Best Beaches in Barcelona, Spain 2024
Barcelona and its beaches had a massive clean-up operation of the beach and nearby Olympic marina and village undertaken for the 1992 Olympics, this area has become a magnet for Barcelonans and visitors alike.
A lot of effort goes into maintaining the cleanliness of both sand and sea, which is tested daily, and all beaches have disabled access, lifeguards (in season), sun beds, and showers.
The best times to go to Barcelona are late spring and early autumn, when the weather is still comfortably warm, around 21-25°C, and walking the streets isn’t a chore. Out of the city, the weather varies enormously from region to region. On the coast on either side of Barcelona it’s best – naturally enough – in summer, though from June to September tourist resorts like Sitges are packed. Tarragona, too, can be extremely hot and busy in summer, though it’s worth knowing that Girona is considered to have a much more equable summer climate, and escaping from the coast for a few cool days is easy.
Sitges, 30km south of Barcelona, is definitely the highlight of Costa Daurada – the great weekend escape for young Barcelonans, who have created a resort very much in their own image. It’s also a noted gay holiday destination, with a nightlife to match; indeed, if you don’t like vigorous action of all kinds, you’d be wise to avoid Sitges in the summer: staid it isn’t.
As well as a certain style, the Barcelona trippers have brought with them the high prices from the Catalan capital, while finding anywhere to stay (at any price) can be a problem in summer unless you book well in advance. None of this deters the varied and generally well-heeled visitors, however, and nor should it, since Sitges as a sort of Barcelona-on-Sea is definitely worth experiencing.
It’s the beach that brings most people to Sitges, and it’s not hard to find, with two strands right in town, to the west of the church. From here, a succession of beaches of varying quality and crowdedness stretches west as far as the Hotel Terramar, a couple of kilometers down the coast.
The Passeig Maritim runs all the way there, with beach bars, restaurants, showers, and water sports facilities along its length. Beyond the Terramar, following the rail line, you eventually reach the more notorious nudist beaches, a couple of which are exclusively gay.
Castelldefels And The Costa Maresme
All trains to the beaches we’ve described depart from Sants Estacio, which is where you should go for current timetables; departures are very frequent.
Those heading south to Castelldefels (and on to Sitges) also stop at the station at Passeig de Gracia; north to the Costa Maresme, you can pick the train up at Placa de Catalunya.
Majestically sited on a rocky hill, sheer above the sea, Tarragona is an ancient place.
There’s an attractive medieval part, too, while the rocky coastline below conceals a couple of reasonable beaches.
You can be here in an hour and a half from Barcelona, by bus or train, which makes it a reasonably long day trip. If you want to stay the night instead, book accommodation in advance, especially in July and August.
The closest beach to town is the long Platja del Miracle, over the rail lines below the amphitheater – the water is filthy, but the sand is clean and there are two or three beach bars.
The nicest beach is a couple of kilometers further up the coast, reached by taking Via Augusta (off the end of Rambla Vella) and turning right at the Hotel Astari.
Don’t despair upon the way: the main road and rail bridge eventually give way to a road that winds around the headland and down to Platja Arrabassada, an ultimately pleasant walk with gradually unfolding views of the beach. There are regular buses in summer (#1, #3, or #9) from various points throughout the town.
Arrabassada isn’t anything very special, though it’s roomy enough and has a few beach bars, two or three restaurants, a couple of hotels and hostels, a supermarket, and two campsites, including Camping Tarraco.
A bit further along the coast at Platja Llarga, a cluster of restaurants offer good food at low prices and stay open late.
South of Parc de la Ciutadella, and across the tracks of the Estacio de Franca, the port district of Barceloneta is the closest to the center of the self-contained village suburbs that used to ring the city and are now part of greater Barcelona.
Barceloneta Beach – apart from eating, the other reason people come down here is to go to the beach, which can get packed to capacity in July and August.
Much cleaned up recently, the beaches are now furnished with boardwalks, showers, and cafes, where you can sit with a beer or a coffee and munch on seafood tapas.
The section nearest Passeig de Borbo (at the junction with Pg Maritim) is still slightly ramshackle, but facilities (and the sands) improve as you get closer to the Olympic Village.
On your way, you might take a detour to go for a ride on the Globus turistic (Paseo de la Circumval·lacio 135), a tethered hot-air balloon in which you can bob 150m above the city for 15 minutes (Mon-Fri 10 am-7 pm, Sat & Sun 10 am-9 pm).