Barcelona’s beaches were transformed from industrial wasteland to one of the city’s most popular areas in time for the Olympic Games in 1992.
This meant a massive clean up of Barcelona Beaches and the area now occupied by the Parc del Litoral, the dismantling of the old railway line –it actually ran along the Moll de la Fusta and through the Plaça Portal de la Pau– (I remember being one of a massive crowd watching a rock concert in 1979 when a train trundled through, forcing us all to scramble for safety!) and the building of the Ring Road known as la Ronda del Litoral.
Now the clean and well tended beaches are in easy reach of residents and visitors who throng the nearly 5 kilometres of sandy stretches.
The water is tested daily and the Town Hall offers a status report on each stretch on their website.
As well as on these panels by the Barcelona beaches themselves.
On their web you’ll find tips on how to enjoy the beach to the full and information on beach conditions. What to do if stung by a jellyfish —an increasingly common occurrence. There are details on beach characteristics and equipment. Well worth a visit before grabbing your cossie.
Barcelona beaches have something for everybody from just idling and ogling, to volleyball, training circuits, sailing lessons, windsurf, catamaran and kayak hire and there are many great beach bars, restaurants and kiosks.
All the beaches have good services
- changing areas
- clothes lockers
- drinking water fountains
- deckchair and parasol hire
- and all have disabled access points. During the season there are lifeguards on watchtowers and Red Cross, advice and information points. Dogs are not allowed on the beaches.
See details of Barcelona’s beaches and how to get to them by public transport.
Sant Sebastià Beach, by the new W Hotel Barcelona
The Town Hall has launched a campaign to try and ensure that both residents and visitors enjoy Barcelona as much as possible. Amongst other measures, this means there will be even more effort made to clean the beaches… and to keep them clean. Please be sure to dispose of your rubbish correctly in the right place. There are plenty of bins on all Barcelona beaches and separate rubbish containers for glass, plastic, paper, organic and general rubbish on the street. You can get a beach ashtray from the information points.
Because of Barcelona’s beautiful weather
and easy going character, it’s easy for some visitors to forget that this is a great European capital and not just a holiday spot on the coast. Perhaps because the beaches are so close to the city centre and the dividing line is quite hazy with streets of beach bars merging into streets of restaurants … one minute you’re on the beach, the next, in town. Many visitors (and some residents) leave the beach in wet bathing gear and board buses and Metro trains shirtless and dripping.
At other times you see people walking the streets of central Barcelona in a state of semi-undress, a bikini top with no blouse, for example. A lot of local people find this inconvenient and unpleasant and some find it offensive. Both the hotel and trade associations appeal to visitors' sense of respect and awareness, but are also in favour of stricter legislation.
The Town Hall is on the point of passing a municipal regulation forbidding both men and women to walk the streets of Barcelona naked or in bathing costumes. Municipal policemen will now ask you to put on a T-shirt or other piece of clothing. If you refuse, they will fine you up to 300 euros.
A reasonable dress code is also especially important when visiting museums and other points of interest and —whether you share the religious values or not— it is obviously a sign of great disrespect to visit the Cathedral, Barcelona’s churches or any other religious building when dressed for the beach.
Beach parties are also under scrutiny, as is sleeping on the beach. If you plan to do this, be aware you may be asked to move on, especially if you’ve drawn attention to yourself.
See details of Barcelona beaches and how to get to them by public transport.