It is spring now and time to start thinking of the next holiday spot. This time it is going to be Barcelona getaway in Spain due to very affordable tickets (Helsinki-Barcelona return ticket 100 EUR with Norwegian Air). Low cost carriers also fly there, but Ryan Air is landing in Girona which is 100km north of Barcelona. The area offers great sea resorts with affordable price range hotels. It is especially popular with families. Therefore, for city breakers it might get boring.
Most airlines land in El Prat airport south of Barcelona city. Many airlines have deals with rental companies, so a low-end rental car will cost you around 80 EUR for 5 days (Opel Corsa type). Considering the amount of attractions to visit it is a bargain! However, if you are not into driving in hectic Spanish traffic, there is a fantastic public transport system in place. For example, Bus Plana is organizing both guided tours and regular airport transfers to most nearby resorts. Return but ticket from El Prat airport to Salou costs 27 EUR and the buses run every hour, almost 24h a day. For more information visit their website.
Where to stay?
That’s a tough question and really come to what you are looking for in your trip? Are you interested in sightseeing and culture? Or are you travelling to recharge your batteries and need some sun & beach type of holiday? Either way there is a huge amount of properties to suit any needs. For best cultural experience staying in Barcelona itself would be the best. It is huge and vibrant city and has a lot to offer for a whole week. On a plus side – you won’t need to travel anywhere far – even the beach is there for you. Metro will take you anywhere you need and avoid heavy traffic. This big has a certain charm to it.
Moving around with rental car
In case you are eager to drive and experience the freedom of superb Spanish motorways – be prepared to pay a fee for using them. Exact route costs (both gasoline and road fees) can be calculated on viamichelin.com. Not all roads are to be paid for – mostly those around Barcelona are. Although public transport is great in many ways and offers easy, carefree holiday experience, you are still stuck with timetables and other people in the bus. So if travelling with a larger party it might pay off to rent a car and split the costs.
Beach resort holiday
Now, if you are looking for some Riviera romance, consider staying at one of nearby resorts. One of the most popular is certainly Sitges – a fancy, high-end beach destination with a lot of party and open-minded scene. If party is not so much you thing, have a look a little further south. Right next to Tarragona is a resort called Salou – one of Europe’s best resorts. Especially popular with families due to amusement park Port Aventura, Salou has a lot to offer for almost any traveller. Our choice for September is exactly this resort, and this is why:
Parking in Salou could be a challenge in summer months. As many hotels are not offering any parking options, private parking lots and houses can be used. Here is a nice option (should cost around 5 EUR per day).
Trips from Salou
Even though Barcelona alone has a lot to offer, it’s not limited to the city alone. Here are some must-visits around the city:
- Great beach and nice warm sea (among the best in Europe)
- Affordable accommodation, managed to book 4* hotel with half board for as low as 50 EUR per room per night. (Amazing!)
- Easy to reach Barcelona via motorway
- Lively and has its charm.
- Mount Montserrat. This breath-taking trip will take you through the mountains to an old monastery. The trip can be made both by rental car and with an organized group (Busplana is offering this trip for 29 EUR from Salou). During the visit, you can taste 4 flavours of liqueurs produced by monks, visit the cave, enjoy Europe’s oldest choir and take some pictures of panoramic view.
- Andorra. Even though Andorra is a shopping paradise – world’s famous brands can be found here at affordable prices – it’s worth a visit due to its unique architecture, cosine and breath-taking views.
- Figueres and Dali Museum. This charming little town a birthplace of artist Salvador Dali. The Dali theatre and Museum are worth a visit for anyone, not just art lovers due to its unique and original setup.
Must see in Barcelona
Back to Barcelona, if you are just looking for a sun and beach and weren’t going to enter the city, there is one place you should visit anyway – the famous Magic Fountain. Operating during evening hours, this magical show with light and sound effects will provide you with great memories of your visit. Beware, however, that parking a car in Barcelona city centre is no easy task – take a train or one of Busplana’s trips – it will only cost you 19 EUR per person but will save you a lot of trouble and nerves. As a nice bonus – taking one of their trips will allow you 4 hours in Barcelona city centre before enjoying the show and coming back to hotel safely. The bus ride will be accompanied by tour guide who will recommend thing to see and places to visit during these 4 hours. Considering that taking a train will cost you almost just as much, it seems like a much better option!
Last night before the flight
As our flight is early in the morning, we decided to book last night in Sitges. This way we can enjoy our beach holiday part, leave hotel one day before flight, travel closer to Barcelona (from Sitges it is just 20 minute ride), stay our last night in a beach hostel and enjoy the party atmosphere of this nice town. As we were going to hop by this town anyway, it is a perfect opportunity to do that on the way back.
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