Great priced eco campsite only 1.5 hrs south of Barcelona. Only 20 pounds per night. It's run by a friendly family. Yoga is taught each morning in the flower filled courtyard. Beaches only 12 miles away. A 'get away from it all' holiday with a lot of activities to keep the non-yoga enthusiasts happy too. Castles to explore, beaches to sunbathe on, giant catfish to catch in the river Ebro, hiking in stunning mountains straight out of the front door. The camping facilities are clean and modern in a converted stable. It's only £20 a day too.
Not exactly in Barcelona, but nevertheless a fantastic day trip, the monastery of Montserrat is absolutely magnificent.
First and foremost: the landscape. You can see it coming from a mile off; weird bulbous rock formations bulging out.
On the way up, there's a fantastic Romanesque chapel with amazing frescoes, and the whole area is riddled with hermits' caves.
The church itself is vast, 1000m above sea-level, and (oddly) reassuringly hideous in scale and detail.
Still, it's a mighty impressive spectacle and the surrounding countryside is simply breathtaking.
90 minutes from Barcelona (near Lleida)
Of all the things that beguiled me in Barcelona, this did it the most. This botanical garden on the sea-side of Montjuic (the headland at the southern end of Barcelona's coast) would be better suited the pages of a Dr Seuss book than to this world. The species themselves, some of which stand at well over two metres in height, come from all over - Central and South America, as well as Africa.
Take the cross-harbour cable car to Monjuic Park. Once you alight and are facing Mirabella, turn left and you'll find the garden
A medium-sized wetland reserve right next to Barcelona El Prat Airport. Hundreds of birds and a nice beach too (if you don't mind the sound/sight of jets passing overhead about every 2 minutes!).
Catch the 95 bus from Ronda de la Universitat, just off Placa de Catalunya, The 95 runs every 20-30 minutes. Ask for tickets for the El Camping del Toro (Brava) stop - about 20 minutes SW out of the city centre. You end up by a Repsol petrol station on the wrong side of the busy autovia. Best to use the underpass about 100m up the road, even though it’s better suited to hedgehogs than humans. When you emerge the entrance lane to the reserve is fairly obvious, about 50 metres back toward the city.
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