In Barcelona, life outside of class is almost too fun. With endless attractions- Gaudí-designed buildings, the beach, FC Barcelona games, the Gothic Quarter, and all the shopping you could ever want (plus all the restaurants we constantly drool over) it sometimes proves too enticing to explore one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, when we should probably be doing thesis work instead. M.S. in Global Commerce (MSGC), why must you tempt us so?!
Without a doubt, one of the best parts of Barcelona is the beaches. The city has nine different beaches that cover three miles, all easily accessible by public transportation. Since the weather has been a perfect 70 degrees and sunny, it’s easy to spend a whole Saturday in the sand sipping on sangria from a chiringuito. If you like the beach by night, Barcelona’s beach-side discotecas are popular among tourists and locals alike.
If your tastes don’t lie towards beaches, not to worry- the area around Barcelona has extensive hiking trails, too! One of the most popular attractions is Montserrat, a Spanish National Park and a Benedictine monk mountain retreat about an hour away from the city. “Montserrat” literally means “saw mountain” in Catalan, named after the peculiar rock formations of the mountain. Some students hiked to the peak and took in the incredible views of the Catalonian countryside.
ESADE sponsored an afternoon catamaran cruise for the class in mid May, and it was an absolute hit with everyone. The cruise took us along the coastline from the port to right below the Ramblas, one of the main tourist drags in the city. If ESADE was trying to out-do the other universities in terms of fun cultural activities, they definitely put in a good effort!
We have also spent a lot of time exploring the Barcelona food scene. Obviously, tapas bars are everywhere, and the Spanish cuisine is delicious. One class favorite is the restaurant Mirablau, which sits on a hill in the north of Barcelona and overlooks the entire city. The view is almost as good as the food!
And, of course, what’s a semester in Barcelona if you don’t watch the city’s football team play at least once? F.C. Barcelona plays at Camp Nou, which has capacity for 98,000 fans. As you may guess, the energy in that stadium gets insane. This year, Barcelona has been competing head-to-head with arch rival Real Madrid to see who wins the La Liga title, making the end of the season even more exciting. Some students went to check out a Barcelona-Villarreal game in early May, which Barcelona stole with a score of 4-1.
Lastly, one can’t forget that Barcelona is a huge hub for cheap Vueling and Ryanair flights, making it super easy to take a weekend trip to other European destinations. Groups of students have gone to Vienna, Nice, London, Dublin, Seville, Madrid, Malta, Valencia, Italy… well, you get the idea.
There’s so much to see and do in Barcelona that it’s impossible to get it all done in a mere three months. So you’ll have to understand that I have to go, now, because a train to Costa Brava is waiting for me. Hasta luego!
-Written by Sierra Prochna