Written by Ash

The Best Beaches in Barcelona from Nude to Food


National Geographic called it the best beach city in the world and yet all I hear are whiny locals saying it’s crowded, dirty, and overpriced.

Can they both be right about the best beaches in Barcelona? That’s up to you to decide.

Let’s find a stretch of sand for you.

The Best Beaches in Barcelona

Barceloneta Beach

This is the most popular beach in Barcelona due to its location at the Barceloneta metro stop, but you should be able to reach it in 20-30 minutes walking from anywhere in the Old City.

The beach at Barceloneta lies at the foot of the old fishermen’s district of the same name and is a charming and authentic neighbourhood where you’ll find the best paella in Barcelona.

The crowds here naturally lead to an abundance of sellers, tourist traps, and litter. Buy sunscreen, water, food, and anything else in advance or you’ll pay 20% more.

  • Near all the city centre attractions.
  • A great area for seafood afterwards.
  • There are too many services to name.
  • It’s easy to meet people from all over the world.
  • The promenade is a great place for a morning run near hotels.

After Barceloneta beach I recommend the famous Bar Leo (34 Calle Sant Carles) where you can take your plastic cup beers into the street and even take in a free Spanish guitar concert.

It’s also one of the best Barcelona beaches for food so go for either Bitacora (1 Calle Balboa, value Spanish tapas) or Somorrostro (11 Calle Sant Carles, modern Spanish seafood).

Bogatell Beach

You’ll get to Playa del Bogatell from the Llacuna metro stop (yellow line L4) after about a 10-15 minute walk.

Here you’ll find an optimal place for families since the travel time from the centre is less and you’ll find less of the young music playing and beer drinking people of the other major city beaches.

You’ll also find cleaner water (comparatively) during high season.

At the north east end of the beach you’ll find a lot of free exercise equipment for a free workout. If you don’t like sand you’ll also be able to use the concrete sun loungers that offer a great view of the harbour.

You can get cheap drinks and food at the Mcdonald’s and the Repsol gas station.

  • It’s less crowded than Barceloneta but central with the same services.
  • Near cool lodging in the up and coming Poble Nou area.
  • There are reasonably priced chiringuitos (beach bars).
  • Weaker swimmers like the shallow waters pushing about 50 metres out.
  • You can get umbrella and sun lounger rentals at a decent price.

For the full Spanish monty you can’t beat the beach side restaurant Xiringuito Escribà (62 Av. del Litoral) – the specialties here are the paellas and the sunsets.

I also suggest walking up the Rambla del Poblenou for its terrace bars and restaurants.

Here make sure to stop in at El Tío Che (44-46 Rambla del Poblenou) for an ice cream or a refreshing horchata, a milky and ice cold drink from Valencia made from tigernuts.

Somorrostro Beach

This classic Barcelona beach is found on the most energetic spot of the seafront.

If you’re looking out at the sea you’ll find Playa del Somorrostro immediately to the right of the two iconic skyscrapers by the water – you can get there from the Ciutadella Vila Olimpic metro stop.

You could call this beach a cousin of Barceloneta (it used to be part of it until 2011): it’s packed with tourists and young people out to have a good time.

There are a lot of sellers including club promoters and you may be able to get a good cover deal.

In fact, it’s the site of some of Barcelona’s best clubs specializing in electronic music like Opium, Pacha, and Catwalk.

There’s also a neat little spot with free crossfit equipment.

  • Lots of young people looking for fun.
  • It’s the cleanest central beach (this is relatively speaking, it’s still not great!).
  • A fantastic beach side restaurant scene.

Due to its privileged location along the beach it won’t be cheap to eat at Agua (30 Passeig Maritim de la Barceloneta) but you’ll find quality seafood here and some great sangria.

You may want to really cool off going for a drink at the legendary Ice Bar.

tourists lining up outside casa batllo in barcelona spain tourists lining up outside casa batllo in barcelona spain
Skip lines and save money buying tickets online!

Nova Icaria Beach

This bumpin’ Barcelona beach is to the north east of the two skyscrapers on the water. Get off the metro at the Ciutadella Vila Olimpica stop on the yellow line – from there you can also walk to Ciutadella Park.

Here you’ll find tons of beach volleyball courts, restaurants, tapa bars, and the famous casino.

Again, there are less sellers here which is a plus. The water isn’t the cleanest around though. There is deeper water here compared to other beaches so be careful with children.

Down the stairs near the boats is an area full of seedy tourist clubs. The club nights here generally have no cover and cater to tourists looking for craziness – check out the dancers on the bars.

  • Tons of designated spots for volleyball.
  • A bunch of Barcelona’s top beach side bars like Opium or Pacha.
  • It’s a great spot to meet members of the opposite sex.

Mar Bella Beach

Get off the Llacuna metro stop (yellow line) and walk 15 minutes to an area hidden behind a massive mound of sand.

Though it’s a nudist and gay-friendly beach it’s pretty much come as you are – there’s no pressure to undress completely! In fact I’ve been there a dozen times in my regular beach outfit.

Unlike many other nude beaches the crowd here is quite eclectic and not just a bunch of pervy men in their 50’s 😉

This beach is a bit less exposed so expect choppy waves on windy days – it’s naturally the most popular place for surfing or windsurfing (rare).

The bonus is there are hardly any sellers.

  • There is much cleaner water here.
  • You won’t face the constant interruption of sellers.
  • You’ll see some beautiful nude bodies (and some not so much!).

Nova Mar Beach

Of the best beaches in Barcelona we finally get to my favourite: Nova Mar.

By metro you get off at Selva de Mar on the yellow line and walk for 15 minutes.

It’s much further out so it’s naturally quiet and the sea is very clean. This is an optimal place to relax if you want to escape the crowds but still get a tan.

For those looking for some of the best shopping in Barcelona Diagonal Mar shopping centre is just ten minutes away at 3 Avenida Diagonal.

  • The cleanest beach in Barcelona.
  • The best shot at tranquility.
  • Nearby shopping opportunities.
a pan of seafood paella at bodega joan restaurant in barcelona spain a pan of seafood paella at bodega joan restaurant in barcelona spain
Get a paella tasting menu at the legendary Bodega Joan!

How to Get to Barcelona Beaches

If you’ve got your hotel, Airbnb discount homestay, or hostel along the yellow metro line (L4) you’re in great shape – all the beaches listed here have a corresponding stop on this line.

You need to walk 10-15 minutes from the stops listed but with so much brilliant sunshine and so many attractions along the way to see you’ll be happy you did.

There are transport alternatives. For starters there’s probably no better way to see Barcelona in the summer than renting a bike – it’s cheap and the beach side promenade is built for them.

You can also go full Mediterranean and rent a scooter to maximize the wind in the hair effect – with the added bonus of being able to cover ground people with only the metro or bicycle cannot.

From March to October the green line of the Bus Turistic serves Barcelona’s beaches.

Barcelona Beach Map

Barcelona Beach Hacks

  • Swimming season is between mid-May and late-September.
  • Walk up into the city and buy drinks at shops/markets for 50% cheaper.
  • Alone? Hire a secure locker at the beach gym for valuables.
  • Ask your hotel if they supply beach towels (some do!).
  • Go around 6:00 pm to avoid crowds and burns – it’s still lovely.
  • Don’t pay any more than €1.50 for street vendor beer/water.
  • Buying a beach umbrella is cheaper than renting.
  • Always barter when buying souvenirs – you may just get 25% off.
  • Bring a wind breaker outside of peak summer periods.

The Best Beaches Near Barcelona

Barcelona beaches pale in comparison to what is often a short bus or train away – if you have time in spades and want a real beach holiday seriously consider getting out of the city.

If you like wide and long beaches get on the train and go to Casteldefells, Sitges, Vilanova i la Gertrù or Calafell.

If you like small beaches at the foot of rocky coastline then go north and hit the Costa Brava.

For more ideas check out my list of best day trips from Barcelona.

Costa Brava Beaches

For the best beaches near Barcelona without a car head to Tossa de Mar. Take a round-trip bus from Estaciò del Norte for €24.50 (€12.25 one way). It takes an hour and 20 minutes to get there.

Don’t stop there though. From the bus station at Tossa de Mar you can take a bus to Cala Llevadò – there are some amazing coves there and few of them are for nudists.

There’s also the super popular package holiday resort town and party central: Lloret de Mar.

Barcelona Beaches FAQ

Can you swim in Barcelona beach?

All of the city’s beaches are suitable for swimming especially between May and September. The best water temperatures for swimming and most services are between June and August.

The rest of the year swimming is very uncommon.

Which metro stop for Barcelona beach?

Most visitors get off at Barceloneta metro stop for the main beaches.

Others can be reached via Ciutadella i Villa Olimpic, Bogatell, Llacuna, Poble Nou, and Selva del Mar metro stations on the yellow line (L4) of the Barcelona metro system.

Where can I eat at Barcelona beach?

If you plan on eating your best bet is to go to Barceloneta beach then walk up into Passeig de Joan de Borbo street where there are tons of Spanish seafood and tapas restaurants.

Three great ones close by are Bitacora, La Cova Fumada, and Somorrostro.

You can also set up shop at Bogatell beach and then walk the 100 meters up to Xiringiuto Escribá for some amazing paella.

Can you drink on Barcelona beaches?

Legally you are not allowed though the law is rarely enforced so feel free to bring your alcohol to the beach as long as you act responsibly and pick up your cans and bottles.

If not, there are also legions of lateros (can-salesmen) who will sell you a can of beer for about €1.50 – refuse to pay any more than that.

How far is Barcelona beach from Las Ramblas?

From the bottom of Las Ramblas to the closest beach in Barceloneta it’s a 1.8 km (1.1 mile) walk which will take you about 25 minutes.

Is it safe to visit Barcelona beaches at night?

Generally you’re free to sit on the beach as late as you want though if you cause a disturbance you may be asked to move along by police or security. Usually they rake the beach at about 3 or 4 am and nobody can be there during that time.

Just be on the lookout for pickpockets and the like.

Can you surf at Barcelona beaches?

There are moderate waves on the Barcelona coast between October and March which are great for casual surfers and people taking lessons. The best beaches are Bogatell or further down the coast at Sitges.

Where can I take surfing lessons?

The most reputable place would be the Espai de Mar aquatic centre in Barceloneta.

When was Barcelona beach made?

The coastline was mostly industrial until a massive revitalization project that created the beaches in conjunction with the 1992 Olympic Summer Games.

Have I missed Anything?

OK! This is important folks.

My advice on the best Barcelona beaches is only as good as the people who keep me in check.

If I’ve overlooked anything I want you to let it all out in the comments below. And don’t forget to drop me a line if you have any question, no matter how ridiculous, about your Barcelona holiday.

And don’t be afraid to join the beach discussion by first giving me a like on Facebook and then joining my group I’m Off to Barcelona – here you can ask any questions, air out grievances, and chat with thousands of Barcelona travelers.

Anything goes!

  • January 18, 2020 at 3:20 pm
    where can I park a car if I am going to "Playa de Bogatell?
    • January 18, 2020 at 9:20 pm
      Team Member
      Hi Carlos, There are designated parking spots above each beach but they can fill up quite quickly. If you want to be guaranteed a spot or know exactly where else to go in case... I would use the Parclick app/site. Ash
  • September 1, 2019 at 5:28 pm
    Hi, I am trying to book a surprise trip for my husband - he would love to see the MotoGP there. We love the sun and he needs a rest so can you recommend where to stay for the track and beach - it will be early June 2020 and my budget is not big but require air-con, great views, sandy beach, peace and quiet and possible a scooter rental place near. Can you help?
    • September 2, 2019 at 11:31 am
      Team Member
      Hi Lynnie, First off I'd say that you'll definitely not want to stay right near the MotoGP grounds because there are no sandy beaches etc. around there. You'll want to be near one of the main train stations to get to Montmelo and for your needs I'm going to suggest El Clot train station. Just below this station you'll find the very peaceful neighbourhood of Poble Nou, where you'll be no further than 10-15 minutes (or perhaps way less) walk to the beach, near scooter rental places etc. I've got a link to Booking's Poble Nou hotel list which you'll be able to sort with your budget among a virtually innumerable quantity of amenities. You should be able to find the right one there. If you have any more questions please let me know :) Ash
  • August 17, 2019 at 7:01 pm
    Hi again! We'd like to spend a half-day at the beach while in Barcelona next weekend, and I've read lots of reviews that closest best is crowded and dirty. (Read an unbelievable story about some mast stuff floating the water that kinda makes my stomach churn.) What would be nearby beach that we could easily access for half day? Also, since this may require transportation, what is your recommendation for transportation overall--train? bus? taxi? Thank you! Leigh
    • August 18, 2019 at 9:01 am
      Team Member
      Hi Leigh, Yes especially during summer crowds get quite big and the rubbish and chaos follows. Your best bet is heading a bit up the coast (a 40 minute walk along the promenade or a couple metro stops up to Llacuna. The beach is called Marbella... though careful, it tends to get nude haha. My recommendation for transport is the metro since it covers everwhere, runs on time, and is clean and air conditioned! Ash
  • August 4, 2019 at 10:45 am
    Holly Thierry
    Hi I’m looking to book a very last minute solo trip to Barcelona for a week this month. (Aug 2019!) I am not an experienced traveller and as a single travelling woman, I would like the opportunity of sight seeing, night life / salsa dancing and being able to spend a day or two at the beach. Your site has been incredibly informative, but I’m not entirely sure where would be the best town to stay - stay near the beach (morning swims) and travel into town or stay in town and travel out to beach? Any recommendations would be hugely appreciated. Thanks for such an informative website too! Holly
    • August 4, 2019 at 11:36 am
      Team Member
      Hi Holly, First off thanks so much for your kind words, I am glad to help :) The thing about Barcelona is that it's super accessible even if you're a bit out of the centre... for this reason you can do a great sightseeing trip while staying near the beach. If having a morning swim is a priority I would look into staying in either Poble Nou (more relaxed, like a town) or Barcelona (great for people watching, busy). If you wanted to maybe be a bit closer to sightseeing and city stuff I would go for El Born... as technically you could still walk to the beach in the morning (25 minutes) and get back and be in a really central area to do a holiday. Cheers, Ash
  • August 1, 2019 at 5:42 pm
    Vikas Sharma
    Hi Ash... thanks for the wonderful article and advice. We are couple, gonna stay in Lloret De Mar with few visits to Barcelona to take a shot of what Barcelona city offers to tourists. I just wanted to check if the tickets can be booked on the spot at bus stations or does it have to be booked in advance? would there be difference in the price if booked at bus stop? Regards
    • August 2, 2019 at 10:16 am
      Team Member
      Hi Vikas, I was just there 2 months ago and had a problem with my debit card on the internet so I walked over to the bus station at Lloret. They sold me a ticket for the same price... though mind you, you should try to book it as far in advance as possible during the summer to avoid sell outs :) Cheers, Ash
  • July 24, 2019 at 7:34 pm
    Monica Y
    Hi, your article with a map of all the beaches in relation to each other is the best one I've come across in 3 hours of research on Barcelona beaches so thank you. I'd like more info on the beach lockers because I've come across conflicting information during my search. Some have said there are no lockers anymore and some say yes there are at certain beaches. Nothing I have found actually gives a location of said lockers. Since I will be visiting Barcelona with only my daughter, the presence of lockers will determine which beach we visit. Thank you.
    • July 25, 2019 at 10:32 am
      Team Member
      Hi Monica, I've heard conflicting info too, and since I haven't seen any down there in years I always yield to the Espai de Mar which is near Barceloneta. It's essentially a water sports club and events centre but they rent out changing rooms/lockers for a reasonable fee of €4.70 a day. I'll leave you the website which is all in Catalan, but you can translate in your browser and surely they'll speak English there! Cheers, Ash
      • October 9, 2019 at 7:25 pm
        Monica Y
        Thanks so much!
        • October 10, 2019 at 7:09 pm
          Team Member
          No problem! :)
  • June 30, 2019 at 9:57 pm
    Hello! I am traveling to Barcelona in August with two 72 year olds. We are staying in the city, but looking to go to the beaches in Costa Brava. We would like to spend the day swimming/having lunch. Besides taking the train on our own, do you know of any tours that would offer this? Thank you,
    • July 1, 2019 at 10:36 am
      Team Member
      Hi Danielle, There are full and half day packages that will take you up the coast and I've got the information on them in my Costa Brava article. That said, if you're looking for a very simplified trip with just swimming and lunch it's probably best to organize your own trip so you can do it at your own pace. If you take a tour there may be some things involved which you wouldn't do otherwise... that said, check them out because maybe they'll be perfect for you :) Ash
  • May 2, 2019 at 9:51 pm
    Planning a first-time girls--well, ladies--trip for late September. We're on a tight budget, but the hotels in Barcelona's city center seem really pricey--and we don't want to stay in a hostel or pension. If we stayed somewhere like Casteldefells (hoping to get some beach time), would we be able to save money and still get to the city center for sightseeing fairly easily?
    • May 3, 2019 at 9:27 am
      Team Member
      Hi Chrissie, Indeed... in summer things can get quite expensive so I don't blame you! You can save money staying outside the city but make sure you're staying in Zone 1 as the transport will stay the same price... the further out you are the more you'll spend. Castelldefels for example falls in Zone 1 so you're in good shape. It's not too far out and it's a pretty cool place... definitely recommended! Check out the zone map here to see any other outskirts: Ash
      • May 21, 2019 at 3:30 am
        Thank you so much! Appreciate your helpful insight :-)
        • May 21, 2019 at 10:24 am
          Team Member
          No problem Chrissie :)
  • May 2, 2019 at 2:53 pm
    I’m trying to buy Renfe train tickets for late June but there’s none posted yet. When does Renfe post the June train schedules? Thanks
    • May 2, 2019 at 3:10 pm
      Team Member
      Hi Christine, You should be able to buy tickets up to 60 days in advance... you're the third person today who's came to me with the same problem so I can only assume they're sold out :( You may want to try some third party providers who may have some but expect to pay a premium. Also if it's between major cities please consider flights as often they can be cheaper than trains depending on the route. Cheers, Ash Ash
  • April 7, 2019 at 10:00 pm
    Hi Ash, based on your review of beaches we will likely go to Bogatell Beach. What is the best way to get there? We are close to the Gracia metro stop. Thanks
    • April 8, 2019 at 2:42 pm
      Team Member
      Hi Francine, If you're jumping on the metro I'd get to the yellow line (Passeig de Gracia is your stop no?) and take it down to Ciutadella Vila Olimpica stop... from here it's just a 10 minute walk to Bogatell. Ash
      • April 9, 2019 at 1:03 pm
        Thank you! As usual very helpful.
        • April 9, 2019 at 1:10 pm
          Team Member
          Not a problem at all :)
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