3 Great places to visit in Costa Blanca, things to do in Spain

3 Great places to visit in Costa Blanca – Ideas to add to your itinerary

We have had many family holidays to Costa Blanca over the years and have found some great places to visit.  There are so many places other than the well known tourist areas.  We stay at my in laws house in a small village in the mountains called Orcheta.  It is located between Benidorm and Alicante but we love to drive and explore other areas.  Here are 3 great places to visit in Costa Blanca during your next holiday.

Places to visit in Costa Blanca

Tabarca Island

Located close to the town of Santa Pola, in the Province of Alicante, Tabarca Island is a great place to go for a day trip.  It can be reached by boat from Santa Pola, Benidorm and Alicante.  We decided to go from Santa Pola as the boats run more frequently.  Parking the car in Santa Pola in the summer months can be a nightmare so my tip is to head straight for Parking del Castillo (Carrer Almirante Antequera) which had lots of spaces when we went and isn’t far from the port.

There are lots of ticket booths at the port so its easy to turn up, choose a boat and buy a ticket.  We took a speed boat across which took about 15 minutes and was 10 euros per person for a return ticket.  The journey across was pleasant with nice views of the coastline.

3 great places to visit in Costa Blanca, travel ideas for Spain, Tabarca Island

The island was very busy with tourists and the first couple of restaurants we tried were full.  We found a table at Restaurante Mar Azul and enjoyed a really nice paella and some seafood.  It was very busy and hectic but they had a good set menu and we were able to try a few different dishes.

3 great places to visit in Costa Blanca, travel ideas for Spain, Tabarca Island

After lunch we went for a swim in the clear water close to the port which was lovely.  This side seemed quieter than the beach on the opposite side of the island.

3 great places to visit in Costa Blanca, travel ideas for Spain, Tabarca Island

After our swim we headed into the village which has a few shops, cafes and restaurants. The restaurants here were not as busy so its a good option if you want to get away from the crowds.

There are a few options to stay overnight on the Island which I would like to do next time as I would love to experience the island when it is quiet and not full of day trippers.

3 great places to visit in Costa Blanca, travel ideas for Spain, Tabarca Island

Guadalest

I love visiting the small picturesque village of Guadalest.  It survives mainly on tourism and is located inland in a mountainous area of the province of Alicante.  It takes about 30 minutes to drive from Benidorm.  The village sits on top of a mountain and gives amazing views of the green valley below.

3 great places to visit in Costa Blanca, travel ideas for Spain, Guadalest

In the village you will find some shops and restaurants and Guadalest Castle which can be reached by walking through a tunnel carved out of the rock.  You can also visit the restored house of the Orduna family to get an idea of what it used to be like living in ancient times in Guadalest.

If you look to the right of Guadalest you will see beautiful views of the valley which has a dam and reservoir.

3 great places to visit in Costa Blanca, travel ideas for Spain, Guadalest

When visiting Guadalest we always stop on the way back for lunch at El Trestellador.  This restaurant has lovely views and serves great Arroz al horno, which is a rice dish similar to paella but it is cooked in the oven.

3 great places to visit in Costa Blanca, travel ideas for Spain, Guadalest

Canelobre Caves

The small town of Buscot is home to the spectacular Canelobre Caves.  They are a 35 minute drive from Alicante and are well worth a visit.  The stunning interior has been compared to a Gothic Cathedral.  The acoustics inside are so good that concerts are held in the caves from time to time.

There were lots of strange and wonderful shapes to look at.  A tour guide provides interesting facts about the caves as you walk through.

3 great places to visit in Costa Blanca, travel ideas for Spain, Canelobre Caves

As we were coming from the north we passed a village called Aigues which was a great place to stop for some lunch before the caves.  This village has a lovely square surrounded by a few places to eat and drink and a nice children’s park.

3 great places to visit in Costa Blanca, travel ideas for Spain, Aigues village

We ate in Nou Llima which served really tasty grilled meat and salad and had a nice outside seating area.  Its definitely worth a visit if passing through this way.

3 great places to visit in Costa Blanca, travel ideas for Spain, Aigues village

There is so much more to Costa Blanca than the beaches and these are just 3 places to visit in Costa Blanca that we enjoy during our time in Spain.

Thank you for reading and hope this has inspired you to think outside the box when next travelling to Costa Blanca.

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3 Great Places to visit in Costa Blanca, ideas of things to do in Spain, Tabarca Island, Guadelest and Canelobre Caves

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5 Must try Barcelona Bars, great places to drink in Barcelona, everything from Cava to Mojito Bars

5 Barcelona bars everyone should try

Nightlife in Barcelona is great, I love hopping from bar to bar and mixing in some tapas throughout the evening.  There are so many great bars in Barcelona.  I have tried my best to have a drink or two in as many as possible (it was tough 🙂 !!)  There are traditional bars, modern bars, cocktail bars, wine bars (oh so many bars).  Here is my list of 5 Barcelona Bars that everyone should try at least once.

Barcelona Bars

Old Fashioned Cava Bar

Can Paixano
Carrer de la Reina Cristina, 7

This has to be one of the best old-style Cava (sparkling wine) bars in Barcelona and is definitely my favourite.  I make sure I go whenever I’m in Barcelona.  I love it because it is full of locals and very traditional.  A queue of locals often forms outside and that’s when you know its going to be good.  Once you get in and squeeze your way to the bar you get to try their pink Cava served up in elegant little glasses.  They also serve tapas and sandwiches.  Their meat sandwiches are really good and help to line the stomach!

Can Paixanno, great Cava Bar in Barcelona, 5 Must try Barcelona Bars

Can Paixano Barcelona, great Cava bar, 5 Must try Barcelona Bars

Gin and Tonic Bar

Old Fashioned Gin tonic & Cocktail Bar
Carrer Santa Teresa, 1

If Gin and tonic is your tipple of choice then this bar is a must!  This small, quaint bar is full of character, just like their staff.  They were very helpful in recommending which gins to try.  There were so many different gin and tonic combinations, as well as a long list of cocktails.  They even stock Hayman’s Gin which is distilled locally to where I live!  Be warned once inside you may not want to leave!

Old Fashioned Gin tonic and cocktail bar Barcelona, great bar, 5 must try Barcelona Bars

Mojito Bar

Bar el Trece
Carrer de la Lleona, 13

We stumbled across this tiny Mojito bar while out and about in Barcelona.  It is very small but serves great Mojitos all made with fresh ingredients.  I had a Raspberry Mojito and has to be one of the best I have ever tasted.  The bar doesn’t feel touristy which I also like.

Bar El Trece Barcelona, great mojito bar, 5 Must try Barcelona Bars

Cocktail Bar

Etniko Bar
Plaça del Fossar de les Moreres, 7

This Cocktail bar seems to have every spirit you could think of on display behind the bar.  They have a great choice of cocktails including Pina Colada served in a fresh pineapple (a must when on holiday!).  Their Lime Daiquiris are also rather tasty!

Etniko Bar Barcelona, great cocktail bar, 5 must try bars in Barcelona

Wine Bar

La Vinya del Senyor
Plaza Santa Maria, 5

This wine bar is in a beautiful setting overlooking the church of Santa Maria del Mar.  It is a wine lovers paradise with around 350 varieties of wine and cava to choose from.  The wines are from all over the world and you can buy wine by the bottle, half bottle or glass which is great.  Order some cheese and nibbles and enjoy your wine with views of the magnificent church.

Esglesia de Santa Maria del Mar, great view from La Vinya del Senyor wine bar, 5 must try Barcelona Bars

View from La Vinya del Senyor wine bar Barcelona, 5 must try Barcelona Bars

La Vinya del Senyor wine bar Barcelona, 5 must try Barcelona Bars

Its making me thirsty just thinking about it.  Would love to be back in Barcelona sipping on a cold glass of wine in the sunshine!  Hope you enjoy visiting some of these great Barcelona Bars.

Want inspiration on which tapas bars to try in Barcelona, take a look at my post The best of Barcelona’s Tapas Bars

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5 Must try Barcelona Bars, great bars to try while in barcelona, Cocktail, Gin, and Cava bars

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3 Great places to stay in Barcelona, Where to stay in Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

Where to stay in Barcelona

I have been lucky enough to visit this amazing city three times over the last couple of years.  Each time I have stayed in a different type of accommodation.  First trip was a Bed and Breakfast with the hubby, second was a hotel with a friend and third time was an apartment with hubby and another couple.  Here are my reviews on where to stay in Barcelona.

Where to stay in Barcelona –

Bed & Breakfast

Staying in a B&B is a good option if travelling as a couple.  I stayed in a lovely, homely B&B called El Balcon del Born.  It is in a great location, close to some lovely bars and restaurants and within walking distance to La Rambla and the beach.  We stayed in Room 2 which is the only room with an ensuite bathroom, but if you don’t mind sharing there are 9 other rooms to choose from.  The owner of this lovely B&B was very welcoming and helpful.  A basic but nice continental breakfast is served in the dining room every morning.  You can help yourself to toast and juice and sit around a large communal table discussing your trip with other guests.

B&B Barcelona, Where to stay in Barcelona, three great places to stayB&B Barcelona, Where to stay in Barcelona, three great places to stay

Almost opposite El Balcon del Born is a great tapas bar called Cal Pep.  It can get busy so you may have to wait to get a seat at the bar but its worth the wait to try their great selection of tapas.

Where to stay in Barcelona –

Hotel

When visiting with a friend we decided to stay in a hotel.  We stayed at Hotel Hesperia Barri Gotic, which is in the great area of Barri Gotic.  Again it is within easy walking distance to La Rambla and the beach.  It has lots of nice squares and bars and restaurants nearby.  The hotel itself is modern and clean and the rooms are more than adequate with a small balcony overlooking the street.

Hotel Hesperia Barri Gotic, Barcelona, Where to stay in Barcelona, three great places to stay

Right round the corner from this hotel is one of my favourite traditional tapas bars, Bar La Plata.  See my other post The best of Barcelona’s Tapas Bars for more information.

Where to stay in Barcelona –

Apartment

My last visit was with my husband and another couple.  We chose to stay in an apartment so we had a lounge/communal area to use.  We found an apartment in Plaza Reial which turned out to be a great place to stay.  Plaza Reial is a lovely square just off of La Rambla.  I found this location the best of all three as it is very central so easy to explore all areas of Barcelona.  It was nice to come down into the Plaza every morning for a coffee and enjoy the morning sun while people watching.

Apartment, Plaza Reial, Barcelona, Where to stay in Barcelona, Three great places to stay in Barcelona

The apartment itself was perfect for what we needed.  It had a large lounge/dining/kitchen area, two bedrooms and a shower room with toilet.  The apartment is clean and modern but unfortunately there are no views out of the windows.  It is on the third floor with no lift but this didn’t cause us any issues.  Here is a link to the apartment – Click here

 

Who you are travelling with can often determine which type of accommodation would suit best.  Whatever you choose I know you will fall in love with Barcelona just as I have.  Check out my other posts for more tips when travelling to Barcelona – Barcelona – My favourite city! and The best of Barcelona’s Tapas Bars.

Would love to hear your recommendations on where to stay in Barcelona!

The Best of Barcelona's Tapas Bars, Barcelona places to eat, Barcelona guide

The best of Barcelona’s Tapas Bars

Tapas is one of my favourite ways of eating.  Sharing lots of little dishes between friends is such a great way to eat, especially when accompanied by a glass of red wine or two!

There are so many fantastic tapas bars in Barcelona but here is a list of my favourites.

Bar Canete

Bar Canete, Barcelona, Spain, tapas bar
Bar Canete

Carrer de la Unió, 17

This traditional tapas bar is tucked away and hidden from tourists but it is well worth finding (which wasn’t too hard).  It gets very busy but we were lucky enough to grab a table in the bar area.  The waiters are all in traditional white jackets and it is full of locals.  There is a great choice of tapas on the menu and a full wine list.  The fried Cordoba-style aubergines in sugar cane honey were very tasty (and one of your 5 a day!)

Bar Canete, Barcelona, Spain, Tapas bar
Bar Canete

El Vaso de Oro

Carrer de Balboa 6

This very busy, noisy tapas bar feels like Barcelona hasn’t changed in 50 years.  Again all the waiters are dressed in traditional white jackets and service is fast paced.  They brew their own beer and the tapas are delicious.

Bar La Plata

Bar La Plata, Barcelona, Spain, Tapas bar
Bar La Plata

Carrer de la Merce, 28

Bar La Plata, Barcelona, Spain, Tapas bar
Bar La Plata

This small tapas bar only has 4 things on the menu, all written up on the chalkboard and they haven’t changed since it opened in 1945.  We managed to grab a seat at one of the 6 tables in this charming tapas bar and enjoyed the wine drawn out of old looking barrels.

La Bombeta

Carrer de la Maquinista, 3

La Bombeta, Barcelona, Spain, Tapas bar
La Bombeta

You could easily walk past this no frills tapas restaurant but you would be making a huge mistake.  This is a great place to try some traditional Catalan tapas including La Bomba, a delicious ball of fried mashed potato stuffed with meat and topped with aioli and spicy bravas sauce.

I love their quote above the bar which says (in Spanish) “We do not speak English but we have great Bombas”.

 

Quimet y Quimet

Carrer del Poeta Cabanyes, 25

This teeny-weeny traditional tapas bar is always on my hit list when in Barcelona.  Its walls are lined with bottles of wine and they serve a specially made dark Belgium beer.  Find a spot to stand and order dishes from the menu, one of my favourites is the salmon with cream cheese and honey. They have a long list of tapas served on bread, many topped with caviar.  See my other post Barcelona – My favourite city!

Quimet y Quimet, Barcelona, Spain, tapas bar
Quimet y Quimet
Quimet y Quimet, Barcelona, Spain, tapas bar
Quimet y Quimet

La Pineda Charcutera

Carrer del Pi, 16

This delicatessen specialises in high quality Spanish ham and sausages and has been going for over 80 years.  It has a small number of tables and can get busy but is a lovely place to come and try great Ibérico ham washed down with a glass of wine or homemade vermouth.

La Pineda Charcutera, Barcelona, Spain, tapas bar
La Pineda Charcutera

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bar Mut

Calle Pau Claris, 192

This modern tapas bar serves the most amazing food.  The menu is written up on the chalkboard in Spanish but the waiters are very friendly and will gladly help you put together an order.  This is worth a visit to try some modern tapas with some surprising combinations.

What are your favourite Barcelona tapas bars?

Check out my other post for more Barcelona ideas

Barcelona - My favourite city!, Things to do in Bacelona, Barcelona guide

Barcelona – My favourite city!

How exciting my very first post!

Hi there

I had to start off my blog with a post about my favourite city, Barcelona.  I have visited a few times now and never get tired of it.  My most recent visit was in February to celebrate our friends 10th Wedding Anniversary.

To me, the city of Barcelona has something for everyone.  Great weather, shopping, culture, beach life and the food is to die for!

This is how we spent our three days in this amazing city.

Day 1 –

La Rambla, Barcelona
La Rambla

We started with a walk up La Rambla.  Everyone walks La Rambla during a Barcelona stay.  It is a 1.25km strip full of shops, restaurants, street performers, caricaturists (see picture!) and flower stands.  It is very touristy but a must when visiting Barcelona.

Our main purpose for walking La Rambla was to get to Mercat de la Boqueria.  This is a great place to wander and marvel at the sheer variety of fresh food available.  We made this our first point of call so we could stop and have breakfast at one of the many tapas bars.

Mercat de la Boqueria, Barcelona, tapas bar
Bar Pinoxto

There are so many places to pull up a stool and eat but we chose Bar Pinotxo run by head barman Juan (always in a waistcoat and bow tie).  We tried a number of different dishes from broad beans to snails! But my favourite was a chucho (pastry filled with cream).

Mercat de la Boqueria, Barcelona, Tapas bar
El Quim

After walking around the market we stopped at El Quim, another great tapas bar.  The tapas here was amazing but their speciality and a must is fried eggs with squid!

The plan for the afternoon was shopping for the girls (and there is a lot of it to be done) and football for the boys.  A trip to Camp Nou shouldn’t be missed for any football fans.  You can either take a tour of the stadium or if you are lucky enough to be there when Barcelona are playing at home you should try to get tickets to a game.

Evenings in Barcelona are great spent in the El Born and Barri Gotic areas.  There are plenty of bars, restaurants and nightlife.  Will be posting about my favourite bars soon.

Day 2 –

Coffee, breakfast, Barcelona
Satan Coffee Corner

We started our day in a great café, Satan Coffee Corner then explored the Barri Gotic area.  As we were there on a Sunday we could visit the Town Hall (Ajuntament), open Sundays 10 am till 1.30 pm.  The spectacular interior was a lovely surprise.

Barcelona, top sights
La Sagrada Familia

It was now time to head north and take in some of the amazing work by Gaudi.  This includes Casa Batllo, La Sagrada Familia and Park Guell.

While we were north of the city we grabbed a bite to eat at Bar Mut.  This tapas bar is amazing and so glad we decided to go.  The friendly waiters helped to guide us through the menu.  My advise is, if you are in the L’Eixample area check it out. (check out my other post for more info)

The evening was spent exploring more bars in Barri Gotic.

Day 3 –

Barcelona, beach
Barceloneta beach

Last day in Barcelona and time to explore the beach.  It was the wrong time of year for sunbathing but taking a stroll along the wide long beach was great to blow away the cob webs from the night before!

From the end of Barceloneta beach you can get a cable car (Transbordador Aeri) up to Montjuic.  This gives you great views of the city.

At Montjuic you can explore a castle, museums, gardens and the site of the 1992 Olympic games.

At the foot of the hill, in the Poble Sec area you can find one of my favourite tapas bars, Quimet y Quimet.  This tiny tapas bar can get very busy but its worth waiting for a space to try some of their gourmet tapas.

There is so much that I can talk about when it comes to Barcelona so for now I will leave it there until my next post.  I hope this helps you to plan your trip.

Be prepared and travel better!