It’s summertime. It’s hot. You’ve been touring Barcelona but now you need a break and the blue Mediterranean is so tempting…
Beach habits change from country to country. What about Barcelona?
Here is what you need to know to enjoy your beachtime safely and nicely:
When is the best time to swim? Locals find the temperature of the sea warm enough to bath from June to September. In October and May and even in some sunny winter days it is possible to see locals sunbathing, but only very brave ones will dare to enter the water. Nevertheless, if you come from a northern country it is quite likely that you will find the water warm enough in Autumn and Spring…
Is the beach clean? Far are those pre-Olympic years when only the fools would use the city beaches. Now our beaches are cleaned every night during the summertime and avail of all kind of facilities from public toilets to showers, access for handicapped, lifeguards… whoever, remember the beach of a four million inhabitant city can never be a paradise… And avoid the beach on the day after a summer storm: the rain carries trash to the sea water and it can get really dirty.
Which beach should I go to? Usually the most crowded beaches are those going from the Barceloneta to the Olympic Village, because they are closer to the city center and more accessible by public transportation (bus and subway). As you get further North from the Olympic Port, the subway stations are located also a bit further from the beach and consequently they attract less people but they stay cleaner. Many locals prefer the Bogatell, Mar Bella and Nova Mar Bella beaches because there is free car parking. There is also a concrete beach near Diagonal Mar by the Forum of Cultures.
Dressing code.In Spain top-less is legal in all beaches, while nudist are recommended to use beaches specially designed for them. Anyway, rarely will the police warn a nudist in a “textile” beach if he or she is not disturbing other people… The only official nudist area in Barcelona is found in the Mar Bella beach, although a certain area of the Barceloneta beach has traditionally been mixed (textiles and nudists, and mostly gay). However, a couple of years ago the trendy W Hotel was inaugurated right next to it, and they have been making pressure to move nudists somewhere else. We’ll see what happens, as locals are very stubborn!
Safety. Unfortunately, the beach in Barcelona is often frequented by pickpockets. My recommendation is taking to the beach only your swimsuit, towel and sun screen. Leave all documents, credit cards and money in your hotel room (or bring only enough cash for the subway/taxi ride, some water and maybe an ice-cream).
What about you? What’s the most surprising beach habit you’ve encountered when traveling around the world? Share your comment below!