Try La Mercè Festival – the hottest time in Barcelona

La Mercé Festival 21012 Barcelona

If there is one big Festival in Barcelona’s heart it is La Mercè Festival. It is the largest festival in Barcelona, taking place each year at the end of September. So you can finish the Barcelona summer properly. La Mercè is an authentic and old celebration in the Catalan capital. According to legend, on 24 September 1218, Our Lady of Mercy – La Mercè – appeared before King James I and Saint Peter Nolasco, ordering them to found the Mercedarian Order to free the faithful who were prisoners of the Saracens. This manifestation of the Virgin was made patron saint of Barcelona later, when, in 1687, the city overcame a terrible plague of locusts after offering up prayers to Her. Nearly two hundred years later, Pope Pius IX officially recognised La Mercè as the city’s patron saint and the people of Barcelona began to celebrate Her feast, though the current format of a festival programme featuring Catalan traditions was not adopted until the late-19th century.

Mercé 12 Festival Barcelona - Giant paradeThis year, it will begin on the Friday 21st September until Monday 25th. The streets will be filled with hundreds of different activities,  events, parades, fire runs (Correfoc), musical performances, sports events and so on. La Mercè festival will give you the opportunity to enjoy the best of Barcelona’s festivity. The organisers claim that “No one interested in plumbing the very soul of Barcelona and Catalonia can afford to miss this festival”

Events include the parade of the giants (giant wooden figures operated by people) accompanied by musicians and fireworks. The human towers, where participants in traditional costume (castellers) climb on top of one another. The tower often reaches around eight levels. It is a must see in Barcelona. The city is full of visitors from all over Spain and Europe, so if you plan to enjoy it we recommend not losing any time to rent an accomodation for your stay.

The entire city joins in the fun of the celebrations on the waterfront and harbour, on Montjuic and in the Parc de la Ciutadella with open air cinema, jazz concerts and other celebrations. Throughout the festival you will have the chance to see the traditional Catalan Sardana dance which is a type of circle dance. This festival will have something for everyone, music, street performances, drama, in thousands of venues across the city. Festivities last all day from the early morning, with the Gralles parade around the streets of the old Barcelona (traditional instruments in the double reed family) waking up the city-folk and inviting them to join in with the celebrations.

La Mercé 12 Festival Barcelona - Correfoc Fire run

Join in the fun with Barcelona’s biggest party of the year.

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Cultural or Festive Holidays? Both with Grec Festival!

Barcelona rings with Summer, Festival and Cutural. Grec Teatre - Grec Festival BarcelonaIf you visit this vibrant city you want to try everything but how to combine it all? Having a barbecue party in a museum? It looks difficult. Playing Motzart at Razzmatazz? Not sure it will convince everybody… but what about Montjuic? An outdoor theater? Music, dance, theatre, circus…? What a plan! That’s what you will experience during the whole of July with The Grec Festival.

Grec Festival BarcelonaThe Grec Festival takes its name from an open-air theatre (El Teatre Grec) built on the Montjuïc hill for the 1929 Universal Exhibition which is also its main venue. It was firstly aiming at giving the opportunity to Catalan artists to perform their art in an international scene, but today it also hosts shows from all over the world. Grec Festival 2012 offers 68 innovative and outstanding shows to its visitors, 34 of which are world premieres. It is a reference point on the European performing arts calendar.

This year, their wish is to involve all Barcelona citizens and visitors at this cultural event. A big free show is organized in the beautiful and eclectic Born area on the 30th June. Get to Arc the Triomph from 9 pm and enjoy Catalan rumba, rock and flamenco music with La Troba Kung-Fú, Canteca de Macao and aerial visual theatre among other performances. It is a wonderful oportunity to enjoy the Catalan culture in a must see venue among locals.

During July, performances begin in the evening or at night. Ticket prices range between 12€ and 28€ (about the price of a flamenco show for tourists sold in La Rambla). An english program is available on the official website.

Flamenco show Grec FestivalOne performanance is a Dance and Music Show from the internationally famous Flamenco dancer Carmen Amaya on the 4th and 5th July at Grec Teatre from 10pm. You can plan a lovely day in Montjuic between The Castel of Montjuic, Olympic games structures (Sant Jordi Stadium), parks (Botanic Garden), Art museums (Caixa Forum, Miró fundation, MNAC, Poble Espanyol), or shopping (Arenal Shopping Mall), then have a typical tapas dinner at Pulpería A’Gudiña and then get to the Teatre Grec for an amazing night. If you go on the 5th which is a Thursday you can even watch the Magic Fountains, another must-see at Montjuic.

Of course we have some lovely apartments around if you would like to stay in this central location.


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Experience Poble Espanyol in a different way with Mecal Air Festival

Poble Espanyol hosts the Mecal Air Festival during the summer from the 8th of June to the 28th of September. You will have the opportunity to experience this attraction of Barcelona in a different way, associating a unique surrounding, culture, entertainment and festivity. Indeed, Poble Espanyol is an open-air village museum gathering the most famous and beautiful architecture from all Spain and representing all the Spanish regions. It is also a place for art and shopping with lots of small shops and restaurant offering the most typically Spanish products.

Mecal Air Festival 2012 Poble EspanyolPoble Espanyol Barcelona

Mecal Air festival is an outdoor short film festival organised by “The International Short Film Festival of Barcelona”. Taking place every Friday from 8.00 pm in the main plaza of Poble Espanyol, you will enjoy the outdoor museum in the warm summer night with thematic film showings from humor to horror.

The festival should essentially show Spanish short films, however some themes don’t require much language ability:

Mecal Air Festival 2012 Poble Espanyol BarcelonaOn the 22nd of June you will have the showing of Nerds, fikis y otras rarezas humanas (Geeks, fikis and other human oddities).

On the 29th of June you will experience Spanish humor with the theme Ay que me meo.

On the 6th of July and 14th of September  horror films haunt Poble Espanyol with Que miedo me das and Terror en el bosque (Horror in the forest).

On the 13th July the showing is familiar to everyone, No te estoy vendiendo nada (I am not selling anything to you), special Creative advertising

On the 20th July there is no need to be Spanish speaking to appreciate the theme Soy raro, en vez de hablar canto (I am strange, instead of speaking I sing), special Musical.

On the 27th of July and 24th of August another universal theme is Tócame aquí. Aquí no, aquí.

On the 3rd August, you will enjoy a special anti-heroe projection with Soy un loser con súper poderes (I am a loser with super powers).

On the 10th August there is a Special “bad boyfriend” projection with Tenemos que hablar (We have to talk).

On the 17th August experience Hell Yeah! Special Heavy metal.

On the 31st August let’s feel some love with Te quiero. Por cierto ¿cómo te llamabas? (I love you. For sure, what is your name?)

On the 7th September is Oh my god there is no future (Special end of the word) for all science fiction lovers

Finally, on the 22nd and 28th September, the best of the short films of the festival will be presented.

Entrance to Poble Espanyol is 9.50€ during the day (from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm). However, with the warm summer, if you are not interested in craftshops ans shops (from 10.00 am to 8.00 pm), going there for the evening is also a great option. You can enter from 8.00 pm for 5.60€ and enjoy equally the architecture and monuments of the open-air museum. Furthermore, if you book your stay with us we will offer you a voucher discount to pay only 2.50€ to get in the Mecal Air Festival.

Enjoy Barcelona life!

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Camp Nou – more than a Football Stadium

When you hear Camp Nou, you think FC Barcelona don’t you? One of the best clubs in the world, a religion for thousands of supporters, an exciting atmosphere with singing and Ola. Yes it is, since 24th of September 1957, the date of it’s inauguration, but not only…

FC Barcelona victory

Apart from matches the Camp Nou offers lots of activities in its 55,000 square meters (250 meters long and 220 meters wide) surface area. You can have a Camp Nou Experience tour to visit the museum, the Camp Nou from its heart and the multimedia area to relive Barça’s best moments. You can book online your tickets with discounts with our partner Ticket Bar.

But if you are not a big fan of football,you should know that Camp Nou also hosts cultural events like concerts. Michael Jackson, U2, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen and Pink Floyd are just some of the artists that have performed massive concerts there. With a capacity of 99,354, it is now the biggest stadium in Europe which makes it a privileged place for some of the biggest events in the Catalan Capital. You can enjoy fireworks, opera and a variety of shows with the unique settings that offers a Stadium with circular terraces and outdoor. You can check if something is happening in the stadium when you plan to visit Barcelona thanks to our interactive calendar (rights side of Home page). Also, the stadium offers different facilities among which you will find a chapel next to the changing rooms…

Camp Nou lights

In the 1998-99 season, UEFA recognized the services and functionalities of the Camp Nou by awarding it five star status.

You have different public transport accesses to get to the Camp Nou. You have three metro stations around taking line 3 (green line): Palau Reial, Maria Cristina and Les Corts. Maria Cristina is also a Tramway station. Or you can take the metro L5 (blue line) until Badal or Collblanc.

Badal apartment - sleep 4If you want to stay close to the stadium we have a great apartment just 15min walking away. You can sleep 4 in this self catering apartment with balcony and massage shower. It is also situated in one of the longest shopping street in Europe, 5km of shopping leading to the famous Montjuic hill and an amazing shopping mall built into an old bullring. You can book this apartment online.

Camp Nou is an emblematic part of Barcelona where you will discover the spirit of Catalunya beside locals. Don’t miss it!



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Barcelona speaks Catalan

Barcelona has a strong Catalan culture which makes it unique in Spain. Gaudi, the calçots, FC Barcelona, Ferran Adrià, Castellers, are all part of this wonderful culture, but Catalan is also a language! Indeed the Spanish  language internationally known is in fact one of the four official languages of the country which are Castellano (Spanish), Gallego, Vasquence and Catalán. All of them but the Vasquence for the North of Spain are Latin languages.

Of course  they all understand and speak Castellano in Barcelona but locals use Catalán in their every day life. The Catalán is also used in public transports, TV and radio. Catalàn people are  very proud of their culture and like to be differentiated from the rest of Spain. Even if you don’t speak Catalàn or Castellano (Spanish) if you get to tell them a word in Catalán, locals will certainly appreciate the effort and the fact that you recognize their culture. So to make things easier for you when visiting Barcelona and to build good relationship with locals, here is a little guide of the most used words:

 Catalan and Spanish useful words for english speaking people

The pronunciation is almost the same as Castellano (Spanish).

We encourage you to try use some words but beware not asking for information in Catalàn if you are not sure to understand the answer… a little anecdote is that a member of Barcelona Flats’ Team have learn the sentence to ask for coffee in Catalàn. He was very proud when ordering to the waitress until she begins to talk to him in Catalàn … in fact she just kindly ask if he wanted milk with his coffee and something else to order … but his knowledge of the language was not that sophisticated. The story ended well with both laughing and the order was finally taken in English.

Let us know if you have similar anecdotes or experiences and if you would like other words traduced, we will be glad to complete the list and help you! Also, if you are organizing your Stay in Barcelona, have a look at our self catering apartments all over Barcelona. At Barcelona Flats, We are Big enough for choice and Small enough to care!


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Have your Holiday Apartment in the Raval Area

Barcelona ciutat Vella place and terrace

Raval area is one of the three central districts of Ciutat Vella (Old City) in Barcelona. It is located between the exciting Rambla and the popular Sant Antoni. We have two great apartments to make you experience this  typical and lovely part of the city.

One is studio ideal for couple, it retains the original wooden flooring and Catalan stone walls, giving it an authentic feel. It sleeps 2 people and Book Online Rambla apartment ideal for couple Barcelonahas a double bed, an equipped open kitchen/lounge area and bathroom with shower. The balcony gives a fresh breath and light to the apartment.

 You can spend your day strolling around crossing between the narrow, colorful and sunny streets. You will find lots of beautiful terraces to take a coffee or have your meal at any time Bar Lobo terrace Barcelona Ravaleither in very typical small bars or in modern and cozy ones. Walk down C/ de les Ramelleres to find several places and nice terraces like the Bar Lobo. If you come with family and friends you can also stay in our Ramblas Apartment with 2 bedrooms for up to 5 sleeps. It is luminous and charming with its mosaic floor and small balconies to look out over the busy Barcelona atmosphere from both the lounge & the bedroom.

Book Online Ramblas apartment - sleep 5Book Online Ramblas rental apartment 2 bedroomsBook Online Ramblas self catering apartment - 5 sleeps

The district is very eclectic and cosmopolitan, there are shops from all cultures: a little french boutique, a shop with everything you want from Latin America, a grocery or gastronomic Mediterranean store, second hand and vintage fashion, a Bookshop in an old church, etc. It is a gathering of all Barcelona’s influences. Apart from restaurants and shops you will also find some treasures there. If you get tired from the busy streets, there is a little Oasis at the heart of the area, The Antic Hospital de la Santa Creu. Hospital de Santa Creu Raval BarcelonaSituated in C/ de l’Hospital nº56, this old hospital is a beautiful building with a gorgeous garden at the middle. It is now hosting the library of Catalunya so you can borrow a book (Spanish and English books) directly in the garden and read it in the shadow of a tree beside a fountain. You can also have Tapas and drink at the terrace of El Jardi or have a giant chess game. Raval is close to lots of interest areas such as Rambla, Gotic, Sant Antoni, the Port and Montjuic, it is ideal to visit the heart of Barcelona.

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Get to Montserrat in one day Trip from Barcelona

Monserrat Monastery view - BarcelonaMontserrat is one of the biggest and most beautiful mountain around Barcelona hosting the Sanctuary of the Virgin Mary of Montserrat. It is very famous because of its amazing environment and its religious symbol. It is a must see if you are staying several days in Barcelona. There are lots of possibilities to make a one day trip from the city since it is only 1 hour away from the city. We have been there and we will try to give you some tips and insights for your visit.

View from MontserratLeaving Barcelona you can go either by car with a very nice road or by Ferrocarril (FGC) from Plaça Espanya. The FGC is line R5, it is the same entrance as the metro station. It is easy and convenient if you don’t have a car in Barcelona. Whatever transport you have chosen, you will get to the little city of Monistrol, to the train station. There you can take the Cremallera (funicular railway) which is climbing 5km until the monastery with magnificent views from more than 600 meters up the mountain. The journey takes 15 minutes, with departures from Monistrol Vila every 20 minutes and you can buy your combined ticket with the FGC at Plaça Espanya for less than 20€ per people back and forth. From Monistrol you can also take a cable car, Montserrat’s Aeri. It is a 1,350-meter journey scaling gradients of up to 45%, in just 5 minutes. The parking is Free if you get there by car and there are departures every 15 minutes.

Monserrat Monastery ceremony - BarcelonaNow you are in, you have an amazing Panorama with the monastery, the unique mountain reliefs and the views over the countryside. There you can visit the Museum with permanent collection of artists such as Picasso, Dali and Caravaggio and other temporary exhibitions. Of course you will visit the monumental Monastery with its luxurious building. You will certainly hear choral singing as you get into the main patio, the church has maintained its religious activity and it uses to be full with locals. It is a warm and beautiful scene to assist. You will also be able to get into the peripheral rooms of the church with an amazing architecture and treasures, don’t miss the Virgin in the top and the little prayer room next to it.

Sant Jeroni Hiking - Montserrat - BarcelonaFor nature lovers you can have an organized hiking tour to the many hermitage around the mountain. It will cost you around 10€ for 2-3h walk. If you want to go by your own, we recommend you to go directly to the Information point (in front of the Cremallera station) and ask for the hiking plan. There you can see all different itineraries with difficulty and estimated time. All routes are well marked out so you can’t get lost. The one going to Sant Jeroni is really beatiful, you will get to the top of the mountain with amazing spots and if you are lucky you should catch sight of some chamois around…

Of course in Montserrat you will find several shops, cafeterias and restaurants to enjoy the day and bring back some souvenirs. Montserrat is a feast for the eyes just 1 hour away from Barcelona; wherever you find yourself in the site, you can just sit back and take it all in.

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Experience Tibidabo Amusement Park in Barcelona

Tibidabo amusement park - BarcelonaSure you have heard about the famous Tibidabo Amusement Park! It is an emblematic attraction of Barcelona built in 1899, the second oldest park in Europe. You have probably seen some images in the Woody Allen movie Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona, with the wonderful views over Barcelona.

Barcelona has been able to preserve its old fashion touch but also make it a complete and modern amusement park with nothing less than 25 attractions spread into 6 levels for all ages and adrenaline levels… Here, we will tell you about our favourite ones.Emblematic Plane of Tibidabo Barcelona

The 6th level is the old part of the park. The traditional carrousel is very charming and the plane is like a magic travel in the past. The Talaia is a ride from 1921 and it will bring you 500 meters (above sea level) up in the air for an impressive view over the parc and the city, think twice if you have vertigo. You will also enjoy a pretty Automata museum and a very funny mirror path.

For more adrenaline go to the Roller Coaster am Hurakan which will give you great sensations! Another kind of sensation but no less Roller Coaster Tibidabo Barcelonaexciting is the Hotel Krüeger, as you can guess, it is a terror house inspired from the scariest horror movies. The settings and actors are just terrifying, you will forget that it is an attraction for a while…

Of course there are also lots of attractions for kids, and these are mainly located in the first level, but you will have easy access to all levels with pushchairs if you go in the lifts provided. Furthermore, you can enjoy shows in the afternoon in the last level .

Tibidabo Amusement Park BarcelonaYou will easily spend the whole day in the parc and there are different restaurants and places to buy food and snacks in the first and last levels. You can also enter the park from 16h if you want to enjoy your late afternoon there, which is a good option in summer with the hot temperatures.

The normal price is 25,20€ for adults but there are lot of offers and discount on the internet, you should consult the official website before going. You can even book the parking online if you go there by car. Otherwise yo can take buses and the Funicular all day.

Enjoy the visit!

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Looking for Barcelona shopping opportunities?

Desigual shop - Barcelona shoppingOf course Barcelona is one of the best shopping city in Europe and of course you want to come back from your stay with some great discoveries, Barcelona fashion and souvenir. So you have lot of choice, you can stroll in Rambla for souvenirs, get into the streets of Born for designer shops and around Plaça Catalunya for mainstream store which still are unique in Barcelona with impressive settings. (We will tell you everything about Shopping in Barcelona in our new eBook: Barcelona Insights.) But maybe you would prefere to really bring with you a bite of Barcelona?

Rastros Barcelona - shoppingDo you know about Mercadillos? they are markets set in the streets where you can find everything from fresh food to clothes passing through body products. It is a nice and cheap way to make your everyday shopping outdoor. There are 21 around the city. The most famous one is Mercadillo de la Zona Franca every Sunday beside Montjuic at Carrer del Ferro. Another kind of markets are the Rastros with second hand poducts, this is the one that may interest you much. There, locals set up their stands and sell the things they don’t use any more. In the middle you can find some little treasors like vintage clothes, jewellry and accessories, some old fashion equipments or even art pieces. There are 10 rastros in the city. One of them is situated in Ronda de Sant Antoni just next to the Raval. It is a nice area with lot of Bars, Bakeries and there is the famous Moritz Factory. It is hold every sunday morning from 8:30 to 14:30.With the good weather of Spring and Summer it is such a good way to make shopping.

Tres gardenias Barcelona delicated junk adAnother market that we would like to talk you about is quite original since it is organized by a jazz bar: Tres Gardenias. The DELICATED JUNK is situated in Plaça Catalunya from 13:00 to 18:00 and is a second hand market with clothes, shoes, books, discs, and any glamour thing that people would bring for selling. What makes it special is that the rastro is combined with great music, tapas and drink! Indeed, you will enjoy Vermú+pincho for 1,50€. You will experience a warm atmosphere besides the locals and be able to interact with them at the same time you buy some nice typical things you like. Do you know a better way to catch and bring a bite of Barcelona with you?

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New eBook: Barcelona Insights, the first Guide from real People experiences

Barcelona Fltas' eBook, Barcelona Insights, the first guide from real people experiences

Barcelona Flats launches its new eBook in mid-May.


It is the first Barcelona guide from real people experiences. It has been written by all Barcelona Flats team. Our team is established in Barcelona for more than 10 year. Some of us are real experts and others are new in the city, this helped us to give the best information with different points of view and don’t miss to explain the very basics as well as the most special of Barcelona life. Our team is also composed by 5 nationalities, here again we get a very global approach and care about different habits, requirements and interests. Finally, from 21 to 52 years old, our team is diverse enough to give tips about a variety of topics like natural escapes or night clubs.

group of happy people with laptops

But! Barcelona is a big city and a life would not be enough to try and test everything, it is why we have asked our social media followers and customers to help us feed the content of our eBook with their own tips, tricks, favorite places, … experiences. Thanks to them we have made some amazing discoveries and we have been able to add a more personal touch for our readers.

Finally, we are proud to offer this unique Guide of Barcelona in an eBook version and for Free for your most convenience.

Download this eBook to know what to see, what to visit, what to try, what to taste, where to go, how to go, when to go and you will know why to go to Barcelona!

Download soon Barcelona guide to get insights for free

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