Coming from a girl who lives on the coast in sunny Southern California, when I say there are some nice beaches here, I mean there are really some nice beaches in and around Barcelona. Honestly, my expectations were not very high in terms of the playas here when I first arrived. I have been pleasantly surprised!
I end up visiting Bogatell Beach once or twice a week to get my fix. Taking the yellow line on the metro and walking down La Rambla Poblenou make getting to Bogatell a pleasant experience in itself. Volleyball courts always host a handful of players and paths run parallel along the coastline for those who want to work off that extra paella by biking, rollerblading or going for a jog.
The reason I came without getting my hopes too high was that I had heard the beaches were man-made for the Olympics, surfing was mediocre at best and the sand is a bit on the rocky, dirty side. Although true, the city has done a pretty fantastic job of creating a really nice beach town atmosphere regardless. My big recommendation would be to skip Barceloneta, the main patch just off the metro, and avoid the endless crowds of tourists for the prettier, cleaner stretches further south or north. Markets open along Port Vell also make a fun side attraction to explore.
For the best Barcelona beach experience, try taking a dip at Mar Bella and Nova Mar Bella. The water there is clear and refreshing. However, some parts of these beaches are obviously nude so if that makes you uncomfortable be prepared. As a general rule, the closer you go to Port Forum, the less clothing you may see.
If you really want to fall in love with a Mediterranean beach, take a day trip to Tarragona, Costa Brava or, my other favorite, Sitges. Only a short train ride away, this picturesque little town with its white sand and bath-like water easily made it into my hall of fame best beaches to visit in the world. Floating in the sea with a plenty of cute shops and romantic little streets to visit on the shore after made my time here unforgettable.
By Jessica Airey