Its raucous nightlife, Catalan flare and proximity to some of the best beaches in the world are what makes Barcelona such a popular tourist destination. Get the best of both worlds with a stay in the city, then venture out for a day trip – or longer – to one of these top Barcelona beaches.
Platja de Castell
Best for: nature
Rated as one of the best beaches in the world by the Telegraph, a trip to Platja de Castell makes you think you’ve travelled back in time. There’s a pine forest right up to the water and thick slick of yellow sand (many beaches in the area are pebbles). Top tip – bring your own lunch (there’s not much in the way of cafes or restaurants) and you’ll need to go early to set up a towel: the beach may be undeveloped but word is out.
Platja de Llevant
Best for: city views
Eschew packed Barceloneta (the city centre beach) in favour of this cleaner local-favourite bathing spot, close to el Forum a 10-minute ride along the cycle path, which can be classed as the city’s easternmost beach. It’s perfect if you haven’t got time to venture out of the city, but still far away enough to get a slice of sand to yourself. Opened in 2006, it’s also Barcelona’s newest beach, packed with chiringuitos, or beach bars. Sip a cocktail watching the sun go down and watching locals play volleyball.
Best for: water sports
Just a 20-minute train ride north brings you to this Barcelona suburb, with a wide swathe of sand that rarely gets busy. If you’ve only got a morning or afternoon and are keen to escape the city’s crowds, this is a great option in a small town (though it’s best to bring your own food and drink, there’s not much on offer in the village itself). Here you can rent stand-up paddleboards, small sailboats and kayaks.
Platja de Morer
Best for: history
Take the train to the nearby town Sant Pol de Mar an hour outside of the city and you’re only a short walk away from this small but perfectly formed beach. Venture up the hill above the train line and you can wander around pine forests, plus there are the old town ruins there – the village used to produce wine from the first century onwards.
Calella de Palafrugell
Best for: seafood
You don’t have to venture far for a picture-postcard Catalan village. On this beach you can set your towel between shored-up boats on this quaint fishing village beach surrounded by cliffs an hour-and-a-half north of the city by car. The whitewashed village has dozens of excellent restaurants serving heaped bacallà (salted cod). If you’ve got time, Platja Cala El Golfet beach nearby is a fraction of the size and has crystal-clear waters.