8 Best Beaches Near Barcelona for a Coastal Escape – AFAR


Top beach destinations in Barcelona

Length: 420 metres
Transport: Bus V27, V29, V31 & H16; Metro L4 (Selva de Mar & El Maresme|Fòrum)
Services: Accessible bathrooms and showers, lifeguard, police station, information point, volleyball court, ice cream and beverage vendors, and beach umbrella and lounge chair rental.

Best Beach(es) Within 2-4 hours of Barcelona

Hello! My sisters and I are treating my mom to 10 days in Europe for her 60th in August. Our original plans were Paris, Mallorca, Barcelona. We booked flights and accommodations only to realize that the itinerary was too much, specifically for my mom. We can easily cancel accommodations but not tickets. So despite hearing from others that we should stick to one country, we have to keep tickets NY to Paris, Barcelona to NY.
With that said, we will be in Paris for 3 days and head to Barcelona on the 4th day. We would also like to spend 3-4 days in a beachy, less noisy, resort like place. We fell in love with the beaches in Mallorca, is there anything comparable on the mainland and within 3-4 hours of Barcelona? Thank you!

Posted by Carlos
Barcelona ☀️ Sweden ❄️
3725 posts

Hello! Here are a few of my top picks near Barcelona:

Garraf – just a short 20 min train ride south of Barcelona. You will find only locals at this small and secluded, but quaint, beach community. There are also many good chiringuitos to eat nearby and even a beach house designed by Antoni Gaudí. A very authentic place.

Sitges – the quintessential posh beach town, 30 min train ride south from Barcelona. Has multiple small sandy beaches. Known for its LGBT scene, Sitges also has nice historic centre lined with boutique restaurants and shops.

Tossa de Mar – a very atmospheric coastal town on the Costa Brava, north of Barcelona. Tossa has an idyllic medieval setting as it is dominated by a clifftop castle and a small cobblestone old town. Many restaurants and hotels around here, can get quite packed during the high summer months. I used to spend my summers here growing up, so it is very near and dear to my heart.

Calella de Palafrugell – a smaller beach town also on the Costa Brava. More laid back then Tossa de Mar. The town has twisting narrow whitewashed streets the lead up to the small craggy beaches, that are lined with the typical wooden fisherman boats of the Costa Brava. Probably most similar to Mallorca.

Peñíscola – Halfway between Barcelona and Valencia, about a 3 hr drive. With its cobbled streets and whitewashed houses, the old town of Peñíscola sits on a big rock that juts out into the sea. The town is dominated by a large Knights Templar castle that looks like something out of the Crusades, that is sounded by a sandy beach. Recently, Peñíscola was used as a filming location in the T.V. series Game of Thrones.

Posted by linamgallego OP
11 posts

Thank you so much! Are all these good for swimming and sun bathing?

Barceloneta is the city’s most famous (and traditional) beach. It’s named after the seafaring neighbourhood par excellence, built during the 18th century by Barcelonans expelled from La Ribera in 1714. In addition to its maritime past, Barceloneta also had strong connections to the metallurgy and gas industries, which are still reflected in some of the names found in the area as well as by the Gas breakwater that divides the beach in two. The construction of the seafront promenade at the end of the last century connected this old neighbourhood with the Olympic Port. It also meant the loss of the popular beach bars where locals made paella on Sundays prior to the Olympic frenzy. These days you’ll find other types of restaurants and services in the area below the promenade.

Length: 422 metres
Transport: Bus V17, V19, 47, 59, D20; Metro L4 (Barceloneta & Ciutadella)
Services: Bathrooms, accessible showers, lifeguard, volleyball court, playground, lockers, beverage vendors, restaurants, information point, Barcelona WiFi, bicycle rental, and beach umbrella and lounge chair rental.

Sant Sebastià Beach

Photograph: Shutterstock

Sant Sebastià Beach

The beachfront of Ciutat Vella, next to the port, also includes what was historically known as Sant Miquel Beach, which corresponds to a large section of the coastline along the Barceloneta neighbourhood. We’re talking more than a kilometre of sand and sea, walking distance from the city centre, and a beach where locals and visitors come together. The part furthest to the south-west, at the foot of the W Hotel, provides a perfect view of the entire Barcelona coastline, from the three chimneys to the huge solar panel in the Fòrum grounds to the Olympic Port and Barceloneta Beach in between. The area in front of the swimming pools is an unofficial nudist beach, and there’s a gay area as well. In the mornings and around lunchtime, you’ll find lots of nightclub employees flexing muscles on this beach.

Length: 1,085 metres
Transport: Bus V15 & V19; Metro L4 (Barceloneta)
Services: Bathrooms, accessible showers, police station, lifeguard, beverage & ice cream vendors, information point, Barcelona WiFi, and lounge chair and beach umbrella rental.


Nova Icària Beach

Foto: Shutterstock

Nova Icària Beach

The 19th-century city planner Ildefons Cerdà had his own utopian dream of a city. He’d planned on calling it Icària like the ideal island imagined by the utopian-minded socialist Étienne Cabet. During the 19th century, several utopian followers of Cabet had settled along the old road leading to the Poblenou cemetery. The Olympic dream brought back this Nova Icària, or New Icaria, now one of the most popular beaches. It’s 400 metres in length and lies right in the middle of the Barcelona coastline. Along with Bogatell Beach, it’s one of the calmest. It also boasts the most services and has lots of leisure options. For decades, the area now occupied by the beach was known as Somorrostro, where thousands of families lived in improvised homes lacking even the most minimal amenities. The beach has erased almost every trace of its existence, but a nearby street honours the memory of Carmen Amaya, the legendary dancer who was born there.

Length: 415 metres
Transport: Bus V21, V23, V27, H16, 59, 136; Metro L4 (Ciutadella & Bogatell)
Services: Parking, accessible bathrooms and showers, support for the disabled, water fountains, lifeguard, police station, information point, volleyball court, playground, lockers, Barcelona WiFi, beverage vendors, and beach umbrella and lounge chair rental.

Bogatell Beach

Bogatell Beach

Bogatell Beach owes its name to an old stream that once ran from the uptown area of Vilapicina down the avenue of the same name all the way to the sea. The centre of Bogatell was home to fishermen who lived amidst the stench rising up from the municipal sewer that flowed into the sea here. Like most of the Barcelona coastline, the beach at Bogatell was completely overhauled during the 1980s and these days it’s one of the most popular. According to municipal studies, the average age of beach-goers at Bogatell is the oldest of all the beaches: 38. A good number (30 percent) are visitors to the city.

Length: 702 metres
Transport: Bus V25, V27, V31, H16, 59; Metro L4 (Poblenou & Llacuna)
Services: Accessible bathrooms and showers, lifeguard, police station, information point, Barcelona WiFi, volleyball court, workout area, ping pong tables, basketball court, beach football, playground, lockers, beverage vendors, and beach umbrella and lounge chair rental.


Mar Bella Beach

Photograph: Shutterstock

Playa de Ocata

  • Best for: Finding space
  • Location: 10 miles northeast of the city| Google Maps

Although it’s just 10 miles northeast of Barcelona, Ocata is far from the city’s perpetually crowded urban beaches. While much of the Maresme shoreline can be narrow, this wonderfully broad, 1.5-mile-long swath of sand ensures you can always find a spot for your towel—and maintain a healthy distance from fellow sun-worshippers. Pop by one of Ocata’s many chiringuitos (beach bars) for drinks and tapas with your toes in the sand, or take a 15-minute walk to the El Masnou marina, home to dozens of restaurants.

How to get there

Trains to Ocata station leave from several stations in Barcelona (including Sants and Plaça de Catalunya) on the Renfe Rodalies R1 line. The ride takes approximately 30 minutes.

Overlooking a coveted stretch of sand near Sant Pol de Mar

Photo by E.T. Ennelin/Shutterstock

Playa El Morer

  • Best for: That perfect vacation Instagram shot
  • Location: 100 miles northest of Barcelona| Google Maps

Every corner of the fishing village of Sant Pol de Mar, on the Maresme coast, is tailor-made for Instagram: winding stone streets dotted with ancient olive trees, whitewashed houses with flower-filled windows, richly detailed modernista buildings. But it’s the beaches here that truly shine—stretches of fine golden sand framed by dramatic rocky outcroppings and impossibly blue Mediterranean waters. Playa de les Barques, so named because of the many fishing boats along its shore, is mere steps from the train station and thus tends to be busy. Instead, head slightly north and stake out your patch of sand on the quieter Playa El Morer.

How to get there

Trains to Sant Pol de Mar station depart from several stations in Barcelona (including Sants and Plaça de Catalunya) on the Renfe Rodalies R1. The journey is about one hour.

Because of its proximity to Barcelona, Sitges can get crowded on weekends and holidays.

Photo by Madrugada Verde/Shutterstock


  • Best for: A little strolling and shopping with your swimming
  • Location: 24 miles southwest of Barcelona| Google Maps

First, there’s the sheer beauty of Sitges, with its maze of hilly, cobblestone streets lined with whitewashed villas and fanciful art nouveau buildings. Then there are its chic boutiques and galleries, stylish restaurants, classic tavernas, and lively gay bars. Toss in several great beaches like the lively San Sebastian Beach and family favorite Platja de la Fragata—plus a nearly two-mile-long promenade ideal for seafront strolling and biking—and you’ll understand why this coastal town is so wildly popular. Just a half-hour by train from Barcelona, it can get crazy crowded on summer weekends and holidays, so opt for a weekday or off-season visit for a more tranquil vibe.

How to get there

Trains to Sitges depart from several stations in Barcelona (including Sants and Plaça de Catalunya) on the Renfe Rodalies R2 line. The ride takes approximately 30 minutes.

This article was originally published in June 2021. It was updated on August 11, 2023 with new information. Tim Chester contributed reporting.



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