Cultural Advantages2020-03-05T14:03:23+01:00

Exclusive Cultural Advantages

Are you looking for a truly immersive experience?

By studying abroad with ALBA you will have access to a variety of cultural activities (included in the program fee) that will introduce you to the local way of life.

Sponsored Excursions
Cooking Classes
Staff Led Outings

What Students Have to Say About This

Costa Brava Spain’s Hidden Gem

Excursions|

When we first arrived in Costa Brava early on a sunny Friday, I was in awe that a beautiful oasis existed so close to the busy chaos that is the city of Barcelona. As a result, it only took me a couple of minutes after setting foot out of the ALBA van to truly appreciate the serenity and peace that can really only be found in nature.

Cadaqués Getaway

Excursions|

Before coming to Barcelona I discovered this beautiful little town on Instagram. I was captivated by the pictures of blue Mediterranean water next to the white buildings on the coast. I knew I had to go! Once I was here I [...]

Exploring the Costa Brava like Locals

Excursions|

by Amadi Alegria Heading north to explore la Costa Brava like locals The beaches of Barcelona are great, don’t get me wrong. The temperature is almost always comfortable, the water is cool and refreshing, and there are opportunities to paddle board, jet ski, and parasail. They are also, however, typically [...]

Weekend Sponsored Excursions

No classes scheduled for Fridays! Instead, we will be visiting amazing destinations all around Catalonia, allowing us to enjoy the scenery, discover the local cuisine and learn all about the culture.

Barcelona’s Secret Forest

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Leaving from ALBA at: 10:00AM

Returning around: 4PM

Preparation:

  • Comfortable shoes for the hike.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Make sure you have a decent breakfast before leaving.
  • A light rain jacket and/or umbrella (depending on the weather).

Description: Discover an incredible natural area in the outskirts of Barcelona on a half-day hike through Barcelona’s green lung, the Collserola Natural Park, followed by a truly authentic Catalan lunch.

More info here

Girona city and hike to Sant Miquel castle

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Leaving from ALBA at: 8:00AM

Returning around: 6:00PM

Preparation:

  • Comfortable shoes for the hike.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Make sure you have a decent breakfast before leaving.
  • A light rain jacket and/or umbrella (depending on the weather)

Description: Girona city tour takes you through the rich history of one of Spain’s most charming, medieval walled cities that has been very well preserved since it was founded by the Romans in the 1st century. You’ll wind through the narrow stone streets of the old quarter and see Girona highlights such as the Cathedral, Roman and medieval wall, Rambla de la Llibertat, Onyar River houses and bridges, Jewish Heritage Museum and more.

Pyrenees Medieval Village and Hike

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Leaving from ALBA at: 9:00AM

Returning around: 6:00PM

Preparation:

  • Comfortable shoes for the hike.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Make sure you have a decent breakfast before leaving.
  • A light rain jacket and/or umbrella (depending on the weather)

Description: Explore a 16th-century mountain village in the mid-Pyrenees, enjoy an amazing light hike/walk to spectacular panoramic viewpoints and experience a true three-course meal with wine in a multi-generational, traditional Catalan restaurant.

More info here

Cliffs & Coves of Costa Brava

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Leaving from ALBA at: 8:45AM

Returning around: 6PM

Preparation:

  • Comfortable shoes for the hike.
  • Bathing suite.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Make sure you have a decent breakfast before leaving.
  • A light rain jacket and/or umbrella (depending on the weather).

Description: Hiking day tour along the Costa Brava’s high winding cliffs, secluded beaches and crystal coves followed by a village beachfront dining!

More info here
Summer Term Only

Kayaks & Coves of Costa Brava

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Leaving from ALBA at: 8:00AM

Returning around: 6PM

Preparation:

  • Comfortable shoes for the hike.
  • Bathing suite.
  • Dry change of clothes and towel
  • Sunscreen.
  • Make sure you have a decent breakfast before leaving.
  • A light rain jacket and/or umbrella (depending on the weather).

Description: Excellent, relaxing sea kayaking routes, swimming and snorkeling along the gorgeous Costa Brava exploring caves, coves and beaches with picnic lunch and plenty of beach time throughout the day!

More info here

Montserrat Monastery and hike

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Leaving from ALBA at: 8:30AM

Returning around: 4PM

Preparation:

  • Comfortable shoes for the hike.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Make sure you have a decent breakfast before leaving.
  • A light rain jacket and/or umbrella (depending on the weather).

Description: Explore the amazing 1000-year-old monastery of Montserrat with panoramic views, scenic walks and Escolania boy’s choir accompanied by an amazing Catalan country lunch and afternoon visit.

More info here

Spanish trails logo

ALBA and Spanish Trails have been working in perfect symbiosis since 2010, bringing the experience of true Catalan traditions, gastronomy, culture and the most amazing landscapes of Barcelona and its surroundings.

More info here

Cooking Classes

In these hands-on cooking classes, you will truly discover the local cuisine!

With the guidance of our local cooking teacher Chef Aurora, you will have the opportunity to create, cook, and eat traditional Spanish and Catalan dishes. At the end of each class, you will enjoy the dishes that you have prepared in a friendly and casual atmosphere! Classes take place every other week and are taught in English, with an opportunity to practice your Spanish as well, putting your language skills to good use in the kitchen!

Recipes

Crema Catalana

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Difficulty: Easy

Preparation time: 30 mins

Serves: 6 people

Ingredients:

  • 510 g of whole milk
  • 1 cinnamon
  • 1 lemon peel
  • 136 g of sugar
  • 170 g of whole milk
  • (2) 128 g of egg yolk
  • 35 g de corn starch

Preparation:

  1. Boil milk (1) with sugar.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the milk (2) with the yolk and starch.
  3. Blanch this mixture with the first set, and put on the fire again, mixing with the rods constantly until it thickens.
  4. Steep the mixture in the dishes or bowls in which it will serve and leave to cool in the refrigerator.

Meat and vegetable Paella

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Difficulty: Medium

Preparation time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6 people

Ingredients:

  • 700 g rice “bomba”
  • 2 l chicken broth
  • 140 ml olive oil
  • 1000 g chicken in very small pieces
  • 500 g lean pork (small pieces)
  • 2-3 Italian green peppers
  • 1 red pepper
  • 250 g green beans
  • 1 sachet de Paellero Carmencita (spices mixture with saffron)

Preparation:

  1. Put the oil on the paella and fry the vegetables separately first, and then the meat well browned. Everything with salt.
  2. Add the sachet of spices to the broth and keep it hot.
  3. Sauté the rice with the rest of the ingredients for one minute and add the broth with the strong heat.
  4. Distribute the rice well throughout the paella and do not move it again until it is ready to serve. After 5 minutes reduce the heat to a minimum and let it evaporate completely. Approximately 20 minutes in total.
  5. Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Patatas Bravas

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Difficulty: Easy

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6 people

Ingredients:

  • 8 small potatoes
  • 50 ml olive oil (or sunflower)
  • 1 garlic head
  • 2 cayennes
  • 1 tablespoon hot paprika
  • 1 egg
  • 150 ml olive oil (or sunflower)
  • Black pepper
  • Salt

Preparation:

  1. Wash, peel and cut potatoes into thick strips or cubes.
  2. Add oil in a saucepan and heat it. Add the potatoes (they have to be covered by the oil) and lower the heat to a minimum, until they are tender.
  3. Reserve them.
  4. For the salsa brava peel the garlic and confit along with the chili pepper.
  5. Remove from the heat, remove the garlic and chilli pepper and add the hot paprika.
  6. Make the allioli by adding in a grinding glass a garlic, an egg, a little salt, and oil (1) at the end, and emulsify gradually with the hand blender, from the base rising gradually, as if making a mayonnaise.
  7. Reheat the fire where the potatoes have been made, and when it is very hot add the potatoes back so that they are well browned.
  8. Drain well, salt them and serve them with allioli on top and some of the hot paprika oil.

Spanish Omelette

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Difficulty: Easy

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6 people

Ingredients:

  • 7 eggs
  • 1 kg potatoes
  • 400 g onion
  • 200 ml olive oil
  • Salt

Preparation:

  1. Peel the onion and cut it into small pieces. Fry until browned.
  2. Peel the potato and slice. Remove the onion, and in the same oil fry the potato. When browned, lower the heat, add the onion, and finish cooking everything together. The potatoes have to be well done.
  3. Drain the potato and onion very well in a strainer. Put them in a bowl and add the beaten eggs.
  4. Heat a pan and add a little oil. When it is hot, pour the tortilla mixture and stir it a little with a wooden spatula.
  5. Cook it for 1 or 2 minutes on one side, over very low heat.
  6. With the help of a dish turn it over and finish cooking the omelette on the other side

Roasted Artichokes with Romesco Sauce

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Difficulty: Intermediate

Preparation time: 60 mins

Serves: 6 people

Ingredients:

  • Fresh artichokes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 oz roasted almonds
  • 2 oz roasted hazelnuts
  • 3 ñoras (dried Spanish pepper)
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 3 big tomatoes
  • Vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Sauce Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 390ºF.
  2. Roast the tomatoes and garlic for 40 mins.
  3. Soak the ñoras in hot water for 40 mins.
  4. Peel the hazelnuts and almonds and put into the blender.
  5. Open the soaked ñoras and throw away the seeds. With a spoon, softly scrape the skin. Add the flesh of the ñora into the blender.
  6. Peel the tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients and put them into the blender.
  7. Add the olive oil and blend the entire mixture together.
  8. Add salt and vinegar to taste.

Sauce Artichokes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Chop the artichokes in half.
  3. Dress them with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  4. Roast them in the oven for 30-40 mins.

Fruit Salad

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Difficulty: Very Easy

Preparation time: 10 mins

Serves: 6 people

Ingredients:

  • Oranges for making fresh juice.
  • Seasonal fruit: apples, pears, strawberries, bananas, kiwi, peaches…

Preparation:

  1. Squeeze the oranges and pour their juice into a big bowl.
  2. Wash, peel, and chop all fruits and add them to the juice as soon as chopped.
  3. Add a little bit of sugar and put in the fridge for at least an hour.

Staff-Led Outings

Join Xavi, Raul and Simon on a casual, yet informative, stroll through Barcelona. Get all the insider tips firsthand while becoming acquainted with what this amazing city has to offer.