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It can all be a little overwhelming, the city may not be huge but the culture, activities, events, eateries etc. is vast. So we have taken it upon ourselves to amalgamate our local 12 years experience in the city via our blog. Whether you are planning on coming over for the festivals, want to find out vegan eats or general insider information, we will keep you in the loop.
SPAIN’s national train operator Renfe is ready to launch commercial services on the country’s newest high-speed line next week. Eight Madrid – Barcelona trains will be extended to Girona and Figueres via the AVE, near the French border from January 9th, plus an additional Barcelona – Figueres service. Two of the new services will be scheduled to allow passengers to transfer to TGV trains currently being operated by French National Railways (SNCF) between Figueres and Paris. It is planned to extend international services from France through to Barcelona in the spring.
Barcelona is renowned for sun, sea and sangria but there is more to the province than just that as may winter sports fans will know. Many popular ski resorts are open from the 6th December, which means it is time to clean those skis and and get to the nearest ski slope as soon as possible.
We are very much in love with hamman spa Aire de Barcelona, having previously blogged about this gem of a spa in spring earlier this year. Not to be mistaken as a gift for the ladies as you will find both genders at this secluded haven. Select treatments personally for your loved one and then have it presented in a traditional gift box.
If you follow us on Facebook, you may have noticed that we have somewhat of a sweet tooth. So we decided to get to know Helen Vass, a Scottish baker (who has been baking since the age of ten) based here in Barcelona who offers cooking classes in both Spanish and English. She is the infamous character behind popular food websites The Diary of a Cake Maker, a must when you are in need of a good cake recipe and for inspiration. Read the interview below to find out her favorite haunts.
Whilst many will tell romantic tales of idyllic christmas markets in places such as Prague and Berlin, Barcelona hosts the Fira de Santa Llucía fair – the charming Christmas market which initially started in 1786, that has now expanded to encompass over 300 stalls selling an array of handcrafted Catalan gifts and decorations. The majority of the stalls sell Christmas trees, decorations and mistletoe in addition to Catalan folk traditions such as the cago tio, which is a log with a smiley face and then there is the caganer, which are sculpture of people (now iconic and celebrities) squatting with the trousers down excreting and literally giving back to the earth.
With the drop in temperature and the beach now being a distant memory, places like Montserrat make an ideal day trip from Barcelona. The views from this beautiful and unusual mountain are simply phenomenal, making it one of Barcelona’s most quirky and striking landmarks. The highest summit of Montserrat is called Sant Jeroni (Saint Jerome) and stands at 1,236 meters (4,055 feet) above sea-level making it a popular amongst active types that go along the hiking trails, couples visit for scenic trips and then there are people that make the effort to go to visit the monastery and in particular the Madonna.
One of the most popular ways to see the city is by bike, not only is it more personal and fit but it is a great way to disperse yourself in to the city. You will see many residents here using the red bicing bikes, unfortuantely these bikes are for residents only but the city does have many companies that offer bike rentals to tourists and reasonable prices. We have taken the time to list some of our favorites.
Barcelona is renown for it’s beautiful plazas (squares), with that of Plaça Reial lilted with palm trees and modernist architecture and the bohemian style at Plaça del Sol in Gracia . Though it must be said that the tragic tale that rests at the pretty and quaint Plaça Sant Felip Neri is one that makes it a must visit.
Dragons, human castles, giants in processions and incredible firework displays by the beach all mean one thing – La Mercè festival Barcelona is back. Close to the end of September, Barcelona city hosts its largest street party marking the end of summer – ensuring that you bid farewell with a bang. The festival first took place in 1902 and continues to unify the city and surrounding zones.
Looking for a tour guide in Barcelona with a difference? Want to discover interior design, base your tour on boutiques, culture or perhaps focus on gastronomy? If yes, The Treasures is the ideal company for your choice. Set up by Carolina Carassco and Marianne Krauss (both extensive travelers), the boutique styled private walking tour company is based on unvealing the beautiful hidden gems in the city, ensuring that you are guaranteed to get to know Barcelona beneath the surface. We took a tour with The Treasures to discover their favorite haunts in Barcelona city – well if their’ tour grabbed the attention of The Cool Hunter, we clearly have to pay attention.