This is a guest post from Laura Iglesias, founder of Backpack Baby, a baby equipment rental and supply company in Barcelona, Spain. Laura is the mother of two young children.
Barcelona was a city without beaches before the Olympic Games in 1992 with the exception of a small section of dirty sand in the Barceloneta neighborhood. That situation is history and the city now enjoys an Olympic legacy of nine beaches offering many services.
Visiting Barcelona’s Beaches with Kids
Old Beaches: Sant Sebastià, Sant Miquel, La Barceloneta and Somorrostro
These four beaches are the oldest beaches in town, and they are all easy reachable by bus (lines 14, 16, 17, 39, 40, 45, 51, 57, 59) and the metro (station La Barceloneta, the yellow line).
At Sant Sebastià and Sant Miquel you can find sporting clubs (like Club Natació Barceloneta) and a long stretch of sand. The opening of the W Hotel Barcelona has attracted nice restaurants and bars to the area. The beach around the hotel is great for children as the water is shallow.
La Barceloneta is beach that is the most crowded as it is the closest to the city center. It’s lined with good seafood restaurants and lively with everything from drum playing to sand artists.
You will also find a nudist beach (yes, a nudist beach right in the center of town!) between Barceloneta´s swimming pool club and the W hotel.
Somorrostro is located between the gas Jetty and the Marina pier. This surrounding area used to be very poor but the beach has been gentrified and is a favorite for visitors and school groups.
New Beaches: Nova Icària, Bogatell, Mar Bella, Nova Mar Bella and Llevant
These are the new beaches in town and they can all be reached by the yellow line metro (Vil.la Olímpica, Maresme/Fòrum and Poblenou stops) and by bus (lines 36, 49, 92, 141).
A wide walkway begins in Barceloneta and stretches to Nova Icària; the path is usually filled with people walking, cycling or skating (beware of speed skaters!). You can also find a beach lending service provided by the Centre de la Platja (seaside at Hospital del Mar) where beach to toys and equipment is available. Book rentals are available at Bibliopatges during the summer months (two locations – Mar Bella and Barceloneta) from 11a to 7p.
Nova Icària and Bogatell are close to the Port Olimpic area with an array of bars and restaurants. If you want something quieter it’s better to head to the beaches of Mar Bellaand Nova Mar Bella with flat grass, plenty of space for picnics, and a children´s playground at the bottom of Rambla del Poblenou.
Llevant is the last of beaches created for the Olympic Games and was opened in 2006. There’s a natural seawater swimming pool in Forum Parc (open over the summer months only).
Beaches Outside Barcelona: Ocata and Castelldefels
Outside Barcelona, head North or South for miles of sandy coastline. I recommend two of them when you are staying in the city as they are easy to access and lovely with young children.
Heading North, Ocata Beach is quiet, pristine, and flat with loads of space for children to play in beautiful white sand.
Heading South, Castelldefels is only 15 minutes south of the city centre and with 5 km of golden sand. It’s quite popular so be sure to get there early over peak summer months. I love the Playafels part of the beach, close to Port Ginesta, as it is usually less crowded with stands offering delicious tapas.
Barcelona’s beaches suit all tastes and preferences and are a wonderful part of enjoying Barcelona with kids!