Tag Archives: beach

Barcelona: Everybody’s Favourite City

A bold title, I agree, but everybody I have met to date has claimed that Barcelona is their favourite European city. It’s very, very hard to not like the city, because after all, what’s not to like?

Can you honestly say that the festive atmosphere of the Gothic Quarter doesn’t get you going? That Camp Nou doesn’t captivate you, even if you’re not a football fan? What about the magnificent street art that colours the cityscape, transporting you into a happy world of delicious Spanish paella, garlic prawns, white wine, red wine, gin, pumping nightclubs with flare, pulsating alleyway bars with class, and a perfect beach adorned with famous clubs such as Opium, and relaxing restaurants serving up patrons in the sun?

Barcelona is my favourite city, as it no doubt is yours. If you disagree, I’d love to hear what makes your favourite city, well, your favourite city! But for now, let’s concentrate on the reasons why every backpacker should visit Barcelona. I’ll try to give a brief outline that doesn’t ruin the magic for those who haven’t been – otherwise it would be like explaining to you why the Notebook  is so sad, because everybody dies in the end (that spoiler alert was purposely after the fact): If I delve too much into the detail of Barcelona’s story, then your experience will be less of a surprise, and more of an expected showcase. And honestly, as a backpacker, I don’t want to ruin new experiences for anyone.

Las Ramblas: Hectic, pulsating, and definitely not the best place in Barca (but still good)!
Las Ramblas: Hectic, pulsating, and definitely not the best place in Barca (but still good)!

Las Ramblas is the street that most people tend to talk about most. It has everything you can think of when it comes to nightlife, and is a central area for tourists. Restaurants and bars line both sides of the street, as well as a middle island that separates both road lanes. Las Ramblas is, if nothing else, exhilarating for the amount of people it packs in, who are either trying to lure you into their ridiculously overpriced restaurants and bars, or are trying to sell you coke on the street. I wouldn’t say Las Ramblas is shady, although the common thought of drug dealers would scare most people away (they aren’t scary, they’re trying to make a living off tourists in a collapsed economy – not that that’s an excuse for drug dealing, but it’s a reality of the world we live in, so it must be accepted).

How should you prepare for Las Ramblas though? Especially when you hear about how touristy it is? Instead of giving away the flavour of the strip, I’ll just say this: Las Ramblas should be approached with the same expectations and realities that come with Times Square (NYC), Piccadilly Circus (London), and Rome (Italy): It’s interesting, overpriced, and a bit of a tourist trap when it comes to the genuine culture of the place. There is by no means anything wrong with the aforementioned areas, but if you really want to experience Barca, this is what you should do:

Gothic Quarter:

A maze of ancient streets, each with tiny shops, bars, and tapas restaurants. Hole-in-the-wall kind of places to hang out in. Beautiful, fashionable people. Want to hit the clubs while staying in the Gothic Quarter? Well, why do that when the alleys are filled with hipsters, boom boxes, and people dancing in the streets? That’s right, the Gothic Quarter of Barca is filled with enough vibrant night activity to really keep you going. After all, you can go to a nightclub at home, but can you party in the festive streets with an endless stream of friendly Spaniards? I think not.

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Hit the beach:

Going to Barca and not hitting the beach on the daily, is like going to Italy and not seeing Venice: It might be packed, but you’ll still regret it.

Barcelona Beach
Barcelona Beach

The beach is a bright topaz blue, and it is immensely popular in the summertime. There is plenty of space on the beach and on the sidewalk (where my dad fell asleep as people walked on by), and just off the boardwalk, you’ll find plenty of places to indulge in Spanish cuisine and local wines. People watching is a real spectacle here, and even the typical tourist shops selling cheap merchandise can be fun to check out.

Not too far back, there is a range of clubs, bars, and restaurants for people to enjoy
Not too far back, there is a range of clubs, bars, and restaurants for people to enjoy

Barca has one of the best beaches I have been to in Europe, outside of the Greek islands, and it’s highly recommended you go here at least twice during your Spanish adventure.

Park Güel

If you don’t know what this in, then here’s a hint: You know how you’ve been following my travel blog, or other travel blogs, and reading up on Barcelona, looking at all the colourful photos and vibrant streets? You know how you’ve been Google Imaging Barcelona for the past few hours, and thinking to yourself “This looks so beautiful,”? Well, all those images you’ve been looking at are of Park Güel, a real life “Alice In Wonderland” by architect Antoni Gaudí, who started construction on this renowned park in the early 1900s.

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It’s difficult to describe the feeling once you arrive here. You feel like you’ve recaptured your childhood as you explore eye-catching building designs, benches, and towers, all within the confines of a lush, green garden. Spanish mosaics make an appearance or two, and at the end of your massive walk around the hills, you begin to wonder to yourself: Why doesn’t the rest of the world look this good?

Camp Nou

If you’re not a football fan, it doesn’t matter. It’s sacrilegious to not visit the beating heart of this illustrious city. Camp Nou is home to football powerhouse Barcelona FC, the team of one of the greatest footballers in history – Lionel Messi. Camp Nou is impressive: While the stadium itself is huge, and the pitch well maintained and exceptionally green, the real treat of going to Camp Nou resides in its museum.

Yes, Camp Nou has a museum.

Featuring countless trophies from the club’s history, as well as projectors playing important moments from past games, the glory of this superior team can be felt emphatically. Emotional, uplifting, cinematic music plays all around you, while you observe pop art by Australian artists on the walls, tributes to legendary players, take a walk in the change rooms, and eventually, find yourself in the club’s official store, which is complete with the coolest sneakers, jerseys, and merchandise that money can buy.

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I know people who have zero interest in football and still  loved it here. So next time you’re in Barca, make sure to check it out. After all, the club is the talking point of the city!

What are your experiences of Barcelona? Share below so our readers can learn even more about this iconic city!

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Backpacker Heaven: Seen “The Beach”? Then You’ll Love This!

“The Beach” is perhaps the most iconic backpacker film in recent memory, that has inspired millions of vagabonds to pack up their stuff and just go!

Every single one of my travels has been inspired by “The Beach”, hence the name of this website (The Beach Film). What I’ve learned across different continents however, is that we are all searching for paradise. “The Beach” film made Thailand even more famous than what it was, and spurred countless nomads on a Southeast Asian adventure that has continuously boomed since its release.

But what happens when you’ve been to Thailand, you’ve followed Richard’s path, and you have experienced Maya Bay for yourself? What happens when the world’s backpacker mecca becomes overrun with travellers, to the point that you feel like solitude is not possible? I believe I have discovered a backpacker path that offers all the ideals and values represented, and yearned for, in “The Beach” film.

It’s far away. It’s tropical. It’s dangerous, at times, and above everything, it’s on the backpacker trail of Eastern Australia.

Airlie Beach.

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This place, to me, is a backpacker mecca of the world that isn’t nearly as publicised as other spots. It contains sharks, crocodiles, deadly spiders, venomous snakes, and dangerous waters, but it also contains an assortment of travellers from all over the world, from as far as Germany, Sweden, Canada, Holland, England, Israel, and Japan. I have travelled far and wide in search of paradise,  just as Richard did in “The Beach”,  just as many others have that I have come across. Airlie Beach often proves to be the highlight of their backpacking trip around Australia, and dare I say, it has a feel about it that Byron Bay has lost.

In Northern Queensland, you will find the fun-filled, backpacker town called Airlie Beach. Gateway to the Whitsunday Islands. A backpacker town that should be more popular than it is, but for reasons unknown, isn’t. In my humble opinion, this qualifies it as a hidden gem that promises to give you many memories, new friends, and experiences that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Want to skydive over the Great Barrier Reef? Want to cruise through crocodile infested waters? Dive with Great White Sharks? Party like there’s no tomorrow? Want to enter a hippy community that by day, is relaxed, chilled, and hot, and by night explodes with nightlife? Above it all, do you want to do this in a tropical abyss that is far away from home?

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You can’t get further than Australia, and when you land in Queensland you should skip right past the Gold Coast and go up north. Nowhere else in the world have I seen such a camaraderie amongst backpackers, where strangers meet and become best friends, where experiences are lived and the opportunity to do crazy things is encouraged. Perhaps it’s part of the Aussie spirit:

Go for gold, no worries, just do it! 

I was in Airlie Beach only a few months ago, and before then, the start of 2006. It has retained its exact charm; it is no better or worse, it has simply remained true to what it is, and in the world of backpacking, that is an extremely rare quality to find.

As backpackers move around the gigantic continent of Australia, they arrive in Airlie Beach for a few key reasons. One of them is to experience the backpacker life; discovering tropical beaches, falling in love, and navigating one of the world’s harshest environments. Another key reason is to sail the Whitsunday Islands, where they make stops at Hook Island, Hamilton Island, Daydream Island, and of course, Whitsunday Island, home to Whitehaven beach (rated as one of the world’s best beaches).

Whitehaven Beach: The sand is 98% pure silica, meaning you can scrub your jewellery clean in it!
Whitehaven Beach: The sand is 98% pure silica, meaning you can scrub your jewellery clean in it!

Sharing News is Part of a Traveller’s Nature

Australia is at the top of many backpacker’s to-do lists, but due to its remote location and the expense of getting there, not many people get to do it. But you know what? In the words of Richard, “Trust me, it’s paradise.”

Airlie Beach should be at the very top of every traveller’s list who is heading Down Under. It contains a colourful, vibrant, fun-filled backpacker community that rivals the backpacker scene in Thailand, Bali, and Peru. Sure, Australia doesn’t contain the ancient, spiritual culture of the aforementioned countries, and in truth, it’s one of the best places in the world to live (so the cost of travelling there can be quite high). But what Australia lacks in ancient culture, it makes up for in Airlie Beach: A place too far for most people’s agendas, yet it is that exact inconvenience that makes it all the more special.

If you make the effort to take the spectacular journey, you will be rewarded immensely. I dare any backpacker out there who thinks Thailand is the epitome of backpacker-dom, to go out on a limb and experience what Thailand offered before it became overrun with tourists.

In search of paradise? Want to be inducted into backpacker heaven? Before it’s too late and the crowds overrun it, head to Airlie Beach, Australia. It’s impossible to be disappointed, and if you wish to throw yourself into legitimate backpacker culture, there aren’t too many places around the world that can offer what Airlie Beach does.