Barcelona isn’t really the kind of city you want to leave, but if you’re here for a semester as a study abroad student it’s worth your while to do some weekend trips outside the city.
Barcelona is insanely well connected to the rest of Catalunya, Spain, Europe and the world, moving more than 47,000,000 passengers last year through its airport alone. From Barcelona it’s cheap and easy to make weekend and long weekend trips to wherever you want to go, but to narrow down the options here are some of our favourite trips that you can easily make in a weekend.
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 experience includes 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! Check out Google Flight’s handy destination map to see where you can get to. But if there’s one place you just have to go it’s…
This is the original, and biggest, beer fest. Seven million people will descend on Munich with the intention of drinking that many gallons of beer, eating half their weight in hearty German beer-drinking food, singing boozy songs with the oompah bands, and then for some reason riding roller coasters. This is the most fun festival in the world, an absolute Disneyland for adults, made all the more enjoyable by Stoke Travel and our Stoketoberfest campsites, where we keep the bar open for your pre-and-post parties, and entertain you with live bands, DJs, while providing spaces for you to get to know literally 1000s of other travellers from at home and around the world.
There are plenty more places to go and see as this list just tickles the tip of the iceberg. We’ll update and add to these lists regularly, so stay tuned for more Barcelona study abroad travelling advice.
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