The must-see parks of Barcelona

August 23, 2010

Barcelona is extremely well-known for its incredible parks. Montjuic, Ciutadella and who can forget about one of Gaudí’s greatest designs, Park Güell. Each of these parks are universally recognized as a great place to relax and take in the sun. They all have very special and unique characteristics that are essential in order to experience a full-on Barcelona experience.

Montjuic is the name of a famous mountain in the city of Barcelona. Due to its very vivid greenery and outstanding views of the city and of the Plaza España, this mountain is one of the most visited sites in this city. This mountain provides you with a full view of the entire scenery of Barcelona and is full of amazing resting spots. While checking out this place you’ll definitely run into one of the numerous symbols of the 1992 Olympic Games held in Barcelona, it really is a must-see.

El parque de la Ciutadela is surely another crucial tourist attraction in Barcelona. It draws in its visitors with its majestic waterfall monument, located directly in the center the park. Due to the World’s fair of 1888 held in Barcelona Antoni Gaudí also had his hand in the creation of this piece. If you enjoy live music, then visiting the center of this park is going to be a thrill. There are often several musical groups that perform freely through the late afternoon, making everyone’s experience an unforgettable one.

Last but not least we recommend Park Güell, Gaudí’s masterpiece. This park is located on the upper part of Barcelona and represents the artistic movement of Catalan Modernism. Its abundant iconographic elements and endless greenery are what make this magnificent park one of the world’s most famous Heritage Site of UNESCO. Built during the first decade of the twentieth century, it represents Gaudi’s Naturalist phase, which directly involves many small monuments and works of art influenced by fantastic and mythological creatures.

So if you’re looking to spend a nice, quite and serene afternoon in a park in Barcelona, then look no further and don’t hesitate in visiting the wonders of this great city.

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Festival de la Mercè, Barcelona’s main Event!

August 13, 2010

Around the 24th of September Festival de La Merce takes place in Barcelona.  This 5 days festival is the biggest festival in Barcelona and takes place at the end of the summer, just for the start of the autumn. The festival is held in honour of Mare de Deu de la Merce, the Patron Saint Of Barcelona. In 1902 the first edition was held.

In these few days hundreds of activities are being held on the Barcelona streets: there are musicians and street artists who are performing amongst the public. Moreover the festival consists out of a lot of traditions: human castles, giants, beasts and various guests of the Mediterranean.  It´s not only the street which is used as a theater since the sky is the limit, there are multiple performances done in the sky, acrobatic things, balloons and ultra lights.

One major element which is coming back in a lot of festivals is fire. Since the Spaniards/Catalans believe that fire is scaring the ghosts away. During the festival there are big musical fireworks and a fire run.

Al the events are held on the streets therefore we advice people to try avoiding the city centre by car, since it will be impossible to drive.

People see the fire run as one of the festival highlights, during this run there will be a lot of fire and fireworks. The run consist out of groups whom are dressed up as dragon´s and walk around with a lot of sparkling and bright fireworks. Due to this fact it´s advisable to take protective clothing, hats and glasses since a lot of the sparkler fireworks sprays into the crowd. There are 2 versions of the festival, one is especially for children. The main difference is the use of fireworks, during the children edition the crowd won´t be sprayed with fireworks.

The second highlight are the Human Towers. These towers attract a lot of people to plaza Jaume: the main aim of the tower builders (Castellers) is to build a human tower and have a young child climbing to the top and stand up.

The festival is seen as Barcelona´s main street event; therefore this would be the perfect occasion to visit Barcelona and enjoying its culture. During these 5 days you can see 500 different events, with highlights as the Fire run and Human towers. FlatsByDays can offer multiple apartments two streets off plaza Jaume, the location of these Human Towers.

Barcelona during the 20th century

August 3, 2010


During July 1936 the Spanish civil war broke out. The city and Catalonia were Republican, most public services and enterprises were collectivized by the Cnt and Ugt (Unions). During the beginning of the civil war the republican power diminished. Since the city was under control of anarchists. On March 15, 1938 Barcelona got bombed, this happened under the command of Italian dictator Mussolini and these bombs were dropped on request of General Franco. After a battle of a year Barcelona fell into Nationalist Hands on 26 January 1939.

Because of the Nationalistic control Barcelona´s autonomous instructions were abolished and it was not allowed to speak Catalan in public life. Since Barcelona was Spain´s second city, Barcelona got more industrialized. Due to this fact there started a large-scale immigration from the other parts of Spain. This led to rapid urbanizations, area´s like Bellvitge and L´Hospitalet de Llobregat got swallowed up. All the inhabitants of these area´s needed to get to Barcelona, this led to the development of the metro, tarmacing the streets and installation of traffic lights.

In 1970 Barcelona had 1.557.863 inhabitants which lived with 15.517 people on one square kilometer.

After General Franco died, Spain became a democracy. Especially in Barcelona the pressure of change was enormous, since Barcelona and Catalonia suffered the most of his Regime. During the 80´s 90´s Barcelona had 2 major events: 1986 Spanish accession to the European community and the summer Olympics in 1992. These events led to a better international reputation and an increase of tourism.

Take a look at our apartments, where you can find a wide variety of apartments throughout the old city center.

Barcelona it´s History Part 2

July 28, 2010

Barca

During the roman time the Jewish religion had been tolerated by the Romans, however the Jewish suffered of discrimination. Anyhow the Jews still had an important influence on Barcelona. The word Montjuic of the Montjuic Mountain means mountain of the Jews.

During 711 the Moorish forces arrived at the Iberian Peninsula. After they concurred and devastated Tarraco, Barcelona surrendered peacefully. During these years Moorish rules applied in Barcelona ( Barshiluna). The cathedral was converted into a mosque and there were extra taxes for the non-Muslims.

However the Moorish control didn´t take long while Louis the Pious captured Barcelona in 801. This was his most southerly gains form the Moors. The area around Barcelona became the Spanish Marches (which was a buffer zone between them and the Moorish), with Barcelona as seat of the county.

In 1162 the area was inherited by Alfonso 2 of Aragon. Barcelona was an important city for him since it was the biggest settlement in Catalonia ( 4X the size of Girona). Since it´s location at the Mediterranean Sea the economy of Barcelona transferred directly trade. In 1469 Ferdinand 2 of Aragon married Isabelle 1 of Castile. Due to this marriage the two most important royal lines were united. After the marriage centre of political power became Madrid and because of the colonization of the Americas the financial importance of the Mediterranean trade reduced.

During the beginning of the 18th century the successes in the New World lead to a war between some of the major European countries. This led to the abolition of the Catalan autonomy, and ultimately to the end of national influences in Barcelona.

As the rest of Europe the industrial revolution arrived in Catalonia. All the Catalonia cities became important industrial centers, which led to an increase in wealth. After the revolution Barcelona was annexed by Napoleonic France and became a part of the French Empire.

In 1888 Barcelona hosted the Universal Exposition; this led to urbanizing of Barcelona. Barcelona absorbed some of there outskirts. One of them was Eixample(which means the extension).

FlatsByDays can offer apartments all around the city for instance our Cathedral apartment and our Gothic apartment. Living in the Gothic area will lead to an experience of this History.

The third and last part will be about the 20th century and Barcelona right now (Architecture, city etc)

Barcelona, a city with a long History!

July 21, 2010

The history stretches back 2000 years ago when Barcelona was named Barkeno. It was an easily defensible city due to its location (between the sea and the Collserola ridge). The city was settled by the Laietani in the third century, on the Taber Hill (now: Ciutat Vella) and at Laie (Montjuic).

There are a lot of myths concerning the history of Barcelona. At the moment there are two founding myths. The first one is about Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca (father of Hannibal) who came up with the name Barkeno. People believe that Barkeno is Iberic for Barcelona. The second myth is about Hercules. When Hercules was searching for the Golden Fleece one of his nine ships was lost, Hercules decided to locate the ship. He found the ship but it was completely wrecked: however his crew survived it and was taken to a beautiful location with the name Barca Nona (Ninth Ship).

After the Carthaginian control the Romans conquered the whole Iberian Peninsula. The north-east of the Peninsula was the first region to fall under the ´new´ Roman Control. When the Romans settled Barcelona they called it Barcino, in contrast to now Barcino was less important then Tarraco (Now: Tarragona) and Caesaraugusta (Now: Zaragoza). Barcino was controlled by Tarraco. However Barcino had a strategic position on the Via Augusta which allowed a commercial and economic development and it enjoyed immunity from imperial taxation.

During the Roman Control Barcino´s main economic activity was the cultivation, the cultivated wine was widely exported over the Roman Empire. Barcelona´s main public building was a temple which was dedicated to Ceasar Augustus.

As you can read Barcelona is a great city with a beautiful history. With our apartments around the old city centre (Portaferissa, Bellafila and Opera) you can be a part of the wonderful history.

Next week the blog will be about the period after the Roman Control. The Christian communities and Jewish influences.

Public Transportation in Barcelona

July 15, 2010

The metropolitan of Barcelona has 1.6 Million inhabitants. These people need to be transported all around the city: due to this fact Barcelona has reliable public transport. There are different ways of transportation to travel around the city.

Maybe the quickest and easiest way is the Metro. The Barcelona metro is going all around the city and is open until 24.00(Monday-Thursday), 2.00 AM (Friday), All night (Saturday). Since the metro is going everywhere it´s a nice way to transport inside Barcelona. We recommend you to buy a T-10 ticket, this ticket costs 7.95€ and includes 10 tickets. 1 Ticket is valid for 1.15H, which means that changing from bus to metro in 1.15h is free.

The Bus is also a nice way of transportation. Since there´re so many stops around the city, you can come more close to your destination then by metro. The only downside is that the bus takes longer. Barcelona has special bus strips, due to these strips the busses won´t slow down by traffic. The busses are also using the T-10 tickets.

If you decide to ´escape´ from Barcelona for a day it´s recommend taking the train. The trains in Spain are pretty punctual and cheap. A round ticket to for instance Sitges is 7€. Sitges is a beautiful small village with a beautiful beach. We can recommend you to go there for a day to enjoy its beautiful beaches. The trains are using their own tickets, and can be bought at the stations. Barcelona has multiple train stations (Barcelona Sants, Passeig de Gracia and Estacio Franca). Passeig de Gracia has a metro station as well so it´s pretty easy to hop from metro to train.

FlatsByDays has a variety of apartments which are very close to the public transport. Our Bellafila apartments are just in the middle of metro station Liceu (Green) and station Jaume (Yellow), due to this fact you can get from our apartments everywhere by taking public transport.

The Sagrada Familia, Barcelona´s pearl!

July 7, 2010

The Sagrada Familia is one of the symbols that stand for Barcelona. The Sagrada has been under construction since 1882, the church will be consecrated by the Pope on November 7, 2010.

The church was designed by Antoni Gaudi, whom is still very important for Barcelona since a majority of his creatures are still in wonderful shape and can be found in Barcelona. After his death in 1926 the work continued under the direction of Gaudi´s friend, Domenech Sugranyes. Barcelona is still trying to finish the constructions in 2026 (100 years after Gaudi´s death).

It took Gaudi 5 years to finish the entrance. From that moment on Gaudi realized that the constructions would take a tremendous amount of time. Therefore he opened in 1909 the Sagrada Temporary schools. These schools were designed for the children of the workers and for the local children who were members of its community. During the last months of his life he became so involved that he decided to live next to the church. He lived in a room next to the workshop; this room was used for making scale models, doing sketches etc.

Just after his death the team moved on by using Gaudi´s original plans and drawings, due to this fact the four bell towers were completed in 1930. During the civil war the construction stopped, throughout the civil war multiple parts of the temple were damaged and desecrated. Therefore after the civil war the restoration of the crypt started. It took until the end 80´s of the 20th century to finish the outside of the Temple. From the begin 90´s the team started building the inside of the Gaudi´s creature. Since the Sagrada has been under construction for so long, they are restorate the temple as well. This means that they are building and restorate the temple.

The construction on the temple is not supported by the government. The initial stages were funded by private funds. At the moment the construction is paid by the entrance tickets and by private donations through the friends of the temple fund.

The Bellafila Apartments are just some metro stops away from this beautiful creation of Gaudi

Montjuic, the hill with a history!

June 30, 2010

Who is coming to Barcelona will see immediately the mighty Montjuïc. Montjuïc is ´Hill of the Jews´ in medieval Catalan. From this hill you can overlook the harbor, to the southwest of the city centre. Since the location was so ideal the top of the hill was the location of several fortifications: the largest fortress has a ´black´ history while it was the site of several executions up to the ´Franco time´.

The Montjuïc hosted some events over the years. One of the major were the 1992 Olympic games, when several stadiums were located at the Montjuïc: until 2008 the Olympic stadium was the home of football club Espanyol.

The roads in the slopes facing the city were four times the home of Spanish grand prix: due to a terrible accident which killed 4 people the grand prix never returned to this historical location.

Next to the Olympic stadium you will find Palau Sant Jordi: this venue is used as ´concert arena´ since many artists, like Madonna, Mika and Kiss, already performed at the Palau.

During the summer the mountain is the home of an outdoor cinema, The Sala Montjuïc. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, film enthusiasts can see a selection of national and international movies. These films are offered in English; therefore this is an ideal location for tourists. Besides you can take you picnic basket since the screen is located on a big field of grass.

FlatsByDays is offering multiple apartments (Ramblas Santa Monica, Bellafila Prl, Bellafila 1b) which are just a metro ride away from the Montjuic. The Montjuic is the ideal location for making beautiful pictures of the city visit the castle garden or visit the Miro Museum.

Beaches in Barcelona

June 22, 2010

Today´s forecast, sunny and 24 degrees: it´s summer in Barcelona and the beaches are getting more attractive.

In Barcelona you will find a variety of beaches which are located over the whole coastline (See Picture).

Since the big clean up for the 1992 Olympics the beaches became a magnet for locals and visitors. Therefore there is taking good care in maintaining a clean sea and beach, the beach is tested daily and is accessible for disabled, there are lifeguards, sun beds and showers.
One of the most beautiful beaches is the Nova Icaria: it is the closest one to the marina and is therefore crowded. Due to this fact there are a variety of beach bars, restaurants and a large promenade.

Second beach is the Bogatell beach. This beach is twice the length of it´s neighbor(Nova Icaria). Since the beach is depressed it cuts all the noises down and it feels like you´re miles away from Barcelona. At the beach are no bars and restaurants, but you can find some restaurants on the boulevard.

The next beach is Mar Bella. This beach is located next to Bogatell but is divided by a school which can teaches you how to windsurf and kayak. Near to the beach is a wonderful park which is perfect for a picnic or siesta in the shade.

Last but not least is the Barceloneta beach. This beach is the most popular for tourists since there are a dozen of restaurants, from American-style to Catalan style. On this beach you will find a lot of people and due to that fact it´s really cheerful.

If you´re interested in planning a day trip to one of the beaches. It would be a good idea to look as well to the beaches which are located around Barcelona. Cities like Sitges have even more beautiful beaches which are not artificial and are just a short train ride away.

Tip: During the night of the 23th of June (tomorrow) Sant Joan is taking place. During this national holiday people are making bonfires and there are firework shows around the beaches. Since everyone is going to the beach the atmosphere is very relax and cheerful.

With apartments (Bellafila 3a, 3b and Bellafila 1B) on just 10/15 minutes (walking distance) from these beaches, FlatsByDays can offer you a joyful and relax holiday in sunny and interesting Barcelona.

Book your apartment at FlatsByDays during Bob Dylan´s peformance at Barcelona

June 16, 2010

On the 24th of June American singer/songwriter Bob Dylan will perform in Barcelona at Poble Espanyol. Active for over 50 years Dylan is an icon in the global music industry with hits as “Hurricane”, “Like a rolling stone” and “Forever Young”. The highlight of his career was during the sixties were he made the most of his awarded material. Tracks like ´Blowin in the Wind´ and ´The times they are a-chagin´ became anthems for anti-war and civil rights movement. Dylan which had some great skills on a variety of instruments (guitar, harmonica and keyboard) wasn´t a normal performer, since he made music in almost every kind of genre (from folk to gospel). With 11 Grammies, 1 Academy and 1 golden globe award Bob Dylan is one of the most awarded artists in the world. This Oscar nomination and award was a beautiful start of the new millennium, this price was awarded because of his song; “Things have Changed” which was made for the movie ´Wonder Boys´. Due to this Oscar people realized that Bob Dylan was still alive and was still ready to surprise the globe once more. In 2006 Dylan started a career as a DJ, hosting a weekly radio program where he was playing songs which were selected around a chosen theme. During his 100th show n April 2009 he played “Woody Guthrie – So long, it´s been good to know yuh” which has led to numerous speculations that Dylan ended his radio show. During his summer tour throughout Europe he is going to play twice in Spain, on the 24th in Barcelona and on the 26th at the Azkena rock festival. So this will be a unique chance to see this stunishing American singer/songwriter live.

FlatsByDays can offer you a variety of apartment throughout Barcelona which can combine this concert to an unforgettable stay in Barcelona. With apartment all around the city centre there are apartments according to everyone´s wishes. We can offer you a variety of one- two- and more bedroom apartments. As a one bedroom apartment we can offer you our Bellafila 3a apartment which is located in the gothic quarter. Another beautiful apartment in the gothic quarter is the two bedroom apartment Opera. So do not wait and book your trip to Barcelona to see Bob Dylan and the beautiful city of Barcelona.