Jul 15 2015

August in Madrid – Packed with Great Activities!

August in Madrid is always sunny and hot so it is a great time to come and experience the city. Below is a list of different activites you can do whilst you are here!

Image by Jonathan Pincas

Spanish Cooking Class in Madrid

Prepare and enjoy your own paella guided by a local chef through a hands-on 4-hour cooking class. You will start this experience by visiting the nearby market where you will buy all the necessary ingredients and after the lesson, flavour your own creation as your guide gives you hints and tips on Spanish gastronomy.

 

Highlights

·         Perfect for all ages and skill level

·         Family friendly

·         Vegetarian meal option available

·         Led by a local guide

 

What You Can Expect

Make your way to the cooking school where this activity takes place. This centre's main goal is to make all visitors learn how to prepare well known Spanish dishes through hands-on cooking classes performed in the centre of Madrid with the supervision of professional chefs.

All meals will be prepared in teams of two people, under the guidance of a local guide that speaks English and requires no previous cooking experience.

Once the dishes and drinks have been finished you will have time to enjoy them together with the other travellers for lunch as you talk about your Spanish travel experiences and learn hints from your guide to continue your Madrid experience. You will be able to repeat these delicacies back home as you will be handed out copies of these dishes's recipes.

 

Madrid Tourist Card

What better way to truly discover Madrid than with the fantastic Madrid Card. With this you can gain entry to over 50 museums, partake in a "Discover Madrid" walking tour or visit the Real Madrid Stadium Tour. The card gives you the option to select the choice of a 24 hour, 48 hour, 72 hour or 120 hour pass and you can also enjoy discounts on shopping, restaurants and nightlife such as a flamenco show.

 

Highlights

·         Free admission to more than 50 Madrid museums

·         Priority access to Prado Museum, Madrid Royal Palace, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and Reina Sofia Museum, and the Cable Car 

·         A Guided tour of Madrid including Santiago Bernabeu Stadium tour and Las Ventas bullring

·         Free guidebook and map to Madrid

·         Shopping, restaurants and nightlife discounts

·         Choose from 24-hour, 48-hour, 72-hour or 120-hour cards

 

Further Information

As well as the card and discounts you will also receive a tourist guide with information about all of the museums and services that are included and these are available in 5 languages. You will also receive a map of the city showing the locations of participating establishments so everything will be easy to locate.
 

Includes priority access into Prado Museum, Madrid Royal Palace, Thyssen-Bornemisza museum, Reina Sofia museum, Wax museum, Cable Car and Real Madrid stadium tour and up to 50 more museums

For a full list of all the Museums and activities that are free to enter with your Madrid Card click here.

 

Warner Theme Park

Take a visit to this fantastic theme park located roughly 20km from the center of Madrid where you will find the glamour of Hollywood Boulevard and the magic of Cartoon Village as well as 3 other areas. This theme park will be enjoyed by everyone from hardcore theme-park fans, with something for the most daring, and also rides for people who are a bit more laid back.

 

Water Park Aquopolis

Address: Avenida de la Dehesa, s/n
28691 Villanueva de la Cañada
MADRID

If you dont fancy a theme park then maybe a water park is more up your street and what better park in Madrid than Aquopolis! It has a whole variety of slides for all ages as well as different places to eat and all the amenities to make your day fantastic! For more information visit the website.

 

If you would like to come to Madrid and experience this great city and you are still looking for a place to stay then take a look at Habitat Apartments where you will find a great selection of apartments dotted around the city. Featured below is the Contemporáneo Apartment in the La Latina barrio.

contemporaneo-madrid-apartment-kitchen-view-a

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Jul 14 2015

August In Barcelona – Festival Season!!

August In Barcelona is the month of festivals so prepare yourself for experiencing some great Catalan traditions and some great parties!

Image by Jaume Meneses

La Festa Catalana

Event date: Every Saturday from May to September 2014 at 7.30 pm
Event location: Avinguda de la Catedral at Barcelona Cathedral in gothic area

La Festa Catalana (The Catalan Festival) is a yearly festival that runs through the summer and each week showcases an exhibition of Catalan festival traditions including "sardanes" folk dancing, "castells" human tower building, "gegants" giants, mythical beasts, Catalan stick dancers and more. This weekly festival is loved by visitors to Barcelona and non locals as it gives them the chance to experience cultural traditions which they usually wouldn’t get a chance to see. La Festa Catalana in Barcelona is held on the Avinguda de la Catedral in front of Barcelona cathedral. This is the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in these colorful and impressive traditions and get a taste of the rich Catalan culture.
 

Circuit Festival Barcelona

Event date:  Wednesday 5th August 2015 to Sunday 16th August 2015

Event location: Various venues in Barcelona and Sitges 

Circuit Festival Barcelona This year marks the 8th anniversary of Circuit Festival in Barcelona. Circuit Festival is a international week long Gay and Lesbian event in Barcelona with pre-parties, parties, music and many leisure, arts and sports activities. This Festival is the biggest European gay and lesbian event and each year it attracts more and more people with last year attracting around 70,000 visitors from all over the world and over 60 DJs and artists. 

As well as many parties and other activities there is also the Circuit Festival Water Park Day at Illa Fantasia water park. The Illa Fantasia water park is north of Barcelona and is a great day out for everyone and attracts about 8000 people making it probably the world’s biggest water party. Circuit festival also features many other activities and exhibitions, a beach volleyball tournament at Mar Bella beach debates and special Circuit Shopping Day.

 

 

Festa Major de Gracia

 

Festa Major de Gràcia 2014 – Gracia Festival is the biggest street festival in Barcelona which is held every year in mid August. The Festa Major de Gracia dates are always the 15th August to 21st August. The festa is a street festival that takes place in the older part of the Gracia district in Barcelona. Around 17 streets are decorated by the residents. There are hundreds of activities mainly aimed at local residents, but tourists and visitors are welcome to the concerts and parades. The Festa de Gracia is all about Catalan traditions like parades, giant statues, castle building and fire runs, but above all it is a shining example of community spirit which welcomes visitors. It´s authentic, fun, joyous, colorful, festive and definitely worth a visit!

 Opening times: Weekdays until 02.00 – Friday and Saturday until 03.30

Festa Gracia Dates: Saturday August 15 2015 – Sunday August 23 2015

 

Salvador Dali Museum

Image by Diego Dacal

If you fancy something a bit more relaxing than a festival then why not Book yourself on a guided tour around the Salvador Dali Museum in the quaint little town of Figueres – less than 1 hour from Barcelona. It is well worth paying a bit extra for a guide and means that you get to skip the queue which some days can be more than an hour long. There isn´t much else going on in Figueres so its best to get to the museum in the morning so as not to waste a whole day.

 

If you would like to experience some typical Catalan fiestas but haven´t yet found a place to stay then check out Habitat Apartments where you will find a wide variety of different apartments. Featured below is the Rambla Deluxe A apartment which sleeps 6 people.

rambla-deluxe-a-apartment-barcelona-relax-a(1)
 

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Jul 14 2015

New Cool Jazz Apartments!

Jazz BCN Apartments are a new and unique concept of accommodation in Barcelona inspired by the musical genre of jazz. The owners have tried to portray their fascination with jazz and so they developed apartments within the same building that are called Cool Jazz and Hot Jazz. Recently renovated, each apartment is stylish and with modern furnishing.

 

Jazz BCN Apartments buildings: Cool Jazz Apartments and Hot Jazz Apartments will be ideal for those looking for style, comfort and all amenities including: Air conditioning, baby cot and high chair, smart TV, wifi and lift. Both buildings are strategically located in a quiet residential area of Eixample, just 5 minutes from the Sagrada Familia.

The first building, Cool Jazz Apartments has taken the characteristics of Cool Jazz: gentle, reflective and with quiet melodies. Following this concept, each apartment has been designed to provide an atmosphere of tranquility. All of them feature two nice double bedrooms, and an open plan kitchen and dining/living room with plenty of natural light. The ideal place to enjoy a dream holiday.

The second set of apartments, Hot Jazz Apartments are currently under construction. It will be a pleasant surprise for lovers of the polished melodies and wind instruments that are associated with Hot Jazz. 

The Jazz BCN Apartments are recommended for families or groups of friends.

In addition, we also invite you to take a look at all apartments in the building of Cool Jazz Apartments in Barcelona.

Give us a like on our social media sites below in order to keep up to date with whats going on at Habitat Apartments and also for some great advice on things to do and places of interest! smiley

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Jul 10 2015

Cool and Hot Jazz Music in Barcelona!

The history of Jazz music in Catalonia can be traced back to the 1920s; the time period in which America was first experiencing the movement of Jazz from the small and unknown to the mainstream. Barcelona in the 1920s was a haven of romantic cultural development and artistic exploration.

 

Cool-jazz-3

 

History of Barcelona Jazz

From the 1920s to the 1960s, major American Jazz artists regularly visited Barcelona, spreading their musical influence and helping to develop the Catalán’s passion for Big Band, Swing, and Experimental music. Over time, traditional musicians from Barcelona became influenced by the melodies from across the Atlantic and started to develop their music in a similar style.

Tete Montoliu is the undisputed father of the Catalán Jazz movement. Born blind in Barcelona in 1933, Montoliu studied music in the city and followed his passion for Jazz, despite the genre being labeled as a negative foreign influence on a unified Spain by Franco’s fascist regime. Musical exchange between Montoliu and visiting American Jazz musicians through the 1940s and 1950s helped develop his already unique piano style and eventually paved the way for the internationally-renowned Catalán Jazz musicians of today.
It was in 1929 that the first Jazz-oriented club nights became major events in Barcelona, thanks to international visitors to the city’s Universal Exposition on the rocky, costal mountain of Montjuïc.

 

cool-jazz-2

 

Cool Jazz

Cool jazz is a style of modern jazz music that arose following the Second World War. It is characterized by its relaxed tempos and lighter tone, in contrast to the bebop style.

Broadly, "cool" refers to a number of post-war jazz styles employing a more subdued approach than that found in other contemporaneous jazz idioms. The term "cool" started being applied to this music around 1953, when Capitol Records released the album Classics in Jazz: Cool and Quiet.

ans of today.
It was in 1929 that the first Jazz-oriented club nights became major events in Barcelona, thanks to international visitors to the city’s Universal Exposition on the rocky, costal mountain of Montjuïc.

 

 

Hot Jazz

Hot Jazz or Early jazz which is sometimes referred to as Dixieland music or New Orleans jazz, , is a style of jazz music which developed in New Orleans at the start of the 20th century, and was spread to Chicago and New York City by New Orleans bands in the 1910s. Well-known jazz standard songs from the Dixieland era, such as "Basin Street Blues" and "When the Saints Go Marching In", are well known songs even to non-jazz fans. With its beginnings in riverboat jazz, Dixieland progressed to Chicago-style jazz or Hot Jazz as developed by Louis Armstrong and others. 

Dixieland combined earlier brass band marches and the "standard" band consists of a "front line" of trumpet (or cornet), trombone, and clarinet, with a "rhythm section" of at least two of the following instruments: guitar or banjo, string bassor tuba, piano, and drums. The Dixieland sound is created when one instrument (usually the trumpet) plays the melody or a variation on it, and the other instruments improvise around that melody. 

 

 

New Jazz Apartments

Cool Jazz

Our Cool Jazz Apartment follows our new concept of accommodation in Barcelona inspired by the Jazz genre. This is an apartment designed to provide people with comfort and style in a soft, thoughtful and quiet musical style. Following this concept, the apartment has been designed to provide an atmosphere of tranquility. 

Hot Jazz

Our Hot Jazz Apartments follow the same concept but are designed to reflect the Hot Jazz genre. These apartments are perfect for people wanting to have a relaxing holiday.

 

Jazz Clubs in Barcelona 

Jamboree

With two performances per day, 365 times a year for half a century few jazz clubs, and generally few live music venues, can boast a history and repertoire of artists like that of Jamboree. It is an institution that is part of the cultural heritage of Barcelona and offers a musical dynamism which has made it into one of the most popular venues on Plaça Reial. It has been visited by global jazz legends of all times from all five continents as well as supporting lesser known local musicians.

Plaça Reial, 17, 08002 Barcelona

933 04 12 10

 

Harlem Jazz Club 

Whilst Harlem Jazz Club isn´t the oldest jazz club in Barcelona within its walls is one of the liveliest jazz clubs in Barcelona which offers concerts each day in a range of different genres. If you are a jazz fan make sure to come and check out this suave hidden gem within the Gothic Quarter.

Carrer de Comtessa de Sobradiel, 8, 08002 Barcelona

933 10 07 55

 

If you would like to come to Barcelona and experience some great jazz then take a look at Habitat Apartments where you will find a great range of apartments all over the city. Featured below is the Cool Jazz 42 Apartment which follows our jazz concept.

cool-jazz-42-apartment-barcelona-living-room-1

In addition, we also invite you to take a look at all apartments in the building of Cool Jazz Apartments in Barcelona.

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Jul 07 2015

5 Great Things to Do on Foot in Barcelona

Barcelona is a beautiful city with a lot of great areas to explore by foot. Below we have compiled a list of the best places to visit and stroll around on foot smiley

 

Montjuic cemetary small

Image by Ana Maria León

1. Montjuïc

CASTELL DE MONTJUIC

Make your way up Montjuïc and visit the old castle there which has been made into an International Peace Centre. You will have a great view of the city.

 

ENJOY THE BOTANIC GARDEN

More than just a garden, this is practically a forest filled with great activities and playground equipment for kids. You will be able to enjoy the view and relax.

 

VISIT FONT MAGICA

Font Magica, the magic fountain, was created in 1929, during the World Fair. During the summer months each weekend there is a show every half an hour where there is music played through speakers and the fountain pumps millions of litres of water through jets in time with the music and lights.

 

VISIT OLYMPIC STADIUM LLUIS COMPANYS

Just like the Font Magica, this beautiful Stadium was built to house the World Fair, in 1929. It was entirely renovated in 1992 for the Olympic Games. These days it is filled with football and rugby matches. Its architecture is also really impressive, which makes this Olympic Stadium one of the best things to do and to see in Barcelona.

 

ENJOY A GOOD RESTAURANT UP THE MONTJUIC HILL

Spain is famous for food so reward yourself with some local delicious food in La Font del Gat – Passeig de Santa Madrona, 28 – in order to enjoy some real Spanish food in a real Spanish atmosphere.

 

2. Gothic Quarter

The Gothic Quarter is the centre of the old city of Barcelona. It stretches from La Rambla to Via Laietana and from the Mediterranean seafront to Ronda de Sant Pere. It is definitely one of the best areas in Barcelona to stroll around as many of the buildings date from medieval times, some from as far back as the Roman settlement of Barcelona. Remains of the squared Roman Wall can be seen around Tapineria and Sots-Tinent Navarro to the north, Avinguda de la Catedral and Plaça Nova to the west and Carrer de la Palla to the south. El Call, the medieval Jewish quarter, is located within this area too.

The Barri Gòtic is a maze of streets and back streets which is filled with many quirky shops and cafes and also is home to many squares – one of which is referred to as “Plaza Tripi” (officially called Placa de George Orwell) as it was said to have often been frequented by the writer. Most of the quarter is closed to regular traffic although open to service vehicles and taxis.

 

3. Parc Güell

 

The Park Güell is a public park system that Eusebi Güell ordered Catalan modernism legend Antoni Gaudi to design and create for him. It is composed of gardens and different architecture and is located on Carmel Hill, in Barcelona. The park was built between 1900 and 1914 and was officially opened as a public park in 1926. In 1984, UNESCO declared the park a World Heritage Site under “Works of Antoni Gaudí”.

Park Güell is extremely beautiful and the majority of it is free to walk around however there is an area with some buildings in typical Gaudi style that cost about €8 to visit (note that it is worth pre buying tickets online as there is often a queue because only a certain amount of people are allowed in each hour). There is also always many different musicians and buskers playing music whilst you walk around.

The nearest metro stops are Vallcarca or Lesseps (both green lines) or there is a bus from Plaza Catalunya that will take you right to the top.

 

 

4. Parc Ciutadella

Ciutadella Parc

Parc de la Ciutadella is a beautiful park in the Ciutat Vella barrio. For decades following its creation in the 1800s, this park was the city's only green space. Nowadays the parc includes the city zoo (once home to the albino gorilla Snowflake, who died in 2004), the Parliament of Catalonia, a small lake (where you can rent out rowing boats), museums, and a large and magnificent fountain designed by Josep Fontserè (with possible contributions by the young Antoni Gaudí). As well as this the parc is also always filled with musicians and people doing juggling, acrobatics and yoga so there is always something to amuse yourself.

The main attraction in the parc is the zoo which is home to roughly 7,000 animals. Near the zoo's entrance there is a climbable life size gigantic stone mammoth as well as a metallic cat.

The parc is beautiful and well worth a visit so head along with a picnic and soak up the sun in this lovely environment.

 

5. Segway Tours

 

 

What better way to discover a large area of the city in a relatively short time than on a Segway! Segways are 2 wheeled vehicles which are extremely easy and safe to use but also great fun! They allow you to go much faster than you can walk so you can whizz around the city being led by a professional and very knowledgeable tour guide. The tours can be requested in many different languages and there are different routes which last different amounts of time and even tours that include lunch, so there really is something to suit everyone!

For more information about prices and different Segway tours on offer click this link

 

If you want to come and enjoy the great city that is Barcelona and you need somewhere to stay then take a look at Habitat Apartments which has many different apartments to suit all needs. Featured below is the Paseo De Gracia A Apartment with a lovely view of Gaudi´s Casa Batlló.

Paseo De Gracia

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