Travelling around Spain while also studying as an international student in the same country is undoubtedly an exciting adventure. Spain has thousands of brilliant places to visit, beautiful architecture, and simply delicious food, for lack of a more descriptive word (that does Paellas justice). Spain is a great country full of history! The culture, customs, and traditions are some of the fascinating things about this country, in addition to its great outdoors and excellent educational system. Whether or not you are a person who enjoys the sunshine, you will learn to love it in Spain. Some Spanish regions see more than 320 sunny days each year, which means an extreme cold is generally not an issue.
Here’s everything you need to know about travelling around Spain while studying:
Places to Visit
Although larger cities like Barcelona and Madrid are typically more expensive, they are lively, beautiful, and full of visit-worthy landmarks. But this does not mean bigger cities are the only places you should consider. Spain will be worth your time, regardless of how much time you spend exploring – it will all be worth it. Whether you are in Spain for a short course, a semester, or a full-time programme, find some of the places you should definitely visit while in Spain, listed below.
1. Travel Around Barcelona
Travelling around Barcelona will be worth any penny you end up spending. This city has lovely architecture and plenty of attractions to see and explore! This capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia has quite a unique culture which, when matched with Barcelona’s beautiful outdoors, offers just the perfect location to get the sense of touristy fulfilment you might have been looking for. The renowned Spanish architect, Antoni Gaudi, was mostly responsible for the breathtaking architecture you will be able to see in Barcelona. You have probably heard about the unfinished Roman Catholic minor basilica, known as the Sagrada Familia. The Sagrada Familia is one of Gaudi’s masterpieces, among so many others, which attracts numerous tourists every year. In case you decide to stay for some days in Barcelona and you need to rent an apartment it’s highly recommended to check the offers at Homelike which includes thousand of apartments for rent within Barcelona.
2. Explore Madrid
Madrid, just like Barcelona, is vivid and lively! This city offers the best nightlife in Spain, from simple local bars to nightclubs, there is something for everyone. But apart from this, you will be able to find a wide variety of places worthy of your visit to Madrid. Think, Puerta del Sol, also known as “Gate of the Sun”, is one of Madrid’s most famous squares, packed with visitors pretty much at all times of the day. Located in the city’s centre, it is a junction for many of the city’s historical and most frequented streets. The hot summer days will have you searching for Retiro Park with its central pond and natural beauty. History, art, food, and fashion are all attributes that give Madrid its attractiveness.
3. Visit Tenerife
Tenerife is the biggest of Spain’s Canary Islands and one of the most fantastic tourist attractions in the whole of Spain. The golden beaches and clear waters are two of the main reasons to visit Tenerife. Apart from being a perfect place to relax your mind and body, it is also an ideal destination to have fun, meet new people, and try new things, such as snorkelling, diving, or hiking in the picturesque Masca Valley. The seas surrounding Tenerife house almost 30 different whale and dolphin species, which you can see through boat trips. Stargazing is also a great attraction here in Tenerife, especially considering Tenerife’s high altitudes, clean air, and lack of light pollution, making stargazing a spectacular experience.
4. Swim Under the Sun in Alicante
With over 200km of coastline with beautiful and sandy beaches, Alicante is an ideal sunny paradise, where swimming opportunities are endless, and the weather is a perfect match. Visiting Alicante needs no convincing. The views are great, the walks are enjoyable, the attractions are plentiful, and the beaches are marvellous. But Alicante is not all sunshine and sea. Its excellent Museum of Contemporary Art (MACA) located in a 17th-century mansion, showcases a great collection of Spanish 20th century works, from artists like Picasso, Dalí, or Chillida. Whether you like to sail, relax under the sunshine by the sea, or dwell in a bit of history and art – there is something for everyone in Alicante.
5. Explore the Architecture in Granada
Granada is known for its lovely mix of different architectural styles, which play a crucial part in the city’s aesthetic. Located in the beautiful southern Spanish Andalucia region, Granada features bright white houses, cobblestone streets, and a beautiful interplay of nature and the urban world. There are plenty of hidden gems in Granada, whether it is street art, a small coffee shop in the corner, or different styles of buildings, monuments, or plazas. Granada is also quite affordable and a wonderful place to visit, have fun, and still budget, which is excellent for those travelling around Spain while studying.
6. Give the Paella a Try in Valencia
As one of Spain’s largest cities, Valencia is full of interesting landmarks, history, and culture. It provides a great combination of nightlife, art, beaches, culture, and fantastic food. This city is home to the very famous paella, a delicious dish enjoyed by many! This Spanish rice dish originally from Valencia is an integral part of the Spanish cuisine, and you should definitely also try it in the place of its origin. But Valencia is more than Paella. It is also home to amazing sunny beaches, fun nightlife, friendly people, festivals, art, and greenery. Although it is one of Spain’s largest cities, Valencia is more affordable than the formerly mentioned Barcelona and Madrid, which is perfect if you are travelling around Spain as an international student.
7. Enjoy the Student Population of Salamanca
Salamanca is home to Spain’s oldest university, the University of Salamanca, founded in 1218, which is what makes this city a visit-worthy destination. It is also packed with students from around the world, and the friendly locals make everything enjoyable and fun. You will be able to enjoy a great time in Salamanca without necessarily breaking the bank, considering it is quite budget-friendly. Besides, you will be able to say you have visited the oldest university in Spain, dating back 800 years in the past, which is, after all, a great experience for travelling international students. Salamanca also has its fair share of museums, with an interesting one being the modernist mansion of Casa Lis, with exhibits dating back from late 19th century to World War II.
Tips for International Students Travelling Around Spain
As an international student in Spain, you might find it a bit challenging to travel around a country you (might) have never visited before. However, with the right information and advice, you will be able to do so quite easily. International students typically want to explore while also ensuring they are not spending too much or missing out on their studies. So, it is essential to find the perfect balance between the three.
Here are some pieces of advice if you are travelling around Spain while studying:
Pack the Essentials
Each person probably knows what the essentials are, however, make sure you do not forget your electronic gadgets, especially if you have any assignments or university work to submit while you are travelling. You do not want to miss the deadlines! Also, health insurance is a vital asset to have with you during your travels. It will protect you from any unexpected medical bills in case of accidents or other health issues. Make sure you pack it! Medical expenses might be hefty on a student budget.
Planning is crucial if you want to keep up with university work, keep your finances in order, and have an enjoyable study abroad experience. You can visit the places closer to your university city during the weekend, and go further away during the holidays, so you can also stay overnight and make the most of your travels. Budgeting is also important, so make sure you do your research well before you start a journey. See if there are any hotel rooms available during your travel dates and secure your means of transportation because sometimes when it is off-season, you can also find cheaper tickets.
One of the best things about travelling abroad or in this case, travelling around Spain, is socialising and meeting new people. People in Spain are known to be quite friendly and helpful, which is great, considering you will learn more about different cultures, get local advice, or even make lifelong friendships, you never know. Whether you are travelling alone or with others, you will find yourself meeting many new people, who will be willing to help you, whether you are looking for a restaurant or the nearest beach. Besides, socialising will work wonders on your Spanish, if you are planning to learn the language.