For most tourists, Barcelona is synonymous with world-renowned architecture, fascinating cuisine and a rich culture. However, when it comes to a soothing beach getaway, not all travellers are in the know regarding the fascinating options surrounding the Spanish city. And while the Catalan capital is well versed in seashore excellence, an influx of tourists can mean crowded beaches.
That is why the average Barcelonian prefers to travel outside the city when it comes to sunbathing, surfing and general beach-side tranquillity.
Tossa de Mar
Tossa de Mar is located on the Girona coast, halfway between Barcelona and the French border. Forming part of Spain’s Costa Brava (meaning ‘rugged coast’), Tossa de Mar has become a well-seasoned beach getaway with its beautiful bays and striking cliffs. While some of its sunbathing spots are easier to reach and come with adequate amenities, others are more remote and require a bit of exploring.
La Vila Vella Castle and it surrounding wall, the town’s most popular attraction, is the main reason Tossa de Mar is known as a Medieval masterpiece. Built between the 12th and 13th centuries to protect the city from pirates, this architectural wonder is today included on numerous postcards speaking of this exceptional Mediterranean location.
Post-World War II, this picturesque seaside town transformed into a modern tourist resort. Today, one can still marvel at the historic structures and charm left by various settlers over time.
Distance from Barcelona: 86,5km
Voted as one of the best seaside locations in Spain, Begur is one of Costa Brava’s little treasures. The colourful little town’s shoreline is scattered with pines and cliffs, where numerous coves and beaches (such as Sa Tuna and Aiguablava) offer ample opportunity for relaxation. In addition to being a sunbather’s delight, the town of Begur has also become a firm favourite among Barcelonians, with many residents of the Spanish city purchasing holiday homes in Begur.
Begur is also renowned for its medieval architecture, including Begur Castle which dates back to the 11th century and was built on one of the town’s highest mountains.
With its numerous beaches, architectural wonders (including medieval castles and colonial-style mansions), and spread of enticing hotels and restaurants, Begur is the epitome of what one imagines a peaceful Spanish beach getaway to be.
Distance from Barcelona: 132km
Calella de Palafrugell
Featuring no less than eight beaches, Calella de Palafrugell is also famous for its slew of seafood restaurants and lively festivals. Forming part of Costa Brava, the town was historically known as a little fishing village, a charming vibe which can still be experienced to this day with its well-preserved fishermen’s houses near the beach.
Urban beaches like Port Bo and En Calau are ideal for those who seek amenities close by. Those willing to forego a bit of comfort can discover some of the most enchanting beaches along the Spanish coast, such as the amazing El Golfet beach at the botanical gardens of Cap Roig. This is also the site of the Cap Roig Castle, an impressive structure constructed in 1927 from the ruins of an old monastery, church and tower.
As well as sunbathing, Calella de Palafrugell also caters for the energetic holiday goer with a variety of water sports, diving spots, hiking- and cycling routes.
Distance from Barcelona: 125km
Sizzling with its 17 golden beaches, vigorous nightlife and enticing festival calendar, Sitges has become the no.1 choice for those who seek a thrilling side with their beach getaway. As it forms part of Spain’s Costa Daurada (meaning ‘golden coast’ in Spanish), Sitges is well-known for its shiny shoreline contrasting magnificently with cool blue waters.
Sitges’ beaches are representative of a town priding itself on beach culture. The beaches are well maintained and offer numerous amenities (like showers and drink stalls) for extra comfort.
Even though Sitges is quite small, it has an abundance of time fillers, including the historic old town full of picturesque settings and culture. Made up of narrow and winding streets, the city centre has a number of impressive old buildings, many of which date back to pre-Civil War times (known as Sitges’ glory days).
However, the most sublime area is the one surrounding the church: the Església of Sitges. Situated to the left of Sitges’ long stretch of beach, it is a treasure trove of beautiful buildings, town squares and places of cultural interest, including the Gothic-style Plaça Ajuntament.
Distance from Barcelona: 35km