PMGY volunteer in Spain participants are based in Barcelona. A seaside city, Barcelona offers unforgettable architecture and culture to be explored. The cities traditional Catalan cooking can be enjoyed in designer restaurants and fine tapas bars.
Spain’s second city, there are so many things to do in Barcelona. From world-class art galleries to a sublime football team and stadium, you’ll struggle to get bored easily. A buzzing cultural capital of three million people, you can explore the picturesque Gothic Quarter or the famous Ramblas boulevard.
Participants generally volunteer on a Monday-Friday basis and the weekends are free to relax or travel further afield. As our volunteers will testify, the wider travel opportunities are extremely important to the whole experience and it is something we certainly recommend. Our local team are able to arrange activities, transport and accommodation but please note this is usually an independent experience outside of the core program.
If there’s only one sightseeing outing that you undergo in Barcelona, then make sure it’s to the Sagrada Familia. Attracting nearly 5 million visitors each year, the cathedral is the most visited monument in Spain. Remarkably, Gaudi’s Unesco-listed site is still under construction even though construction work began in 1882. The medieval cathedral is hoped to be completed by 2026. The temple is able to seat over 13,000 people inside and its central tower reaches 170 metres high.
The golden seafront of Barcelona provides the prime spot for some rest and relaxation. Take some time out from the hustle and bustle of the city centre to enjoy up to 5km of sandy beaches. Barceloneta Beach is one of the cities oldest and most loved beaches. Not only does it provide a great place to top up the tan, but there are some great seafood dishes to try. For those that may not want to get sandy feet, walk alongside the wooden footbridges that run adjacent to the beach and its shoreline.
THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF ART
Sitting in the hills of the city, the National Museum of Art celebrates work from the Romanesque and Gothic art periods. These periods translate strongly into the Catalunya heritage of the city. Shortened to MNAC for short, much of the work comes from the 19th and 20th century. Indeed, the museum was constructed for the International Expo in 1929. Explore a thousand years of art in one museum as per the slogan that the MNAC has adopted. Stepping outside from the art, you can enjoy panoramic views of the city.
The Spanish capital of Madrid has so much for you to explore on a weekend. From its historic main square to its Royal Palace, there is plenty to keep you occupied. Alternatively, you can enjoy a lazy afternoon by the lake at the beautiful Retiro Park. If you want to say you have been to the very centre of Spain, then make your way to Puerta del Sol, otherwise known as kilometre zero. The grand building of Palacio de Cibeles was the previous headquarters of Madrid’s post office. Now, it provides incredible views of the city from its observation deck.
Head north for a couple of days and enjoy the golden beaches of San Sebastian. Its exuberant hillsides and fine architecture are some other reasons as to why this elegant city on the Basque Country coast is worth a visit. In addition, the city has earnt a reputation as one of the world’s best dining destinations. From the tapas bars lining the streets of San Sebastian to snacking on fresh oysters at a seaside cafe, you will be spoilt for choice. Time your visit right and you may be able to enjoy one of the city’s many festival events.
For the adventurer inside you, make sure you head to the Spanish Pyrenees during your time in Spain. Just a few hours north of Barcelona, the region that stretches over 400km has so much to offer. For example, an array of hiking routes are all to be explored each bringing breathtaking views. Alternatively, enjoy a more traditional experience as you reside in the quaint mountain villages. Stay in the timbered houses and sample the tasty local food on offer. Head here across the winter and you will be able to enjoy some skiing opportunities.
Famous for its flamenco culture, Seville is the capital of Andalusia in southern Spain. Rich with Moorish heritage, explore Seville’s iconic Giralda tower, the lobbed arches of palaces and the colourful tiles that adorn the city’s buildings. In addition, the enormous structure of the Seville Cathedral is not to be missed. Made up of 80 chapels, it is the largest cathedral in the world by volume and is a World Heritage Site. Cordoba is a city not too far from Seville and its old town and stunning Grand Mosque are worth a trip outside of Seville.
Located right on the Mediterranean, Valencia has many attractions to keep you busy. For example, the city has a vibrant old centre made up of quaint little streets and an array of medieval buildings. The most famous of which is the gothic architecture of the 15th-century monument of La Lonja de la Seda. Outside of the old city, you can head to Malvarrosa Beach and enjoy the one kilometre stretch of Mediterranean golden sands. The birthplace of Spain’s most famous dish, you will not struggle to find good paella in Valencia.