If you are in Barcelona for a while and you have a driving licence, I have two words for you…. ROAD TRIP!
Catalonia doesn’t begin and end with Barcelona. Yes, it’s a stunning capital city with amazing architecture, beautiful people, endless nightlife, tapas on tap and a heavenly climate – but just a few kilometres away and beyond, you will find mile upon mile of stunning coastline unsullied by tourism, fabulous campsites, beautiful lakes and awe-inspiring mountains.
Plus, car rental in Barcelona is generally quite cheap – although, at weekends be sure to book in advance and allow yourself plenty of time to wait about in the car-hire company offices. Moral of the story: book in advance and pick your car up during the week.
So, you have your hire car, you have a keen sense of adventure and some boiled sweets for the journey, but where should you head?
Well, time is a great factor. If you only have a couple of days to spare then stick to the region of Catalonia and check out Sitges, Girona, Tarragona, the beautiful lake of Banyoles, the glorious walled city of Tossa de Mar or the cobbled streets of Begur and the magnificent Montserrat mountain, which is unlike any other mountain range in Spain.
If time is of no importance and you are dizzy with the thought of an adventure, then you could head south to the cities of Granada, Malaga and/or Sevilla via the city of Valencia.
If you don’t have time to go all the way down South, then turn right after Valencia and head to Segovia near Madrid, a breathtaking capital city in the region of Castille and Leon famous for its gorgeous architecture.
If you want to head north of Barcelona (recommended during the hot summer months), you can head directly to Tossa de Mar, then take in Banyoles and beautiful medieval Begur and then pootle across the Spanish/French border until you reach San Sebastian for a very different region of Spain. Along the very green and northern coast of Spain you will encounter Bilbao, a city worth a day or two’s exploration before heading south towards the Picos de Europa – a beautiful mountain range with the delightful village of Potes at its center. You’ll need your walking boots for this bit! If you like walking or kayaking – this part of Spain will be the answer to your dreams.
As far as accommodation goes, Spain has a wealth of cheap pensions and casa rurales that despite having a 1 star rating, are clean and comfortable. Due to the climate there are thousands of campsites throughout the country that almost always provide hot showers, decent swimming pools and great facilities such as washing machines and supermarkets.
Spain is a magnificent country – hire a car and explore it at your leisure.