As August flies by, cool weather has already started to descend across more northerly parts of Western Europe, ushering an end to the peak days of summer. Before long, fall will be here, and with it, the long gradual descent towards winter will begin.
If you aren’t quite ready to quit the sun just yet, remember that the warmer shores of the Mediterranean are not that far away. In places like Catalonia in Spain, the weather stays blissfully warm throughout the month of September, allowing you to work on your tan if work prevented you from getting out in the sun enough over the past couple of months.
Even if money is a little tight, don’t worry. By taking the bus to Barcelona instead of flying, you can save hundreds of Euro or Quid, all while getting to see the continental European countryside on your way to the sun-kissed shores of the Iberian peninsula.
You can do it all in one Herculean shot, or break your trip up into several legs to make your time on the road less intimidating (most liners these days offer creature comforts like increased leg room and wi-fi though, so it’s not all bad).
If you count yourself in the latter camp, here is what you can do along the various waypoints on your quest to lie beneath the Spanish sun in September…
London to Paris: a few hours in the City of Lights
If you haven’t been to Paris before, take the time to head up to the Palais de Chaillot, where some of the best views of the Eiffel Tower can be had (actually going up the tower is overrated and a huge waste of time when you don’t have much to work with). Then, check out the best in French food at one of the biggest open-air markets in the city at Boulevard Richard Lenoir. Pick up some amazing cheese, bread, and a bottle of wine for when you get to Barcelona, then make your way back to main bus station downtown.
Paris to Lyon: see a few sights before changing buses for Spain
First founded by the Romans thousands of years ago, there are numerous sites to see in this Eastern French city. The ancient Theatre of Fourvière played host to performing arts shows in the days of the Roman Empire, as well as in the present day, and the Gallo-Roman Museum of Lyon details all the artifacts uncovered over the years that shed light on daily life on citizens of Lyon more than 1,000 years ago.
As well, countless cathedrals and churches constructed over the Middle Ages and the Renaissance Era will keep the architecture enthusiast busy, as will other structures raised in those times. As such, just wandering will yield instant dividends.
Arrival in Barcelona: how to make the most of your Catalonian beach holiday
The first day after your arrival, kick back and relax: stroll along the boardwalk of Barceloneta Beach, bask in the abundant Iberian sun, and splash around in the summer-warmed water before it cools off later in September. Once you have had your share of beach volleyball, sun loungers and jet skis, Barcelona offers a ton of culture to keep you busy. La Sagrada Familia Basilica will humble you with its massive presence, the Temple of Augustus will shed light on the spiritual life of a Roman colony that existed here 2,000 years ago, and the Monserrat mountain range offers some of the best night time views of the city below.