Jan 21 2015

From Rome with Love

This February in Rome there are a lot of great events and things to do so why not bring your loved one over to the beautiful city to celebrate Valentines Day and enjoy some of the great culture the city has to offer. Below is a list with a variety of different things to do so that you can get an idea of the different things available in the city.

Gladiator Training!

Copyright: Hans Splinter

Master the basics of hand-to-hand combat at a genuine gladiator school on the ancient Appian Way. You'll discover the secrets of Imperial Rome's gladiator games, get hands-on with ancient Roman history and have the best fun you can imagine!

Highlights

·         Two-hour Roman gladiator training

·         Lessons led by members of the Historic Group of Rome

·         Hire of gladiator clothing and weapons

·         Free drink included

·         Free entrance to the Gladiator School of Rome Museum

·         Choice of lesson times throughout the day

 

Six Nations Rugby (Ireland v Italy)

If you are a rugby fan then on February the 7th in Rome at the Stadio Olimpico the 2nd match of the Six Nations will take place between Ireland and Italy. This will be a great match and the stadium and surrounding areas will be filled with rugby enthusiasts from all over the world who have come to see the match. Click on the link above to buy tickets here  but get them as soon as possible as they are likely to sell out!

 

The Vatican Museums are the museums of the Vatican City and are located within the city's boundaries. They display works from the immense collection built up by the Popes throughout the centuries including some of the most renowned classical sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world.

Pope Julius II founded the museums in the early 16th century. The Sistine Chapel with its ceiling decorated by Michelangelo and the Stanze della Segnatura decorated by Raphael are on the visitor route through the Vatican Museums. In 2013, they were visited by 5.5 million people, which combined makes it the 5th most visited art museum in the world.

There are 54 galleries, or salas, in total with the Sistine Chapel, notably, being the very last sala within the Museum. Click here to buy tickets for the Vaitcan Museum.

If you enjoyed the Vatican Museums you should definetely also consider visiting the San Giovanni di Laterano (or Saint John’s in Lateran) Church. San Giovanni is the first Christian Basilica built in the world and the original Papal seat until the 15th century, consecrated and dedicated to the Savior in A.D. 324. 

 

On February the 2nd buy tickets to see the legendary rock band Korn playing live!

 

Quiet and Authentic

If you would like to escape the more touristic areas of the city and enjoy some delicious authentic Italian food and drink then head to the local area of Trastevere. Take a stroll around the cobbled streets before choosing one of the many excellent local restaurants. It’s a picturesque neighbourhood which has the look and feel of a traditional small Italian town, with people shopping, chatting and drinking espresso at the pavement cafes.

 

If you are planning to come to Rome this February and haven´t found somewhere to stay yet then take a look at Habitat Apartments who have a wide range of apartments available to suit all needs! Featured below is the incredible Babuino Super Top apartment.

babuino_super_top_apartment-rome-bed-and-bath-view

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Jan 16 2015

Fabulous February in Florence

This February why not take a loved one to visit Florence for Valentines Day, where you can both marvel at the beauty of the city and see some of the finest Italian renaissance art that exists. It is only in fairly recent years that Florence has started celebrating Valentines day in the same way the UK and USA do, by using flowers and hearts, as for the Italians it is a day celebrating St Valentino. However Florence has always been a popular destination for lovers as it is considered to be a very romantic and beautiful city. 

 

There are a lot of things to do that will suit everyone so listed below is a few suggestions for you to consider.

 
One of the floats at the Carnival

© image: Viareggio Carnival Parade 2013

The Viareggio Carnival is the biggest carnival in Italy and takes place during the weeks leading up to Mardi Gras and the start of Lent! The Carnival of Viareggio and its floats in "papier mache" contain a lot of political and social satire, which make this carnival one of the most significant and prominent in Italy, and each year it is something that the whole population looks forward to. The Carnival of Viareggio, which has been taking place each year for over 140 years, continues to amaze anyone that finds themself wandering around its streets during the festivities.

 

Take a Stroll through the Leather Markets

Italy, and Florence in particular, is famous for leather clothing and accessories. As you walk through the leather markets you will be enticed in by the delightful smell of leather. At these markets you can find lovely real leather items often a lot cheaper than they would be in the shops. A few things to remember whilst at these markets is that, although they are not Asian or Arabic markets, it is still very posible to barter so I would never recommend paying the listed price. Also be very wary of pickpockets and people nearby selling fake handbags as you can be fined up to €10000 for purchasing fake goods. There are 2 markets and both are located very closet o each other and next to the San Lorenzo Church.

,

Eat Two Scoops of Gelato Every Day

If you are in Florence you simply must taste the Florentine Gelatos. There are Gelato shops all over the city with more flavours than you can possibly imagine so during your time spent there be sure to try as many flavours as possible!

As well as this in early February there is an artisinal Chocolate Fair which is held in Piazza Santa Croce for a week. February 4th – 7th, from 10 am – 10pm. 

 

Cocktail & Concert at Bardini Gardens

This February at the Bardini Gardens in Florence there is a cocktail concert taking place. Entrance tickets are approximately €4 including a cocktail and the venue offers a stunning view of the city skyline as it is quite high up. This giant villa is on the southern side of the city close to the Arno River and before the concert for an extra €2 you can take a tour of the house and its grounds.

Classical music concerts are held in the elegant hall with cocktails and snacks included.  

The concert takes place on Tuesdays, February 4 & 18 at 5 pm (4 pm to visit villa and see exhibit)

Costa San Giorgio, 2 (for more into tel: 055 20 06 62 06)

 

If you plan to come to Florence but haven´t yet found a place to stay then check out Habitat Apartments where you can find some incredible apartments at extremely competitive rates. Featured below is the Specializi Exclusive Apartment which features a jacuzzi!

speziali-exclusive-apartment-florence-jacuzzi-a(1)

 

 

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Jan 16 2015

Fantastic February in Madrid!

On the 17th February, the day before Lent begins, the traditional Mardi Gras Carnival takes place in Madrid and it features parades, some crazy fancy dress costume parties and flamboyant masks. Along with all these celebrations is another strange but interesting tradition known as the ´Burial of the Sardine´ in which people dress up in funeral attire and cloaks and proceed down the street carrying a coffin which contains an effigy of a dead sardine!

 

FRESNEDILLAS-SAN-SEBASTIÁN-PROCESIÓN.jpg

FESTIVAL OF THE VAQUILLA

Every year on the 2nd of February in Colmenar Viejo, Madrid celebrates fun and vibrant fiesta which is done in memory of the cattle migration which used to take place many years ago.

 

The festival is a reenactment of the old tradition of herding the cattle through the streets in order to mígrate them to new areas. However, this festival has a slight twist because the cattle are not live, they are man-made sculptures created from various materials and decorated with brightly coloured  ribbons, shawls and horns. The participants parade down the street with their “cattle” doing some unique dances until they reach the final destination which is the town square. After this each of the cows are returned to where they came from and death is symbolised by firing 3 shots into the air. Similar to communion wine, their death and blood is symbolised by the drinking of Limonada which is a drink made from Red Wine and Soda.

 

Shopping

Madrid is well known for its great shopping areas and from 7th January until the 7th March the fantastic Winter sales take place and you can grab some absolute bargains at discounts of up to 70% for clothes and shoes.

 

The best places for shopping in Madrid if you are looking for the big stores are areas such as Gran Via street and Preciados. If you are looking for less mainstream shops and want something a bit different then the Fuencarral street is great, especially for younger people. Alternitavely you can browse through the many second hand and vintage shops which sell clothes and other second hand ítems and these are located in the neighbourhood of Malasaña. Serrano street (Salamanca district) is where you will find the expensive and exlusive brands. Shops normally open from 10-9 everyday (some smaller shops close on Sundays).

 

Football

If you are a football fan then February promises some great games for Real Madrid. So why not take a visit to the Bernabeu stadium and watch one of the 2 best teams in Spain work their magic! The bernabeu stadium is absolutely enormous and the atmosphere is something that is hard to find elsewhere as everyone knows how crazy Spaniards are about football! If you would like to purchase tickets or look at the fixtures then click here.

 

Cars

Are you interested in classic cars? If so then in February Madrid has the perfect trade show for you called Classic Auto Madrid which is the biggest and most popular classic car expo in Spain. Each year there is roughly 300 exhibitors from 10 countries and approximately 40,000 visitors a year. The trade show is full of enthusiasts and collectors who are looking to buy cars or motorcycles or just to find parts or accessories required in the restoration process. Click this link to register as a visitor.

 

If you are coming to Madrid and you need a place to stay then check out Habitat Apartments where you will find a great variety of excellent apartments at very affordable rates! Featured below is the beautiful Alcalá Deluxe apartment.

alcala-design-deluxe-apartment-madrid-livingroom-2-a

 

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Jan 16 2015

February in Amsterdam – love is in the air!

February – even if it's winter in Amsterdam, this city is still beautiful, and especially it's full of love. Besides the fact that Amsterdam always offers several romantic spots and activities, there is one special day coming in February. It's the most romantic day of the year – Valentine's Day!   

The city of Amsterdam offers this February a wide range of events and activities. Februray in Amsterdam is focused on Valentine's Day (February 14). Most of the events take place around this date. Therefore, which city could be a better destination to spend some nice days off with your love in February?

romantic amsterdam

Romantic city of Amsterdam © image: Mungisi (flickr)

As usual, we recommend you in the following our top romantic events of the month. Check the details out, and book your trip to Amsterdam.

You have a passion for dance music? And you are looking for the perfect way to spend Valentine's Day? Book your ticket now, and spend a romantic night surrounded by indie classical music or house and techno beats! 

February 11-14
Cross-Linx-Festival
This indie classical music festival is coming to Amsterdam on February 11. There will be 15 artists and groups performing their music. If you both love this kind of music, this might be the perfect event for you. 

February 14
Wonderland Festival
If you prefer house and techno music, this event is ideal for you. Starting at 4pm in the afternoon you can spend the whole night until 8am dancing and partying with your partner. Forget everything around you and your partner for one night, and enjoy yourselves!

Are you looking for something more relaxing and peaceful? The following event could be the perfect idea for you – special and simple at the same time.

February 13-15
Pop Arts Festival
This festival presents the latest development in the international puppet and object theatre, dance, mime as well as visual artistry. The 6th edition of Pop Arts will take place at Theatre Bellevue, Jeugdtheater de Krakeling and Ostade A'dam. Don't miss this great festival and dive, hand in hand with your love, deep into the puppet world! 

February 14-15
24h Oost
This event is a part of the project 24h Amsterdam. There are four editions every year: 24h West March; 24h Zuid (September); 24h Noord (October); and now it's time for 24h Oost. Diverse neighbourhoods in the East of Amsterdam will offer workshops, performances, food, drinks, guided tours and more. Enjoy Valentine's Day strolling through the Eastern part of Amsterdam, and get to know the city in a new way!

February 14
Valentijnsloop
You are more the sportive type and you are looking for an active way to spend the most romantic day of the year? Register with your partner or solo for the Valentine's run in Amsterdam! The race takes place at the Vondelpark and will be a route of 5k. Go for a romantic run!

February 19
Chinese New Year
If you are staying a little bit longer than Valentine's Day, you have also the possibility to celebrate New Year's eve again – in a Chinese way. Read more about the Chinese New Year here. What could be a more romantic event than New Year's eve?

In the case that all those nice events haven't convinced you yet, there is still the beautiful city and atmosphere of Amsterdam. All these small typical Dutch buildings, these narrow passageways and these lovely canals will make you fall in love with the city and your partner again. There are also romantic activities such as going Ice skating, doing a boat trip on the canals or a horse & carriage ride. 

It is incontrovertible that Amsterdam is prepared for the most romantic day of the year. What about you? Have you already decided where to spend Valentine's Day? If you are planning a trip to Amsterdam, have a look at our romantic apartments and book your stay with Habitat Apartments. You will find several beautiful places to stay such as the Keizersgracht 1 apartment.

keizersgracht 1 apartment
Keizersgracht 1 apartment, bedroom

 

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Jan 15 2015

February in Barcelona – an entertaining month

Fashion, Sport and Music – this month Barcelona really surpasses itsef with its wide range of events and activities. Even the youngest ones – your children –  will find something great to discover in February!

We are looking forward to a month with multiple events of all kinds. In the following, we present you a list with our selection. Check this out, and plan your trip to Barcelona!

February 2-5
080 Barcelona Fashion 

080 barcelona fashion080 bcn fashion

During these four days, there will be 34 designers and brands presenting their collections for the fall/winter season 2015/16 at Museu Marítim de Barcelona. The Barcelona Fashion week is supposed to represent the Catalan fashion internationally as well as to bring the fashion industry back to Catalonia.

February 7
El Rastro de la Virgen
As usual on the first Saturday every month, this open-air-second-hand-market takes place in the streets of the El Raval area. From 12pm until 8pm, there will be stalls of clothes, art and other second-hand objects at Carrer de la Verge.

February 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28
Circ Raluy
This Catalan Circus of Carlos and Luís Raluy will perform eight times in February (see the whole schedule here). This show, taking place at the harbour of Barcelona – Port Vell, will definitely entertain your children. There are tickets 080 Barcelona Fashion © image: Official Website   from 8 Euro. Go for it!

As I said before, there are also some very attractive music and sport events coming to Barcelona in February. You will find the details below. 

February 15
Barcelona Half Marathon
On Sunday, the race will start at 8:45am at Passeig de Pujades. The participants will pass several areas of Barcelona, so the route is not only attractive for the audience but also for the runners. Check ou the details, and run, volunteer or cheer the participants on!  

February 16
Katy Perry concert
On her Prismatic World Tour 2014-15, the famous singer is coming to Barcelona in February. The concert at Palau Sant Jordi starts at 9pm. There are still some tickets left. Book your ticket for the Katy Perry concert here!

February 24
Champions League
Manchester City vs. FC Barcelona
Unfortunately, this match doesn't take place at Camp Nou in Barcelona. But it is still a nice experience to watch it at a local place in the city. If you want to see a match at Camp Nou in February, there are some matches of FC Barcelona in the Primera División. 

If you have decided to come to Barcelona in February and you haven't found a place to stay yet, Habitat Apartments offers multiple nice apartments. Below you see the beautiful Liceu Duplex apartment with two bedrooms.

liceu duplex apartment

Liceu Duplex apartment, bedroom

 

 

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