

The Barcelona Aquarium tour rounds off with two large aquariums, the Mediterranean and tropical aquariums.

Other activities which have to be pre-booked include “Diving with Sharks” (for divers, and only for the brave!), and “Sleeping with Sharks”, an activity for 8 to 12 year olds, offering them the chance to spend the night at the Aquarium attending a programme of educational activities.

Adults 18 euros, children 13.50.

http://www.aquariumbcn.com/

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Poblenou past and present

El Poblenou neighbourhood is full of surprises and is missed by most visitors to the city. Poblenou is technically part of the Eixample, its layout having been drafted by Ildefons Cerdà. However the historic centre of the neighbourhood (which was once a small village outside of Barcelona) predates the grid plan.

Only a mere 15 minutes by metro from the city centre, the area is full of pedestrian streets and is located right next to some of Barcelona’s finest beaches. This is why at Feelathomeinbarcelona have selected this area as a location for many of our best rental apartments.

Poblenou is full of nice surprises. Part village, part Eixample, and largely pedestrian, a stroll its streets reveals an architectural mix of village, interesting industrial architecture, and Catalan art nouveau (modernisme).

Poblenou’s Rambla stands tall with the best of Barcelona’s boulevards, including its more famous counterpart, Las Ramblas, in the city centre. It is lined with elegant buildings and pavement cafés where you can sit and enjoy the Barcelona sunshine. This street is the hub of the Poblenou’s cultural, social and retail life.

This is a typical Barcelona Rambla, stretching elegantly from the sea to the mountains, structured in rectangular and circular forms. Its origins date back to 1853, when the Cerdà Plan was laid out, around an industrial Poblenou which was starting to grow in the centre of the Sant Martí district. The Rambla gave locals an ideal place for a stroll where they could socialise.

Due to its position outside the city, Poblenou offered ideal conditions for setting up of factories and textile mills at the end of the 19th century. Once known as the ‘Manchester of the Mediterranean’, up until the 1940s Poblenou’s skyline was dominated with textile factories. These were surrounded by shanty settlements of Somorrostro and Pequín, with many living in appalling conditions.

Eventually the industrial decline of the 1960s brought about changes in the Poblenou with factories being pulled down and with areas of land being freed up for redevelopment. Poblenou’s regeneration culminated with the 22@ Plan in 1992 when all of Barcelona was given a very large makeover for the Olympics.

The 22@ project has transformed Poblenou’s identity, with its abandoned factories being used for design studios and fashionable loft apartments.

Alongside this modernity, the old Poblenou of narrow streets where fishermen and factory workers once lived still exists. The centre of the old Poblenou district is an area known as Taulat; this was the lowest part of the former village of Sant Martí de Provençals which stood close to the sea.

Its focus is the picturesque Plaça de Prim. Built in 1851, this forms the core of the residential area of Poblenou. This delightful spot features ombú trees and benches, set against the chimney of the old steam mill (these are listed buildings in Barcelona). The square is home to the famous restaurant ‘Els Pescadors’, which owns a sizeable terrace on the square. This is a great place to try some traditional Catalan cooking made with incredible fresh ingredients.

Nearby is Bogatell beach. Again this space was the result of the urban redevelopment before the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. Bogatell is one of Barcelona’s widest and least crowded beaches, and is not seen by most tourists. Only 5 minutes walk from Poblenou’s centre, this is a great place to relax all year round. In summer it offers unlimited swimming and sunbathing and in winter walks in the sun.

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The Casa Batlló makes steps into new dimensions

La Casa Batlló needs little introduction. Its sinuous and surreal art nouveau façade is one of the highlights of any trip to Barcelona. Designed by Antoni Gaudí for the wealthy Batlló family between 1905 and 1907 and is located on Passeig de Gràcia. No surprise that it is a Unesco world heritage site.

This spring the Casa Batlló is revealing some exciting new multimedia additions to the visit. La Casa Batlló has developed a series of augmented reality and virtual 3D environments to the visitor’s tour, allowing visitors to decipher the architect’s symbolism.

Also the museum has also built a virtual tour for those not fortunate enough to be able to visit this wonderful building in person, meaning if you cannot afford the air fare to Barcelona you can enjoy the Casa Batlló from your own home anywhere in the world.

The traditional tour audio guide has also been replaced with a new video guide, it operates on a tablet or Smartphone and allows visitors to delve further into the lifestyle of the Batlló family and learn more about the symbolism Gaudi used in his design.

If you are coming to Barcelona this spring be sure not to miss the Casa Batlló. If you arrive early you will have time to also visit another famous art nouveau townhouse by Gaudi situated close by on Passeig de Gracia, the Casa Milà. If you aren´t coming to Barcelona you can always check out the virtual tour!

http://www.casabatllo.es/en

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The Barcelona Marathon 2014

Officially known as Zurich Marató de Barcelona, the Barcelona Marathon takes place on 16th March this year. The route runs through Barcelona’s historical city centre and Art Nouveau Eixample District.

Traditionally the starting line is in front of the theatrical backdrop of Montjuïc.The start line of the marathon’s 42,195 km long circular course is Avenida Reina Cristina, the street running between Plaça Espanya and MNAC at the foot of Montjuic. Barcelona marathon starts at 8.30 and a maximum 6 hours is allowed to complete the course.

Participants will enjoy sites such as the Casa Milà, the Casa Batlló and La Seu, Barcelona´s medieval Cathedral. The route is circular and also takes in attractions such as Barça’s stadium the Camp Nou, Passeig de Grácia, the Sagrada Familia and the Hospital de Sant, the Torre Agbar, the Parc de Cuitdadella and Arc de Triomf before returning to the start point to finally approach the starting point via the Gothic District and the world famous Las Ramblas.
With scenery such as this it is no surprise that the participants come from all over the globe to take place, as well of course to enjoy the wonderful city of Barcelona itself.

Temperatures at this time of year are perfect for running. Averages range from are between 13-17 ° C and sunny spring weather is the norm at this time of year, though the heat has not yet begun to soar to its summer heights. Tens of thousands of spectators line the route to cheer on runners.
In 2012 some 15,000 people reached the finishing line. The winners both came from Ethiopia Gezahegn Abera Hunde (2:10:17) among men and Lemelem Berha Yachem, (2:34:38) among women. In 2014 some 18,000 runners are expected to take part.

To reach the marathon start line you can take metro lines 1 or 3 to Plaça Espanya, which is right next to the start line.You can apply for the marathon on the official website of the marathon. The registration fee is €61.50 for first 10,000 registrations, and then €73.00 up to 17,000 and thereafter the cost rises to €84, 00. The final deadline for registrations is March the12th, 2014.

Posted in Activities - Spring, Areas - Las Ramblas, Areas - Sagrada Familia, Areas - The Old Town & Ramblas, Barcelona a world city, Sporting activities in Barcelona | Leave a comment

Mutek 2014

Mutek is one of those international festivals that were just made for Barcelona. This incredibly hip international festival is a combined celebration of sound, music and visual art.

So no surprise that it sets up shop for its fifth edition in Barcelona this March from the 5th to the 8th, when another prestigious roster of International artists will play cutting-edge electronic nightly sets in four different clubs throughout the city.

While in recent years festivals have become big business, MUTEK bucks this trend, as it is a not-for-profit organization with a mandate is to provide a platform for the most original and visionary artists currently working in their fields, with a stated objective to build bridges between creativity and technology and thus support innovation in new electronic music and digital art.  The “MU” in Mutek refers to “mutation”, reflecting that music and technology are constantly evolving and changing.

Mutek was born in Montreal in 2000 and has grown to other hip cities, namely Mexico City, and of course Barcelona. The event grows apace, this year Mutek has set up its first electronic music event in China.

The 2014 Barcelona edition will host a variety of acts, from the UK (Andy Stott), Spain (Brunetto), the USA (Laurel Halo), Germany (Marcel Dettman) and France (1024 Architecture). Look out for performances at L’Institut Francais, Moog Club, Nitsa and Teatre Coliseum.

Tickets are available as daily passes starting from €5-€10 to€60 for all four nights.

Go to the Mutek website

 

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A guide to Sarrià-Sant Gervasi

Here we are going to take a look at one of Barcelona’s less known districts, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi. Most visitors to Barcelona visit the Gothic Old Town with Las Ramblas and the old port, or the Eixample and Gaudi’s famous modernista architecture. The first written document found about Sarrià dates from the year 987, and the origins of the village are a Roman colony. The old Monestir de Pedralbes belonged to the village of Sarrià and is now home to the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza.

Sarrià-Sant Gervasi is one of the biggest districts of Barcelona and situated on the north-west of the city, and surrounded by the city districts of Les Corts, Gràcia, Eixample i Horta-Guinardo, and by the villages of Sant Just, Sant Feliu, Molins de Rei and Sant Cugat. As you fly over Barcelona on your approach to the city (usually over the coast) you will notice Sarrià-Sant Gervasi perched on the edge of the mountains at the back of the city.

Due to its location at the back of the city on the higher ground, many people tend to pass by Sarrià-Sant Gervasi. However this is an interesting district with much to see, offering fantastic views over Barcelona. This is a very laid back part of town. Its character is primarily residential and very wealthy. The air here is much cleaner as it is higher up and above the pollution which clogs much of Barcelona.

The village of Sarrià was added to Barcelona in 1927 as the city expanded due to the industrial revolution, and luckily Sarrià still keeps its a village atmosphere, and its traditional narrow streets and small houses are perfectly preserved. The main street of Sarrià is Major de Sarrià and on Passeig Reina Elisenda is the Mercat de Sarrià, the market being the heart of any Barcelona neighbourhood.

Sarrià also borders on the stunning Collserola national park, the lungs of the city. This extends from Collserola Mountain at the back of Barcelona all the way to Sant Cugat. It is a wonderful place to explore on foot or on mountain bike and you would never know Barcelona city centre was only 20 minutes away.

Close by also is Tibidabo. The spires of the Temple de Sagrat Cor church on Tibidabo can seen from any point of the city. Right next to the church is an amusement park, the oldest in Barcelona and some of the original rides date to the turn of the 20th century. Part of the Woody Allen film, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, was filmed here.

 

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Festa de Sant Medir 2014

On the third of march a wonderful event in Barcelona for families with sweet-toothed children takes place in Barcelona, Sant Medir 2014. Also known by the name of the Fiesta de San Emeterio, this annual festival takes place in March in the Gracia area of Barcelona. A third name by which it is known is “la festa més dolça” which is Catalan for “the sweetest festival”. It doesn’t take much imagination to understand this, as some 60 tons of sweets that are given away every year during the parade. An added attraction is the 120 horses taking part in the highly colourful parade.

The route of the parade is easily accessed as it runs through the heart of the city. Some 26 parade groups (called colles) gather throughout the “Vila de Gracia” area, part of Gracia, and then congregate on Carrer de Sant Salvador to form a procession of horses, carts and lorries that then parade down the street Gran de Gracia to finish at the “Jardinets de Gracia” – the little Grácia gardens. The evening finishes with a fireworks. Find parade information links further down this page.

The flamboyant Festa de Sant Medir has humbles origins. It all started back in 1830 when baker Josep Vidal i Granés fell very ill. Though he lived on newly opened Gran de Gracia street he was originally from Sant Cugat del Vallès and he vowed that if God cured him, he would make a annual pilgrimage to the chapel of Sant Medir there.

Well he did get better and being a man of faith, he made the first pilgrimage from Gracia. To spread the word he banged a drum and handed out sweets from his bakery to local children. The following year word grew, and with each successive year that passed, more and more friends and neighbours joined in. Eventually this led to the establishment of the first “colla” of the Sant Medir festival (a “colla” is the Catalan name for a group or club).

 

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Music in Barcelona Spring 2014

This spring some famous names in the world of music are playing in Barcelona, with something for all musical tastes. First up we have the Backstreet Boys (Sant Jordi Club, February the 20th). Beyonce also plays at the Sant Jordi club shortly afterwards on the 24th of March, followed by Franz Ferdinand (Sant Jordi Club, April the 5th), then Katie Melua (Sant Jordi Club, April the 17th).

Spring is of course festival season as well. Each spring we in Barcelona are lucky enough to experience the Primavera Sound Festival , this year Primavera Sound lands the Forum from May the 29th to May the 31st and the line up will include names such as Nine Inch Nails, The Pixies, DJ Zero and Julian Cope.

Hot on the heals of one global music festival comes another, the Sónar Festival (June 12-14) where Massive Attack, Richie Hawtin and Four Tet will be playing.

Posted in Activities - Spring, Barcelona nightlife, Concerts in Barcelona, Music in Barcelona, Primavera Sound, Sonar Barcelona | Leave a comment

Take the Camp Nou Tour

A visit to the Camp Nou is a must for soccer fans coming to Barcelona. But even if you are not soccer mad, FC Barça is such an integral part of the cities identity that a visit to the Camp Nou is still a great way to get to know the city better by learning more about the club and its history.

Located in the Les Corts district, the Camp Nou is easily reached on the metro line L3 (green) from any of the following stops: Les Corts, Maria Cristina, Palau Reial or Zona Universitària.

Often incorrectly referred to in English as The Nou Camp, the Camp Nou’s name literally means ‘new field’. The stadium has been the official home of Futbol Club Barcelona since its inauguration in1957. The stadium replaced Barcelona’s previous ground Camp de les Corts, which, though it could hold 60,000 supporters, was still too small for the growing support of the club.

The Camp Nou can seat up to 99,786, making it the largest stadium in Europe and the 11th largest in the world in terms of capacity. As well as being the home turf of FB Barcelona, arguably one of the greatest football teams of all time, it has hosted two UEFA Champions League finals and the football competition at the 1992 Summer Olympics.

Some highlights of the “Camp Nou Experience” include the Interactive Museum, describing the clubs fascinating history since it was established in 1899, and the Stadium Tour, where the walk in the footsteps of Messi through the players changing room, the tunnel and even out onto the hallowed turf. Sit in the players benches, venture into the VIP lounge and enjoy the press area where Guardiola gave so many happy interviews.

The admission price for the Camp Nou Experience is 23 euros for adults and 17 adults for children. Opening hours are 02 April – 07 October: 10:00 – 20:00; 08 October – 01 April: 10:00 – 18:30; Sundays and holidays: 10:00 – 14:30.

This is a popular tour so if you want to avoid a long wait you can buy your “Skip the Line” Camp Nou Experience tickets online and pick up your tickets Once you have picked up your tickets from Calle Balmes 5, 08007 Barcelona, you can make your way to the stadium at any time when the stadium tour operates.Remember to bring along the voucher printout, photographic identification for example your passport and the person that actually purchased the Barcelona FC tour tickets online.

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