Last updated on May 8, 2019
With paddle boarding, surfing, kitesurfing, sailing, kayaking and more, Barcelona’s warm Mediterranean waters are paradise for watersports enthusiasts.
Walk from the city centre to Barcelona’s city beaches – Barceloneta, Mar Bella and Bogatell – and you’ll find hoards of bronzed surfers riding crystal clear waves, as well as SUPers (stand up paddle boarders) cruising the coast, and kitesurfers floating up into the sky.
The conditions vary from season to season, but for those looking to try something new, the warm and forgiving conditions of spring and summer are simply unmissable.
Here’s how and where to get involved!
SUP/Paddle Boarding in Barcelona
As a surfer, I’ve always thought SUP’ing would be boring. But with Barcelona’s sensational city skyline and the true-blue Mediterranean Sea as a backdrop, I’ve found it to be one of my absolute favourite things to do in Barcelona.
I tend to go at about 7pm in the summer, when the sun is beginning to dip and the skies are turning to marmalade. But you’ll find people paddling at all hours of the day.
My favourite spot is the little bay in front of the W Hotel. It’s protected from the waves and wind and you can enjoy the music that pumps out of the hotel’s poolside bar. The water is so clear that I often see little fish gliding alongside me.
Get involved: There are paddle surfing schools and rentals along the whole stretch of beach. Prices start at €15 – check it out here. Prices start at €15 – check it out here.
Surfing in Barcelona
The Mediterranean isn’t known for its surf, but as a surf veteran myself I can verify that there are indeed waves to ride here in Barcelona, at least during the autumn and winter months. The sandy shore breaks can reach head-height on a good swell and you always know when “it’s on” because the metro suddenly fills with wet-suited locals carrying waxed-up boards.
Get involved: You can rent wetsuits and surfboards from one of the many surf/skate shops that line the beach, some of which also offer lessons if you’d prefer to head into the water with an instructor.
Best surf beaches in Barcelona
If you already have some surfing experience under your belt, I recommend heading towards the beaches of the Poblenou area, such as Bogatell and Mar Bella, where you’ll find less crowds in the water and bigger waves. There’s also a good spot next to the W Hotel – the hotel shelters the waves from the wind – at the far end of Barceloneta beach.
Sailing in Barcelona
Barcelona really is heaven for sailors and there are plenty of boat charters to choose from. Last summer I set sail in a beautiful wooden boat with ClassicSailBCN – a real sailing experience for those who love the stripped back pleasures of life at sea.
Get involved: Check out the post I wrote about my experience with Skipper Dave on his beautiful yacht.
Fishing in Barcelona
I don’t know an awful lot about fishing in Barcelona, but my friend Captain Noah is an expert. As well as offering pleasure boat tours in Barcelona on his beautiful powerboat Minerva, he’s also a passionate fisherman and take groups and individuals out to the best fishing spots near Barcelona.
Get involved: Check out the post I wrote about my mojito-fuelled boat trip with Captain Noah and contact him to find out more about his private fishing trips.
Kitesurfing in Barcelona
Kitesurfing is one of the world’s fastest-growing sports and the scene is huge in Barcelona. There are multiple kitesurf schools that can show you the ropes and get you carving up the water (and sky) in no time.
Monique Venema owns the Kitesurf Barcelona School and says that it’s the city’s “many different beaches conditions” that make it so well-suited to kitesurfing.
“Both within the city and also within a short drive from the city centre… you can always find a good spot,” she says. “The beaches are sandy and don’t have rocks or strong currents, which makes them very safe for kitesurfing.”
Get involved: While “any of the city beaches” are good settings for the sport, it’s those “farthest away from Barceloneta” that Monique believes provide the best conditions. “They are quieter and there are less buildings to interfere with the wind,” she says.
Castelldefels beach is one of the most popular spots for kitesurfing, located just 16km south of the city centre (20 minutes by train).