Barcelona’s prime location on the Balearic sea makes it a hot spot for basking on beaches to the north and south of the city. Although it may seem like the metropolis that has it all, you may be surprised to learn that its beaches are artificial, and every year tons of sand are brought to fill in some of the missing pieces. It wasn’t until the 1992 Olympics that the seaside became the accessible place of recreation it’s known as now.
For natural beaches native to Catalonia, it’s best to leave the city. In no particular order, here are our favourite beaches outside of Barcelona for when you just need a change of scenery.
Take the train south from Barcelona and in just 40 minutes, you’ll find yourself in the charming seaside town of Sitges. You can wander through the quaint streets lined with little white houses and enjoy one of 17 fine sand beaches. Sitges is also known as a gay-friendly city that hosts and celebrates pride like no other. Among the beaches of Sitges there are also 2 gay nude beaches – Platje l’Home Mort was the first gay nudist beach in the world started in 1930.
For those in search of a local beach town vibe, Montgat Nord has a beautiful wide space for setting up your blanket and umbrella. It can get very crowded on weekends during the summer months, but you’ll find mostly locals here and notice it’s cleaner than the beaches in the centre. If you’re feeling like a refreshment and shade from the sun, there are a few chiringuitos you can visit, too. Montgat Nord is also just 20 minutes north on the R1 Rodalies line from Plaça Catalunya or Arc de Triomf.
Sant Pol de Mar
The beach of Sant Pol de Mar is almost an hour and a half north of Barcelona by train, but the picturesque ride along the coast and the beautiful beach are well worth it. There are a few beach bars and restaurants scattered along the beach so you won’t have trouble spending the day here. If you like seafood, then you’ll appreciate the delicious dishes and stunning view at the restaurant Banys Lluís.
Located south of Barcelona and accessible by the R2 train line, this crescent-shaped beach is the perfect place to swim. Garraf beach is lined with little fishing huts and sheltered by a Bay, making the water warmer than most other places. Feeling up for a treat? You can check out the now restaurant Bodegas Güell which was designed by Antoni Gaudí.
One of the first beaches outside of Barcelona, Badalona brings together town and sea. With a Rambla that runs parallel to the shore, you can feel a smaller, Catalan vibe here and a more relaxed atmosphere. The beaches on the other side of the train tracks are also quite wide and clean. Check out the Pont de Petroli to see the statue of the Anís del Mono monkey.
Have any of your favourite beaches been named? Where do you like to go to escape the city and bask in the Mediterranean sun? Let us know in the comments below!