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Having missed out on Tomorrowland tickets 2016, I went on the hunt for another festival to check out while holidaying in Europe. Timing was everything and Festival Benicassim seemed like the obvious choice – a dream music line up which included the likes of Major Lazor, Kendrick Lamar, Muse, Disclosure and across 4 days in mid-July, conveniently just after I had finished my Greek Islands stint.

From Mykonos to Benicassim in one day, my itinerary involved a minor mission to get there – 2 flights, a bus (which you can book online on FIB website) and 11 hours later and I made it to the festival grounds. Renowned for avoiding the camping scenario when possible, I opted for the hotel life and stayed at Intur Orange. It’s the closest hotel to the festival, has 2 large pools, good sized rooms with balconies overlooking the pool and just a 10 min walk down to the beach strip where there are plenty of restaurants and a great beach-sunbed set up.

Unsurprisingly the hotel was full of festival-goers during this time, it’s a great atmosphere and sure beats camping in 30 degree heat –  I didn’t feel like I was missing out on any of the action not being on the campsite.

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View from hotel room at Intur Orange
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Benicassim beach

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Although the hotel is close to the festival, the walk itself is about 25min to get into the grounds because there is no direct entrance in, you are directed to walk around the dirt road behind the grounds. On the upside locals are out and about to keep you well refreshed on the walk with numerous drink stall set ups en route – can’t tell you if they were any good, I wasn’t game enough to try their brews!

Once in, you’ll find the usual scenario of overpriced drinks (standard but hard to digest once you’re accustomed to the cheap European drink prices), and you need to buy tokens first that you can then purchase food and drink with. The best tip to note is to take water bottle caps with you in your bag. If you purchase water they take the cap off and throw it away, which is a mega pain when you’re trying to dance in a crowd of thousands of people.

On the topic of people, let’s just say you’ll be surrounded by err, ummm, Britain’s finest. In my personal experience the crowd ruined the good vibes, getting caught in a death circle during Kendrick Lamar was not my idea of fun! Idiot drunks aside, as long as you’re passionate about the lineup and with a good group of friends it’s not a bad festival – there were plenty of areas to chill out in, good food, drink and toilet facilities and of course an amazing music lineup which made for a great time.

If you are thinking about going for the first time and have a question, comment below and I’ll do my best to answer it.

Photo by FIB
Photo by FIB

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Barcelona in a day

After Festival Benicassim I squeezed in 2 nights in Barcelona and wish I stayed longer! We stayed at May Ramblas Hotel which was the perfect location. It was right by the metro and shopping area close to everything you could want. Also just a 10 min walk around the corner is Placa Reial, pictured below. It’s a quarter lined with restaurants – great for people watching. Our absolute favourite place was Les Quinze Nits, the most amazing food, sangria and it wasn’t expensive!

We managed to jam pack a lot of sight-seeing in one day visiting as many Gaudi sites as possible. Biggest learning of the trip, if you want to go into the buildings/ good areas you need to book tickets days in advance. We turned up on the day only to find all tickets were sold out for Park Guell and La Sagrada Familia for the day, although on the up side this meant we got around the sites pretty quick with time for shopping at the end.

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