National Geographic called it the best beach city in the world, so it shouldn’t be a problem to find the best beaches in Barcelona – should it?
Sometimes I’m not so sure.
After 11 years in the city I’ve got a good idea for myself, but I’m going to be breaking down the top Barcelona city beaches on the most common beach goer needs – let’s find a stretch of sand specifically for you.
The 8 Best Beaches in Barcelona
1. Sant Sebastià Beach – Best Barcelona City Beach for Swimming
If you’re visiting Barcelona in July you’re going to thank me for this Mediterranean Sea swim spot.
Basically, you’re going to follow the city’s shoreline to the sail shaped W Hotel. That little beach out front that almost curves into the building is Sant Sebastià Beach – it’s the best beach in Barcelona to swim.
Sant Sebastià is great because most people stop walking before they get there. This keeps crowds smaller and the rubbish to a minimum. Also, for whatever reason that little bay is protected enough from the waves to keep the water smooth.
It also has just enough nudists to keep most of the sellers off its fine golden sand.
2. Playa de la Barceloneta – Best Barcelona Beach for Restaurants
The most popular beach in Barcelona reigns due to its city center location.
Barceloneta Beach naturally lies a short walking distance from the Barceloneta neighbourhood – a charming and authentic area of families and fishermen – which is a great place to find the best paella in Barcelona.
In short, Barceloneta Beach is famous for beach bars, seafood restaurants, ice cream shops, and cafes. I recommend Bar Leo (34 Calle Sant Carles) where you can catch a free Spanish guitar concert.
Looking for lockers at Barcelona beaches? Barceloneta is the only one. You can use the facilities at Espai Mar for as little as €4.50 a day. They’ve also got changing rooms and full restroom facilities.
3. Bogatell Beach – Best Family Friendly Beach in Barcelona
Playa del Bogatell is an optimal place if you’re visiting Barcelona with kids, since the travel time from the centre is less and you’ll find less of the young music playing/beer drinking crowd here.
This is one of my recommended beaches in Barcelona because it’s less crowded than Barceloneta but still in the city centre. There are also reasonably priced chiringuitos (beach bars) and beach umbrellas.
It’s also the Barcelona beach with the cleanest water during high season.
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.
For the full Spanish monty, there are some great seafood restaurants nearby but the best is Xiringuito Escribà (62 Av. del Litoral) – the specialties here are the paellas and the sunsets.
4. Somorrostro Beach – Best for Beach Bars & Nightlife
This classic golden sand 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.
This is a famous beach 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, Somorrostro Beach is the site of some of Barcelona’s best clubs specializing in electronic music like Opium, Pacha, and Catwalk.
5. Nova Icària Beach – Top Barcelona Beach for Volleyball
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.
At Nova Icària Beach you’ll find tons of beach volleyball courts, restaurants, tapa bars, and the famous Barcelona 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.
In all, if you mean to carry on into the night with drinks then this Barcelona city beach is a fine choice.
6. Sant Miquel Beach – Best Beach in Barcelona for Water Sports
One of the great things about the Barcelona city beach is, well, the beach being in the city.
Being able to get up off your towel and walk into a bustling neighbourhood of shops is great whether you need a cold beer, sunscreen or even a stand up paddle board excursion.
The commercial areas above Sant Miquel are ripe for water sports. There are plenty of surf shops whether you’re looking for a little holiday shopping or a full on paddle-surf lesson at Ungravity SUP & Surf Centre.
You’re also just a short walk to a great brunch place called Brunch & Cake. Finally, I’m not sure there’s a more delicious drink in all of Barcelona than the cocadas (a Venezuelan coconut drink) at Coco House.
7. Nova Mar Bella Beach – Best Nudist Beach
Nova Mar Bella Beach is a nudist beach 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 at Mar Bella Beach is quite eclectic and not just a bunch of pervy men in their 50’s 😉
This golden sand beach is a bit less exposed so expect choppy waves on windy days – it’s naturally the most popular place for surfing, windsurfing, and other water sports.
The bonus is that compared to our other best beaches in Barcelona, here there are hardly any sellers.
8. Nova Mar Beach – Cleanest Beach in Barcelona
If you’re looking for more tranquil beaches we finally get to my favourite: Nova Mar.
It’s much further out so it’s naturally quiet and the sea is very clean. This is the most peaceful beach to take a swim without bumping into people, or to put in your headphones and listen to a good audio book.
For those looking for some of the best shopping in Barcelona Diagonal Mar shopping centre is just ten minutes away at 3 Avenida Diagonal.
How to Get to Barcelona Beaches
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 Beaches 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, Ocata Beach (El Masnou), 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.
Are there lockers at Barcelona beaches?
The only lockers at Barcelona beaches can be found at the Espai Mar – which is actually a health club that rents out their facilities. You can get a locker for as little as €4.50 a day and also use their Barcelona beach change rooms.
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 Xiringuito Escriba.
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 the beaches in Barcelona 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 in Barcelona?
The most reputable place would be the Espai de Mar aquatic centre at Barceloneta Beach.
When was Barcelona beach constructed?
The coastline was mostly industrial until a massive revitalization project that created the beaches in conjunction with the 1992 Olympic Summer Games.
Visiting Barcelona Beaches?
My advice on the best beaches in Barcelona is only as good as the people who keep me in check.
If I’ve overlooked anything or you’ve got any questions on the beaches in Barcelona, or anything else regarding your Barcelona holiday I’m here – and I’ve answered thousands just like it.
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