Barcelona is a fascinating city, with a buzzing rhythm reigning in this cosmopolitan heart of the Mediterranean. There are always lots of things to explore and to visit: the Roman origins, the great medieval old city, fishing quarters, the newer modernist district, the impressive urban architecture that arrived with the Olympic Games, the design shops, the parks, the beaches, the markets. And if you suffer of a culture overdose, just enjoy Barcelona’s rich gastronomy, one of its many terraces or look for a live concert in one of its many bars, theatre halls or churches. The last thing you should have to worry about is your accommodation.
These days it has become popular to rent an apartment in Barcelona. Apart from being cheaper than hotels, you will have much more space, more privacy, more flexibility, and will definitely enjoy a more personalised atmosphere and a feeling of being at home.
The problem is there are hundreds of companies renting out apartments in Barcelona right now and naturally, some are better than others.
It can be a nightmare finding a good place to stay. Imagine this – all your friends think you’re amazing because you have booked an amazing apartment on “La Rambla” for a bargain price, right in the middle of summer. However, once you arrive, you soon realise that this is not the famous “Las Ramblas” in the Barcelona city centre, but “La Rambla” in Sabadell – a town about 25km outside the Catalonian capital. You’re not quite as popular with your friends right now and you wish you’d spent a little more time investigating the whole apartment rental world.
So how can you avoid situations such as these? Well basically, you need to find a trustworthy rental company, one that offers quality. One where you won’t find any dodgy apartments located on a fifth floor without elevator – and there are many apartments like that in Barcelona. One that doesn’t offer their guests mattresses on the floor, worn-out beds and a bathroom that is oh-so-authentic but hasn’t been renovated since Gaudi was still alive.
Look for a company that is fully licensed, with apartments that meet the official requirements of the Generalitat (the local Catalan government). If a company meets certain standards, there’s more chance that the apartments they offer will be of a higher quality.
There are plenty of things to look for when choosing a good Barcelona apartment rental company. Below is a short list of things to check for and ask about before making a decision:
Is the apartment fully furnished?
Is there a TV, DVD player & Internet?
Does the apartment have a washing machine, iron and ironing board?
Will you have to take your own sheets and towels?
How far from the city centre is the apartment? (Ask for the address so you can check it out on Google Maps).
Are there any hidden costs such as utility bills, telephone and agency fees and tax?
Is there always someone you can contact in case of emergency?
All these questions need to be answered, but at the end of the day, the decision is yours. Make sure you have done your research and are not disappointed. If in doubt, call the company before booking. If you choose well, your friends will remain good friends for years to come along with the happy memories of a wonderful holiday. And who knows, they may even take you out for dinner to say thank you in one of Barcelona’s many gastronomic wonderlands!