WEEKEND TRIPS FROM BARCELONA AROUND CATALUNYA
There is plenty to see and do in Catalunya, the autonomous region of which Barcelona is the capital. The secondary cities of Tarragona, with it’s seaside Roman ampitheatre, and Girona, that was featured in Game Of Thrones are both about an hour, and €10 on the train. Here are some other favourites.
Barcelona’s own little Mediterranean paradise, complete with the small swimming coves known as calas, pine-covered mountains that run all the way down to the sea, and perfectly azul water. During summer Costa Brava is crowded with tourists from all over Europe, but that completely dies down in September while the weather and water remains warm. Check out Tossa de Mar for its seaside castle (there are castes everywhere up here), which can be reached by bus from Barcelona every hour, for around €15. Alternatively, you could sign up for a kayaking tour that will take you off the tourist trail and to some calas and platjas that are rarely visited by tourists.
A small region that produces perhaps the finest red wine in Spain, Priorat is an area of natural beauty and vineyards, small farms and stone villages. Priorat is no more than two hours from downtown Barcelona, but seems like an entirely different land, where narrow streets wind around mountains that are traversed by rivers and broken up where mountains rise above the grapes. The best thing too, apart from discovering a wine region that not many people know about, is sampling, and taking home, the absolutely amazing reds that are produced here.
WEEKEND TRIPS FROM BARCELONA AROUND SPAIN
From Barcelona we are connected to Spain by plane and high-speed train. You can easily do one/two/three night trips from Barcelona to anywhere in the country, especially areas covered by the TGV train network, like Madrid, Andalucia, and really anywhere you want to go.
The famous tomato fight that takes place at the end of August in Valencia. Think 10s of 1000s of travellers, tonnes of tomatoes and a small village’s narrow streets. This friendly fight is a messy delight and amazing stress reliever, where for a couple of hours you’re able to let your inner problem child run wild and throw salad fruit (vegetables?) at friends, foes and complete strangers alike. This festival is one of a kind, and the Stoke Travel La Tomatina experienceincludes huge travellers’ parties with live bands, DJs, beachswims and pool sessions. You might be arriving to your study abroad course a little late to make this fight, in which case you should totally check out Valencia anyway. It’s Spain’s third largest city, the home of paella and some fantastic beaches, art and architecture.
A short skirt across the top of Spain, just below the Pyrenees, will land you in the Basque Country, of which San Sebastian is the gastronomic and tourism capital. Not only is San Sebastian a foodies paradise, with literally hundred of bars and restaurants serving up the finest quality pintxos, Basque tapas that go above and beyond the already fantastic Spanish food found in the rest of the country. San Sebastian’s Old Town is also one of Spain’s, and Europe’s, best places to party, with something going on every night of the week along it’s narrow, paved streets. There are also lots of waves here, making San Sebastian a place to learn, or practice, your surfing and thus earning the right to eat your weight in Basque food and drink Basque cider afterwards.
WEEKEND TRIPS FROM BARCELONA AROUND EUROPE
From Barcelona you can visit any European city by taking advantage of the many budget airlines that fly in and out of the airport every day. Paris, Milan, London, Berlin, Prague, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Rome, Budapest, the Greek Islands, the Baltic states, the Balkans… the list goes on! Let´s take a look at some of the main cities!
Paris is a must. You can visit it for it´s history, for it´s nightlife, for it´s food, for it´s people…. it´s one of the most visited places in the world! Whether it’s hitting the shops long the Champs Elysees, wandering through the Louvre, or climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower, Paris will never disappoint.
The British capital is one of the largest and most influential cities on the continent, and it has a wonderful variety and diversity that makes it a great destination.
You can see buildings such as the Houses of Parliament or Buckingham Palace, or explore the wealth of art galleries and museums, before enjoying the great range of restaurants and night life in the evenings.
Check this ultimate London guide: https://theblondeabroad.com/ultimate-london-travel-guide/
The cradle of the Renaissance, Florence is one of Europe’s great art cities. Giotto’s frescoes, Michelangelo’s David, canvases by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and a host of other greats in the Uffizi Gallery… there’s so much exquisite art and architecture, it’s difficult to know where to start.
But Florence is also a living city with a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene, and a lively cultural movida that goes beyond old masters to embrace opera, classical music and contemporary art. Handsome, historic, full of quirky shops and quality crafts, and close to the vine-covered hills of Chianti, it’s one of Europe’s most civilised long weekend destinations.
You will not expect to love Berlin as much as you will do. I am sure you pictured it to be cold and cloudy, and the people to be stand-offish. Don't get me wrong, you´re not entirely wrong and bundled up in blanket scarves as soon as I could. But, you´ll found a lot of history and modern beauty in this city.
From the East Side Gallery to the graffiti on the walls of the restaurants and pubs, Berlin is incredibly #artsy. The Brandenburg Gate is a site you won't want to miss. Be sure to grab a beer and a bratwurst while you walk around Berlin -- although if you want something truly authentic, the currywurst is their signature dish.
Amsterdam is a quaint city nestled in the Netherlands. With bikes lining every street and bridge, and slightly-slanted houses that look like they came out of a storybook, there's a lot of culture in the city that's most definitely worth dropping just a little bit of cash.
During your stay, it would be in your best interest to try a Dutch pancake and pay a visit to the Anne Frank House. Spend your afternoon taking a canal cruise from the Heineken Museum to its gift shop just a mile or so away by boat.
Studying abroad is one big adventure. The best travelers will take some time and wander to places like this.
Explore the magic of the “Eternal City”. Retrace the footsteps of gladiators at the Colosseum, skip the line into the Vatican and marvel at the art, drama filled history, and amazing architecture. You’ll be able to enjoy a walking tour along the Spanish Steps, and toss a coin into the Trevi fountain ensuring this won’t be your last trip to Rome!
Prague is like a living and breathing Christmas village. Tucked into the culture of the Czech Republic, it is a fairly spread out city with castles that look like they came straight out of those stories with the princesses and dragons.
If you're finding that you're feeling a little homesick, this weekend trip will warm your heart a bit. The city is filled with comfort food like warm bowls of goulash and mulled wine.
Take a walk over the bridge to the other side of the city to see the John Lennon Wall. You'll want to snap a picture of it, because it's constantly changing and being added to. No two trips to Prague will ever be the same for that simple reason.
Brussels is the best spot if you're a foodie like, well, most of us. From French fry cones with creative dipping sauces to choose from, to street vendors with fluffy Belgian waffles that are loaded with fresh strawberries and Nutella -- let's just say, I hope you bring your appetite on this weekend trip.
It'll be worth spending a couple extra dimes on an exotic beer, or sticking out your hate for seafood and trying one of their mussel dishes. When you're finally full, explore the city a bit for sights like the Atomium and Grand Place, where you'll find a number of chocolate shops and gilded buildings.
As a visitor to Spain, there is no reason to leave without having checked what Portugal has to offer as well, and its capital, Lisbon, in particular. The flight is a bit more than one hour long, and you can find plenty of budget airlines that fly regularly, so there’s no excuse to get going for an awesome weekend in Lisbon. Two days is a perfect amount of time to get to know this thriving city, taste the lovely food choices, walk up to its castle, take gorgeous pictures of the bay and even go for a quick dip on the (cold!) Atlantic Ocean’s waters at one of the city’s many beaches.