One of Barcelona's most picturesque beaches, Ocata is a short train ride up the coast, towards the Costa Brava. It's main feature is its vast, wide open beach front with white sand and plenty of room to run around, tan or play a game of volley ball or football. Ocata's a great day trip, especially if you're looking to escape the city center and enjoy the clear waters. You can easily catch the train from Arc de Triomf station or Plaza Catalunya. There are fewer chiringuitos along this beach so if you're in the mood for a a more elaborate beach side meal, perhaps go into the town or eat before making the journey.
Recommended for Beaches because: A fabulous, quiet and large beach outside the city center
Sam's expert tip: Leave early or later (around 9pm) if you're heading back to the city as the train can be packed
Take it off at Marbella Beach. For those wanting to go bask in the nude, this is the place to be. Only a few minutes drive, 15 minute bike ride or 25 minute walk from the main beaches in the city center, Marbella is an excellent alternative for those who'd rather break away from the masses. A fun beach with great chiringuitos, this is a place where people can take off their swim suits and not have to worry that they're offending the neighbours. The beach is also fairly clean and vast and usually less crowded than the ones closer to downtown.
Recommended for Beaches because: A fun and exciting nude beach just outside of the city center
Sam's expert tip: Make sure you're ok with the naked body or you'll struggle to enjoy this beach
Just outside of the city center, Bogatell is a quieter, clean beach with some excellent chiringuitos (beachside restaurants) lining its shores. If you're looking for something slightly off the beaten path, yet want to remain within walking/biking distance of the city center, this is a great option. The water is often cleaner at Bogatell and if you're not into the naked beach scene then you're in the clear, as Marbella is still far enough away that you don' have to endure the 'eye soars'. This is a day trip or a half day excursion, easy to get to on the yellow metro line (stop Bogatell) or walk there from the city center (about 20 minutes from Frank Gherry's 'Fish').
Recommended for Beaches because: A great beach close enough to the city center and far enough away
Sam's expert tip: A lot of the chiringuitos serve food if you're seated on the beach chairs be sure to ask
Just beside Barceloneta beach, lies Sant Sebastion beach. Closer to the W Hotel and still on the main strip of popular beachfronts, this is a great place to stroll, sun tan, swim and even do a bit surfing. Surfers tend to congregate in this area, especially in the early mornings and later in the afternoon. There are also some great chiringuitos (beachside restaurants) up from this beach. Right beside it is the nude beach, so be careful where you decide to park your bags, unless you're in the mood to swim in your birthday suit.
Recommended for Beaches because: A nice, central beach with good places to eat and good waves for surfing
Sam's expert tip: Great early morning beach as it's quiet and clean
One of the most beautiful beach towns on the Costa Brava, Calella Palafrugell (not to be mistaken for Calella) is a quaint, gorgeous town on the Mediterranean. Frequented by Catalans, especially during the summer, it's a vacation destination for locals and tourists alike. The town is quiet yet has a lively and upbeat vibe and best of all the water is crystal clear. Although this beach is out of the city by about 2.5 hours, it's definitely worth the drive, either for a long day trip or a weekend getaway.
Recommended for Beaches because: A gorgeous beach outside of the city with a quaint town surrounding it
Sam's expert tip: This is a 'must-see', especially during the summer months.
An absolute picturesque beach up the Costa Brava. Tamariu is about an hour and a half outside of Barcelona and it's worth the drive. With crystal clear water, this gorgeous seaside town is a perfect weekend getaway, or even a few day adventure for those looking for a serene few days surrounded by water, tasty restaurants and a beautiful coastline. Tamariu is a small beach, so be sure to go early in order to get a spot. There are a few hotels and apartments that you can rent, which is well worth it if you have a few days to spare.
Recommended for Beaches because: A gorgeous beach only an hour and a half outside of the city by car
Sam's expert tip: Try the restaurants right above the beach front, they're delicious.
Just outside the city center along the coast sits Nova Icaria. A great beach option if you're looking for a slightly less crowded beach, only a stones throw from Barceloneta neighborhood. Lined with new designer chiringuitos (beachside restaurants), Nova Icaria is an excellent beach for families, groups of friends or those who want to break away from the masses yet not stray too far from the downtown core. The sand isn't as fine as outside of the city, yet the water is cleaner and the beach is fairly wide providing for some great volleyball and other sporting options.
Recommended for Beaches because: A vast beach close to the city center and not as busy as some of the others
Sam's expert tip: Make a reservation at any of the chiringuitos, especially on the weekend
Perhaps Barcelona's most popular beach, Barceloneta is the most central, and most bustling beach in town. Located right at the edge of Barceloneta neighborhood, lined with chiringuitos (beachside restaurants), lounge chairs and a host of people trying to sell cervezas, massages and aquas, along the coast, this is the beach to go to if you want to be in the center of the action. It's usually packed and sports a lively vibe, often with events or markets just above the coastline. Be sure to check out the event schedule for concerts, flea markets and food and beer events.
Recommended for Beaches because: A lively and popular beach in as central a location as you can get
Sam's expert tip: If you want a spot close to the water, get there before 11am on weekends
Nova Marbella is the more user friendly option in relation to its sister beach, Marbella. A family friendly beach, it's about a 15 minute walk from the main beaches, cleaner, less crowded and with a slightly wider coast line. This is a great place for beach side picnics or a day out with a group of family or friends. There are plenty of kids running around with more locals than tourists. And if anyone gets the burning desire to 'take it off' they can hop over to Marbella and blend right in with the rest of the nudists.
Recommended for Beaches because: A family friendly beach only a short walk from the main beaches up the coast
Sam's expert tip: Easily accessible via foot or bike there are bicing stops close by
Only 45 minutes outside the city, Tossa De Mar is one of the Costa Brava's hidden secrets. A mix of beach and history surrounds you as you're taken back to the Neolithic period when you enter the tiny Catalonian town. The beaches are pristine and if you're tired of the sun take a stroll to check out the ruins from the first Iberian settlements. This is a gorgeous beach and although it's outside of Barcelona, just a short bus ride gets you there easily and it's very much worth the trip.
Recommended for Beaches because: Sped an extra day and stay the night in a cheap hostel or hotel
Sam's expert tip: Try one of the restaurants in the old part of town overlooking the water