Although holidaymakers flock to Barcelona for its culture, food and beauty, few forget to factor the beaches of the city into their plans too. There's every reason to spend a sunny Barcelona holiday by the sea. From active tourist hubs to serene hideaways, Barcelona's beaches have oodles on offer. Check out or recommendations and lay down that towel at the one you like best.
This is the city's most popular beach hotspot, so expect plenty of people, from other holidaymakers to local Barcelona folks seeking sunshine. As such, watersports and boating keep the rich blue water busy, but the sand is lively and golden, positioned with the city quietly humming with life behind you as the sun bears down. Beachfront shacks aplenty keep the snacks and drinks coming as and when you need them, and spontaneous beach parties have been known to spring into life from time to time too.
Life takes a slower and perhaps more traditionally Mediterranean pace on this beach, although its quirks make it still very much a Barcelona beach through and through. Expect clean smooth sand and glorious sunny skies, but also a few ping pong tables made of stone dotted closer to the promenade too. It's perhaps easier to relax here than at La Barceloneta, although that's not at the expense of amenities. There are kiosks and shacks with food, drink and souvenirs aplenty to get stuck into, as well as sun cream. Definitely pack the latter, because this wide open 400 kilometre beach keeps the heat coming.
Some say that Bogatell Beach is one of the best kept secrets in Barcelona. It's here that those of us looking for a real chance to slow down on a holiday to Spain choose to spread out on the sand go, although there's still the chance for table tennis and volleyball if the mood takes you. Bogatell Beach is part of an urban development scheme in Barcelona that weaves the beaches of the city into parks and green spaces, so you're a bit closer to nature than the norm here.
This stretch of shoreline is also part of Barcelona's redevelopment, and was made all the more beautiful as part of Olympic preparations. While skaters and rollerbladers populate the promenade, the sand is warm and peaceful. That said, this is quite the watersports hub thanks to the inviting water, so expect kayaking, windsurfing and a range of other ways to make the most of the waves.
Tucked up by the eastern fringes of Barcelona, you might think that this is yet another of the area's quieter beaches. In fact, it's actually only slightly less popular and bustling than La Barceloneta, not least since it's right by some of the city's top restaurants. That makes it the go-to coastal stretch for foodies, and these esteemed restaurants provide the perfect reprieve from the crowds as and when needed.
If you're willing to ride the rails for half an hour for this one, you'll find Ocata Beach north of the city. The bay curves around to ensure that your spot on the stand gives a grand view of Barcelona spread against the horizon, glimmering in the sun. Because this beach is outside the immediate city limits, it's perhaps the quietest of any of those we've featured here. That said, it keeps comforts close at hand, so you'll have plenty to choose from when it comes to venues for drinks and meals. Even at the height of summer, you can expect Ocata Beach to have plenty of space for you to settle in.