The Beach in Barcelona is the ideal place for a walk, to take in some fresh sea air and take a break from the city. In summertime the beaches in Barcelona throng with sunbathers and swimmers. As summer ends the crowds disappear but the beach becomes a wonderful public open space in the city, all throughout autumn, winter and spring, with year round bright and sunny days.
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Our walking tour of the beach in Barcelona begins at Barceloneta metro. On exiting the metro we start along Passeig de Joan de Borbó. Immediatetely on the right is the Museum of the History of Catalunya, housed in some former wharf buildings. As you continue along Joan de Borbó to your right you will see the Old Port, full of luxury yachts, and the Mare Magnum shopping centre and Aquarium in the centre of the port, and behind these the World Trade Centre.
On your left side is the hisorical fishing district of Barceloneta. Built in the 18th century, it is constructed on land reclained form the sea by joining the shore to a sand bar known as Maians Island. This was carried out in the 18th century as a way to contain the rowdy mob of fisherman in one place – at the time there was an imposing fortress built by the occupying Castilian army in the centre of Barcelona called the Ciutadella, where there is now a park – the Barcelonetas streets were strategically placed in straight lines pointing towards this so that if rioting broke out canons and artillery could be used. This explains the many long thin paralell streets of the Barceloneta which are so atmospheric.
It is worth exploring the Barceloneta a little, a good entry place is Carrer de Sant Carles, where the excellent Maians tapas restaurant is found, offering wonderful Paellas and traditional Catalan and Andaluz tapas dishes.
Exit along any street to the right from Sant Carles back towards the sea and you will come out on the beach. This area of the Barceloneta is popular at all times of year with peopl eof all ages, and is of course perfect for children. A popular congregation point is a tall abstract sculpture on the beach, it doesn’t have a name but is distinguished by a stack of wonky cubes with glass windows.
You will now find yourself heading right along the beach infront of the Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta. This stretch is dotted with restaurants and bars, all the way along to the magnificent Peix D’Or statue by Frank Gehry. Made of a bronze exoskeleton suspended on a steel structure, this catches the light and glitters in the sun just like the scales of a fish, and exhibits the classic fish form loved by Gehry. Behind the Pex D’Or rise the impressive Hotel Arts and Torre Mapfre, dominating the skyline on the shore.
The route now swings left, and around the Olypmpic Port. Built for the 1992 Olympic’s water sports, it is now a popular yacht harbour and centre of water sports, and is lined with bars and cafes. This area is popular with joggers, roller bladers and cyclists.
After the port we reutrn to the sandy beach, now the passeig Marítim de Nova Icària. By this stage in the walk you may be ready for a swim if the weather is fine. The beach here is wide and dotted with chiringuitos – informal beach bars set up on the sand, as well as permanent bars and restaurants on the Passeig Marítim behind – ideal to stop for a drink and some refreshment at this stage in the walk.
This brings us more-or-less to the end of our walk. From here you can take a left turn onto Carrer de badajoz, and then left again onto Avinguda Icària towards Ciutadella metro. Or you can simply double back the way you came and turn right that the Torre Mapfre onto Calle Marina, this also brings you to Ciutadella metro and the yellow line.
Where to Stay
If you wish to be close to the beach and the area described in this walk we offer the Colon Building, right next to Barceloneta metro station, where the Gothic Quarter meets the Barceloneta, with 16 Barcelona beach apartments. The Colon Building also boasts a roof deck with a pool with stunning views of the old port and of the sea.
In the fisherman’s quarter of Barceloneta are the Sant Miquel building offering 4 apartments by the beach, if you like the sound of this historical area.
Further along the beach in Poblenou is the Poblenou Beach building with 12 Barcelona beach apartments. Some apartments offer a terrace with a sea view, and there is a communal terrace on the roof. The Marquet Beach building in the same neighbourhood has 4 more Barcelona beach apartments.
Also see our Barcelona beach apartments section for other interesting rentals by the beach.