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Barcelona’s Best Beaches ~ From Serene Sands to Party Playas

Last updated on February 5, 2018

Whether you want to go wild with watersports and volleyball or would prefer to kick back at a beach bar with your toes in the sand and a cocktail in your hand, here are the very best beaches in Barcelona!

Barceloneta: The “Anything Goes” Beach

Barceloneta Beach, Barcelona
Words & photos by your shoreline sauntering guide, Ben Holbrook

Walk from Barcelona’s bustling city centre, past the billionaire mega yachts in Port Vell, and you’ll soon find yourself at Barceloneta, the city’s liveliest beach.

This circus of a beach is a melting pot of different cultures and a relentless hive of activity. It’s a true ‘love-it-or-hate-it’ type of place where hoards of tourists and locals indulge their vices from dusk til dawn.

The soundtrack is supplied by groups of skaters, runners, cyclists and cocktail-sipping revellers who toast themselves mahogany at the sun-struck beach bars.

Barceloneta Backstreets - Barcelona's Old Fishermen's Quarter
The real Barceloneta…

Where to eat in Barceloneta: Cut through the salty backstreets that jut off from the tourist-trap-laden boardwalk and you’ll find the true heart of this ancient fisherman’s quarter, where traditional tapas bars serve up the best fish and seafood tapas in Barcelona. Check out my guide here.

San Sebastian Beach Barcelona - by the W Hotel
The view from my favourite spot of the beach

My favourite spot: As busy and infuriating as Barceloneta beach can be at times, I still love it. I love it because it’s a visual feast, a place where you never quite know what’s going to happen. I often cycle down to the rocks that tumble into the waters in front of the glitzy W-Hotel at the far end of the beach. The sheltered little bay here is also the best place for paddle-boarding – see you in the water!

Top tip: Stay after dark and join the young, rich and beautiful that gather at the beachfront nightclubs such as Opium, Carpe Diem, Shoko and Pacha.

Nearest metro: Barceloneta (yellow line)

Nova Icaria – The Beach Sports Beach

Nova Icaria Beach - By Ben HolbrokJust a short walk down the boardwalk from Barceloneta is Nova Icaria. Slightly more low-key than Barceloneta, it’s blessed with broad stretches of beautiful sand and slightly smaller crowds. This is where professional body bronzers come to even out their tans while playing volleyball, frisbee, beach football and even ping-pong.

Top tip: The beach’s Olympic Port is also a great place to pick up beach-friendly food, making it an excellent beach for families with kids and teenagers. 

Nearest metro: Ciutadella / Vila Olímpica (yellow line)

Bogatell – The Chill Beach

Bogatell Beach, Barcelona by Ben HolbrookThis spacious blue flag beach is where Barcelona’s locals come to relax, stretch out and escape the tourists. When the surf’s on, this is also a popular Barcelona surf spot. You’ll also see kitesurfers and windsurfers launching from here when there’s a bit of a breeze.

Bogatell Beach, Barcelona by Ben Holbrook

Top tip: Skip over the hot sand to Xiringuito Escriba for what many say is the best paella in Barcelona. Chill, eat, live the dream.

Nearest metro: Llacuna (yellow line)

Mar Bella & Nova Mar Bella – The “Let’s Get Naked” Beach

Mar bella Beach Scene - Tattoos and naked peopleMar Bella and Nova Mar Bella are much loved by locals, who come here to escape the hordes of livelier beaches closer to the city centre. Relaxed and with liberal vibes, Mar Bella and Nova Mar Bella are both designated nudist areas and always lots of fun. It’s also known for being Barcelona’s gay beach.

Top tip: Don’t miss the legendary Chiringuito BeGay!

Nearest metro: Poblenou (yellow line)

Llevant – Barcelona’s Quietest Beach

Llevant Beach Barcelona Surf SpotWhen you really need to get away from it all, Llevant is the place to go. It’s the farthest beach away from busy Barceloneta and is by far the quietest. Bring your book and a beach towel and spend some time reconnecting with yourself. Good surf here as well.

Top tip: Cool off with something naughty to drink at the exotic Bambú Beach Bar.

Nearest metro: Selva de Mar (yellow line)

Montgat Nord – The “Let’s Escape the City” Beach

Located just a 20-minute train ride from Placa Catalunya in the centre of Barcelona, Montgat Nord is the perfect beach for those who want to get away from Barcelona for the day. Its long and wide stretch of sand boasts all sorts of modern sports facilities, irresistible chiringuito bars and plenty of excellent places to eat.

Nearest train: Mongat Nord

Sitges – The “Seafront Fishing Village” Day-Trip Beach

Sitges Beach, Barcelona - In the winter
Me and my friends on the beach in Sitges (this was taken in February).

Located just 30 minutes or so away from Barcelona is the historic, white-washed fishermen’s town of Sitges. The restaurants are world-class and there are more shops, bars, cafes and ice-cream parlours than you can shake a parasol at. Pure bliss!

Top tip: Head to the slightly hidden beach of Sant Sebastià and enjoy breaking-taking views over the old town and the church that resides on the headland. You’ll also find plenty of family friendly facilities and places to eat, drink and shop.

Cala Fonda – The “Let’s Have an Adventure” Beach Near Tarragona

Waikiki Beach, Cala Fonda Tarragona Coast, Catalonia SpainKnown by the locals as “Waikiki Beach”, Cala Fonda is a secluded stretch of pristine sand located just outside the handsome Roman city of Tarragona. Protected by fragrant pine forests and dramatic limestone cliffs, Cala Fonda feels like a tropical island escape and is the perfect spot for beach-goers with an appetite for adventure.

Get there: Take the train from Barcelona Sants Estacio to Tarragona — it’ll take a little under an hour — and follow the signed footpath that starts at Platja Llarga beach. 

Top tip: Pack a picnic as there are no facilities at this secluded beach. You’ll also want to stay in Tarragona for drinks and dinner before heading back to Barcelona.

Stay Near Barcelona’s Best Beaches

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