Barcelona beaches - beach guide 2013
Barcelona beaches are a top attraction and open for swimming from mid-March to mid-October. The water temperature is most comfortable for swimming from mid-May. There are nine Barcelona beaches that border the Mediterranean sea. Each beach has a different name, which you can see on the Barcelona beaches map below. In 2011 Barcelona was named the best beach city in the world by the famous National Geographic magazine. From then centre of Barcelona it takes about 10-20 minutes on foot or on the metro train to get to the closest Barcelona beach.
Barcelona city has 9km of beaches. It's important to understand that Barcelona beaches are urban beaches. The beaches are in the city area. They are visited by 3.5 millions of people every year. This means they can be quite crowded in high season and the sand is not always as "golden" or "white" as the blogs and guidebooks tell you. The water and sand often is a bit littered at the end of the day. Barcelona makes a big effort to keep the sand clean and the seawater clear. Beaches are cleaned daily early in the morning and the water quality is tested and generally very high. So if you get there in the morning the beaches will be very clean and the water will be clear and fresh. You can help by not leaving cigarette butts and litter on the beach.
The Barcelona metropolitan area, which includes towns near Barcelona, has 32km of beaches in total stretching from Montgat north of Barcelona to Castelldefels south of the airport. The Costa Barcelona welcomes 9 million bathers a year. So if you want nice, bigger and a bit tidier beaches, then check out the many beaches outside Barcelona - or book a Barcelona beach tour to beaches outside Barcelona
From the north to south coast of Barcelona city there are 9 beaches, which get over 3.5 million visits a year making them one of Barcelona's top attractions. In recent years the Barcelona city council has improved services on the beaches with extra waste bins, more than 200 people cleaning the beaches daily, and special beach police patrols to keep the beaches safe. There are around 60-65 Red Cross lifeguards with 2 boats always on duty during the main beach season in Barcelona.
The summer beach season in Barcelona is usually from mid-March until mid October. Daily services, like lifeguards, first aid and rescue centres, public toilets, an environmental information centre, a beach Centre on Barceloneta beach (opposite the Hospital del Mar) and police safety points, are usually open from the middle of April and stay in operation until September. After September there are usualy weekend beach services, which are open until the middle of October. At the end of the beach season in Barcelona divers from scuba diving club of the Guardia Urbana police force put on their diving gear to help clean up the city seabed - both to improve the ecosystem of the beaches and for safety of next season's bathers - by removing old cans, bottles, fishing lines and other waste items dropped in the sea during the summer. The sea temperature in the winter months usually drops to around 12 to 14 degrees.
Pictures Barcelona's beaches
Barcelona average temperatures and sea water temperatures
Beaches outside Barcelona
Hotels near beaches in Barcelona
Names of Barcelona beaches
Beach is called " Playa " in Spanish and " Platja " in Catalan. From south to north there are nine beaches in the city of Barcelona, which get over 3.5 million visits a year making them one of Barcelona's top attractions. In recent years the Barcelona city council has improved services on the beaches with extra waste bins, more than 200 people cleaning the beaches and special beach police patrols to keep the beaches safe. There are around 60-65 Red Cross lifeguards with 2 boats on duty during the main beach season in Barcelona. The goal of Barcelona is to offer visitors the best city beaches in the world.
Overview of all beaches with weather and water temperature
Sant Sebastià beach (most southerly)
Sant Miquel beach
La Barceloneta beach
La Nova Icària beach
La Mar Bella beach
La Nova Mar Bella beach
Llevant beach (most northerly)
Banys Forum - bathing area Parc del Forum
How to get to Barcelona beaches
All Barcelona beaches are all on the yellow metro line L4.
Chiringuitos - beach bars Barcelona
Each Barcelona beach section has small beach bars on the sand which are called "chiringuitos." These beach bars are hugely popular and serve drinks, snacks and a selection of food. It’s not cheap, but considering the beach location the prices are reasonable. Chiringuitos also rent out sun-beds and organise DJ’s to play chill-out music and many organise beach parties. Opening times for chiringuito beach bars are open daily from around 10.00 in the morning until 02:00 on all beaches, except the chiringuitos in Barceloneta beach in front of residential areas, which close at midnight.
Beach parties in Barcelona
There are often beach parties in Barcelona but small ones at the chiringuito beach bars. Barcelona beaches are also a great for fitness activities and the beaches are a year-round favourite for jogging, skating, walks, biking and beach volleyball.
Nudist beaches Barcelona
There is a nudist or naturist beach on a section of La Mar Bella beach in Barcelona. Nudists were previously unofficially allowed on the Sant Sebastià beach, but is not an official nudist section and with the arrival of the Hotel W and new beach-front restaurants, nudism on this Barcelona beach is not allowed. A petition has been started make this the second nudist beach in Barcelona.
Swimming and safety
Swimming and bathing in Barcelona is very safe and there are no dangerous currents close by the shore. But check the lifeguards flags at all times before going into the water. All the Barcelona beaches have the EU Blue Flag ratings for eco-quality, disabled access, lifeguards on duty (only in season), showers etc. It can be a bit windy and so if the waves are big, and you are not strong swimmer, stay close to the shore and away from the rocks. See our Barcelona weather page and read more about Barcelona sea water temperatures. There are warning flags at the Red Cross Lifeguard centres.
Green flag - safe for bathing
Yellow flag - bathe with caution
Red flag - bathing prohibited
Jellyfish - Medusas
Sometimes in the warmer months the Barcelona beach waters are invaded by jellyfish (called medusas.) This is usually in late July and August when the water can be up to 26 degrees warm. Swarms of jellyfish appear because of generally warmer sea temperatures combined with recent years decline in marine life like turtles, that eat jellyfish and help keep jellyfish numbers down. The good news is that the jellyfish are usually around 50m from the shoreline, so you will not notice them very much. If you are on the beach in Barcelona and there are many jellyfish in the water, you can see a yellow flag - which means bathe with caution - or the special "jellyfish" warning flag at the Red Cross life guard centres (called the Creu Roja Catalunya.) If you are unlucky and get stung by a jellyfish, then ask the Red Cross life guards - called socorristas - for free assistance. A jellyfish sting is painful, but not dangerous and causes a rash similar to being stung by nettles, but it can be unpleasant. > Read more about jellyfish and treatment.
Theft - beach safety lockers
There are no public lockers on the beaches in Barcelona, so don't leave your valuables unattended - and don't fall asleep on the beach, even if you are using your bag for a pillow. The beaches in Barcelona do have problems with beach thieves stealing bags, so our advice is to leave valuables in your hotel safe and just take a little cash with you to the beach. Barceloneta beach probably has the worst problem with bag thefts on the beach because it is closest to the old city centre. The more northerly beaches are not so bad, but be aware. Barcelona is a safe city but there are problems with pickpockets and bag-thieves. > Read how to avoid pickpockets in Barcelona
Surfing and Paddle surfing
Surfing and Paddle surfing in Barcelona. Surfing has become popular in Barcelona in recent years and you will generally surfers in spring, autumn and winter in Barcelona. The waves are small and choppy and Barcelona is not a top surfing destination, but on some days it can be done. The best surf beaches on the city beaches are Sant Sebastian and Sant Miquel down by the Hotel W. There are breakwaters in front of some of the other Barcelona beaches to reduce the number of waves breaking on the shore. Bad news for surfers but it makes swimming safer for bathers in the summer and reduces the erosion of the Barcelona beaches caused by the spring and autumn storms. Another sport growing in popularity on the surf beaches of Barcelona and especially on beaches outside Barcelona is SUP Stand Up Paddle board surfing which is a fun watersport that anyone can learn. You can rent boards in Barcelona or contact Barcelona Beach Tours for half-day SUP tours that pick you up at your hotel in Barcelona and take you to a lovely beach outside Barcelona where you get SUP paddle board and kayak lessons and rentals.
Water quality Barcelona beaches
The beach water in Barcelona is very clean. On busy days there can be problems with litter and rubbish in the water like plastic bags and bottles. Most of this litter blows into the water from the beach, so please take your litter with you when you leave the beach. Since 2006 a "clean beach" campaign to encourage bathers to clear up their own mess on the beaches has improved the water quality considerably. You can check the water quality and temperature on the official Barcelona beach website. On most days the water is refreshingly clear and clean and perfect for a quick dip after work or shopping. Many bathers stay on the beach until 21.00 in the evening in the hot summer months.
Which Barcelona beach is best?
The beaches run from south to north and so does the party scene. The party beaches for students, tracellers, backpackers and tourists are to be found on on southern most beaches, called Sant Sebastià and Barceloneta which are nearest to the city centre. These beaches are a bit more beaten up, busier, noisier and the ones, where you are most likely to have your bag snatched. It´s a good idea to be aware and not take valuables to the beach. How to avoid pickpockets and being robbed in Barcelona. If you are looking for more tranquil beaches with cleaner sand, head for the beaches to the north. As you pass each of the beaches in Barcelona, you will notice the difference. The north end beaches in Barcelona are a little more for residents and families and a bit less touristy. The sand is cleaner too. If you enjoy nudism or naturism, then head for Mar Bella beach, which is the official city nudist/naturist beach, although nudism is not compulsory. The nudist area is in front of an artificial dune created to spare innocent eyes from naked flesh, but generally you will also see nudity a little way outside the designated nudism area.
Zona Banys Forum - Parc del Forum bathing area
At the north end of the beaches there is an alternative to sand beaches called the Zona Banys Forum. This is an open water bathing area where you can swim in sea water in an enclosed area.
New laws - Nudity and Semi-nudity
A new law was passed in 2011 banning nudity and semi-nudity on the streets of Barcelona. This means that you can be fined 300 to 500 euros for being naked in public places in Barcelona and an also for wearing a bathing suits or similar items of clothing unless you are in the vicinity of swimming pools or beaches.. Nudism on beaches in Barcelona should only be on the nudist beach of Mar Bella. The reason for this new law is that Barcelona is a city and wants to avoid having an image as a seaside resort. Another reason is to address issues of hygiene and respect for those members of the general public who prefer not to see semi-nude people on the streets.
History of Barcelona beaches
Before the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992, it was often said that Barcelona had "turned its back" on the sea. The shores of Barcelona were mostly areas with factories and there were even shanty town slums on the beaches. The only area for bathers was at Barceloneta beach. All that changed in 1992 when new beaches and a long new beach-front was constructed for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic games. Since then Barcelona has become a top beach city to the joy of both tourists and residents who can choose from 9 beaches on a stretch of 5 km from Barcelona's harbour north up the coastline of the city up to the Port Forum marina. The goal of Barcelona is to offer visitors the best city beaches in the world and they have achieved this goal.
Maps, locations and information Barcelona city beaches
Pictures of Barcelona's beaches
Beaches outside Barcelona
5 top Hotels near Beach in Barcelona
||Hotel Arts Barcelona
• Boutique designer hotel near Las Ramblas
• All room have lounge with hammock and balcony
• Free 24-hour buffet. Free Wi-Fi in rooms
• Rooms overlook peaceful courtyard garden
• Barcelona's most famous 5 star hotel on the beach
• Avant-garde luxury designer rooms with panoramic views
• Bliss Spa, ECLIPSE bar on 26th floor
• Two gourmet restaurants and poolside bar
||Hotel 54 Barceloneta
• Design hotel on beachfront area of Barceloneta
• 3 minute walk to Barceloneta beach
• Roof terrace overlooking harbour
• Modern rooms with free Wi-Fi and satellite TV
||Barceló Hotel Atenea Mar
• Modern functional hotel for business or pleasure
• 150 m from Nova Mar Bella Beach
• Bright modern rooms, many with views of the city or sea
• Free hot tub, sauna, gym and free Wi-Fi zone
||Hesperia del Mar
• Sea front location just a few steps from Mar Bella beach.
• Modern designer rooms with marble bathrooms
• Free high speed Internet and WiFi zone throughout
• Bar-restaurant and outdoor terrace.
> All hotels near beaches in Barcelona
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