The Fira de Santa Llúcia has opened

The ancient Fira de Santa Llúcia de Barcelona opens today in Barcelona. This Christmas market takes place in front of Barcelona’s Cathedral La Se and is a Christmas tradition dating back several centuries. The festival features many stallholders selling small Xmas gifts, decorations, and some food items as well.

This year’s festival has been decorated to resemble a small mountain and will be open from today, November the 28th to December the 23rd.

This year there will be a total of 287 stands. As usual, during the Fira de Santa Llucía entertainment is provided by musicians playing traditional Catalan music, creating a wonderful festive Christmas atmosphere. If you are in the city centre in December be sure to swing by and join in the fun and perhaps pickup some novel Christmas gifts!

Posted in Activities - Winter, Areas - The Old Town & Ramblas, Catalan traditions and culture, Christmas and new year Barcelona | Leave a comment

Ruta de tapas Barcelona 2014

We love to discover a new tapas bar or indeed a special offer on tapas in Barcelona. So we are very excited to see the arrival of ‘Ruta de Tapes Barcelona 2014’ now running until the 30th of November. This year is the 9th the Gothic Quarter , Sants , Les Corts, Sarria , Poble Sec and Gràcia.

Each bar will offer a signature taps accompanied by a caña at a fixed price of 2.5 euros. Who can resist the offer of a cheap tasty morsel washed down with a delicious Spanish beer? Especially at this time of year, with all the expenses of Christmas, some cheap enjoyment goes down a treat.

Popular establishments taking part include bar 1800, bar Núria, Bar restaurante Victoria, la Cabaña de los Ángeles, la Masia o La Monroe de la Film. For a full list of bars taking part click here.

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Barcelona Flux Festival 2014

Barcelona is a city in love with all things new and contemporary and Barcelona’s Flux Festival is a festival that showcases innovative video art. This year featured the event will be held in the Santa Monica Arts Centre on Las Ramblas, lcose to Drassanes though there will also be events held in other locations around the city. Flux starts today (the 25th) and runs to the 30th of November.

Enjoy films from filmmakers including Juan Bufill, Kòmic Thtr and Lydia Zimmerman. Make sure to catch the closing film of Flux Festival: Zimmerman’s Baby Boy vs. Baby Doll in La Galería de Arte Escalera de Incedios.

Posted in Activities - Winter, Areas - Las Ramblas | Leave a comment

Ice Rink 2014

As we have mentioned previously in our blog, sunny Barcelona is gearing up for the festive season, thought the weather outside is far from Christmassy at the moment! Yesterday the Barcelona Trade Foundation opened the ice rink in Plaza Catalunya. In recent years this has become a regular part of Christmas in Barcelona, and has been enjoyed by locals and visitors to the city alike.

Dubbed BarGelona (gel is Catalan for ice), the skating rink is open to the public from today, Friday, November 21 and will remain open until Sunday the 11th of January 2015.

BarGelona is run by the Barcelona Trade Foundation as a contribution to the Christmas atmosphere of the city. As well as creating some festive fun, Christmas is of course the year’s biggest shopping event and this is a way to stimulate spending in the nearby shops on Passeig de Gràcia and El Portal Del Angel.
This year will be BarGelona´s fourth edition, and this year new features include an emphasis on construction from sustainable materials, and a winter sports program.

The latter is linked to the Barcelona-Pyrenees bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games. Though Barcelona is not typically associated with winter sports, the Pyrenees are just two hours from the city.

Posted in Activities - Winter, Christmas and new year Barcelona, Christmas lights in Barcelona, Shopping in Barcelona | Leave a comment

The Christmas lights are on!

It is time to get festive with Barcelona’s Christmas lights now on! Each year the city surpasses itself in creating a more dazzling display than in the previous year.

This year no less than 85 kilometers of christmas lights will be hung on Barcelona’s streets! The first to go up will be Via Laietana, then the Old Town, Travessera de Dalt and Calle Ramón y Cajal.

This year as always, Plaza Catalunya will be one of the main areas of the Christmas lights. Barcelona’s central square, as this is also where the Christmas ice ring is located.

The ice skating is expected to attract around 100,000 people this year, thanks to a new simpler electronic access system, so don’t worry about having queue!

As well as the glow of festive lights to create a Christmas mood, some giant Christmas trees will be distributed around the city, with 13 trees that are a whopping at some 10 meters tall, as well as one enormous 18 metre tree on the Portal de l’Angel. Barcelona being an environmentally friendly city, the trees have been organically grown, and come from Sant Hilari Sacalm (Girona). The Christmas lights themselves are LED for low energy consumption.
This year the lights will also be hung in the Eixample district, spreading the Yule cheer away from the centre.

A competition for up and coming designers was behind the lights on Calle Aragon. These fade in and out, apparently evoking the blanket of stars that guided the wise men from the East to worship the baby Jesus. A similar competition lead to the humporous design seen in Gran Via, where the winning design is made of sets of letters forming syllables related to Spanish Christmas, as the Spanish Carol ‘Fum Fum Fum’ or bell chimes (‘dong dong dong’), as well as Xmas gastronomy (gulp gulp gulp and nyam nyam nyam).

While the popular perception of the city is one of sun and beaches, Christmas is a wonderful time of year to visit Barcelona. Winter is mild and sunny typically, and in low season when there are fewer visitors to the city. This makes it easier to see aspects of the city and its architecture which come July and August would be impossible. Queues for museums and galleries are short, and you will discover more of the cities true identity.

Posted in Barcelona fiestas, Christmas and new year Barcelona, Christmas lights in Barcelona, Concerts in Barcelona, Shopping in Barcelona, Sporting activities in Barcelona, Tapas in Barcelona | Leave a comment

Explore La Marina and eat tapas!

A bargain tapas offer. Every Friday starting at seven in the evening until eleven at night 19 establishments in the neighbourhood of La Marina will offer a top quality tapa and a drink for only 1.95 euros! Given the time of year, the menu will mainly include hot tapas to keep the cold at bay.

This route of tapas bars and restaurants lasts right up until Christmas so this is a great way to get into a festive spirit. Barcelona is a wonderful city in winter and a great place to celebrate Christmas. Also check out El Gotic and El Raval, both are wonderful festive barrios.

The route thought the lively La Marina district showcases the best the neighbourhood has to offer. Located between the Old Town and the Sagrada Familia, this is an area which many visitors to Barcelona miss. This tapas route aims to change this, and to introduce this friendly neighbourhood to outsiders with quality food and tapas at low cost; it also aims to help local people get to know better the best eateries in their neighbourhood.

To discover participating eateries you can see the website of the Association of Merchants of the district of La Marina http://comerciantslamarina.wordpress.com/. Also keep your eyes peeled for posters and flyers in and around La Marina.

Bon profit!

Posted in Areas - The Eixample, Areas - The Old Town & Ramblas, Christmas and new year Barcelona | Leave a comment

The Strokes are confirmed for Primavera Sound 2015

New Yorkers ‘The Strokes’ are the first confirmed act for next year’s edition of Primavera Sound. The 2015 edition of Primavera sound will be the 15th edition and will be held between the 28th and the 30th of May at the Parc del Forum in Barcelona.

Official confirmation of the bands attendance came in a rather unusual ‘viral’ manner last Tuesday when a large canvas appeared on the Passeig del Born in Barcelona with the logo of the band, which come nightfall was illuminated by ultraviolet light that revealed the Primavera Sound logo.

Primavera Sound started in 2001, the same year as the Strokes debut album ‘ Is This It’ was released. The Strokes consist of New Yorkers Julian Casablancas , Albert Hammond Jr, Nikolae Fraiture , Nick Valensi and Fabrizio Moretti .

Posted in Activities - Spring, Concerts in Barcelona | Leave a comment

L’alternativa 2014

L’Alternativa film festival opens today in Barcelona and lasts until the 23rd of November. The festival takes place at the CCCB in Barcelona every November. The aim of L’Alternativa is to showcase interesting international independent films that usually fail to achieve widespread distribution in mainstream cinemas, and to thus introduce new directors and new titles.

This is a film festival that embraces original film-making that experiments with different styles and tackles original subject matters. Typically these are thought provoking films that try to explore and understand the world we live in.

L’Alternative is an inclusive event offering a number of free screenings, film debates and workshops.

You can see the full programme here. If you are in Barcelona this weekend, L’Alternativa offers the chance to enjoy a unique cultural event just a stone’s throw away from Las Ramblas.

Posted in Activities - Winter, Areas - The Old Town & Ramblas, Barcelona nightlife | Leave a comment

Autumn in Barcelona’s Collserola Park

Autumn is a wonderful time to explore the Collserola Park situated on Barcelona’s western fringe. The intense summer hear has gone, making outdoor pursuits such as hiking more agreeable.

With a total area of 84.65 km², Collserola is the largest metropolitan park in the world – 8 times larger than the Bois de Boulogne in Paris, and 22 times larger than Central Park in New York. This means the park is a wonderful escape from the city, popular for walking, cycling and birdwatching. There are clearly marked hiking paths, including one noteworthy route from Vallvidrera to Sant Cugat, a route usually taken by commuter train.

As well as evergreen Mediterranean pine trees that are acclimatised to the heat, behind the Collserola Mountain in the shadier parts of the park you will find that mountain oaks predominate, as well as oaks and hazels, the deciduous trees that we associate with typical image of autumn.

Another unmistakable signal of the coming of autumn is the arrival of autumn fruits such as viburnum, the cane apple (or strawberry tree) or butcher’s-broom. Some of these seasonal fruits are edible, while others can be exceedingly toxic, says the technical and environmental education guide Claudia Yague, who is responsible for the nature walks organized by the Vallvidriera civic centre.

The Vallvidriera civic center organizes tours in which the public can learn more about the Collserola forest and the way it changes during different seasons.
Collserola Park contains over a thousand major plant varieties, and around thirty plant communities have been catalogued. These communities of plants include Aleppo pines and nut pines, evergreen oaklands, riverside copses, maquis and scrublands, brush and Savannah grasslands.

Such rich diversity allows for the existence of a remarkably varied wildlife including animal species such as wild boar, genets, badgers, rabbits and squirrels. Bird varieties include blue tits, woodpeckers, doves, goshawks, sparrow hawks, and rat-catching eagles. Reptiles include salamanders, newts, green tree frogs, the small southern frog, toads, the small spotted toad, the Mediterranean turtle, the giant turtle, the ocellated lizard, and several snake species.

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Open House Barcelona 2014

The Open House initiative began in France in 1984 and since then it has spread to cities all across the globe. The Open House initiative seeks to open up outstanding architecture for all to see, and to encourage dialogue about urban environments and architecture.

The project came to Barcelona in 2009, on the 25th of October 48h Open House BCN will ‘open its doors’ for its fifth edition. Visitors will have the chance to take a look inside over 150 buildings around the city that normally remain closed to the general public.

Barcelona is home to some amazing architecture. Firstly there is the diversity, with examples of building stock including Roman, mediaeval, Catalan art nouveau (and of course the works of Gaudi) and cutting edge contemporary. Then there is the quality of Barcelona’s architecture – art nouveau in Barcelona for example is unique, colourful and breathtaking. The cities medieval architecture is aesthetically and structurally unique. This is a city that oozes style, and always has done!
This year buildings opening their doors to the public include art nouveau apartments on Passeig de Gràcia to hotels, schools, libraries, shops and private homes. You can see Roman ruins, contemporary architecture, Catalan gothic, vernacular Catalan, neoclassical, Catalan modernist, and modern. Furthermore, architects and volunteers will be on hand to offer more information about the buildings.

Entry to every building is free, but if you do not feel like queuing you can buy a pass that gives priority entrance. This costs €35 for a day or €50 for a weekend. For more information on Open House Barcelona, visit their website here.

Posted in Art in Barcelona, Barcelona's Museums, Exhibitions in Barcelona, Gaudi architecture | Leave a comment