11 Nov
Barcelona in winter

Why December is a great time to visit Barcelona

Barcelona is a bustling, exciting and exotic city to visit all year round, but with twinkling lights hung on the trees and cosy festive chalets and stalls lining the streets, there is something about December and the run-up to Christmas that makes the city that extra bit special! If you’re thinking about visiting Barcelona this December, then you won’t be disappointed – check out the following reasons why the year’s final month is a great time to visit the Catalan capital.


 

22 Jun
Casa Susana

Casa Susana: An impressive family villa, a stone’s throw from the beach of Pals

If you’re looking for spacious accommodation for a large party of holidaymakers that’s close to the beach on the stunning Costa Brava, then look no further than Casa Susana. This recent addition to our Catalan programme of properties boasts six bedrooms and three bathrooms, sleeping up to eight guests in the main house and a further four in a joining annexe.


 


 

16 Feb

A secluded country retreat in Catalunya – Nostra Pau

Nostra Pau is a charming traditional rustic finca located in one of the most expensive and sought-after parts of coastal Spain. Two kilometres of private driveway lead to this secluded country house.

Being amidst pine woods and rolling hills yet a mere 20 minute drive from the Costa Brava with all of its rugged scenery, bustling towns and classy resorts, Nostra Pau provides something for everyone.

This three bedroom stone house is temptingly isolated giving the holidaymaker true peace and tranquillity. The old walls probably have a story or two to tell and the whole of the property has been unpretentiously renovated – the materials used probably as they would have been over a hundred years ago.

Take the floor within the house for example. The tiles are similar to English quarry tiles but with an oblong shape. These tiles are old and antique and it is heartening that the owners have kept them in the house. The beamed ceilings are distinctively authentic, making a refreshing change to the temptation to use the concrete “vigas”. Concrete vegas make roofing much easier and as a consequence are used in most modern Spanish building. They don’t however have the same character as wooden beams.

With the furniture built into the walls and is then upholstered, Nostra Pau’s sitting room is quirky and distinct. The platforms besides the open fire are made from brick and then rendered and painted, another typically Spanish design trait. The kitchen too has units made from brick which are rendered white, all of which adds to the quaintness and appeal of this rustic Costa Bravan abode.

The upper floor of the property is galleried, which always escalates deliberate idiosyncrasy of a house. To be able to look down onto the living room below adds another dimension to the interior vista. There are two bedrooms upstairs, a double and a twin, which has access to an upper outside covered terrace. With views of the pool, framed by lush emerald countryside, the terrace is a spellbinding spot to drink in the views as you sip your morning coffee or evening vino blanco

Meandering in Nostra Pau’s exterior is as mesmerising as musing its interior. With private parking, a barbecue area and a 8m x 4 m swimming pool, all is surrounded by woods of pine, cork and eucalyptus trees, you can smell the fragrance air as you park, swim or wine and dine.

For wining and dining away from this classy Spanish finca, the nearby picturesque village of Romanya is plentiful of restaurants and bars. The livelier town of Colongne is a little further away in the direction of the fishing town of Palamos. There are a many great restaurants in and around Palamos. El Mirador lies above the steps over the road from the large car park on the sea front. The Menu del Dia in El Mirador is great value for money, giving you three courses of quality food with wine for little more than £10 per head. Even cheaper is La Vostra, which lies in a small square just behind the huge seafront apartment blocks, which line Palamos’ promenade.

As mentioned above, a stay at Nostra Pau will provide you with a little of everything – peace and tranquillity in the most stunning of Catalan countryside, great value food, classy fishing villages and plenty of Costa Bravan action if you seek it. For more information on Nostra Pau, click HERE.


 


 

15 Sep

A rather unconventional selection of festivals in Catalonia this October

They certainly love their festivals in Catalonia just as much as they do in the rest of Spain. Like paella, sangria, the siesta and a landscape dominated by pine forests, fishing villages and legendary resorts, festivals of all shapes, sizes and themes, help craft Catalonia’s unique identity.

While many of Europe’s leading tourist destinations have all but gone to sleep come October, Catalonia is bursting at the seams, with a glut of flamboyant and utterly unique festivals in Catalonia.

In the Catalan capital of Barcelona, film is the happening thing this October, with three film festivals being held either in or near Barcelona. From 10 – 13 October, the Barcelona Erotic Film Festival will be taking place at the Fira De Cornella Exhibition Centre. This annual Spanish pornographic film festival and awards ceremony has been running since 1992. In contrast to France’s equivalent event, named the Hot D’Or Festival, which takes place in Cannes, the Barcelona Erotic Film Festival is deemed as less exclusive and more comprehensive.

From 10 – 20 October, the International Fantasy Film Festival will be held in Sitges near Barcelona. Often referred to as the Sitges Film Festival, this annual event is widely considered to be the world’s foremost international festival specialising in fantasy and horror films.

The International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival will be held from 16 – 27 October at the Filmoteca de Catalunya in Barcelona. Now in its eleventh year, this inspiring event looks at many issues facing homosexuality portrayed in contemporary cinema.

Elsewhere in Catalonia there is a Cava Festival at Sant Sadurni. The locals of Sant Sadurni celebrate their locally made Cava on October 4 – 6 and obviously a festival which honours such a potent drink is highly likely to turn into a rumbustious affair.

Meanwhile in Tarragona, a Human Castle Building Festival will be held on October 6 – 7. Human-made towers are elevated to frighteningly lofty heights and are typically topped by a very young person – the mind boggles.

If you happen to be in the beautiful city of Girona from 28 October until early November, checking out the Fires de Sant Narcis would definitely be an eye-opening experience. This festival celebrates the patron saint of Girona and is the biggest festival of the year in the town. Bonfires are lit; there is live music and stalls galore in the Parque De La Dehesa.

It has to be said that colourful festivals in Catalonia aside, October is a great time to visit Catalonia. Sales are on, beaches are empty and the temperature is usually very agreeable with plenty of sunshine. Click the link to view Vintage Travel’s collection of luxury villas in Spain for rent.


 

27 Jul

La Merce Festival 2013 – Barcelona at its most brilliant!

La Merce Festival 2013 ~ Every year during the last week of September the city of Barcelona becomes particularly pulsating when it holds its biggest annual street festival, La Merce. Having taken place since 1902, the festival’s intense celebrations last for five days and are held in honour of the patron saint of Barcelona, Mare de Deu de la Merce.

Kissing goodbye to summer and welcoming in the cooler months of autumn, La Merce is a poignant event that marks seasonal change. Hundreds of events, activities and parades will take place during the fiesta, many of which will be new and innovatory and many time-honoured and well-established.

The Fire Run – Correfoc

It is safe to say that the Fire Run would not pass health and safety tests in too many countries but, hey that’s what adds to the fun! When you witness the Fire Run at La Merce Festival 2013, known locally as “Correfoc”, it would be wise to wear some protection against the sparks. It might not seem right to go out on a warm early autumn evening in Barcelona wearing goggles, a hat and gloves, but if you do get the opportunity to witness Correfoc, you’ll understand why these essential winter items are vital garments when attending this fiery event.

During Correfoc the roads are closed off and opened only to the “Devils” who are teeming with handfuls of bangers and sparklers, lobbing them about with wilful abandon. You may see fire-breathing dragons coming menacingly closer as Barcelona’s streets take on the appearance of a joyous hell! The Correfoc really is something to see and is one of the festival’s long-established highlights.

The Human Towers – Castellers de Barcelona

Other established events include the Human Towers (Castellers de Barcelona) where people actually build a tower out of themselves. It is a sight to behold as carefully planned towers of human beings precariously reach up to the sky. The summit of the tower is usually topped by a small child – another one for health and safety! Thousands of people cram into the Plaza de Jaume to witness the Human Towers and it is worth getting there early so you have an unobstructed view of this crazy event.

The Giants

The Giants is another unmissable event at La Merce Festival 2013. Huge figures parade down the streets of Barcelona to a backbeat of drums and percussion during this hugely popular family event.

With events this wild making up just a snatch of the itinerary, La Merce Festival 2013, Barcelona’s biggest street fiesta, is without doubt one of the best things to witness on the whole of the Iberian Peninsula.


 

23 Jul

Luxury villa in Begur – Villa La Mar

The exquisite Spanish house of La Mar sits comfortably amongst the gently undulating unspoilt countryside of Catalonia close to the medieval town of Begur and some of the most prestigious beaches in Spain. The population of Begur can swell to ten times its normal size in the high tourist season; such is its reputation as a quality destination.

La Mar sleeps up to six people as possesses the usual style and class Vintage Travel villas exude. There are three double bedrooms on the upper level of the house, one of which is fully en-suite; another has a Juliet balcony overlooking the pool and the rolling Catalan hills, whilst the bedroom has its own shower room.

The split- level interior certainly gives the luxury villa in Begur an interesting look. Guests will yearn for little in this house as La Mar has all the necessary mod-cons, the kitchen, dining area and lounge being all fully equipped and functional. There is also Wi-Fi available for those who need it. The spacious open plan living room/dining room leads outside to a covered terrace, where guests can eat, relax and drink in their stunning surroundings.

The garden is equally as interesting, and comprises of a split level layout like the house. There is a wonderful well-kept lawn, which is a metre or so up above the crystal clear swimming pool with its Roman steps and surrounding sun terrace. From the pool steps lead up to the house. A barbeque can be found on the pool terrace and no doubt would be the focal point for those great nights eating and drinking outside.

As well as the stunning village of Begur, there are other interesting places to see in the nearby vicinity of La Mar, such as the old fishing village of Sa Tuna, where the fishing skills that have been handed down from one generation to the next are still very evident today. The nearest beaches are less than 4 kilometres away from La Mar, most of which are extremely pretty and photogenic, providing a great day out for all the family.

If you would like to find out more about this luxury villa in Begur, or to book, just click on the link.