This blog post comes from Scarlett Robinson and Olivia Thurlow from Bournemouth, who are two of our many Student Travel Ambassadors across the country. They gave us the lowdown on painting Barcelona red on a modest budget.
The summer before university stole away our childhood friends (and our money), myself and six friends decided to make the most out of the ridiculously cheap flights available around Europe, and for a £70 return we were on our way for a 3 night adventure in Barcelona… Viva la fiesta!
How can you make the most out of Spain’s coolest city on a budget?
RENT AN APARTMENT
This may sound more expensive than a hostel, but if you’re going with a group of friends it’s worth looking into renting a holiday apartment and splitting the cost between you. Not only is it more exciting – a house of friends can only mean fun and laughter (and minimal sleep) – but you’ll save money on food too. We took turns cooking dinner in pairs serving three course meals, as some of us wanted to show off our culinary skills! Living in an actual block of flats also added to the travelling experience; we felt truly ‘abroad’ with no help from fellow tourists. This was further tested when we had to ask our neighbours for a bottle opener – let’s just say that GCSE Spanish does not cater for that need!
RED, RED, WINE
Though the two guys in our group stuck to their trusty beers, us girls explored our own vision of heaven in the form of red wine. The alcohol aisle at our local supermercado took up the majority of the shop, and it’s hard picking a bottle when they’re all so cheap! Sangria is an absolute must; an ice-cold jug whilst listening to some traditional Spanish guitar is another Barcelona beauty. Pick a café (there are loads) and drink in all the atmosphere!
GAUDI GAUDI and more GAUDI
When in Barcelona it’s definitely worth taking a day out to appreciate some of Gaudi’s widely admired architecture. The Sagrada Familia, a grand church still in construction, is truly awe-inspiring and attracts hundreds of visitors each day. The quirky Park Güell is worth climbing the many steps up to it (escalators are available if you’re truly too hungover) as it promises you an amazing view of the whole of Barcelona, while the musicians around each bend provide you with the perfect soundtrack for your visit. If organisation isn’t your forte then let STA Travel sort you out with our Gaudi and Tapas full day trip including bikes, sangria and flamenco dancing! From just £38, you’ve got a jam packed adventure all in one day.
Within walking distance, Barceloneta (the LA-esque beach district) is famed for its vast array of seafood dishes. Save an evening and some euros for a night of mouth-watering tapas and indulge in some gambas, mini paellas and patatas bravas with chorizo. The best thing about tapas is the sharing – you can try everything and avoid major food envy! Book a place on STA Travel’s flamenco and tapas half day excursion to watch (and learn) some major moves and rhythms.
Step out of your comfort zone and make friends with the locals. They’re not just lovely but also full of the greatest knowledge of Barcelona. On our trip, making friends with one random Spaniard meant we had a free guide to all the more secret, less tourist-y bars full of amazing dancers who are happy to take you under their wing and teach you some Salsa shakin’ moves! If you fancy having a break from all the commercial sights of Las Ramblas, turn off the main road and wander into the Gothic Quarter. If there at night, use your ears and run in the direction of any musical sounds. Sprinting around a corner led us to the beautiful sight of a big group of musicians jamming out under the moonlight, where we were then welcomed with great local company, beers and an evening of dancing.