The 10 best beaches in Catalonia

Catalonia is one of the most perfect places to visit for those dreaming of escaping to the coast. From the fine, golden sands of the Costa Dorada to the rocky, pebbled shores of the Costa Brava, plus some picturesque little towns in between, Catalonia is a beach-lovers paradise. Each of the region’s beaches has its own characteristics, whether a quaint cove or a seemingly endless stretch of sand, meaning you’re sure to find a platja to suit you perfectly. To narrow it down, take a look at these ten top beaches and beach towns to visit in Catalonia.

Calella de Palafrugell, Costa Brava

Situated north of Barcelona on the Costa Brava, Calella de Palafrugell is the ultimate destination for a relaxing getaway. The biggest beach in this area, Canadell, measures about 650 metres. There are about half a dozen beaches to choose from, along with pretty, colourful buildings housing cafés and shops. The fishing boats floating a little out to sea give this place an extra Mediterranean feel.

Barceloneta Beach, Barcelona

For those of you wanting to pick a beach close to Barcelona, there’s no better choice than Barceloneta. Located a short walk from the city centre, Barceloneta is one of the most popular areas to head during the summer months and is known as one of the best urban beaches in the world.

It is dotted with cool chiringuito beach bars for a refreshing break from the heat, has a lively atmosphere both day and night, plus a lifeguard, meaning it’s a great place for young holiday-goers and families alike.

Aiguablava, Costa Brava

Also located on Costa Brava, in the town of Begur, this beach is known for its pristine, turquoise waters. The cove has a secluded feel, thanks to the tall cliffs on either side, making it ideal for couples or those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Barcelona for a day or two. Many writers and artists have been inspired by Aiguablava in their works, so it truly must be something special!

Port Lligat Beach, Cadaqués, Costa Brava

Cadaqués is the quintessential Mediterranean fishing village. As soon as you arrive you’ll fall instantly in love with it. It may be the beautiful coves, cute shops, spectacular views, or all of the above that will win you over. The Port Lligat beach is an ideal spot for a day trip for an authentic Costa Brava experience. Even the artist Salvador Dalí enjoyed staying in this area so much he made his home here and there is now a museum where his house once was.


Altafulla Beach, Costa Dorada

Altafulla, a popular beach on the Costa Dorada, south of Barcelona, is over a kilometre long, providing plenty of space for towels, parasols, beach balls – the works. This is a great family spot and offers plenty to do in the way of activities. A main attraction of the town with its beautiful whitewashed buildings has always been sailing, and Spanish as well as international sailing championships are often hosted here.

Tossa de Mar, Costa Brava

Located on Costa Brava, this is definitely a favourite for holidaymakers. The area is made up of big beaches such as the Platja Gran as well as smaller, hidden treasures such as El Colodar. The beautiful blue Mediterranean is especially striking here, making for a breathtaking view from atop the medieval walled town of Vila Vella.

Cala de Sant Francesc, Costa Brava

Somewhat hidden, Cala Sant Francesc on the Costa Brava is perfect for a day away from boisterous crowds. As with most of the beaches along the Costa Brava, the azure waters of Cala Sant Francesc make for the perfect diving spot, with plenty of marine life to see. It’s also nicknamed ‘Cala Bona’ or ‘Pretty Cove’, and it’s easy to see why.

Garraf, just outside Barcelona, near Sitges

Garraf, situated about 20km from Barcelona, is the perfect place for a quick escape. The beach here is dotted with little huts, adding a unique touch to another of the region’s fishing villages. This area is also popular with the surf crowd outside the summer months. Just a short train ride from the Catalan capital, a day at the Garraf beach is perfect for some R&R without straying too far from the big city.

Sant Pol de Mar, Maresme

Just an hour north of Barcelona by train, Sant Pol de Mar is a beautiful little seaside village in the Maresme region. The beach itself is surrounded by rocky cliffs and green hills, creating an amazing backdrop. There is a church in the village dating back to the 11th century (with some parts dating all the way back to the 6th and 10th centuries) which is well worth a visit. If you’re a fan of fine dining, don’t miss a bite to eat at the Michelin starred Restaurant Sant Pau.

Ocata, Maresme

A favorite among locals, Ocata is also a great option for a day trip from Barcelona. The calm waters and multitude of activities, such as sailing and volleyball, create a perfect atmosphere for a family trip. You can grab a bite to eat at one of the beach bars and spend the day here, returning to Barcelona in just 30 minutes by train. Another good choice for families!

Sandra Roig is Marketing Director at Apartment Barcelona.

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