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Why I would return to Barcelona Travel Guides

We're a holiday rental company and passionate about off the beaten path travel. These are our insider tips for the destinations where we offer holiday accommodation. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoy writing it!!

Why I would return to Barcelona

Travel Tips for Why I would return to Barcelona
Why I would return to Barcelona

Antonio Gaudí is not someone I’ll forget easily. When I explored this wonderfully clean and vibrant city, I never knew quite where the artistic hand and unfettered genius of this remarkably gifted man would pop up. His architectural creations are, quite simply, unavoidable. Roaming around Las Ramblas, the city’s best-known landmark, inhaling the smell of tapas and paella, caught up in the strolling crowd, I stumbled across the Güell Palace. Designed by Gaudí for a rich industrialist and subdued by the architect’s standards, there is but a hint of what was to come from the pen of the great man. Pausing on the Passeig de Gràcia, my eye was deceived by Casa Batllo’s complete lack of edges and corners. At ground level, huge pillars resemble the feet of some giant elephant. The roof reminded me of the backbone of a gigantic dinosaur. Between the two, a number of small, elegantly curved balconies glue themselves to the front of the house like birds' nests on a cliff face. I was amazed at the colours and intricacy of the building; blues, golds and purples. Casa Mila – known as ‘The Quarry’ by Barcelonians – was even more astonishing. At least Gaudí acknowledged the straight line ...

Why I Would Return to Barcelona by Sam Hicks

Travel Tips for Why I would return to Barcelona
Why I Would Return to Barcelona by Sam Hicks

As I tentatively stepped off the plane onto the runway I was hit by a surge of warm air. It was the height of summer and at just 17 I was going it alone! Unaccompanied, I had booked up a 2 week break in Barcelona to experience the dazzling lights and sounds of this amazing city for the first time. With only the first night’s accommodation booked, a funky hostel just off Las Ramblas, I made the journey by train into the city centre, weighed down by the contents of my wardrobe. I crashed into my dorm to be greeted by a lively group of friends who'd already settled on their chosen beds. We quickly got chatting and made plans to go out for food that night. We settled on a beautiful floating restaurant by the marina. The night was warm and the wine flowing as we sat and enjoyed our surroundings. It was my first introduction to paella, which has since become a favourite, a traditional Spanish meal famous in the region of Catalonia. As we hit the main drag back into town around midnight we watched before our eyes as the city began to wake from its slumber. People ...

Why I would return to Barcelona by Pia Padukone

Travel Tips for Why I would return to Barcelona
Why I would return to Barcelona by Pia Padukone

How easy it was to linger away an afternoon over delicate plates of glistening chorizo and the free-flowing, mouth-filling juicy wine, and the architecture, oh, the architecture. I was in love. But on our 6th day together, I broke it off. He flew home, promising to be friends. I distracted myself for a few days with the Dali Museum in Figueres and long rambling scrawls in my journal from the rib-like tunnels of Parc Güell, before flying home and vowing to return. Which I did, with my next boyfriend. Perhaps my fatal flaw was that we did many of the same things I did the first time around, but when you're in Barcelona, how can you not hike to the haunting, gothic summit of La Sagrada Familia? Not ramble through Las Ramblas? Not sample pickled baby octopus at El Mercat de la Boqueria? Not spend your last romantic evening as the lights twinkle around you in the highest restaurant in the city, Torre D'Alta Mar? "Wouldn't it be romantic," I purred, in a drunken Rioja haze. "To move here? With the hills flanking you on one side and the beach flirting on the other? I want to do that one day." Apparently ...

Cycling along Barcelona’s Beaches

Travel Tips for Area: Barceloneta
Cycling along Barcelona’s Beaches

With dozens of bike hire services and an increasing network of cycling lanes, seeing Barcelona by bike is becoming enormously popular, especially along the city’s waterfront. Barceloneta, the city’s salty, maritime neighbourhood is the best place to start off on your two wheels. (You could even hire them from Barceloneta Bikes, C/ Mestrança 49). With the Port Vell – the city’s main marina – on your right, head down Passeig del Borbón, Barceloneta’s main drag and home to dozens of famous fish restaurants, like La Cucina di Ivo all the way down the Plaça del Mar, a vast plaza that faces the sea. From here you can take the boardwalk in the opposite direction, heading towards the landmark twin towers at the Port Olímpic and Frank Gehry’s famous bronze fish sculpture (you can’t miss them). Along the way, you could take a break at one of the dozens of chiringuitos (outdoor bars) that line the foreshore, or at the Port Olímpic itself, which contains dozens of cafes restaurants overlooking another marina. Once replenished, continue along the boardwalk in the same direction. (After a short distance it will become a sandy track, but don’t worry, it soon reverts to concrete again). North of the ...

Bar Hopping in Barcelona’s El Raval

Travel Tips for Area: El Raval, Featured
Bar Hopping in Barcelona’s El Raval

El Raval is Barcelona’s largest neighbourhood, and by far it’s liveliest. Demarked by the Las Ramblas and containing many star attractions such as the MACBA museum and Boqueria market, visitors to the city are likely to spend a fair bit of time during their holiday in El Raval. The buzz in El Raval gets louder at night, when countless bars roll up their shutters for business. In streets like Joaquím Costa (the epicentre of Raval bar culture) the Rambla del Raval and Riera Alta you can pretty much hop from one to another, taking in the distinct personality of each along the way. To get you started, here are some of our favourites bars in the Raval: Marmalade, Riera Alta 4-6 This large, New Yorkian-style locale with ad-hoc furniture and pool table is known for its friendly, up for it crowd and nicely-priced cocktails (most of them are around 5€). Many people meet up at the Marmalade before hitting the clubs, and it’s a good place to pick up flyers and invites. Bodega 1800, Carme 31 Although it may look like it’s been here forever, this little hole-in-the-wall bar is actually quite new, and the perfect spot for some pre-dinner tapas and good barrelled wine ...

Food Glorious Food: Barcelona’s Boqueria Market

Travel Tips for Area: Barri Gotic, Featured
Food Glorious Food: Barcelona’s Boqueria Market

It’s been called ‘the greatest market in the world’ and in many ways it is. Barcelona’s Boqueria market is the largest in Europe and the best in the city. Located right on Las Ramblas, La Boqueria goes beyond a place to do your weekly food shopping in Barcelona; it is a showcase for the Spain’s vast array of seasonal produce, an inspiration for local chefs, a stage for local community events and increasingly a top tourist attraction in Barcelona. Traders of all sorts have been peddling their wares at La Boqueria’s site since the 17th century when the city was still walled, though the soaring glass and iron structure you see today dates from the mid-19th century. Inside, there is logic to the market’s layout; in the centre you’ll find the ‘illa de peix’ (island of fish) where pearly-white cuttlefish, bucket-loads of prawns and scary-looking monkfish glisten on seas of ice. Around the edges you’ll find fruit and veg, with exotic fresh fruit juices sold at the Rambla-facing stalls. In between you’ll wander through everything in-between, from tiny paradas selling only eggs or bananas and another with every sort of fungi under the sun (Petras, Nº 867, they also specialise in ...

Why I would return to Barcelona by Milan Matchev

Travel Tips for Why I would return to Barcelona
Why I would return to Barcelona by Milan Matchev

Barcelona - My Favorite! It is one of the best tourist spots in Spain. Here are some of its highlights. The Cathedral of Barcelona is dedicated to the Saint Eulalia. It has beautiful carvings on the choir and on the tomb of Saint Eulalia that is housed in the crypt. There are street performers, many vendors and cafes around the cathedral. It took a very long time to build this religious structure. Work began in 1298 and went on till 1913 as civil wars and plague disrupted its construction. The National Museum of Catalonian Art (MNAC) is located near the Parc de Montjuic and has a beautiful collection of works from the Romanesque, Renaissance, Baroque, Gothic, Rococo and Modern periods. Lectures are also held to educate the tourists about art history. The museum is open to visitors from Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 7pm and from 10am to 2:30pm on Sundays. The Picasso Museum is based in central Barcelona (in the historical Born district) and is easily reached by metro. Out of the five Picasso Museums in Europe, this one was the first to open (in 1963). It features the beautiful works of Picasso that were made by him in his ...

Public Car Parks in Barcelona

Travel Tips for Getting Around Barcelona
Public Car Parks in Barcelona

None but one Barcelona apartment on Holiday Velvet has a car park attach to it but there are plenty of public car parks in Barcelona, even in the historical center (Barri Gotic and Borne). The cost ranges from 20 to 30 Euros per day, although some busy car parks (la Rambla and Barceloneta) may charge up to 50 Euros a day. If you are travelling to Barcelona by car here is a useful list of car parks in each central area (most of them are 24 hour parking): PUBLIC CAR PARKS IN BARCELONA BORNE DISTRICT »Aparcament Born: Pl Comercial, 1, +34 932 683 834 »see Google Map »Aparcament Princesa: Via Laietana, 20, +34 933 107 835 »see Google Map PUBLIC CAR PARKS NEAR LA RAMBLA / RAMBLAS »Aparcament Eden: C Nou de la Rambla, 12, +34 933 179 032 »see Google Map »Aparcament Interparking La Rambla: C la Rambla, 20, +34 933 011 142 »See Google Map »Aparcament Manuel Serna Royuela: C Pintor Fortuny, 19, +34 933 171 383 »See Google Map PUBLIC CAR PARKS IN BARCELONA BARCELONETA DISTRICT »Aparcament Barceloneta Centre, Carrer del Baluart, 27, +34 932 217 529 »see Google map PUBLIC CAR PARKS IN BARCELONA GRACIA DISTRICT »Aparcament Dolores Zorita Villalba, Carrer Bretón de los Herreros, 8, +34 932 183 509 »see Google map For ...

Left-Luggage Info

Travel Tips for Featured, Getting Around Barcelona, Getting Around London, Getting Around New York, Getting Around Paris, Getting Around Rome, Getting Around Venice
Left-Luggage Info

Here at Holiday Velvet we often get asked about where you can leave your luggage whilst you are waiting to 'check in' to your apartment or after you have 'checked-out'. Whilst you can always ask the owner directly if they are able to look after your bags for a few hours, left luggage facilities still exist at many major train stations and other transport hubs. These days, most of these facilities run on an automated locker system (gone are the days when you checked in your bag in as you would a coat in a nightclub). Remember that they may fill up at peak periods. Rome When arriving at Termini Station on the Leonardo Express train from Fiumicino airport, you can leave your baggage in the ‘piazza’ on the lower-ground floor (follow the ‘Deposito bagagli’ signs). It’s open 6am-midnight, 7 days a week. Venice ‘Deposito bagagli’ is available at Santa Lucia Train Station (open 6am-midnight daily). Cooperative Trasbagagli is a private company that will not only store you luggage for you, but take it by boat to your place of accommodation, saving you schlepping bags over the bridges and canals. They have two offices in Venice; one at the Piazzale Roma (open 6am to ...

Romantic restaurants in Born, Barcelona

Travel Tips for Area: Borne
Romantic restaurants in Born, Barcelona

The Borne district in Barcelona is a medieval area situated between Barceloneta and Via Laietana where knights once jousted and people gathered to drink and celebrate. Today, El Born is one of Barcelona’s most popular districts, full of charming shops, bars and romantic restaurants. One of the most crowded streets is Passeig del Born where there are many bars and pizza joints. Calle Montcada is another of the great medieval streets where 20th century culture is easily accessed at the Picasso Museum. The Textile Museum is also nearby and recounts the history of Barcelona’s renowned textile guilds. For a little quiet contemplation, there is a magnificent cathedral that offers a wonderfully cool sanctuary. Visitors are always welcome even during marriage ceremonies. Apart from expensive shops, El Born is renowned for its restaurants and there are plenty from which to choose. Below is a list of just a few: • Senyor Parellada is in Calle Argenteria 37 and is situated in a 19th century building where the food is pure and delicious Catalan with truly fresh fish and meat, complemented with vegetables and rice in an atmosphere that is perfect for couples; • Comerç 24 is in an old salting house building that is ...

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