Don’t be surprised: the beaches in Barcelona are rivals to those in Ibiza, Majorca, Tenerife or the Costa del Sol. And why not? Spain is just filled with superb beaches, which has made it such a popular holiday destination. But had you ever thought of spending your beach holiday in one of Spain’s biggest cities? Well, in Barcelona you can do just that, where one of Europe’s most important cities and seven beaches await you.
The Olympic Games in 1992 sparked a rejuvenation of the beaches in Barcelona, and since then their number has grown from one to seven. They are situated along a 5km stretch of the city’s coastline, from North to South. Manned by lifeguards from June to September, they cater for a growing number of tourists and can be accessed in only 20 minutes from the city centre.
More than 3.5million tourists now visit the beaches in Barcelona every year. The city’s council is continually improving services, creating a cleaner and safer place. Part of this mission has included the establishment of the Barcelona Beach Center, where you can take part in a number of free exhibitions and activities or simply relax while reading the day’s newspapers.
In each Barcelona beach section, from Sant Sebastia to Llevant, you’ll find beach restaurants called ‘chiringuitos’. They serve a good range of drinks and food and are always very popular, though they can be more expensive given their beachfront position. You might want to try “Arroz negro” , translated as black rice. This exquisite rice gets its color from squid’s ink- no kidding.
Some of these beach bars are known to throw beach parties, regularly going on late into the evening. DJs are often hired to play music and attract lots of revellers who come to dance on the sand. With no one to disturb and the sea close by for a midnight dip, Barcelona’s beach parties have become legendary.
But dancing isn’t the only physical activity that you can do when enjoying the beaches in Barcelona. During any visit to the sandy shores you’re bound to see joggers and walkers. The promenades are also always busy with skaters, rollerbladers and cyclists looking to keep fit. And, of course, no beach in Spain would be complete without teams taking part in a volleyball match.
The sea is also very safe, the water being warm from June to September, with no major currents, making it popular with swimmers. All of the beaches in Barcelona have the EU Blue Star rating making it ideal for bathers. There is also an excellent provision of disabled access. One word of warning however: watch out for the waves. On windy days the surf can get a bit rough, so weaker swimmers are advised to stay close to the shore.
This fact has made Barcelona’s beaches very popular with surfers. You can see surfers taking their boards to the beaches all through the year. One reason for this is the cleanliness of all of the city’s beaches. A clean beach campaign was started in 2006 to raise pollution awareness among bathers and the water quality has improved no end.
Just like in most European beaches nudity is not an issue at any of the beaches. Many if not most females will be topless in Barcelona’s beaches, and thongs or speedos are very easy to spot. To each his own and the relaxed environment lets everyone enjoy their time. In fact the beach at Nova Mar Bella is a nudist beach if you feel like loosing all your clothes!
Depending on what kind of beach experience you are looking for might affect where you decide to stay. As always, renting an apartment is the cheapest way to stay in Barcelona if you are traveling with a party and staying fore several days, but there are hostels as well as hotels for all budgets (just not extremely cheap). The beaches at the southern end of the city – Sant Sebastia and Barceloneta – are closest to its center and are livelier. It is here you will find most students and travelers.
For those looking for somewhere a bit quieter, the beaches to the North will suit better. These include Nova Mar Bella and Llevant. They are much less busy and are used more often by families and residents looking for peace and quiet. For easy access to these you will want to find an apartment around Poblenou or Selva de Mar.
The beach season usually starts at the end of May and lasts until the begining or middle of September. Temperatures during the day easily reach 30 degrees Celsius during the warmest days and drop to the early twenties at night. The water is cool in summer, and very cold during the winter; surfers will need a wetsuit to enjoy their sport.
With some truly sensational beaches, Barcelona ranks alongside Spain’s most popular destinations for a summer vacation. With seven beaches on offer, there are those to cater for every class of person. Whether you are away with family or on a break with friends, there are lots of apartments to meet your requirements. You can also combine the best of both worlds with a city retreat coupled with a beach break. So, before you head for one of the islands, or Spain’s famous ‘Sunshine Coast’, you should always consider the beaches in Barcelona.
Have you enjoyed any of the beaches in Barcelona? Did you go topless? How did you like it? Please share this post if you found it interesting and think others might find it usefull!