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Photo courtesy of Serafina Kenny

Let’s Get Away: Barcelona

When it is safe to do so,  I recommend you Get Away to Barcelona! With its spectacular architecture, great food, and warm weather the city is the perfect place to visit for a student budget weekend away.

To start your day, or for a refreshment later on, there is no shortage of small cafés and delis selling sandwiches and pastries, as well as incredible coffee.

I would recommend the ‘bombón’ coffee at Il Caffe di Francesco, which is a shot of espresso served with condensed milk. Or, I suggest you try the traditional Iberian ham and cheese croissants at El Fornet. The 365 Café is an essential visit for the sweet-toothed among us, with has a large array of ridiculously cheap pastries, donuts, croissants, and so much more from as little as 30 cents!

You aren’t going to go far wrong for food in Barcelona, but if you are in need of any further inspiration, Bacoa Burger is great for hearty fast food and Coffee Park, outside Park Güell, for ice cream.

There is plenty of culture to take in. For those interested in the ancient roots of the city there is the Museum of the History of Barcelona which offers an exhibition about the ruins of the city walls.

A huge number of the city’s most famous pieces of architecture were designed by Antoni Gaudí, such as the Casa Batlló and his house in Park Güell which is now a museum.

Unfortunately I found that Casa Batlló had huge queues and a hefty ticket price, so opted to just view its exterior. We did buy €6 tickets for the Gaudí House Museum, which I personally didn’t find particularly engaging but would be a great experience for those interested in his life .

Park Güell is a definite must for anyone visiting Barcelona. Situated at the top of a hill, you can see the whole city from above, which makes for breathtaking views and great pictures. It has lots of sculptures designed by Gaudí, and, perhaps more excitingly, the toilets are situated inside a cave! The area around the Park, Grácia, contains lots of political graffiti, and it was fun to see the phrase ‘Tourist go home’ written on many walls.

Then there is the famous Sagrada Familia – also designed, like seemingly everything else in the city, by Gaudí. Still under construction, the cathedral is due to be completed in 2026, almost 150 years after building work began. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is incredible to see but is very expensive to go into, so if you are intent on seeing the inside or climbing the towers, book ahead to get cheaper tickets. 

The Catedral de Barcelona is a good spot for free viewing, and you’ll be sure to see entertaining street performers either doing magic tricks or doing gymnastics with a football outside the Arc de Triomphe. The Catalonian capital city is also home to the world famous Champions League team FC Barcelona and its official store, so if you fancy catching a game or stocking up on a red and blue scarf, you’d be in the right place!

For those who enjoy a night out, Razzmatazz is a favourite with the local students and young tourists, and has plenty of rooms with different music. The Twenties club is a bit pricier (€12 for a Jägerbomb!) but the Latin-infused music and design of the interior makes it worth it. Avoid touristy clubs on the beachfront – they charge €5 for a bottle of water and have strict dress codes.

In terms of travel, you should definitely take advantage of Barcelona’s metro system. A kind stranger let us in on the secret that the €11.35 10 journey pass could be used by different people immediately after one another, so if you only need to take a few journeys via metro, don’t bother buying multiple single journey tickets at €2.40 each. 

Obviously flights are restricted at the moment, but return flights to Barcelona can be around £50 from Manchester Airport if you go mid-week and avoid peak times of year.

The beaches tend to get very crowded in the summer, as you’d expect, but are worth visiting nonetheless as they are beautiful, especially at sunset with a bottle of sangria!

You might also consider visiting the capital of Catalonia during the winter in order to get cheaper flights. This doesn’t mean sacrificing nicer weather, as the average winter temperature in Barcelona is 16°C, practically tropical compared to the UK.

There’s a reason why Barcelona is such a popular city break destination – with beaches and so much culture, the city offers something for everyone and should be top of your list for post-Corona travel destinations!

Tags: barcelona, budget travel, FC Barcelona, Let's Get Away, student budget friendly

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