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Barcelona Beaches: Where to hit the beach

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Barcelona's beaches are hard to resist. Photo by Chris Metcalf.
Barcelona's beaches are hard to resist. Photo by Chris Metcalf.

It’s June and the weather has been delightfully hot lately in Barcelona, perfect for hitting the city’s beaches. While the Mediterranean is still a bit cool, these long hot days promise to warm up the calm waters that flank Barcelona and tempt swimmers to take a dip.

Let me say that as a Barcelona local, I do not swim at the city beaches. Depending on whom you ask, different locals have different viewpoints on how dirty or crystal-clean Barcelona’s seashore is. For me it’s a simple answer: the sea in front of any major port and enormous metropolis just can’t be clean. I’ll sit on the beach, but I only swim outside of Barcelona.

Related: Read my post on the best budget hotels near Barcelona’s beaches.

If you must swim in Barcelona…

Ride out to Platja Nova Icaria. Photo by Adria Garcia.

Ride out to Platja Nova Icaria. Photo by Adria Garcia.

That said, if you must swim in Barcelona, then consider swimming at any of the beaches north of Platja Nova Icària. Generally these beaches seem cleaner and are less crowded, although really all the beaches along Barcelona’s shores are packed in the summer months.

Most people head to Platja Barceloneta or Platja San Sebastià because they are closest to the city center, which is specifically why I think they should be avoided. These two beaches are always crowded and attract a lot of tourists, which in turn attracts a lot of pickpockets.

Pick-pockets at the beach

Pick-pocketing is no joke on Barcelona’s beaches and I suggest not taking anything with you that you would mind losing. If you bring a bag with you to the beach, keep it at your side and don’t leave anything unattended while you swim.

You will probably want to bring some money with you to the beach, because Barcelona’s beaches are also “markets” where strolling vendors sell everything from massages, to coconuts, to empanadas, chips, and cold beer. From your roost on your towel or beach chair (available for rent for around €5), you will be able to have all your needs met and then some.

Even if you don’t swim…

Regardless, a visit to Barcelona is not complete without an afternoon at the beach. Get off at the “Barceloneta” metro stop and walk along the waterfront way down past Hotel Arts and the Casino stopping at Platja Nova Icària or any of the little beaches after it.

Just be aware that some beaches along Barcelona’s shoreline are nude beaches!

Tell us: Have you hit the beach in Barcelona? Would you? Leave a comment below.

About the author

Regina W Bryan

About the author: Regina W.Bryan is a Barcelona-based freelance writer and photographer. When not eating tapas and exploring Europe, she is tending her balcony veggie garden and practicing Catalan. For more of her thoughts on Spain, check: www.regwb.com and www.thespainscoop.com.

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