Barcelona. A city most people love – especially for going on holiday. It´s the perfect place if you want to party, drink just have a good time. If you live there, however, it is a bit different.
Living in Barcelona
For me personally, Barcelona is too big of a city. It has a lot to offer, but it is very busy, touristic and doesn´t really represent the romantic picture most people here have of it. If I am telling someone I live in Barcelona I usually get a reaction like “Wow cool! So you go to the beach and party all the time, right?” That´s what comes into your head first when you think about Barcelona. Parties and beaches. People forget that this is a normal city as well. With normal people living ordinary lives. For them, the city is nothing special. Yes, it has a beach, but if you live there you rarely spend time there. In the five months I´ve been living here, I went to the beach around 4 times. Barcelona is also not the dreamy, fiery Spanish city where everybody parties at the beach the whole time, dancing Flamenco while eating tapas. It is just another big town that has become consumed by tourism, work and big businesses. It has nothing to do with the relaxed Spanish image people have of it anymore.
As you can already see, I don´t like big cities in general. For someone who loves to be in a city, who loves a lot of noise and party around them, this place will be perfect. But it´s just not the place to be for me. I am a child of nature, I need to be out in the green, I need to be surrounded by natural spaces to be happy and to feel at home.
If you are like me and need a break to breathe from a big city like Barcelona from time to time I have to places I would highly recommend going. Not far away from Barcelona, but far enough. Small, cute and typically Spanish. Not that touristic, but still known. I´m talking about Castelldefels and Montgat. Calm and quiet, perfect to take break from busy city life.
This city is situated in the south of Barcelona. By train, it takes you around one hour and a half to reach it. It´s a beautiful little place. Once you hop out of the train, you will soon see a lot of mansions lining up on top of a hill. It is a rich town, a famous neighborhood a lot of known people already lived in as well. Even Messi settled there for a while and it´s not hard to see why. It is a beautiful little place, calm and quiet. If you´re that famous and seek some time for yourself, that´s the place to go.
I went to Castelldefels with my boyfriend and we had a great time. It was just a short, 2-days trip, but Castelldefels is not that big. You can easily discover the city within a day. We arrived during the night and could admire all the mansions lighting up on the hill while walking up the road to our Airbnb.
Right after our arrival we just went out to eat as it was already late. Our Airbnb was situated a 20-minutes-walk away from the city center, so we already saw a lot of the city walking into the center and back. A lot of nice villas and mansions, a lot of palm trees and fancy gardens. The air so fresh and clear. I felt more at ease instantly. It didn´t even matter that it suddenly started to rain heavily. Castelldefels is beautiful – with or without rain. The rain lasted until the next morning. When we woke up, we had an amazing view out of our hosts window. Green hills in front of us, the mansions in between, brining some color into the soft greenness of the landscape. It was early, humid, the sky covered in clouds. It was grey. But not a sad kind of grey. Just the grey after the rain had passed, ready to let the sun takeover. On a Monday, nobody was on the streets when we walked down to the beach. That´s how quiet it was.
At the beach, we were also almost alone. Standing in the sand, our backs turning to the beautiful houses and hills behind us, in front of us the sea, lay there calm and quiet. We spent some time at the beach, then we went back to discover the city center. As we were staying at Castelldefels beach, we had to take a bus to reach the city center.
Finally there, we went to the most famous sight there is in Castelldefels – the name says it all already: the castle. Unfortunately, as we went there on a Monday we could not even enter the castle. That´s how small this city is. During the weekdays, they don´t have enough visitors to open up the gates of the castle. So, we had to admire it from outside, which was fine for us as well. To reach the castle which is situated on top of a hill we followed a brown ramp leading the way up. Just a 10-minutes-walk up a hill, then we were there. The castle is not that big, doesn´t take a long time to discover. We took our time, went around and saw everything there was to see. It was beautiful, being almost alone on top of the hill, the castle in front of us, the city laying to our feet. Only a few elderly ladies crossed our ways as well in a small park behind the castle. Apart from them, we didn’t see anybody. When we had admired the castle from all sides, we went downhill again into the city.
The city of Castelldefels isn´t big either, the main square just consist of a church surrounded by a few shops. We quickly went through the shops and the church and decided then that it was about time to go home. There was not so much more to see. It is more a place to just be and relax. Especially Castelldefels beach is a quiet little paradise. Surrounded by nature, you can calm down and enjoy some time at the beach.
The second place I would definitely recommend visiting is Montgat. This little village is closer to Barcelona, just 20 minutes by train. A bit farther away from this busy city and quieter, but you can still reach the city center of Barcelona within a short time. This time I went there with a good friend of mine. We just enjoyed our time by the beach which is right in front of the train station. Once you come to Montgat, you can literally jump out of the train and land at the beach.
Only that this beach is also more beautiful than the ones in Barcelona. As beaches in the city are quite dirty, especially in the area close to the nightclubs, I was amazed to be a clean beach with clear water again. The beaches are also not that known and therefor not that touristic. Granted, I didn´t go there during the high season of summer, but I can imagine you don´t have to fight with your neighbor over the last little bit of sand like in Barceloneta, Barcelona’s most famous beach. We spent quite a while there, then we decided to get to know the center of Montgat as well.
While walking through the streets I fell in love with Montgat almost immediately. The narrow walking lanes, the colorful houses were so beautiful, lining up next to each other. We also went up a hill where we had an amazing view over the ocean and the little village. We took few yoga pictures there, on top of the city under an old arch, then went down again.
This place is perfect to practice some yoga, swim and just enjoy your life. To calm down and get away from the stress and busyness of the city for once. Life is already busy enough and for me, it feels so calming to have a change of scenery every once in a while. To see some new places, being brought back into a world that is unhurried, unhectic and at peace.
I can only recommend exploring the surroundings of a city as well if you stay there for a longer time. Most of the times, they are even more beautiful than the actual city. Especially if you are living in a very busy city you will finally be able to escape the stress and hurried life there – at least for a while.