A food truck on Barceloneta Beach, the one of Barcelona’s most popular and most centrally located beaches. (Photo: Kumar Sriskandan / Alamy Stock Photo)
When you think of Barcelona, the first thing that may spring to mind might be its architecture — a mix of Old World and Gaudi’s whimsy. But blocks away from Barcelona’s greatest architectural marvel, La Sagrada Familia, miles of beachfront unfold. So, when you want a break from ogling spectacular stone structures, sink you feet in the sand at one of these six spectator-friendly beaches.
Mar Bella and Nova Mar Bella Beaches
Mar Bella Beach and Nova Mar Bella Beach were created during the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992. This is where the cool kids go to soak in some sun due to its proximity to local universities. If you prefer to be on the water, there’s a marina offering courses in windsurfing, kayaking or catamaran sailing. What’s more, this is one of several nudist beaches in Barcelona, which means it always attracts a highly diverse crowd of beach lovers.
Bordered by Nova Icária and Mar Bella Beaches, Bogatell Beach was created in the ’90s as part of a renewed effort to integrate beaches and green space within the city’s urban space.
Bogatell is perhaps one of the busiest and most touristy beaches in Barcelona, along with the Barceloneta. You’ll find a number of good restaurant deals in the area, though, with fabulous sea views along the promenade — ideal for enjoying a plate of fresh fish and a cool Mediterranean breeze.
Nova Icária Beach
You’ll know you’re on Nova Icária when you spot the huge metal sculpture of a fish, along with its sports area equipped with beach volleyball courts and ping-pong. Nova Icária Beach is one of Barcelona’s quieter beaches, as well as one of its most accessible, with a wheelchair-accessible area near the Olympic Port.
Somorrostro Beach lies between Hospital del Mar and Calle de la Marina. It includes a stretch of coast that was formerly part of Barceloneta Beach, but was named Somorrostro in memory of a humble shanty town that once stood on the site, but was demolished in the ’60s. One of the most central beaches in Barcelona, it attracts BCN’s hip set.
Barceloneta is Barcelona’s most popular and centrally located beach, so it can get quite busy on certain days, such as holidays and weekends. It boasts all the advantages of being located near the city center, including being easy to reach on foot (there is also a subway line that lets you off near the beach). As you stroll along Barceloneta, you’re likely to spot the curious Monument to Columbus, which appears to be moving. Surfing fans will want to hit Barceloneta Beach for its explosive surf.
Sant Miquel Beach
Sant Miquel Beach takes its name from the Church of Sant Miquel del Port, one of the oldest in the area, if not the oldest. Located between Sant Sebastia and Barceloneta, Sant Miquel was one of the first of Barcelona’s beaches. Although relatively small, the beach boasts a quiet cove with plenty of restaurants, where you can enjoy a quaint lunch with amazing sea views.
Sant Sebastiá Beach
Sant Sebastiá, near Sant Miquel Beach, is also one of the oldest in the city, as well as one of the largest at almost 2,000 yards long. This is where you are most likely to beach along side locals who gather here for sporting clubs. This beach was one of the first in Barcelona to offer facilities for swimmers and part of Sant Sebastiá is designated as a nude beach, so there really is something for everyone on this stretch of Catalonian sand.