As a city lying by the sea on Spain’s sparkling Mediterranean coast, Barcelona offers visitors an array of delectable urban beaches with a lively atmosphere. Some of the best beaches in Barcelona are within easy reach of landmarks such as the pedestrianized Las Ramblas, a buzzing hotspot in the center of the city, while others offer crowd-free sunbathing in secluded coves, just a short journey from the center.
Barcelona’s city beaches boast some of the best facilities in the Mediterranean, including complimentary Wi-Fi and some excellent waterfront chiringuitos, or beach restaurants. Nestled on the Costa Brava, this region of Spain offers a sandy stretch to suit every type of beachgoer.
Here are 13 of the best beaches in Barcelona, or within easy reach of the city.
Barceloneta is one of Barcelona’s oldest waterfront stretches, taking its name from the traditional old fishing quarter behind the beach that was pulled down and gentrified for the 1992 Olympic Games.
Barceloneta is one of the best beaches in Barcelona for its buzzy, central location, boasting a string of alfresco restaurants, bars, and cafés. Come on a weekend and the promenade is heaving with locals out strolling, walking their dogs, and drinking Aperols in the many chiringuitos, or beach bars.
A bike rental station on Barceloneta’s promenade means you can check out several of the best beaches in Barcelona during one breezy cycle. Bathrooms, showers, a children’s playground, lockers, beach umbrellas, and sun loungers are also available on the beach.
Visit the nearby Barceloneta Market on Plaça del Poeta Boscà before making your way to the famous Spanish beach. Modernized with a contemporary new look between 2005 and 2007, Barceloneta Market started out in 1887 as the city’s historic fish market.
Today, the market is laden with some of the city’s freshest and tastiest produce. Since you’re in one of the best shopping cities in Europe, make sure to pick a selection of sensational goodies, including cured meats, cheeses, fresh bread, tinned fish, and olive oil, to enjoy a picnic on the seashore.
Alternatively, the steadfast MakaMaka on Passeig Joan de Borbó offers some of Barcelona’s best burgers and beachfront cocktails.
Mar Bella Beach
This quintessential Barcelona beach, north east of the former Olympic village, is a big draw for surfers and sun-worshippers, with comfy loungers for hire and a couple of surf schools by the beach.
Surf Base Barcelona offers surfing lessons, including two-hour, one-on-one sessions for beginners, which is an excellent introduction to the waves. Boards can be reserved ahead of your visit, while Paddle Surf Lovers Barcelona offers kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards for hire.
The partly clothing-optional Mar Bella Beach has a laid-back feel with all of the standard amenities you’d hope to find on a city beach, including refreshment kiosks, bathrooms, and showers.
Sant Sebastià Beach
Sant Sebastià offers over half a mile of sea and sand, just a short walk from the characterful Gothic Quarter at the southwestern tip of the city’s shore. The closest beach to the city center, Sant Sebastià is within easy reach of some of Barcelona’s most famous attractions.
Before you feel the sand between your toes, take in unrivaled views of some of the most beautiful places in Spain by climbing to the top of Montjuïc Mountain—more of a hill than a mountain—which overlooks the city.
You could explore the 17th-century Montjuïc Castle at the summit, home to the city’s military museum and the tranquil Botanical Garden, before taking a leisurely cable car ride down to Sant Sebastia Beach.
Sant Sebastià benefits from sun loungers, umbrellas, and watersports activities. For a unique experience in the water, you could try a fusion of yoga or pilates combined with stand-up paddleboarding, with lessons offered from the beach.
Canet Beach in the delightful town of Canet de Mar is regarded as one of the best beaches near Barcelona for its velvety-soft sand and ample space for bathing. The Blue Flag fluttering in the breeze is an indication of the beach’s cleanliness and water quality.
This sandy sweep is over one mile long with everything you’ll need for a pleasant day at the beach, including public bathrooms, showers, and a selection of bars and restaurants offering authentic Barcelona food.
Before you return to the city, squeeze in a visit to the nearby Castell de Santa Florentina. Admire the 11th-century castle’s extraordinary architecture, which infuses Gothic with a modernist style, the latter introduced by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner in 1910.
Take the train from Barcelona’s Plaça de Catalunya to reach Canet de Mar. The relaxing coastal journey takes just over an hour, providing the perfect opportunity to bury yourself in tantalizing sea views.
Just over an hour’s drive south of Barcelona, Platja Llarga—translating as Large Beach— is a splendid shoreline, popular with naturists because of its unspoiled and off-the-beaten-track feel.
There are no late-night bars, fast food outlets, or neon-lit restaurants here, which is all part of Llarga’s untouched charm. You will find a couple of local eateries and an ice cream parlor by Las Palmeras campsite.
Pack a towel and enjoy a refreshing swim followed by a walk on the sand as you soak up the fresh scent of pine wafting from the green forest behind the beach. A scattering of palm trees and gentle, grassy dunes add to the picturesque nature of Llarga Beach.
Read: Three Days in Barcelona
This bustling shoreline, once part of Barceloneta Beach, is now named in honor of the former Somorrostro settlement of Barcelona that once occupied this area.
Between the Olympic Marina and Barceloneta Beach, Somorrostro Beach was once a shantytown, home to thousands of people up until the middle of the 20th century. Look out for the commemorative bronze plaque on the side of the esplanade, depicting an aerial view of Somorrostro beach as it was in the fifties.
Today, Somorrostro Beach is a hive of activity with several restaurants, bars, and some of Barcelona’s most well-known nightclubs lining the boardwalk. Facilities include a stand-up paddleboard yoga center, volleyball, bathrooms, and a bar located in the center of the beach.
Cala Bona Beach
The bay-hugging Cala Bona Beach in Blanes, an hour’s drive north of Barcelona, is well worth the excursion from the city. Unlike many of the best beaches near Barcelona, which tend to be long stretches, Cala Bona is a quaint cove snuggled between rock formations on the Costa Brava.
Cala Bona Beach is golden and the sea is clear, making it perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and relaxing on the sand. To access the beach, wander down the pine forest path.
You’ll find sun loungers to rent and a café for refreshments when you’re ready to cool off with a soda, beer, or carafe of wine. Bar-restaurant Cala Bona also serves a menu of rustic local dishes, including a delicious monkfish and lobster stew and oven-baked fresh fish.
Sant Miquel Beach
This petite seafront, sandwiched between Sant Sebastià and Barceloneta, is one of the best beaches in Barcelona for its iconic 33-foot sculpture by German artist Rebecca Horn. Named La Estrella Herida, the contemporary artwork features four steel cubes stacked precariously on top of the other.
La Estrella Herida is a tribute to the area’s fishing heritage, particularly chiringuitos, seafront shacks serving casual tapas, and drinks that once lined Barcelona’s seafront. Once you’ve marveled at the bronze-hued sculpture, enjoy Sant Miquel Beach’s vibrant nature, perfect for an afternoon of sunbathing and swimming that Spain is known for.
San Sebastian Beach (Sitges)
Just a 30-minute drive southwest of the city, glitzy Sitges is a gem of the Costa Brava and a well-known summer spot for LGBGTQ+ travelers.
Sitges’ San Sebastian is one of the best beaches near Barcelona for its marvelous honey-colored sand. A bus and train service operates from Barcelona to Sitges, making San Sebastian Beach the perfect destination for a short jaunt from the city.
The beach’s attractive promenade boasts a row of chic restaurants with alfresco seating, while Sitges’ charming old town can be found next to the beach, with its winding streets and whitewashed buildings.
Once you’ve savored a blissful few hours on this superlative shore, take a seat at one of Carrer de Port Alegre’s elegant restaurants and soak up more of Sitges’ serene sea views.
Nestled between Nova Icària and Mar Bella beaches, Bogatell is a stretch of creamy sand lined with an attractive row of palm trees. Bogatell Beach is family-friendly, with a children’s games area, beach volleyball, drinks and ice cream kiosks, and numerous bars and restaurants around the waterfront.
Once you’ve breathed in the fresh sea air and enjoyed a splash in the water, explore the Barcelona neighborhood’s more curious side at Poblenou Cemetery, a notable burial ground just behind the beach.
The cemetery features rows of extravagant tombs, including shrines to some of Catalan’s most eminent figures, such as the composer Josep Anselm Clavé and playwright and poet Serafí Pitarra.
When you start to feel peckish, skip the chain diners in favor of a table at one of the fabulous beachside restaurants, including the standout L’Escamarlà, Xiringuito Escribà, or Can Fisher. Each offers a gorgeous array of seafood, from Cantabrian anchovies and paella topped with juicy prawns to zesty grilled razor clams and plump oysters.
Ocata is home to one of the best beaches near Barcelona for its broad swathe of white sand and gentle surf in the town of El Masnou, a mere 10 miles northeast of the city.
Getting to Ocata involves an effortless 25-minute drive or a short train journey. Catch the R1 train from Placa Catalunya or Arc de Triomf stations.
You’ll disembark the train in front of El Masnou’s pretty marina, with its sprinkling of palm trees around the perimeter and rows of gleaming white boats located to the southwest of Ocata Beach.
When you arrive, let your soles sink into the creamy foreshore, relax on a sunbed, and refuel at one of the easy-going beach bars. Afterward, stroll to Plaça de l’Església, a block behind the beach lined with orange and lemon trees outside the handsome Saint Peter’s Church.
Though the church was constructed between 1760 and 1817, it was largely destroyed during the Spanish Civil War and later rebuilt. You can take in views of the glittering Mediterranean Sea here.
Nova Icària Beach
Quieter than nearby Sant Sebastia and Barceloneta beaches, Nova Icària is considered one of the best beaches in Barcelona for its proximity to Port Olímpic. Built for the 1992 Olympic Games hosted in the city, Port Olímpic offers excellent watersports and boating activities.
Take your pick from a raft of nautical adventures, including jet-skiing, parasailing, flyboarding, and speed-boat tours. For something a little more sedate, catamaran and boat tours of the harbor also depart from Port Olímpic.
This beautiful Barcelona beach offers plenty of space for bathing with an array of elegant restaurants close by. If you’re keen to combine a visit to Catalan’s most famous attraction, La Sagrada Familia, with some downtime on the beach, Nova Icària is the closest option.
The city’s as-yet-unfinished cathedral—arguably architect Antoni Gaudí’s most famous Spanish landmark—is just a short bus or taxi ride away.
Draped on the Gulf of Roses, Platja d’Empúries is around 85 miles north of Barcelona, in the ancient Catalan town of Sant Martí d’Empúries. As one of the best beaches near Barcelona, Platja d’Empúries is a worthy day trip if you’re prepared to rent a car and drive there.
Platja d’Empúries is a people-pleaser, refreshingly uncrowded with calm water, fawn-hued sand, and thatched parasols, flanked by an emerald-green pine forest.
The town is dotted with ancient Greek and Roman ruins, including the vast archeological remains of Empúries, a city founded in 575 B.C., right next to Platja d’Empúries. Follow the guided coastal trail from the beach to explore the ruins. This light walk should take no more than 10 minutes.
Once you’ve had your fill of sun, sea, and ruins, make your way to the cluster of restaurants found in Plaça Major, opposite a 16th-century church, Església de Sant Martí d’Empúries.
This romantic spot offers shaded seating outside and a warren of winding photogenic streets to discover, just moments from the beach.
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