The Most Beautiful Beaches in Barcelona

Barcelona's beaches, including La Barceloneta, are a great place to chill – with plenty of watersports on offer for the more adventurous
Barcelona's beaches, including La Barceloneta, are a great place to chill – with plenty of watersports on offer for the more adventurous | © Marc Soler / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Rebecca Wilkinson
8 October 2020

Barcelona, in Spain, boasts a number of beautiful beach locations to suit everyone, whether you’re looking simply for a place to relax or you want to indulge in watersports like kitesurfing or windsurfing. Here, we explore the best beaches in the Catalunya capital.

Barceloneta Beach

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Beach of Barceloneta in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
© carlos sanchez pereyra / Alamy Stock Photo
La Barceloneta beach is Barcelona’s most bustling and touristy stretch of sand and sea, which inevitably makes it one of the most crowded, but it compensates for it with a surplus of entertainment and seafood options. The most popular places to feast on fresh seafood, even for locals, are at chiringuitos, or seaside huts. On the entertainment side of things, you can not only swim, but also try watersports – with windsurfing and kitesurfing the most popular options. Lively and easily accessible, this beach is perfect if you still want to be close to the city’s main attractions.

Nova Icaria Beach

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With more than 400m (1,300ft) of sandy beaches and sea, Nova Icaria is considered the most peaceful beach in Barcelona, so it’s a perfect choice for families or if you’re just looking to relax. Although quiet, the beach still has a range of great restaurants and bars, making it a popular destination for foodies as well as holidaymakers. One of Barcelona’s most diversely equipped beaches, Nova Icaria boasts a game area complete with a ping-pong table as well as volleyball courts, paying homage to its proximity to the Olympic Park.

Ocata Beach

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El Masnou; playa d´Ocata.
© Album / Alamy Stock Photo
North of Barcelona and just a half-hour by train out of the city, Ocata Beach is a pristine, tranquil stretch of beautiful golden sand. Much quieter than other beaches, Ocata is more of a peaceful getaway and less of an entertainment area. Long and wide, the beach is spacious and attracts fewer tourists than those nearer to the city, making it nice and private – somewhat of a luxury in summertime when you have to compete for towel space elsewhere. Much like any Barcelona beach, it also has its share of chiringuitos selling drinks and fresh seafood.

Bogatell Beach

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Bogatell Beach, created as part of an urban planning scheme to rejuvenating the area, attracts slightly older beachgoers seeking a more relaxing experience, but still providing the opportunity to play ping-pong or volleyball. At 600m (2000ft) long, it is much smaller than the main touristy spots, but it’s clean and safe – and part of the scheme to incorporate beaches into green spaces, gardens and also neighbouring districts.

Mar Bella Beach

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Mar Bella beach and Barcelona Club Beach, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
© Josep Curto / Alamy Stock Photo
Mar Bella is another of those beaches created as part of the urban development for the Olympic Games. Much more tranquil than La Barceloneta and Sant Sebastia, and lacking slightly in bars and restaurants, Mar Bella is still bursting with opportunities for watersports, offering the chance to windsurf, kayak and even try out some new sports. Twice the size of Nova Icaria, it offers plenty of space to sunbathe, do sports or even rollerblade on the beautiful promenade. Head here to rent a sunbed or even a yacht, and relax in this clean, calm spot.

Sant Sebastia

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This beach is the closest to the eastern end of Barcelona and stretches for more than 1km (0.6mi), making it one of the longest beaches in Barcelona. Much like La Barceloneta, there’s a busy and lively vibe here for much of the year, and in particular in summer. You can play volleyball or, if you’re daring, take part in extreme sports. Its popularity also means there’s lots of dining options, making it a perfect place to spend the whole day.

These recommendations were updated on October 8, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.