Backpacking Trip To Spain

When it comes to ticking things off my bucket list, I have my head clear and my mind focussed 😀

Do you think anyone would want to have ‘facing a gruesome accident but managing to get out alive’ in their bucket list? Well, I did tick it off my list 😛

Brushing aside such not-so-sane things, I do have some travel goals and Europe was always on the list and I wanted to do one backpackers trip with strangers before I turn 25. And yeah, it’s done now (atleast, a little part of Europe)

Spain and Portugal exploration happened to be my first leg of Europe journey. To all those people who wanted to know about how I have planned the trip, about the backpackers group and about my experience in these two countries- this blog post, the upcoming one and my Instagram posts would answer all your queries. I will be pitching in my suggestions about the places to visit, the places you could skip and also, the precautions you need to take based on my personal experience.

Let’s get started!! 😀

Mumbai > Barcelona > Ibiza > Madrid > Lisbon > Mumbai

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BARCELONA

5 days and 4 nights stay

Accommodation : Generator Hostel

Main Places to Visit:

La Sagrada Familia – Renowned for its captivating Gaudi architecture and magnificence. Book your tickets online and they don’t allow post your time slot (Be on Time).It will be a guided tour provided you make it on time. By the way, it is still being built!! (since a century almost :/ )

Gothic Quarter – Old city of Barcelona. Explore the place on foot. Has a plethora of options for restaurants and clubs. Night life is good here.

La Rambla – You can’t miss this street. It is one of the best to witness the vibe of Barcelona city.

La Barceloneta – Seaside neighbourhood of Barcelona lined up with good restaurants along with a splendid view

Things to Do:

Cycling tour in the city ( they are going to show you some of the best streets in Barca)

Try Sangria and Aperol Spritz if you are into wine and alcohol

Try PaellaTapas, Churros, Croissants  when in Spain (Food)

Camp Nou (didn’t visit as I am not so much into football) and Opium (popular pub) are two things which have good feedback but I couldn’t make it. Try those if you find time.

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Streets of Barcelona 
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L’esquerra de L’eixample
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Gaudi Fountain
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La Sagrada Familia

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IBIZA

2 days and 2 nights

Accommodation : Amistat Island Hostel 

Main Places to Visit:

Sant Antoni de Portmany – Town on the west coast of Ibiza (party place). Explore port area for night life.

Dalt Vila – It’s the old town of Ibiza which should be explored on foot. Such amazing fairy tale streets!!

Castell de Eivissa – You might want to visit this place to get a good panoramic view of Ibiza.

Things to Do:

Boat Party – You should not miss on this. A unique experience all together. Costs around 6-8k per person.

Watch the sun go down with wonderful live instrumental music and some wine at/ near Café Mambo in Sant Antoni de Portmany. Have to say, my best sunset so far.

Amnesia is apparently an amazing pub you can visit in Ibiza. We chose to party by the sea-side with some good wine and good company !! (my way of partying 😛 )

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Carretera de Cala Gracio`
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Sunset near Cafe Mambos in Sant Antoni de Portmany
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View from Castell de Eivissa
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Near Playa De Bossa

MADRID

3 days and 2 nights

Accommodation : Sun Gate One (best hostel in the entire trip)

Main Places to Visit:

Royal Palace of Madrid – One of the most popular places in Madrid. We didn’t enter inside though!! We were enjoying the view with some good live music 😀

Gran Via – This street is always buzzing and is the best for shopping 🙂

Toledo – It’s on countryside, a 45 min ride from Madrid. You can find many local travel agencies conducting a day trip to Toledo. Historically significant place!! Again, explore this beauty on foot.

Also, Stadio Santiago Bernabeu  if you are interested in football 🙂

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Royal Palace of Madrid
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Streets of Madrid
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Streets of Toledo
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View of Toledo from the highest view point
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Near Gran Via

I didn’t find Madrid interesting though!! It mostly had the busy city vibe with good partying and shopping places. Teatro Kapitol is a must visit pub if you are into partying.

Alert : Pickpocketing is damn prominent in Spain. Be very very careful with your belongings!! You never even notice it, they are too good at it.

Backpackers Group

‘When in City’ is one such travel agency which frequently does backpackers’ trips across the world every year. Well, there are enough pros and cons when dealing with this group. So, weigh those if you are planning to join their trips :/

Pros being that you might end up meeting really cool people like I did. It could be a coincidence too. Of course, more than anything else, people you are with, is important.

Cons being that you are going to overpay for their not-so-good service and their not-so-experienced team. You end up paying a premium compared to other such groups. They have limited knowledge about the best places to explore (atleast in case of Spain and Portugal)- had received misleading guidance at times, and you will also see them become stingy :/ (mostly in case of accommodation)  –  which was so disappointing for many of us. Their packages include only accommodation at hostels, internal flights and a trip guide ( International flights , visa charges not included). Many things in their itinerary require additional payment. So, take note of all those.

So, before you go ahead, decide if you are okay with the cons and then take a call.

Well!! These are some suggestions based on my travel experience. DM me on Instagram for more details. Would always love to help you guys 🙂

Hope this post is helpful for those planning to any of these places!!

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Those who made the trip worth-while 😀

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Photos by Rishabh Kumar, Prathamesh Dharanghutte

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Wide Leg Red Trouser : Shein |Flats : Tressmode| Sneakers: Nike |Sunglasses : Primarc | Red Offshoulder top : Romwe | White, pastel green offshoulder top : Shein | Backpack : Shein | Sling bag : Zara | Denim shorts, black dress, floral skirt : Forever 21 | Gingham top : Shein | Swimsuit, Lace Cover-up : Shein | Shirt, embroidered skirt, white skort, black short  : Zara

Trek to Andharban

The quiet rustle of the leaves due to the cool breeze, the slow moving clouds that were surrounding us, the green pastures, the sound of white water cascading down the majestic hills and the muddy forest trail awaited to welcome us.

That’s where our trek started – Pimpri village base camp near Pune.It was a descent trek unlike the usual treks where one treks up to the peak and down back.It started uphill and we need to trek down to finally reach the Bhira river.

Difficulty level : Medium

Best time to visit : Monsoons

Location : Near Pune

We were a group of 20 people in the trek. It was a trek of around 15-20 km. Terrain was flat for first few kilometers. It involved walking through dense forests, crossing rivers and crossing waterfalls. The path got narrower as one moved forward.

One needs to be careful while crossing the waterfalls and rivers as the rocks get too slippery during monsoons. There are around 3 main rivers that one needs to cross before reaching Bhira. The first two rivers can be crossed by helping each other without any ropes.Heavy rains tend to make the trek difficult.

After crossing those two rivers, the terrain was a mix of flat terrains which were filled with lilies all around, and a descent terrain with slippery rocks. The descent became too difficult due to the incessant heavy rain. The difficult part in any trek is the descent and this trek comprised of around 5-6 km of descent. One needs to be really careful as the path gets too slippery during monsoons.

Due to heavy rains, we couldn’t even use ropes to cross the third river.It was a challenge to cross that river.Our trek lead managed to gather some tree branches to form a bridge which was used to cross the river. Just the bridge wouldn’t be safe either, so we crossed the river by using the bridge one after other holding the rope.Usually, this trek doesn’t get this difficult such that even ropes couldn’t help.It’s only 2-3% of the cases where it gets this intense. Better be prepared for the worst and be relaxed while trekking.Trekking in hurry might lead to serious injuries.

The effort one takes to trek Andharban is absolutely worth-while, considering the view of wide expanse of trees and waterfalls that one could witness.It was so heavenly to see clouds moving around, the beautiful view of a continuous range of  huge hills covered with lush green trees and waterfalls. I was head over heels in love with that heaven.Such things make me realize how grateful I need to be of myself to be able to visit such amazing places.I wish I could spend an hour just sitting there, watching the view and having a cup of coffee 🙂

I tried to capture the views using my phone but those pictures don’t do justice to what I exactly saw  :/

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Oh Boy !! Jolly Buoy

Silence, absolute silence and perfectly gorgeous silence!! If you are wondering how one could witness the gorgeousness manifested in silence, you should get deep into those blue waters which embody a compelling charm of yellows, reds, purples, pinks and what not.

I wish I were a fish which gets to live in such perfect harmony of silence and beauty.You just can’t get enough of the marine life once you start exploring it. Everything that I could describe here is an understatement, one should experience it deep under the sea.

Well, the previous post was definitely not a wrap to my Andaman story.Here goes a continuation to an exhilarating trip.

Kalapathar Beach, Havelock Island

Day 4- Day 5- Day 6

Jolly Buoy

Jolly Buoy island is one of the 14 islands in Andaman which is under the protection of National Marine Reserve Department.This island is open to tourists only for six months-November to April and Red Skin Island would be open to tourists for the remaining six months.

Location : 45-60 min journey from Port Blair to Wandoor and then a 45 min ride to Jolly Buoy on a ferry

Timings: 1st batch is 8:00 -12:00 am and 2nd batch is between 2:00 – 6:00 pm

Ticket price : Rs 750 (complimentary 10 min glass boat ride)

Things to do:

  • Snorkeling – One should never miss doing snorkeling at Jolly Buoy.You get to see color changing corals, magic flowers (which disappear when touched), star fishes in different colors, nemo fishes and many more. Snorkeling is reasonably priced here as well. Only certain area is accessible for snorkeling legally and hence, we get to explore only that portion of island waters
  • Glass Boat Ride – There is a boat with a magnifying glass bottom which enables one to clearly see the marine life.It’s worth a try at this place considering that you won’t be exploring a huge area in snorkeling.A guide would be explaining about the fishes and corals
  • Wandoor Beach – This beach is a 5 min ride on road from the ferry point.One can just sit back and relax for sometime here.

Things to plan:

  • Marine reserve department allows only 120-200 people to visit this island per day.It happens in two batches.One needs to ensure that the tickets are booked prior a week

Jolly Buoy

Wandoor Beach

Neil Island

It’s a very tiny island covering not more than 3000 acres of land with a couple of important places to visit.

Location : 40km from Port Blair-  approximately 2 hr ferry ride from Port Blair

Places to visit:

  • Laxmanpur Beach – Head to this beach to witness sunset.You also get good local food here.If you can do snorkeling without a guide, then you got to try it out here
  • Natural Bridge – This is a hub of dead corals which form a very strong bridge.A guide will help explaining the details of the corals and fishes all over the place
  • Bharathpur Beach -It’s not very famous but do visit this beach which is known for its amazingly clear water. Best time to visit is in the morning

Things to Do:

  • Sunset stroll in Laxmanpur beach
  • Dead corals exploration at Natural Bridge
  • Rent a bike and roam around the village.Unlike Havelock, this place is less-commercialized and hence, one can have a pleasant ride on the streets

Natural Bridge (Made of dead corals)

Laxmanpur Beach

Dead coral

Bharatpur Beach

Ross Island

Way back, Ross Island remained as an administrative capital of Andaman for more than 85 years but was later abandoned and is now open for tourists.

Location : 3 km from Port Blair – 20 min ferry ride

Things to Do:

  • Light and Sound show describing the tragic history of Andaman is captivating and needs to be there on one’s to-do list.
  • Ruins of the old buildings which are surrounded by trees, rabbits and deer is an ideal place for some good photography

Ross Island

Munda Pahar

Drive through dense forests to finally end up in Munda Pahar which gives an exhilarating view of sunset.

Location : 20 km from Port Blair by road

Things to do:

  • Just sit back and relax here, what else do you want to do at such a beautiful place?

Munda Pahar

Outfit details:

All along this trip,I tried to keep it comfortable with midi skirts,shorts and dresses

Orange top, Skirt,Dress – HnM

Crochet top – Lifestyle stores

Denim Short – People

Short – Zara

Accessories – Colaba Causeway

Pointers for the entire trip:

  • Be ready for a gadget free vacation because mobile internet cannot be accessed in the entire group of islands.However, you have wifi in restaurants and few hotels
  • Mobile network is better for Vodafone in Port Blair, Havelock  and you can expect zero signal in all other islands

That’s a wrap to my entire travel story.Also, video on snorkeling will be out on my Instagram soon.

For more information about the trip, contact / follow me on Instagram.

Do give your feedback as well 🙂

Photos by Rahul Kongala and Durga Pulijala