Girl walking around the Barcelona beaches

Ultimate Guide to Going To The Beach In Barcelona

Lady going to the beach in Barcelona

ALL ABOUT THE BARCELONA BEACHES​

Barcelona is a cultural destination: architecture and museums make top city sites. But did you know there’s almost 5km (about 3 miles) of beach in Barcelona? And the mild local weather allows you to enjoy them most of the year. If not always for bathing and swimming, at least for walking around and practicing sports.

In this post we’ll be sharing with you what makes each Barcelona beach special, where they are located and how they compare. And once you’ve choose, you’ll also get some useful tips to enjoy your beachtime even more. Enjoy!

The beaches of Barcelona, one by one:

1

Platja de Sant Sebastià

I'm going to describe the Barcelona beaches in geographical order, from South-West to North-East. And so we are starting with the longest beach of Barcelona - Sant Sebastià. It features some 660 meters of length (0.4 miles), going from the W Hotel to Plaça del Mar.

It’s mostly used by locals (around 70% according to the City Council), specially the users of two local swimming clubs nearby, although it’s also one of the favorite of tourists. Although it’s not officially a nudist beach, gay nudists have traditionally frequented the furthest end of Sant Sebastia. 

The beach is well adapted for wheelchairs and is reachable by bus. To see all the facilities and services of Sant Sebastià click here. But some of its unique points are a children playground, a politce station and an embarcation point.

2

Platja de Sant Miquel

Named after the patron saint of the Barceloneta district and its nearby church, this beach is one of the oldest in the city. You’ll find it in front of the Estel Ferit sculpture (commonly called “the cubes”) and the first blocks of the Barceloneta district. It’s 420m (0.26ft) long.

You’ll find the state of the beach and a list of all its services and facilities here. Some of its unique features are public water fountains, bicycle hire and other sport facilities. AND it’s a smoke-free beach.

3

Barceloneta Beach

While it used to be the beach section between the beach of Sant Miquel and the Olympic Marina, this part of the coastline is now divided in two stretches. And as a result, the Barceloneta beach goes now only between Sant Miquel and the Gar or Ginebra breakwater.

That’s 422m, just 6 feet longer than Sant Miquel. This beach is often used by tourists and young locals, specially groups of schools that participate in the water activities organized by Espai de Mar. It stands out for having public fountains, playground, lockers and volleyball courts, and for their unique service of assisted bathing for handicap people run by local volunteers. For a detailed list of services and further information go here.

4

Somorrostro Beach

This beach used to be considered part of the Barceloneta beach until recently, when its original name was recovered. It had been avoided for decades because it reminded locals of the shanty town that used to cover the place. Recovering its name has been a way to make it historical justice.

This beach is smoke-free, and it’s one of the best equipped beaches in town. It features a playground, public fountains, volleyball courts, a fitness area, a beach library, a police station, an information point and lockers. For further information click here.

5

Nova Icaria

You'll find the 415m / 0.25 mile of Nova Icaria rigth past the Port Olympic marina and all the way to the Bogatell breakwater. Being a longer walk from the closest subway station, it's usually quieter than the beaches we've described so far.

Also, its many leisure facilities invite to stay longer. There’s volleyball courts, a ping-pong table, a kids playground, lockers and public fountains. There’s also a bathing support service like the one in Barceloneta beach. Plus it’s also a smoke-free beach. For more information on the available services and facilities, click here.

6

Bogatell

The 702m / 0.43 miles of Bogatell beach make it the longest beach in Barcelona. It goes from the Bogatell breakwater to the Mar Bella one. 

It’s a great area to practice sport, with two ping-pong tables, a football pitch, a volleyball court, a playground, basket ball baskets and a fitness area. There’s also lockers and a police station. More information about the Bogatell beach. 

7

Mar Bella

The 512m / 0.31 miles continues from the Mar Bella breakwater to the Bac de Roda one. Because it's harder to get there, it's mostly used by local neighbors, that often come in groups to enjoy the many beach facilities:

A playground, a volleyball court, basket ball hoops, a ping-pong table and even a skateboard ring. This beach features also a designated nudist area in one of its ends. And that makes the existence of lockers very convenient. You’ll also find here a police station and a beach library. A detailed list of all the services and facilities can be found here.

8

Nova Mar Bella

The next beach is called Nova Mar Bella, it’s 420m / 0.26 miles long and it goes from the Bac de Roda to the Selva de Mar breakwater. It is also a smoke-free beach.

Being hard to reach by public transportation, it’s usually quieter and less crowded than the others, and it’s mostly used by locals. Besides a volleyball court, there aren’t other leisure services, so beach goers really go there for sunbathing and swimming and nothing else. More details here.

9

Platja de Llevant

A relatively new addition to the Barcelona beaches, this short sand strip goes from the Selva de Mar to the Rambla de Prim breakwaters. Its main characteristic is the special area for dogs that is available during the Summer season.

There’s also a volleyball court. More information on the Llevant beach can be found here.

10

Zona de Banys del Forum

The last section of the Barcelona beach… isn’t exactly a beach. Between the Rambla de Prim breakwater and the children games platform of the Forum there’s 375m / 0.23 miles of concrete steps that descend towards the sea water like the grades of a stadium. 

It is an area that need to be used with precaution: wear footwear that can protect you from the sea urchins, and do not trespass the designated bathing area as there’s nautical activities such as water skiing organized beyond the floating lines.

The Forum bathing zone also features an assisted bathing service for people with disabilities and limited mobility during the Summer season.

So what is the best beach in Barcelona, Spain?​

Barcelona beach comparison​

The longest beach is Bogatell, with 702m / 0.43 miles, followed by Sant Miquel and Mar Bella. The sortest beaches in Barcelona are Llevant and Banys del Forum, both of 375m /  0.23 miles. Most of them range between 400-500m / 0.25-0.31 miles.

The widest beach is Somorrostro, with an average width of 114m / 374 ft, followed by Bogatell with 100m / 328 ft. The narrowest is Banys del Forum with an average width of just 30m / 98.4 ft, followed by Sant Miquel (48m / 157.5 ft). But most of them are around 70-80m (230-262.5 ft).

ALL THE BEACHES IN BARCELONA HAVE:

  • Public toilets (including adapted toilets)
  • Showers (including adapted showers)
  • Lifeguard towers and First Aid & Rescue services
  • Footbridges for wheelchair access to the water
  • Deckchair and parasol hire (except Banys del Forum).
Plus here you have a comparison of the service and facilities offered by each beach, so you can choose the one that works best for you:
(use the scroll bar at the bottom if you don’t see the whole thing at once)
Sant Sebastia Sant Miquel Barceloneta Somorrostro Nova Icaria Bogatell Mar Bella Nova Mar Bella Llevant Banys del Forum
Playground X X X X X X
Fitness Area X X
Sports Volleyball Volleyball Volleyball Ping-Pong Volleyball Ping-Pong Basketball Soccer Skateboard Volleyball Ping-Pong Basketball Volleyball Volleyball
Smoke-Free X X X X
Assisted bathing X X X
Police X X X X X X X
Drinking water X X X X X X X
Bicycle Hire X X X
Library X X
WIFI X X X X X X X
Lockers X X X X X
Other Gay nudist Nudist Dogs

So what is the best Barcelona beach for…

  • Best for families: Somorrostro
  • Best for teens and young adults: Bogatell
  • Best for wheelchairs: Banys del Fòrum
  • Best for gay: Sant Sebastià
  • Best for dog owners: Llevant
  • Best for nudists: Mar Bella

More beaches near Barcelona

If you want to get out of Barcelona for a day, there's many beaches around Barcelona that locals love. Describing them would take a whole entire post, but here are a few ideas:

Beaches South of Barcelona:

The closest beaches are those reachable by the R2 line, in this order: Prat de Llobregat (but you’ll have to take the PR3 bus to get to its wonderful beaches). The R2 South continues the Garraf Coast, via Platja de Castelldefels, Garraf and Sitges.

If you want to go further, the R14 & R15 to Tarragona and the R16 to Tortosa/Ulldecona take you to the Costa Daurada, stopping by the beaches of Torredembarra and Altafulla/Tamarit. Tarragona is a great choice for a combination of historical sightseeing and beach, too. 

The R16 continues down past other great beach towns (Salou, Cambrils, L’Hospitalet de l’Infant, L’Ametlla de Mar…), but the train station isn’t too close to the beach. I’d only recommend them if you are planning to stay more than one day in the area.

Beaches North of Barcelona:

The R1 to Massanet-Maçanes is a gorgeous train line that runs almost parallel to the Barcelona and Maresme Coast from Badalona to Malgrat de Mar. They are local favorite destinations for a day at the beach: El Masnou, Ocata, Premià, Vilassar, Llavaneres, Caldes d’Estrac (Caldetes), Arenys, Canet, Sant Pol…

Past Malgrat expands the Costa Brava from Blanes all the way to the French border. Unfortunately, there’s no train to take you there. To the max, you’ll find some intercity buses taking you there, but that’s too much trouble for one day. Rent a car and plan to spend a few days there to explore its wonderful rocky beaches. Tossa de Mar, Sant Feliu de Guíxols, the Aro Valley, Palamós, Calella de Palafrugell, Tamariu, Begur, l’Escala, Sant Martí d’Empúries, Roses, Cadaqués and Port de la Selva are some of the best beach towns there.

Tips to take the most out of the beach in Barcelona​​

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.

1

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…

2

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…

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.

3

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.

4

Dress 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!

5

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). And make sure to read our post on safety recommendations for the beach.

Which are your favorite beaches of Barcelona?

Marta

Author Marta Laurent Veciana

AUTHOR BIO

Marta is the founder of ForeverBarcelona. She is a passionate tour guide that loves Barcelona and loves writing too. She is the main author of our Blog, and is committed to sharing her knowledge about Barcelona and her best tips with our readers.

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