Don't be surprised: Barcelona beaches are some of the best in Europe. 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? If you're visiting Barcelona with kids (or not) 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 located 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 only 20 minutes from the city center.
More than 3.5 million 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 revelers who come to dance on the sand of the best beaches in Barcelona. 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 playing a casual beach 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.
Surfing in Barcelona
Barcelona's beaches are very popular among surfers. Surfing in Barcelona is convenient and easy (when there's waves, which doesn't happen as often as they'd like), as you can usually park close to the beach and the paddle to the lineup isn't very demanding- unless there's a big swell.
The most popular surf spots in Barcelona are know as "La rotonda de Mongat', " el espigon de Masnou", Barceloneta beach and Playa Nova Mar Bella; these last two are right in front of the city's beaches, the other two require a 15 minute drive to the North side of Barcelona.
You can see surfers taking their boards to the beaches whenever there's waves during the year- I was a local surfer for a couple of years! Despite the beaches being fully urban, a clean beach campaign started in 2006 to raise pollution awareness among bathers and the water quality has improved a lot as mentioned before.
This Barcelona Topless Beach is Family Friendly
Just like in most European beaches nudity is not an issue at any of the beaches. In Barcelona topless females are to be see at any beach, 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 Mar Bella is a nude beach in Barcelona if you feel like loosing all your clothes (although it is true that this beach is mostly frequented by the LGBT community).
So what beach am I talking about in the title of this section? Any! Barcelona topless beaches include every single one in the city and around it, you don't have to look for them if you want to get a fuller tan.
Remember to respect, behave and enjoy the freedom!
What Barcelona Beach Suits You Best?
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. As they tend to be more crowded you'll want to watch out for pick-pockets.
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 quieter 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 beginning 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.
Some Notes on Barcelona's Current Political Situation
Unless you live completely unaware of international news you've probably heard about recent turmoils and problems that have been going on in Barcelona. These are all derived from the loud minority that is looking for independence one way or another, something that I don't think will happen.
This said, the beaches are safe (in this regard, not as much with pickpockets) and are a must visit when in Barcelona with family or alone.
Barcelona Beaches- Wrap Up
With some truly sensational beaches, Barcelona ranks alongside Spain's most popular destinations for a summer vacation. With seven beaches on offer, ther's something for everyone.
Whether you're away with family or on a break with friends, there are lots of accommodation options to meet your requirements. There's tons of sightseeing to do, and if you're here between April through September count on spending some time at the beach.