Travel Ninja

Discover the Top Beach Towns Near Barcelona

Having explored the enchanting Catalunya region extensively, I’ve discovered that Barcelona and the surrounding beach towns offer some of the best escapes on Spain’s eastern coast. On one memorable trip during the warmer months, I found myself drawn to the unique charm of Cadaqués. Nestled on the Costa Brava, this beautiful town is a fab spot worth every bit of the effort to reach. Cadaqués is brimming with cultural significance, being the home of the surrealist artist Salvador Dali, and its spectacular Blue Flag beaches are a testament to its allure.

The journey from Barcelona is an adventure in itself. Visitors can take a train to Figueres and then a bus, making the travel part of the experience. The drive, although a bit more challenging, rewards you with miles of pristine shoreline and rugged cliffs. Cadaqués offers a unique blend of urban beaches and hidden coves, perfect for sunning on golden sand beaches or exploring secluded spots. One of my favorite activities was wandering through the appealing seaside town streets, discovering spectacular views of the Mediterranean. The best beaches here, like Playa Gran, are ideal for sunning and swimming, offering a beautiful escape from the bustling city life of Barcelona.

With Cadaqués only a bit over an hour’s drive from Barcelona, it’s an accessible getaway for those looking to experience the Catalan coast. Whether you’re planning a next trip to Spain or a local looking to escape the city, Cadaqués should be at the top of your list. The rounded up list of 21 must-see beach towns in this article is filled with such hidden gems, but Cadaqués stands out as a beautiful, unique, and truly fab destination.

Best Beach Towns Near Barcelona

Sitges

On a warm summer weekend, I set off to explore Sitges, a picturesque coastal town just 24 miles southwest of Barcelona. Nestled along the Costa del Garraf, Sitges is renowned for its vibrant nightlife and rich cultural events. The Mediterranean beaches here, like Playa Sant Sebastià, Playa de la Fragata, and Playa de la Ribera, boast golden sand and blue waters, perfect for swimming and strolling.

The town’s beauty is undeniable, with hilly, cobblestone streets lined with whitewashed villas and art nouveau buildings. During February, the Carnaval transforms Sitges into a hub of good music, colorful costumes, and fun parades, resembling a Spanish Halloween.

Top Beach Towns Near Barcelona

Wandering through Sitges, I found myself captivated by the mix of chic boutiques, art galleries, and stylish restaurants. The promenade along San Sebastian Beach offers a delightful spot for seafront strolling and biking, while the lively gay bars and classic tavernas add to the town’s popular appeal.

Despite its bustling atmosphere, Sitges retains a tranquil vibe, especially if you visit during a weekday or the off-season. Whether you’re looking for a half-hour train ride from Barcelona or planning a longer stay, Sitges is an essential destination for any traveler seeking a blend of cultural richness and coastal relaxation.

How To Get To Sitges From Barcelona

When planning a trip to Sitges, the convenience of transportation options makes it even more enticing. The Renfe train from Barcelona Sants or Passeig de Gràcia ensures a smooth journey of about 30 minutes, offering stunning views along the way. For those who prefer flexibility, renting a car or taking an Uber allows you to travel via the C-32 highway, which can take around 40 minutes, depending on traffic.

Ticket prices for the train are reasonable, making it a cost-effective option for many travelers. Personally, I found the train journey to be not only efficient but also a scenic introduction to the Costa del Garraf as I headed towards the vibrant and picturesque town of Sitges.

Tarragona

Exploring Tarragona was like stepping into a living history book, just 60 miles south of Barcelona on the stunning Costa Dorada. This beach town is a perfect blend of Catalonian charm and Roman architecture, echoing its days as the vital colony of Tarraco during the Roman Empire. As I wandered through the ancient streets, I marveled at the Roman ruins, including a magnificent Amphitheater and the Archaeological Museum, each narrating tales of Roman history.

best beach towns near barcelona

The walking tours here are a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the past. But Tarragona is not just about history; its beautiful beaches, like Playa del Miracle and Playa de l’Arrabassada, offer serene Mediterranean beaches that are ideal for a summer retreat. The contrast of sunbathing on the golden sands with the backdrop of historical landmarks makes Tarragona a unique and memorable destination.

How To Get To Tarragona From Barcelona

On my journey to discover the best beach towns near Barcelona, I found that Tarragona was not only rich in history but also easily accessible. The Renfe train provides a seamless connection, with departures from Barcelona Sants, Passeig de Gràcia, and Estació de França. The journey takes between 1-1.5 hours, making it a quick and scenic trip.

For those who prefer a different mode of transport, buses from the Barcelona Nord Bus Station offer a convenient alternative, taking around 2 hours. This variety of options ensures that you can choose the best way to reach the beautiful and historic Tarragona based on your schedule and preference.

Castelldefels

One of my favorite discoveries while exploring the best beach towns near Barcelona was Castelldefels, a famous and popular destination known for its long and spacious beaches. Just a short ride from the city, I loved starting my mornings with a Spanish coffee at one of the many chiringuitos along the shore, watching the waves roll in. During the warmer months, the town comes alive with a variety of water sports including windsurfing, kiteboarding, and sailing, and you can often see people enjoying games on the volleyball nets.

best beach towns near barcelona

For those interested in culture and history, the Castle of Fels perched on a hill offers stunning views and a peek into the past. As a nature-lover, I was thrilled by the nearby hiking trails in the Garraf Natural Park, making Castelldefels a perfect mix of relaxation and adventure.

How To Get To Castelldefels From Barcelona

On my journey to discover the best beach towns near Barcelona, I found that reaching Castelldefels was remarkably convenient. You can catch a train from Barcelona Sants, Passeig de Gràcia, or Estació de França, with a 20 to 30 minutes travel time.

Alternatively, taking a bus from Estació de Sants will get you there in about 45 minutes. Both options offer a quick and easy way to experience the stunning long beaches and vibrant water sports scene of Castelldefels.

Playa de Altafulla

One of the most memorable beach towns near Barcelona I visited was Playa de Altafulla, perfect for sandy adventures and steeped in history. Located about 50 miles southwest of Barcelona, as highlighted on Google Maps, this charming town is home to the medieval castle known as Castell de Tamarit, a walled fortress from the 12th century. The Altafulla Beach itself is a delightful spot, complemented by a picturesque promenade and the historic Botigues de Mar.

best beach towns near barcelona

Here, you’ll find beautifully restored 18th-century warehouses that now serve as holiday apartments, cafés, and restaurants with inviting beachfront terraces. I highly recommend dining at Voramar Cal Vitali, where you can savor delicious paella and fideuá (a noodle-based dish similar to paella) while enjoying breathtaking Mediterranean views.

How To Get There

When exploring the best beach towns near Barcelona, reaching Playa de Altafulla is both easy and scenic. The Renfe trains to Altafulla/Tamarit station offer a comfortable ride and depart from major stations like Sants and Estació de França. The journey takes about 75 minutes, providing ample time to enjoy the picturesque views of the Catalan countryside.

Whether you’re planning a day trip or a longer stay, the convenient train service ensures that Playa de Altafulla is an accessible destination for anyone looking to experience a blend of sandy adventures and rich history.

Calella De Palafrugell

On my journey to find the best beach towns near Barcelona, I stumbled upon Calella de Palafrugell, a charming fishing village that exudes a unique beach town allure. Known for its coastal beauty and rocky coves, this famous destination offers a wealth of beaches to explore, including the popular beaches of Canadell, Llafranc, and El Golfet with their golden sand.

Calella De Palafrugell

As a seafood lover, I was delighted by the Spanish dishes available here, especially the paella and seafood stews made with freshly caught fish. Dining at Restaurant Sa Jambina was a highlight, where the mouthwatering local caught seafood options truly stood out. The blend of charm and delectable cuisine makes Calella de Palafrugell a must-visit fishing town for any traveler.

How To Get To Calella De Palafrugell From Barcelona

Discovering Calella de Palafrugell was a highlight of my travels along the Costa Brava, but reaching this gem requires some planning as there’s no direct train from Barcelona. Instead, you can take a bus, which takes about 3 hours. However, considering the length of the journey, it might be more convenient to rent a car. Driving north on the AP-7 highway, a toll road that leads towards Girona, offers a scenic and flexible way to reach Calella de Palafrugell. This route not only saves time but also provides the freedom to explore other nearby attractions along the way.

Aiguablava

During one of my excursions to the best beach towns near Barcelona, I discovered Aiguablava, a perfect town day trip situated about 80 miles northeast of Barcelona. As highlighted on Google Maps, this picturesque spot lies to the south of the town of Begur. The beach at Aiguablava is renowned for its soft white sand and turquoise waters, surrounded by scenic hills dotted with pine trees.

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The charming Begur is part of the Costa Brava and is known for its beautiful towns with a labyrinth of steep, narrow, stone streets, grand colonial mansions, and a crumbling medieval castle offering stunning Mediterranean vistas. Reaching the beach involves a long walk from the city center, but you can also drive or take the shuttle bus from Plaça Forgas, located near the main tourist office.

L’Escala

Exploring the best beach towns near Barcelona led me to L’Escala, a beach town nestled in the Costa Brava with a rich ancient history. Originally founded as a Greek colony in the 6th century BC and known as Emporion, it later became a Roman town under the Roman Empire. The ruins here are a testament to its storied past.

best beach towns near barcelona

Today, L’Escala boasts stunning beaches and coves with yellow sand and crystal-clear waters. Some of the most picturesque spots include Riells Beach, Montgó Beach, and Cala del Bol Roig, each offering a unique slice of paradise for visitors.

How To Get To L’Escala From Barcelona

Finding your way to L’Escala, one of the best beach towns near Barcelona, is an adventure in itself. Since there is no direct train from Barcelona, the most straightforward option is to take a bus, which takes about 3 hours. However, for a more flexible journey, you might consider hiring a car. Driving along the AP-7 highway, a toll road heading north towards Girona, offers not only convenience but also the chance to explore the scenic routes and make stops at other charming spots along the way. This method ensures you can fully enjoy the drive and reach L’Escala with ease.

Cadaqués

During my travels along the Costa Brava, I was captivated by Cadaqués, a charming beach town in Girona, Spain. Known for its connection to famous artists like Salvador Dali, this surrealist artist made Portlligat his home, adding to the town’s cultural significance. The beautiful beaches of Cadaqués, especially Playa Gran, offer a perfect spot for chill and relaxing sunbathing.

Cadaqués beach

For the more adventurous, the cliffs and cloves along the coast provide plenty of exploration opportunities. This town truly has a little bit for everyone, making it an ideal destination for art lovers and beachgoers alike.

How To Get To Cadaqués From Barcelona

On my quest to explore the best beach towns near Barcelona, reaching Cadaqués proved to be an adventure in itself. The journey begins with a train or bus ride from Barcelona to Figueres, taking about 1.5 to 2 hours. From Figueres, you can catch a bus for an additional 1.5-hour journey to Cadaqués. This route offers a scenic and relaxing way to reach this enchanting town, known for its artistic heritage and beautiful beaches.

Sa Tuna

Exploring the best beach towns near Barcelona led me to the hidden gem of Sa Tuna, located 80 miles northeast of the city, as shown on Google Maps. Nestled in the cove of Begur, Sa Tuna boasts clear water perfect for snorkeling. The calm bay, dotted with small boats and surrounded by hills and traditional fishermen’s houses, offers a picturesque retreat.

best beach towns near barcelona

Nearby, Sa Riera, a third beach, adds to the allure with its traditional sand and restaurants in close proximity. Although the beaches can get crowded, the shuttle bus provides easy access. For those seeking a quieter experience, the Camí de Ronda path along the coast reveals idyllic coves and a stunning rocky shore.

How To Get There

One of the most delightful drives I’ve experienced is the journey to Sa Tuna. Starting from Barcelona, you can drive a car to Begur, which takes around one hour and 45 minutes, depending on traffic. This route offers stunning views and a relaxing drive, making the trip to this picturesque cove an enjoyable part of the adventure.

Port Bo

One of the most enchanting spots I’ve visited near Barcelona is Port Bo in Calella de Palafrugell, located about 80 miles northeast according to Google Maps. This old fishing village has transformed into a seaside playground and is one of the Costa Brava’s swankiest destinations. Unlike the bustling resort town of Calella in Maresme, Port Bo offers a serene escape with its stone lanes and rustic whitewashed houses.

The highlight, Port Bo Beach, is framed by colonnades with vaulted, wood-beamed ceilings, providing a picturesque backdrop for swimming and floating in the calm waters. After a day of sun and sea, indulge in a world-class supper at one of the upscale restaurants, bars, or hotels frequented by Catalan tourists, and spend the evening paddleboarding under the sky, dreaming of living in such a beautiful place.

Lloret De Mar

As number seven on our list of best beach towns near Barcelona, Lloret de Mar stands out as a popular beach town on the Costa Brava. This coastal town resort attracts both Spanish tourists and foreign tourists with its lively nightlife featuring numerous bars, clubs, and restaurants. Beyond its vibrant nightlife and delightful cuisine, Lloret de Mar boasts beautiful beaches like Playa de Lloret, where you can enjoy activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, jet skiing, and boat excursions.

best beach towns near barcelona

The dynamic atmosphere and variety of attractions make Lloret de Mar a must-visit destination for those seeking both relaxation and excitement by the sea.

How To Get To Lloret De Mar From Barcelona

One of the easiest ways to reach Lloret de Mar is by car, which takes about one hour if you follow the C-32 or AP-7 highways in the direction of Girona. Alternatively, you can take a bus from Estació del Nord, with the journey lasting around 2 hours. Both options provide convenient and scenic routes to this vibrant coastal town on the Costa Brava, making it accessible for a quick getaway from Barcelona.

Vilanova I La Geltrú

Exploring the best beach towns near Barcelona led me to Vilanova I la Geltrú, a charming beach town situated less than 30 miles from Barcelona, making it the perfect day trip. Located on the Costa Dorada, also known as the Golden Coast, this town is renowned for its rich maritime history. Fishing remains important here, with a bustling fishing port filled with traditional-style fishing boats along the shore.

best beach towns near barcelona

The maritime museum offers a fascinating opportunity to explore this heritage. Vilanova I la Geltrú also boasts incredible beaches like Playa de Ribes Roges and Playa de Vilanova, where visitors can enjoy fresh seafood in the local eateries.

How To Get To Vilanova I La Geltrú From Barcelona

If you’re looking to visit Vilanova I la Geltrú, a beautiful beach town close to Barcelona, you have several convenient options. The Renfe train from Barcelona Sants takes about 45 minutes, making it a quick and scenic journey. Alternatively, hiring a car and driving via the C-31 highway towards Sitges can get you there in as little as half an hour, depending on traffic. This flexibility makes Vilanova I la Geltrú an ideal destination for a spontaneous beach day or a planned excursion.

Sant Pol De Mar

One of my favorite beach towns near Barcelona is Sant Pol de Mar on the Costa del Maresme. Known for its sandy beaches and clear waters, it’s an ideal spot during the hotter months for both relaxation and fun. The famous Platja de Sant Pol is perfect for sunbathing and swimming, while the town’s historical sites, like the Church of Sant Jaume, add a touch of culture.

Sant Pol De Mar

Sant Pol de Mar is also popular for its gastronomy, boasting a rich culinary tradition with delicious seafood and Catalan cuisine that you must try.

How To Get To Sant Pol De Mar From Barcelona

Reaching Sant Pol de Mar from Barcelona is quite straightforward. You can take a train from Barcelona Sants, which takes about 1.5 hours. If you prefer to drive, the car journey takes around 45 minutes, depending on traffic. Simply follow the C-32 highway in the direction of Mataró for a smooth and scenic drive to this charming beach town.

El Golfet

Discovering El Golfet was one of my favorite experiences while exploring the best beach towns near Barcelona. Located about 80 miles northeast of the city, as seen on Google Maps, this sliver of sand offers a sublime retreat. Unlike the more pretty beaches of Calella de Palafrugell, El Golfet promises a wilder experience. After a drive of five minutes from the main town, you arrive at this secluded spot with golden sand and shallow blue waters, framed by dramatic rocky cliffs.

best beach towns near barcelona

Be prepared for an extra effort to reach it, involving a steep flight of stairs from the surrounding streets, but the journey is well worth it for such a tranquil escape.

How To Get There

Getting to El Golfet from Barcelona involves a scenic drive to Calella de Palafrugell, which takes about one hour and 40 minutes, depending on traffic. This route offers beautiful views of the Catalan countryside, making the journey as enjoyable as the destination itself.

Blanes

Nestled in the Costa Brava, the coastal town of Blanes offers a perfect mix of relaxing and adventurous activities. The beautiful beaches like Platja de Blanes are ideal for sunbathing, while the numerous coves invite you to explore through kayaking excursions. One of the major attractions here is the Marimurtra Botanical Gardens, where you can marvel at a diverse collection of plants overlooking the sea.

best beach towns near barcelona

For those seeking cultural action, Blanes hosts a spectacular fireworks competition every July, known as one of the largest fireworks competitions in Europe, attracting participants from around the world.

How To Get To Blanes From Barcelona

Driving to Blanes from Barcelona takes about 1 hour via the C-32 highway, depending on traffic. This route provides a scenic route along the Catalan coastline, heading towards Girona. Alternatively, you can take a train from Barcelona Sants, which takes around 2 hours. Both options offer beautiful views and a comfortable journey to this lovely coastal town.

Mataró

Mataró, a charming beach town on the Catalan coast, is a perfect blend of Roman architecture and Gothic architecture. Strolling through its medieval streets, you’ll encounter landmarks like the Basilica of Santa Maria, which is steeped in history. For a deeper dive into the past, visit the Mataró Museum, where fascinating exhibitions await, and don’t forget to book your guided tour tickets.

The town also boasts sandy beaches such as Playa del Callao and Playa del Varador, which are ideal urban beaches for swimming, sunbathing, and various water sports. To top it all off, Mataró offers numerous great eateries that perfectly complement a day by the sea.

How To Get To Mataró From Barcelona

If you’re planning to visit Mataró, you’ll be pleased to know it’s well-connected to Barcelona. The train journey takes about 1 hour, offering a convenient and scenic route. Alternatively, you can drive along the C-32 highway in the direction of Mataró, which takes approximately 30 to 40 minutes depending on traffic. Both options make it easy to enjoy a day trip to this delightful coastal town.

Playa de Ocata

Finding space to relax is effortless at Playa de Ocata, located just 10 miles northeast of Barcelona. Unlike the city’s crowded urban beaches, Ocata offers a broad, 1.5-mile-long swath of sand along the Maresme shoreline. You can always find a spot for your towel and maintain a healthy distance from other sun-worshippers.

The numerous chiringuitos or beach bars serve refreshing drinks and tapas, perfect for enjoying with your toes in the sand. A short 15-minute walk takes you to El Masnou marina, where you’ll find dozens of restaurants to complete your day by the beach.

How To Get There

Reaching Playa de Ocata is a breeze thanks to the convenient trains running to Ocata station. Departing from several stations in Barcelona such as Sants and Plaça de Catalunya, the Renfe Rodalies R1 line will get you there in just 30 minutes. This quick and efficient route makes it easy to enjoy a day at this spacious and serene beach.

Arenys De Mar

Exploring the Costa del Maresme, Arenys de Mar is a must-visit for beach lovers and history enthusiasts alike. With Playa de la Musclera and Playa de la Picòrdia, it offers perfect spots for sun-seekers and swimmers. The town’s rich history is reflected in the Church of Santa Maria and Plaça de l’Església, showcasing its maritime legacy.

best beach towns near barcelona

The bustling fishing port and Maritime Museum highlight Arenys de Mar’s rich maritime history. This charming fishing village is also renowned for its delicious seafood, with La Marina being a top spot to savor fresh catches.

How To Get To Arenys De Mar From Barcelona

The easiest way to reach Arenys de Mar from Barcelona is by train. Departing from Sants station, the journey takes between 45 minutes to 1 hour, offering a quick and scenic route to this beautiful coastal town on the Costa del Maresme. This makes it an ideal destination for a day trip or a relaxing beach getaway.

Gavá Mar

Nestled on the Costa Dorada, Gavà Mar is a coastal heaven just 15 miles from Barcelona, making it an ideal day trip. This beach town boasts sandy beaches and picturesque dune landscapes, with highlights like Platja de Gavà and Platja de les Botigues de Sitges featuring golden sand and stunning Mediterranean landscape.

Gavà Mar perfectly blends city life with the tranquillity of long beaches and unique coastal landscapes, attracting both locals and tourists. It’s no wonder Spain considers this one of the best places to live by the sea.

How To Get To Gavá Mar From Barcelona

The easiest way to reach Gavà Mar from Barcelona is by train. Take the R2 Sud line on Rodalies de Catalunya from Barcelona Sants to Gavà, with the journey taking about 20 to 30 minutes. From the Gavà train station, you can easily access the town by bus, taxi, or a short walk. This quick and convenient route makes Gavà Mar an ideal destination for a relaxing beach day.

Playa El Morer

If you’re searching for that perfect vacation Instagram shot, look no further than Playa El Morer, located about 100 miles northeast of Barcelona according to Google Maps. Nestled in the charming fishing village of Sant Pol de Mar on the Maresme coast, this beach town features winding stone streets lined with ancient olive trees, whitewashed houses with flower-filled windows, and exquisite modernista buildings.

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The beaches here boast fine golden sand, dramatic rocky outcroppings, and stunning blue Mediterranean waters. While Playa de les Barques near the train station can be quite busy with its numerous fishing boats, Playa El Morer offers a quieter and equally beautiful retreat.

How To Get There

Getting to Playa El Morer is convenient and scenic. Trains to Sant Pol de Mar station depart from several stations in Barcelona, including Sants and Plaça de Catalunya. The Renfe Rodalies R1 line provides a smooth journey of about one hour, making it easy to enjoy a day at this picturesque beach destination.

Pineda De Mar

Pineda de Mar, located on the Costa del Maresme and just 40 miles from Barcelona, is an ideal day trip or short getaway destination. This charming town features a long promenade perfect for leisurely strolls and sandy beaches for relaxing. With plenty of green spaces and picnic spots, it offers a welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere with various entertainment options including parks and recreational areas.

best beach towns near barcelona

Whether you’re looking for some beach time R&R or to explore lush green spaces, Pineda de Mar provides a delightful coastal escape.

How To Get To Pineda De Mar From Barcelona

Starting your journey from Barcelona, the easiest way to reach Pineda de Mar is by taking the train on the R1 line operated by Rodalies de Catalunya. Departing from Barcelona Sants station, the journey to Pineda de Mar takes approximately 1 hour. This convenient route ensures a smooth and enjoyable trip to this coastal gem.

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