3 summer getaway suggestions – Spanish style
My love for Spain developed after moving there as a clueless teenager desperate to learn the language, so I could get accepted into CBS the following year. Plans change though and I ended up staying for three amazing years, traveling my way around the country, discovering new places and working my way through the Spanish wines. As a result of all this I felt like I was obliged to share some of my awesome discoveries with you guys – in case anyone still needs inspiration for their upcoming holiday!
1.The city break: Madrid
The “Copenhagen is too small for my international party needs” break:
Madrid is by far one of the top European capitals to party in. The home of Kapital, the city’s largest seven floor clubbing heaven with a different music genre on every floor, it is truly a unique experience for any party loving CBS student. Madrid’s main advantage is that the actual city center is not that big, so getting places by foot is extremely easy and also convenient when going bar hopping!
Enjoy a picnic in Parque del Retiro followed by the obligatory siesta in the sun before getting ready for some delicious tapas in the evening. Often overlooked in favor of Barcelona, Madrid is a less touristy city letting you experience the real Spanish way of living; meaning that restaurants and even some shops close between 4 and 8 PM, but stay open until late into the night.
If you’re feeling extra spendy, try catching a Real Madrid game at the Bernabéu stadium – an experience of a life time for any R.M fan!
Must do: Drinks larger than your head and mountains (and I mean mountains) of free tapas with each order at El Tigre. A local gem of a bar located in central Madrid, this place is a must go if you want experience an authentic Madrileño night out. Don’t be intimidated by the large crowds, push your way through, and you will always find a spot in the back of the bar (standing only). And you can forget everything about the good ol’ Nexus beer – cider is the way to go here! (Address: Calle Hortaleza 23, metro Chueca or Gran Vía).
Avoid: Going in August as the city has a desert like climate, being far away from the coast and temperatures easily reaching 40 degrees. Should you find yourself melting away in the dry heat, head over to Lago public pool (metro stop Lago) – where you even have the choice of a straight pool or a gay pool A very interesting experience!
2.The beach break: Valencia
The “I’ve just failed my exams and need to study for re-takes by the beach” break:
Time to swap that CBS suit for your speedo! Valencia has so much to offer ranging from beautiful beaches, night clubs and historical monuments to the Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias (The City of Arts and Sciences, which comprises a science museum, planetarium, opera house and marine park.). This cultural and architectural complex is a must see, even just from the outside; five stunning buildings providing you with a futuristic and extremely picturesque backdrop. If you’re not really into spending a sunny day inside the different museums, catching an outdoor dolphin show by the aquarium is a great – if not better – alternative.
Let’s not forget that Valencia is the city where paella originated! You cannot pay a visit without trying the real paella Valenciana; whether you go for the traditional rabbit and sea food variety or the more daring squid ink black (yes, black) variety, you will not be disappointed. Enjoy it at one of the many restaurants facing the beach – nothing like that ocean breeze to cure a hangover!
Must do: Enjoy some Agua de Valencia – a mix of freshly squeezed Valencian orange juice, cava and vodka – in the narrow streets of the old town. This signature drink is super refreshing on a hot (and humid) summer evening, especially if you are not a huge fan of the much heavier sangria. Remember to drink responsibly – although who are we kidding, those failed June exams need to be forgotten!
Avoid: Overpaying for getting into night clubs by the beach! Instead, go and enjoy the local bars in the Barrio del Carmen and smoke some shisha on the many adjoining terraces.
3.The cultural break: Granada
The “I’m secretly a culture nerd and belong at RUC but the world will never know” break:
Granada is often overlooked due to its lack of beaches, but it compensates greatly with its stunning Arabic inspired architecture and beautiful pomegranate trees which are in full bloom during late summer. The city is known for its free tapas with each drink order – literally everywhere you go – making it fairly cheap to wine and dine on a student budget! A significant difference to our beloved but damn pricey CPH…
Take a walk in the quiet Albaicín neighborhood; a sea of white washed houses and intimate little local cafes. Also located in this area is the Mirador de San Nicolas: the best view of the Alhambra, especially by night where there is also a bar located oh so conveniently facing the spectacular monument. Leave those Nexus heels at home though; this requires climbing lots of stairs!
If you feel like being even more of a cultural name dropper, visit Sevilla for a day; only a bus ride away and just as beautiful. Granada and Sevilla are both university towns which means there’s always a party going on!
Must do: Catch a flamenco show in one of the city’s many old caves that have turned into bars and restaurants; a unique experience!
Avoid: Visiting the Alhambra at peak times. Only a certain amount of visitors are allowed in per day, so book tickets ahead of time!
But most importantly, make sure you have a great summer holiday whereever you decide to spend it!!