Best Beaches in Barcelona

Barcelona's Most Exciting and Beautiful Beaches in and outside the City

People flock to Barcelona for its amazing beaches, some of which are in the city and others that lie on the outskirts. What's so great about this town, is that the beaches are so close to the city center, so you can easily visit a museum and then hop on down and take a dip in the sea. Depending on what you're looking for there is something for all tastes, even a few naked beaches for those who are bathing suit averse.

A few particular hot spots include in front of the W Hotel, where the water is a bit cleaner and where surfers tend to congregate in the early mornings, as well as a bit farther out beyond 'Gherry's fish', to beaches such as Bogatell and Marbella. These are only a short walk up the coast and often are less touristy and less crowded with excellent chiringuitos (beachside huts).

Regardless of where you go though, the best times of day to hit up the beaches is in the morning. Although you'll probably spend time with the 'golden oldies', the water is calm and clean and the beach is relatively empty. There's also great water sports to explore including paddle boarding and surfing as well as sea-dooing and jazz cruises. 


Outside the city
Photo courtesy of Sam Mednick

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

Read more about Ocata →

Outlying areas
Photo courtesy of Sam Mednick

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

Read more about Marbella →

Outlying areas
Bogatell Beach
Photo courtesy of Sam Mednick

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

Read more about Bogatell Beach →

Outside the city
San Sebastion
Photo courtesy of Sam Mednick

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

Read more about San Sebastion →

Outside the city

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.

Read more about Calella Palafrugell →

Outside the city
Photo courtesy of Sam Mednick

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.

Read more about Tamariu →

Outlying areas
Nova Icaria
Photo courtesy of Sam Mednick

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

Read more about Nova Icaria →

Photo courtesy of Sam Mednick

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

Read more about Barceloneta →

Outlying areas
Nova Marbella
Photo courtesy of Sam Mednick

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

Read more about Nova Marbella →

Outside the city

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

Read more about Tossa De Mar →


Meet Sam Mednick

Sam’s passion for the sea and mountains makes Barcelona the optimal living destination. 

Sam's love for traveling has taken her to Africa, the Middle East, Europe and South America. Before...  More About Sam