Barcelona’s glistening coastline is brimming with beautiful spots for a swim and sunbathe on your 2021 holiday. Don’t just get comfortable on the first spot of sand you see, head to one of the best beaches in Barcelona for turquoise waters, beach volleyball, chiringuitos (or beach bars) and views to die for. Being in prime location on the Catalonian coast means stunning beaches can range from being a walk to a day trip away.
The great thing about Barcelona’s beaches is that there’s one for everyone. Whether that’s volleyball on Bogatell Beach, a party atmosphere at Barceloneta beach, or Mar Bella nudist beach to work on that flawless tan, we’ve rounded up the best beaches in and around Barcelona so you know exactly where you should be heading.
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Getting to Barceloneta Beach: Easily walk or cycle to this beach from anywhere in the city, or take the yellow Metro line 4 to ‘Barceloneta’ followed by a 10 minute walk, or buses 59, H16, V23 or V25 directly to the shore. Barceloneta beach is a 10 minute cycle or a 20 minute bus ride (bus 59) from St Christopher’s Inns Barcelona.
This is by far the most popular beach in Barcelona, and with it being the city’s main stretch of coastline, you really can’t miss it. Barceloneta’s 4 kilometres of sandy shores constantly has a buzzing atmosphere as there’s just so much going on, from the market stalls to massage tables and countless restaurants, cafes and chiringuitos lining the coast beneath the palm trees. Sit back and soak up the atmosphere with a cocktail at Bambu Beach Bar, the place to be on any summer’s evening in Barcelona, or start your day with a coffee at Brunch & Cake By The Sea, right near the marina. Being so close to the city means Barceloneta is the busiest sunbathing spot of all the places on this list, but you can escape the crowds by heading into the sea on an SUP (paddleboard), windsurf or even a kitesurf. This bit of the coast is perfect for water sports fanatics.
What our Barcelona Hostel Supervisor and all-round Barcelona expert, Adrián, has to say about Barceloneta beach:
Barceloneta is the beach I always recommend to hostel guests. Like many other spots in the city, this beach is a melting point of different people and activities. You can spend a few hours there and then be back to the city centre within minutes. You'll probably feel the sand in your shoes and the salty smell of Mediterranean sea water on your skin all day, but just try to enjoy it! That's how we do it here! If you prefer to spend the last hours of the day at the beach, and even stay there by night, this is an awesome spot.
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2. Mar Bella Beach
Getting to Mar Bella Beach: Take the yellow Metro line 4 and get off at Poblenou, then it’s a 12 minute walk to get to the beach. Mar Bella beach is a 30 minute journey from St Christopher’s Inns Barcelona.
Platja de la Mar Bella has made its mark by being one of the few nudist beaches in Barcelona. Its slightly more secluded location means you can work on your holiday glow, free of tan lines. The golden sand and bright blue Balearic waters are very popular amongst young people who you'll see playing volleyball and football on the beach all day long. Mar Bella is also a go-to gay beach in Barcelona, with Chiringuito BeGay a popular meeting spot for members of the LGBTQ community to meet up for food and cocktails right on the seafront. Being right by the Poblenou, the coolest district in Barcelona, means the restaurants and cafes are going to be good. You may not get the beach views but you can still sit outside, smell the sea in the air and fill up on some delicious seafood at La Marea.
What Adrián has to say about Mar Bella Beach:
If I want to stay in Barcelona, the nudist beach of Mar Bella is my top choice. There is nothing like being able to sunbathe and swim in the sea without a swimsuit, and since it's a bit secluded in order to protect our privacy, is also calm and quiet. Nevertheless it's still in the urban centre. Attached to it, there is a LGBTQ friendly beach with a fancy "chiringuito". Sometimes there are evening parties there, but even if you want a calm day, the Mar Bella nudist beach is your place.
3. Nova Icaria
Getting to Nova Icaria Beach: Take the yellow Metro line 4 to Ciutadella Vila Olimpica and walk 10 minutes to the beach. Or take a bus: 6, 36, 41, 92 or 141. Nova Icaria is a 25 minute journey from St Christopher’s Inns Barcelona.
For those of you who get twitchy at the thought of sunbathing all day, this is the beach for you. Nova Icaria is right by Port Olimpic, so it’s super easy to get to from the city centre by bike and it’s also where you’ll find the most activities going on. There’s a whole dedicated sports area with loads of volleyball courts and table tennis tables set up on the sand, plus it’s the best beach in Barca to get up on a windsurf. Nova Icaria is also notorious for crazy clubs and bars, so if day drinking in the sun is your thing, head to La Carmelina for strong cocktails, a great atmosphere and beautiful sea views. Port Olimpic has some of the best seafront restaurants in Barcelona, including La Fonda del Port Olimpic which serves up the freshest seafood caught and sold by local fishermen every single day - a restaurant service known as ‘la compra’ (the purchase) in Barcelona.
Getting to Bogatell Beach: Take the yellow Metro line 4 to Ciutadella Vila Olimpica followed by a 15 minute walk to the beach. Or buses H16 or V27 followed by a 5 minute walk. Bogatell Beach is a 28 minute journey on public transport or a 15 minute cycle from St Christopher’s Inns Barcelona.
While Bogatell is still in the hustle and bustle of Barcelona, there’s a slightly more peaceful atmosphere around this beach than the likes of Barceloneta. It’s super easy to get to by bike from the centre, and the white sand and reasonably priced chiringuito make it a winner in our books. Play volleyball, go for a swim in the sea and head into the cool neighbourhood of Poblenou to explore once you’ve watched the sun set. Sitting right in between Nova Icaria and Mar Bella beaches, Bogatell is another great sandy beach for both sports lovers and sun worshippers. It was given a revamp back in the 90s as part of the urban planning scheme to give Barcelona’s residents more access to the waterfront, so the facilities are fairly up to date including some of its beachside restaurants like Xiringuito Escribà which serves some of the best paella in the city.
What Adrián has to say about Bogatell Beach:
Bogatell beach has some awesome "chiringuitos" where you can eat paella or amazing seafood after sunbathing. It’s great for playing volleyball or if you want to be in the ocean you can go to the surf school for water activities. It’s also near the Poble Nou park, where many local families go on the weekend for lunch and picnics. You’ll also find one of our awesome skateparks right by the beach.
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Getting to Ocata Beach: Easily accessible via the R1 train from Plaça Catalunya (towards Mataro) to Ocata station. The journey takes 30 minutes.
A little out of the city and away from the crowds of tourists, Ocata is one of the more serene beaches on the Catalonian coast. There will always be lots of other people making use of the wide sandy stretch but at one and a half kilometres long there’s plenty of space to set up camp and make yourself comfortable by the sea. Plus, towards the southern end there’s about 200m of nudist beach. The pristine sand, clear water and distinctly fewer vendors all make the 30 minute journey out of Barcelona so worth it. A few chiringuitos are dotted down the stretch if you fancy a glass of sangria or need a break from Barca’s summer sun seeing as there are no umbrella or sunbed rentals here. For some peace and quiet and a little more of a Catalonian adventure, Ocata is a wonderful option.
Getting to Castelldefels Beach: From Passeig de Gràcia take the R2S train to Platja de Castelldefels (30 minutes). From the station it’s a 3 minute walk to the beach. Castelldefels beach is a 35 minute journey from St Christopher’s Inns Barcelona.
Although Castelldefels has become more and more popular amongst tourists, it’s still far enough away from Barcelona’s central beaches to be the perfect place to lie back and relax. Plus it’s huge! Get off the metro at “Platja de Castelldefels” NOT “Castelldefels” and head down to the sea and pick a lovely, squidgy spot on the sand to chill out with a good book or pop open a beer with your picnic. With the beautiful hilly landscape to your right and the number of behind you, you can always count on this one for a stunning sunset with an amazing atmosphere. You’ll find that mostly locals frequent Castelldefels, and it’s so huge that there’s always more than enough room for everyone, even on the busiest days. Grab a sunbed to hire, order a cocktail from Chiringuito Ananda (right on the sand) and head to Barba Rossa Beach Bar after sunset for burgers and cocktails with a rock ‘n roll vibe.
7. Sant Pol de Mar
Getting to Sant Pol de Mar Beach: Take the R1 train from Placa de Catalunya (just over an hour) and the beach is right outside the station. Sant Pol de Mar is just an hour and 5 minutes from St Christopher’s Inns Barcelona.
The minute you set foot off the train at Sant Pol de Mar, you’ll see why it’s one of the best beaches near Barcelona. The crystal-clear water and rich, golden sand is so inviting you’ll wish the sun would never set. Being about an hour away from Barcelona makes Sant Pol de Mar the perfect beach day trip away from the city. This part of the coastline has a lovely rural holiday feel, being surrounded by old, white buildings and lush rolling hills while also having plenty of spots to eat and drink by the sea (we recommend the paella at Restaurante Banys Lluís). Once you’ve explored the multitude of small sandy coves dotted up and down the coastline, and you’re ready to escape the heat for a while, take a wander up through the town for gorgeous views and photo opportunities. There isn’t a whole lot in terms of facilities at Sant Pol de Mar, but that’s all part of its charm.
8. Platja Gran
Getting to Platja Gran: Take one of several buses from Estacio Nord Bus Station to Tossa de Mar, followed by an 8 minute walk to the beach. Platja Gran beach is an hour and 45 minute journey from St Christopher’s Inns Barcelona.
On the southernmost tip of the Costa Brava, Platja Gran in Tossa de Mar is a real hidden gem amongst tourists. Being surrounded by historic architecture and the beautiful Catalonian town of Tossa de Mar makes Platja Gran an incredible choice of day trip from Barcelona for history lovers. The 12th century medieval castle (or Vila Vella) is the star of the show, sitting on the southern end of the golden sandy beach and looking like a real life sand castle. Walk to the top of the hill to explore the castle’s fascinating architecture and breathtaking ocean views, before heading to La Roca de Tossa by the beach for delicious local Spanish cuisine and wine. Platja Gran isn’t the place to go to party, and the beach does get busy pretty quickly, but for more than just a day of sunbathing it’s an incredible destination near Barcelona to visit.