Wine is the typically drink of choice in Barcelona, and they do it very well. Typically if you order a beer in Barcelona you will be served an Estrella, which is a mass produced beer in Spain. However, much like the growth of craft coffee in Barcelona, there are a number of great places to find craft beer in the Mediterranean city. Here are a few of my favorites:
Mikkeller Bar Barcelona-
Mikkeller is a Danish nomadic brewing company with an outpost in Barcelona. The have a great selection of beers, great service, and some great rotating food offerings. They usually have a few different stouts (my favorite style) on tap, but always have plenty of good choices of a variety of different styles.
Brewdog is a Scottish brewing company with a location in Barcelona. They offer some excellent beer choices with excellent service. They also offer a beer school (free and paid versions) where they will explain the brewing process and let you sample different styles of beer. Brewdog also has an “Intergalactic Beer Visa,” which can be stamped at their various locations throughout the world to document your travels. It is free to obtain, and I got my first stamp at the Barcelona location.
Abirradero is a great location for craft beer with a variety of styles and 40 taps. They even offer styles such as mead and Gruut that can be harder to come by than other styles. In addition to some excellent beer, they also serve kombucha and have a great food menu and great service.
Ølgod and Kælderkold-
Ølgod and Kælderkold are great places to find a variety of different craft beer. Ølgod is located in the Raval neighborhood and has a more food options, while Kælderkold is just off La Rambla in the Gothic Quarter and has a whiskey bar located inside as well.
My favorite bottle shop in Barcelona is OKasional Beer. They have an excellent selection at good prices to purchase for later, and they have also recently expanded their space and offer a few beers on tap as well.
Edge Brewing is an excellent brewery started by American ex-pats. Although their brewery is rarely open, you can find their beers at many craft beer spots in the city. Ale&Hop has a nice beer selection and some super tasty sweet potato bravas. Cat Bar serves craft beer along with the best vegetarian burgers I’ve tasted. Olofson has a great beer selection and a variety of smoked food (they even smoke their whipped cream!). Garage Brewery is one of the more popular craft breweries in Barcelona, although they don’t tend to have an extensive selection of darker beers. Cerveseria La Mes Petita, like their name suggests, is a small place that serves some high quality brews from Ratpenat. Barna Brew has a limited selection of beers, but what they have is very good. BlackLab Brewhouse & Kitchen serves “Beer cocktails” in addition to their beers. Bodega Fermin my favorite place to get local tapas and craft beer. El Drapaire De La Cervesa Artesana has a great selection and is located near Placa Catalunya in the center of the city. Lambicus Bar and Lambicus Bottle Shop are the best places to get Belgian-style beers in Barcelona. Caravelle offers craft beer and some excellent food (they have even started selling the Impossible Burger), and they also offer good coffee and an excellent brunch. Rosses i Torrades only has a couple beers on tap, but they have an excellent bottle selection, and La Beata is another nice bottle shop that also has a bar in the Gràcia area. Chivuo’s, Bar Centro, La Central Hamburgueseria, and La Menuda are all great places to get good food paired with a craft beer. CocoVail Beer Hall was started by locals that went to university in Arizona and wanted to bring the American beer hall culture to Barcelona. They have a wide selection of craft beer on tap (although not usually any high gravity), and is a great place to watch sports. Some other great places to get craft beer in Barcelona are Kraftank, BierCab, La Bona Pinta, Beer’linale and The Growler. I would also like to check out Local Beer Barcelona, but their hours are fairly limited.
The Aeropress was invented by Alan Adler in 2005, and is now featured in craft coffee shops around the world (a few of which I’ve been able to visit). In the past I used to primarily use a V60 setup or a French Press. However, for the past two years I have used either my Aeropress or my Hario Cold Brew filter. Here are my thoughts on my Aeropress:
You can find Aeropresses used in craft coffee shops around the world. The Aeropress has become so popular that there are now worldwide championships to determine who can make the best cup of coffee with an Aeropress. I was able to check out the Cataluña Aeropress championships in Barcelona and see the different varieties of variables such as water temperature, grind size, and timing. At home and while traveling I use an Aeropress myself, and it allows me to make a delicious cup of coffee (assuming, of course, that the beans are freshly ground, good quality beans).
The Aeropress is a great way to make coffee when traveling. Devices like a Chemex or a V60 are impractical to travel with due to their fragility and the amount of size they take up when I am traveling with just a backpack. However, the Aeropress is fairly durable, and I can usually fit it and my Hario grinder in my backpack.
An Aeropress is also one of the cheaper craft coffee making devices. It is usually listed at less than half the price of a Chemex. I picked mine up at Right Side Coffee Roastery in Castelldefels for about thirty euros.
The Aeropress is very easy to use, clean and maintain. After brewing your coffee, simply pop the “puck” (coffee grinds) into a composter or garbage, then rinse the parts and you are ready to brew another cup.
Filter coffee or espresso-
While I prefer filter coffee to espresso, an Aeropress can also be used to make espresso-like coffee. All you have to do is adjust variables such as grind size, water temperature, and brew time, and you can get a cup of coffee that is very similar to an espresso.
While the Aeropress is great for personal use, it is not ideal for making a lot of cups in a short amount of time. The Aeropress is great for personal use or even for very small groups, but if you are planning on hosting large groups of people I would recommend other methods such as a large Chemex or another drip brew method.
Unless you are planning on making coffee for large groups of people, I would highly recommend using an Aeropress. An Aeropress is especially handing when traveling.
What I did and saw:
Mdina Gate and old city-
Mdina is a charming old city that is fun to wander around. It is very well preserved and was even featured in season 1 of the Game of Thrones series. The city is fairly small, and it can easily be explored in a day.
Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Paul-
While it may not be quite as grand, intricate, and impressive as other cathedrals such as the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, or the Kolner Dom in Cologne, it is still worth checking out. The 12th century cathedral was destroyed by an earthquake and rebuilt at the end of the 17th century. It is said to have been visited by the Apostle Paul after his shipwreck in Malta. Although Mdina is not a coastal city, Malta is a very small island and Mdina is historically an important city, so it is likely that Paul at least spent some time somewhere within the old city.
Where I ate and drank:
Fontanella Tea Garden-
If you are looking for tasty treats or drinks with a view, the Fontanella Tea Garden is a great spot to check out. The views were excellent, and although there is not an extensive amount of healthy food on the menu, they do offer some very tasty treats. Located within the old city walls, it is definitely worth checking out.
Chalk Cafe is a cozy spot located outside the city walls. It is a great place to grab lunch, a snack, or a just a drink. They offer some very good local food and drink, and it is a nice place to catch a break.
Where I stayed and how I got around:
I visited Mdina via public bus on a day trip from St. Julian’s on Malta’s northern coast, where I stayed at Luma Residence. I would typically prefer to take a train over a bus, but Malta does not have much of a train system. However, because it is such a small island, the bus journeys from city to city are fairly short.
My favorite thing:
The old city was fun to wander around, and I really enjoyed the snack, drink, and view from the Fontanella Tea Garden.
My least favorite thing:
Mdina is a very historic, charming city, but it is also very small. It is a great option for a day trip.
For next time:
Next time in Mdina I would be interested in checking out the dungeons and more of the history of the city, including St. Paul’s Catacombs, where the Apostle is believed to be buried.
If I am going to eat something that isn’t healthy, I want it to be worth it. The following places all fit that description (in moderation of course). Here are my favorite gelato places in Barcelona:
Located in Eixample (near a bunch of other great places for food and drink), Delacrem serves up some high quality gelato. They serve their gelato out of covered containers as opposed to being displayed out in the open, which tends to be a sign of higher quality gelato. They will serve some excellent and unusual seasonal flavors. In the fall I had sweet potato and honey gelato paired with cinnamon apple gelato, and it was absolutely delicious. It is my favorite place to get gelato in Barcelona, and they have now also opened a second location in the city.
Gelaaati di Marco:
I had a good feeling about Gelaaati di Marco when I noticed the staff speaking Italian, and I wasn’t disappointed. They serve a bunch of tasty gelato flavors as well as other tasty Italian treats. Another perk of Gelaaati di Marco is they are open until midnight every night, so it is a great place to grab dessert after a late Catalonian dinner. Typically you will need to pay prior to getting served, so you will need to decide if you want any premium flavors or toppings, then pay, then order the flavors you want.
Swiit Ice Cream:
Like Gelaaati di Marco, Swiit (pronounced “sweet” in Catalan and in Spanish) is located in the Gothic Quarter. Also like Gelaaati di Marco, Swiit also sells absolutely delicious gelato. However, they are only open Tuesday to Sunday from 1-7pm. That being said, if you can stop by while there are open I would highly recommend it.
With locations in the Gothic Quarter and the Raval neighborhood, OGGI (which is an acronym for “Officina Gelato Gusto Italiano” and also means “today” in Italian) is another great gelato place. Like the places mentioned above, they use high quality ingredients to make excellent, authentic gelato. They also are an option for after dinner dessert, as they are open noon to midnight every night in the Gothic Quarter and are open till midnight Tuesdays to Saturdays in Raval. Their gelato is even Pope Francis approved.
Amorino has locations in a handful of cities throughout Europe, and they have three locations in Barcelona. They serve tasty gelato that is shaped into a gelato “flower.” They are also very easy to get to with locations on La Rambla and in the Arenas Mall (the old bull fighting ring) at Placa Espanya.
I have used the Hario grinder for over a year now, and here are my thoughts:
My Hario grinder is great to travel with, and it doesn’t take up a ton of space in my bag. Also, because it is manual I don’t have to worry about using adapters or using it in a place where I have electricity. As long as I have hot water and my AeroPress I can make high quality coffee anywhere in the world.
Coffee aficionados prefer a burr grinder to a blade grinder. Blade grinders can heat the coffee beans while they are being ground, which can alter the taste. Also, burr grinders tend to produce a more consistent grind.
I can adjust the size of the grind depending on the method I am using (cold brew, ArroPress, V60, etc.). I don’t need to worry about having a separate grinder for each method.
When compared against other grinders of equal quality, the Hario Mini Mill Grinder is very well priced. I purchased mine from Right Side Coffee in Castelldefels for about €30.
An electric grinder is going to grind coffee much faster than a manual one like my Hario grinder. Also, while the size is great for traveling, it can’t produce a large volume of grinds at once, and it can begin to start tiring out your forearms after a while. If you are planning on making coffee for many people at the same time there are better options. That being said, it is a great option when making coffee for one or two people while traveling.
Unfortunately the shape is not perfectly cylindrical, so I cannot fit it inside my AeroPress. However, this does keep it shorter and it still packs well and does not take up that much room in my bag.
Overall, the Hario Mini Mill Manual Coffee Grinder is a great option for travelers that enjoy a great cup of coffee. I have gotten a lot of use out of mine already and it is still working very well for me.
What I did and saw:
Old Turia Riverbed-
The Turia River is a symbol of Valencia that used to run through the city. It was then diverted and the old riverbed has been transformed into an expansive, impressive park. It is a great place to bike through, play sports, exercise, or just walk through.
City of Arts and Sciences-
Located in the old Turia riverbed is the City of Arts and Sciences. They are a series of impressive, beautiful buildings that house different art and science museums.
Les Falles is a festival that is put on every year in the city of Valencia. Impressive, satirical structures are built and displayed throughout the city before being burned at the end of the festival. Leading up to the burning there are children setting off firecrackers throughout the day, and bigger fireworks and some live music at night. While I was not able to see the structures burned, I was able to see the structures before they would burned and take in the festive atmosphere.
Torres de Serranos and Torres de Quart-
The Serranos Towers and the Quart Towers are two old city gates that are virtually all that is left of the old city walls of Valencia. During opening hours they are free to visit and go up, and they offer some great views of the city.
Valencia has some beautiful and historic architecture throughout the city. Their cathedral is even said to be a possible location of the Holy Grail. The bell tower attaches to the cathedral is know as “El Micalet” or “El Miguelete.” Although it was never finished, it is still a functioning bell tower. It also has a very affordable entry fee that allows visitors to climb the stairs to the top for some great views.
Free walking tour-
As I have mentioned before, I like doing free walking tours, and I think they are a great way to get context and recommendations on a new city. I usually prefer to do Sandemans tours, as I have found them to be great quality in the variety of cities they are available, but they unfortunately do not run tours in Valencia at the moment. However, there was a free walking tour that left from my hostel, so I was able to join that and it was very good.
Institut Valencia d’Art Modern-
The IVAM (Institut Valencia d'Art Modern) offers free admission on Sundays (as well as certain hours on Fridays and Saturdays). I thought it was a great musuem, and it is very interesting even for someone that is not a big art aficionado.
The Albufera is a massive freshwater lagoon in the Valencia area. It is believed to be the place where paella was invented. I decided to make a trip outside the city of Valencia with some friends to try some paella in its birthplace. However, the bus system was not running regularly, so it turned into more of an adventure than we had planned. I was able to try some paella at Restaurante la Albufera, and while it was good, I personally think some of the paella I had in the center of the city was better.
La Llotja de la Seda-
The Old Silk Exchange, or La Llotja de la Seda, was built in Valencia in the 15th century. It is free to enter and wander around the impressive building.
Gargoyles and graffiti-
Valencia has a lot of gargoyles on various buildings around the city, many of which displayed in "interesting" positions. There are a few different possible explanations for the uniquely positioned figures. Some believe that they are a form of worker protest against their bosses, while others believe the gargoyles are meant to signify the sins of humans. Whatever the real explanation is, they are worth keeping an eye out for. Valencia also has quite a bit of interesting graffiti that is worth keeping an eye out for as well.
Mercat Central and Mercat de Russafa-
Valencia has some great markets, and I was able to visit a couple of them. The central market, or Mercat Central, is a very large market set in a beautiful building. The Mercat de Russafa is housed in a less impressive space, but it has some high quality things inside. While I was in the Mercat de Russafa I visited Coffee Time Artisan Roasters for some craft coffee, and I also picked up some soap and spices inside the market.
Where I at and drank:
Restaurante El Forcat-
As mentioned above, paella was invented in the Valencia area. I had some incredibly tasty paella at Restaurante El Forcat in the city center near the Torres de Serranos. The service was also excellent, and if you go at lunchtime during the week the "Menu del Dia" is a great deal.
Bluebell Coffee Co-
Bluebell Coffee Co. is a great place to get coffee. I had my best cup of coffee in Valencia there, and they have some great food options as well. They even serve a craft beer made with their coffee.
Olhops Craft Beer House and H2OL Craft Beer Lab-
While wine is king in the Iberia region, Valencia does have a couple high quality spots for craft beer. There is even a place called Hop Cream that serves delicious ice cream made from craft beer.
If you are looking for a high quality cocktail in Valencia I would recommend Apotheke. Apotheke is a great speakeasy with a quality cocktail menu.
Mayan Coffees is another great coffee place in Valencia. While they don't have as many options on the menu as Bluebell, they do serve excellent coffee.
El Cafetin is a nice place to try the famous "Agua de Valencia."
Tasca El Botijo-
If you are looking for a local, well priced meal Tasca El Botijo in the Carmen neighborhood is a great option. The pâté I had there was excellent.
Horchateria Santa Catalina-
The horchata in Valencia is very different from the horchata in Mexico. Valencian horchata is a nut milk made from tigernuts, so it is not nearly as sweet as Mexican horchata. It is very popular in the city, and is typically served with some type of pastry that is dipped into it. Horchateria Santa Catalina is a great place to try it, but depending on the timing there could be a long wait for a table.
Gelateria La Romana-
If I am going to have something relatively unhealthy I want it to be worth it, and the gelato from Gelateria La Romana is. It is some of the best gelato I have had outside of Rome.
Where I stayed:
The River Hostel-
Positioned next to the old riverbed and in the old city area, the River Hostel had a very nice location. It was also very inexpensive (when not during Las Falles). There were privacy curtains, outlets, and lamps for all the dorm beds. Also, the staff gave some good recommendations for walking tours and bike rentals.
Urban Youth Hostel-
Urban Youth Hostel was a good place to stay overall. It was about a 20 minute walk to the City of Arts and Sciences, and about an hour walk to the old city. The lockers are a bit inconvenient if you are in one of the top bunks due to their positioning in the room, but there were roll down curtains, a shelf, and an outlet for each bed.
How I got around:
Both times I’ve visited Valencia I have gone via train from Barcelona. The train station in Valencia is a beautiful station that is situated next to the old bull fighting arena. As I mentioned earlier I tried to take the bus to the Albufera area, but the bus service did not turn out to be as dependable as the train service. While in the city I mostly walked to get around, and I also hiked through the old riverbed area.
My favorite thing:
I loved the festivities for Las Falles, and the paella I had at El Forcat was absolutely delicious. Also, I really like what had been done with the old riverbed area.
My least favorite thing:
While accommodation prices for most of the year can be relatively inexpensive in Valencia, around Las Falles time the accommodation will sell out far in advance and can get significantly more expensive.
For next time:
Next time in Valencia I would like to spend some time at the beach in Valencia, and I would also like to spend more time in the old riverbed area.
I have made some travel mistakes, and I thought I could share them in the hopes they are not repeated. Here are some of the travel mistakes I have made:
Not traveling sooner-
It wasn’t until the past few years that I really started traveling on a consistent basis. I had visited a handful of states and a couple countries, but I have seen more places in the last few years than the rest of my life put together. I would try to get other people to travel with me, but school and job commitments would usually get in the way. Also, I didn’t know how good hostels could be or about using credit card points and miles, so money was another obstacle. I also didn’t realize there were opportunities to do things like teach English as a foreign language in another country. I have met some amazing people and had some amazing experiences while traveling. I wish I would have begun traveling like this sooner.
Missing a flight-
When planning out my trip to the Montreal to catch a flight to Toronto, I glanced at my flight information to see when I needed to be at the airport. However, when I looked at the information I read the arrival time as the departure time. I didn’t realize my mistake until I was on the bus to the airport and tried to check in to my flight. Because it was too close to the departure time, the airline app would not allow me to check in, and I realized I was in trouble. Instead of arriving with plenty of time to get to my gate and relax, I arrived less than 30 minutes prior to takeoff and without a boarding pass. Fortunately I had Chase points I could use to book a new flight, and I could get some food in the lounge while waiting for that next flight. However, I could have used those points towards something else, and overall it was a little embarrassing. Now I make sure to double check flight times and use apps like Tripit that will remind me to check in and notify me of any changes.
Flying at odd hours-
There are some great deals to be had at certain hours of the day. However, many times the “price” I’ve paid doesn’t outweigh the money I save in booking these flights. Sometimes I have been so tired from missing a night of sleep that it throws off the next couple days of the trip. Also, transportation options after landing in a city can be limited to nonexistent at certain hours. I realize now that sleep is not only important to my health, but getting good sleep can also make a trip significantly better. This makes it worth it to me to spend a few extra points or dollars to be much more comfortable.
Buying denture glue-
When I was teaching English Camps in Italy with ACLE, I needed to buy some toothpaste. At that time my Italian was very, very basic. I knew just enough to get myself into trouble. I set off to the pharmacy in search of regular toothpaste. Using some words that I knew combined with hand motions and English words that the pharmacist knew, I tried to explain that I needed toothpaste. She brought me two tubes of something that resembled toothpaste, and asked if I wanted “regular” or “extra strength.” When she said they were the same price, I figured I would get extra strength to get a better clean for the same price. However I didn’t realize what she was actually asking until I opened the package in my hotel room later. What I had bought was extra strength denture glue and not toothpaste. Needless to say, I now know the Italian word for toothpaste is dentifricio.
Not keeping an eye on my phone-
Barcelona is an absolutely beautiful city, easy to get around, plenty of things to do, it is very well priced in relation to other major cities, and it has some great food and drink. It is also a safe city overall. However, it is notorious for petty theft and pick pockets. I had heard of some of my friends being pick pocketed in Barcelona, but Ididn't think it would happen to me. I assumed I would be able to tell when someone was trying to steal from me. One day when I was riding the metro, I put my phone into my back pocket while I was standing. The metro was relatively crowded as it was a Saturday afternoon in the center of the city. I felt someone bump into me and turned around to look. When I turned around the man who bumped into me had a frightened look on his face, so I figured I had an angry look on my face or he thought I was going to retaliate. I apologized to him and turned back around. It was until I reached the next metro stop that I realized my phone was gone and he was actually frightened because he’d thought I was onto him. By that time it was already too late. A few months later I had my phone stolen a second time while I was walking through the city. A man pushed into me under the guise of trying to desperately sell something to me. I put my hands up by my face to signal that I forgave him for bumping into me and signaling that I didn’t want to start a fight. However, he used this opportunity to take my phone out of my front jacket pocket, and by the time I realized he had taken it (about 30 seconds later) he was long gone. Having said this, I would still highly recommend visiting the city of Barcelona, I just take much more caution with my belongings. Now I use the Bobby Anti Theft Backpack and a Datsusara fanny pack (AKA bum bag) to help prevent future theft.
I have learned from these mistakes myself, and I hope this information helps you in your travels also.
I have had a Mizzen + Main shirt for a few years now and wanted to share my thoughts with you:
I don’t wear dress shirts very often, and one of the main reasons is I find them to be very uncomfortable. They usually feel stiff and constricting. However, my Mizzen + Main shirt feels super comfortable and moves with me. When I combine it with my Barbell dress pants it feels as comfortable as wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt. Also, the moisture-wicking technology helps keep me dry when it is hot.
My Mizzen + Main shirt is great for travel because it is wrinkle resistant. When I know I will need to dress up on an upcoming trip, I will usually just roll up my Mizzen + Main shirt and stuff it into on of my packing cubes and throw it in my backpack. In the rare instance some wrinkles do show up on the shirt, I will hang it up in the bathroom while I shower and the steam will smooth them out.
I don’t have to worry about getting my Mizzen + Main shirt dry-cleaned because I can just throw it in any washing machine.
The biggest disadvantage of my Mizzen + Main shirt is the price. However, they do occasionally run sales on their shirts. If you contact me I can let you know when sales come up.
What I did and saw:
The Cologne Cathedral is one of the more impressive buildings I have ever been in. While I wouldn’t rank it above buildings like the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona or St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, I would put it in the same ballpark. It is impressive both in its size and in its detail. Also, it was free to enter when I went.
Christmas Market (Heunarkt)-
Countries like Germany and Belgium have some excellent Christmas markets, and Cologne is no exception. I was in Cologne after Christmas Day, so the main Christmas market in Cologne in front of its famous cathedral was closed when I was there. However there were still other Christmas markets open in the city. One of the open markets was in the Heunarkt area, and it was a great Christmas market in its own right, complete with some great food, drink, and even an ice skating rink.
Schokoladenmuseum Köln (Lindt Chocolate Museum)-
Set in what looks like an enormous boat on the coast of the Rhein river, the Lindt Chocolate Museum in Cologne is a very interesting place to visit. The museum explores the history of chocolate, the various ways it is processed, and other things such as the economic and political implications of chocolate. There is even a climate controlled room with actual chocolate plants that you can enter. The entry fee includes a few samples, and I would suggest allowing time for them to make your custom chocolate bar that is available upon entry.
Where I ate and drank:
Brauerei zur Malzmühle-
Cologne is famous for making Kolsch, and Brauerei zur Malzmühle is a great place to try it. After I was seated the first thing I was told by the waitress (without having actually ordered anything yet) was, “Your drink is on its way, what would you like to eat?” The glasses were relatively small, and if my drink was ever empty, the glass would be taken, and full one would be brought to me, and a tally mark would be made in my coaster. This ensured that my drink was always cold and fresh. Additionally, the food was incredibly tasty.
Delirium Cafe Koln-
The Delirium Cafe in Cologne was located in the vicinity of the Heunarkt Christmas market. They have a great selection of different brews, and it is a cool place to relax and have a good conversation.
The Coffee Gang-
Although it is located slightly outside the center of the city, The Coffee Gang is worth a visit when in Cologne. They serve some great craft coffee, and they also offer some tasty food options.
Where I stayed:
Hotel NH Köln Altstadt-
I was able to use points to stay at Hotel NH Köln Altstadt for free. It was a very nice, clean, and comfortable place to stay. It was located very close to the coast of the Rhein and the Lindt Chocolate Museum.
How I got around:
I used the train to get in and out of town from the airport, and I walked to get around the city and take in the sites.
My favorite thing:
Cologne is a beautiful city, the Christmas market was great, and the Brauerei zur Malzmühle was a fun, unique experience. However, my favorite thing in Cologne was the impressive cathedral.
My least favorite thing:
My least favorite thing about my time in Cologne was the cold, rainy weather. Also, many of the good coffee shops are located outside of the city center
For next time:
Next time in Cologne it would be nice to try more of the food and drink in the city. Also, if I am able to be there during the Christmas season, it would be nice to be there while the Christmas market in front of the cathedral is open.
Europe has a handful of budget airlines that can allow travelers to visit a variety of different countries on the continent for cheap prices. However, these airlines can also come with some downsides. Here are my experiences flying with some European budget airlines:
I have flown Ryan Air quite a few times. Ryan Air is notorious for charging for every little thing. For example, they charge to check a bag as well as to carry on a bag, and charge for any seat selection. They do not offer any complimentary food or drink. They tend to use minor airports or minor terminals in major airports. For example, in the Barcelona area they fly out of terminal 2 in Barcelona (with EasyJet) or out of a small airport in Reus, a smaller city outside of Barcelona. Because they use many minor airports or minor terminals, I usually have go outside and take an airport bus to the plane on the runway and take stairs to the board the plane (as opposed to using a jet bridge to board the plane without going outside). While waiting for the bus the priority groups and non-priority boarding groups tend to get mixed up. For the most part my flights with Ryan Air have been on time. Because I usually want to carry a bag with me and sit next to the other people in my group, my ticket price with Ryan Air tends to be €10 or more higher than the listed price. However, this can still be much cheaper than a flight with another airline. If you know what you are getting into and are prepared, Ryan Air can be a good option.
EasyJet is another airline that will charge for virtually everything. However, unlike Ryan Air they do not charge to bring a regular size carry on, but they do charge if you also bring a smaller personal item. They are also the only airline that I have witnessed using the sizing box for bags to make sure they are within the size limits (many times people are ok taking bags that are slightly larger on other airlines). Like Ryan Air they charge for things like selecting seats and they do not offer complimentary food or drink. Most of the flights I have taken with EasyJet have been on time.
Vueling and Eurowings-
Vueling and Eurowings are budget airlines based in Catalonia and Germany, respectively, but they do not feel as stingy as Ryan Air or EasyJet. They allow a carry on bag as well as a personal item, but they do not offer complimentary food or drink. They do charge for selecting seats, but there is a chance you will be placed together with someone if the tickets are on the same reservation. Most of the flights I have taken with these airlines have been relatively on time.
Unlike the airlines mentioned previously, TAP serves complimentary food and drink on their flights. They also allow a carry on bag and a personal item. However, many on the flights I have taken with them have been delayed. I have even had a flight cancelled with them, and when they placed us flights the following day the people in my traveling group were split up into different flights. Fortunately there are laws in Europe that require airlines to provide compensation, although getting compensation was like pulling teeth. That being said, I finally did get my compensation, and the actually flight experience with TAP has been good.
When using any of these airlines I would suggest taking precautions like checking the airline website for the most up to date information related to different charges. Also, be careful to add any charges you will incur before deciding what the real price will be. And I would suggest taking precautions such as using electronic tickets whenever possible. Using an electronic ticket will also significantly decrease the chance a carry on bag will get weighed if it is close to (or over) the weight limit. All that being said, there are some great deals to be had on European budget airlines.
My name is Billy. I am a personal trainer and teacher. I love traveling, and wanted to share some of my experiences. I hope to inspire you to see, taste, and experience more of the world. Feel free to take some of my recommendations for your own travels. I also blog about health and fitness at CustomizeMyWorkout.com/blog