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Barcelona’s local authorities are pioneering a scheme to promote open-water swimming with the launch of four swimming lanes in the open sea. Measuring between 0.6km and 1.2km, these clearly marked itineraries aim to make it easier and safer to enjoy the local shores.
The project named Vies Braves, which can be translated along the lines of ‘Rough Tracks’, is designed to make it easier for those who live in Barcelona to make the most of one of the their most precious natural assets: the Mediterranean Sea. Although open-water swimming has always been a popular hobby in the area, the increase in number of yachts and jet skis has made swimmers weary.
The four itineraries are clearly marked and partitioned making them safer to navigate, and come with full information about the length, width and difficulty of the circuit, as well as information about the local flora and fauna.
The itineraries allow swimmers to explore two areas of the Barcelona beach line: around the Barceloneta beach and around the Marbella beach. The project was launched in collaboration with two local sports centres, the Espai de Mar in Barceloneta and the CEM in La Mar Bella, which act as starting points for each of the routes.
In addition to the routes themselves, the Vies Braves project will be organizing a number of free activities throughout the summer promoting swimming, snorkeling and other aquatic activities both for fun and as part of a healthy lifestyle.
With many continuing to fill the pinch of the financial crisis which hit the country hard a few years ago, projects like these offer welcome alternatives to costly gym memberships and water parks. They also help raise awareness about the urgent need to protect the biodiversity of the oceans and combat pollution, over-fishing and other harmful practices that threaten our very ability to enjoy the seasides.