Of all Barcelona’s prize attractions, the one that probably draws the most tourists is the beach. Or the city´s seven beaches, to be more exact. Every summer, sun-worshippers from across the world flock to the city and take up a spot on the sand, hoping to catch a Mediterranean glow.
But beaches aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Sand sticks like super glue – it gets into every nook and cranny of your beach bag and you will find it days later in the bath tub, some shoes you didn’t even wear that day, on the dining room table, in the fridge… you get the idea! The salty sea water is also not to everyone’s taste, especially when you accidentally get a mouthful of it…or maybe it’s just the crowds that put you off.
If this is how you feel, or you just fancy a change of scenery, read on to find out about alternative spots in Barcelona where you can take advantage of the weather and sunbathe to your heart’s content.
Parc de la Ciutadella
This city-centre park is the perfect place for a spot of sunbathing. Lots of greenery makes it popular for recreational activities, and also just to sit and soak up the rays. Many locals gather here when the weather gets warm to enjoy the fresh air and sociable atmosphere. There’s always a lot going on, but you can normally find a nice quiet spot to settle down.
If you need a bit of shade at any point, there are plenty of trees dotted all over the beautiful gardens for you to shelter under. There are also loads of little avenues throughout the part where you can stretch your legs. You’ll also find the city zoo in this park, a boating lake, a fountain, several museums and the Catalan Parliament.
Opening times: Always
Address: Passeig de Pujades, 33, 08018 Barcelona, Spain
How to get there: metro: – Arc de Triomf. : 41, Pg de Lluís Companys-Parc de la Ciutadella
Montjuïc’s swimming pools
Making the effort to get to Montjuïc to catch those rays is definitely worth it –just wait till you see those panoramic views over the city. There are two public swimming pools located on Montjuïc (and also a private one open to members only).
The first one we’ll mention is the Piscina Municipal de Montjuïc, which is probably one of the most spectacular places to sunbathe in Barcelona. (In fact, it’s so spectacular that even Kylie Minogue used it as the location of her music video ‘Slow’.) The downsides are that there are no sun-beds or deck chairs for sunbathing, there’s a small fee to go inside, and the pool is only open during July and August.
If you’re are looking for a pool that’s open all year round, instead head to the Piscines Municipals Bernat Picornell, right across from the Olympic Stadium. Here you will find multiple pools, and many other facilities such as jacuzzis and saunas.
Piscina Municipal de Montjuïc
Opening times: Monday-Friday 11.00-18.30 (only in July and August)
Address: Avinguda de Miramar, 31, Barcelona 08038
How to get there: From Paral·lel metro station, take the funicular train up to Montjuïc (you can use your metro ticket for this journey).
Piscines Municipals Bernat Picornell
Opening times: times vary throughout the year – check out the official website.
Address: Avinguda de l’Estadi 30, Barcelona 08038
How to get there: From Parallel metro station, take the funicular train up to Montjuïc (you can use your metro ticket for this journey).
Hire a boat
What better way to sunbathe in style than gliding along the gistening waters of the Mediterranean, with the soft sea breeze waving gently over you? Hiring a boat offers complete tranquillity and time away from the bustling city, so it really is the ultimate relaxing experience. Lying on the deck of the boat is the perfect way to view and explore the beautiful coastline of Catalunya.
A number of companies in Barcelona offer the opportunity to rent different types of boat, such as sailing boats, catamarans, or motor yachts. You can choose to hire one with or without a skipper, so if you’re lacking experience, even more of an excuse to let someone else do the hard work. Try Business Yachtclub Barcelona for a special day out (even better, if you’re an Oh-Barcelona client you get a discount when you book with them). Otherwise have a wander down to one of the ports in Barcelona where you will be able to find many companies offering this type of excursion.
Many hotel terraces in Barcelona are open to the public, meaning you can enjoy a sunbathing session and facilities even if you’re not a guest. Most hotels have outdoor pools and quite often the terraces are up on the rooftop, offering fantastic views over the city. Most also have bars and restaurants, which is great if you’re feeling peckish after your dip.
Some of our favourites are the terrace of the uber-stylish W hotel, which overlooks Barcelona’s coastline and also plays host to parties with a range of international DJs. Alternatively, you could head to Claris Hotel, Ohla hotel or Hotel Arts, to name just a few.
Opening times: each hotel has different opening times, so it’s best to check their individual websites for more information.
Parc del Fòrum
At the northern end of Barcelona’s 4.5km stretch of sand you’ll find the modern neighbourhood of Diagonal Mar, where the Parc del Fòrum is located. This area holds the ‘Banys Forum’, a public bathing area on the coast. The seawater is enclosed in a protected swimming pool so, unlike the beaches, it’s a controlled environment – and there’s no sand in sight.
Although it’s not the most aesthetically appealing area, it does have lots of facilities, such as deck chairs, parasols, changing rooms, cloakrooms, public toilets, showers, bicycle parking, restaurants and refreshment stands. There’s also disabled assistance in getting in and out the water.
Otherwise, if you’d rather take the active approach to getting a tan, there are many sport activities available such as scuba-diving, water-skiing, kayaking, sailing, canoeing, parasailing, and boat trips. So all in all, this alternative type of beach has everything you need for a serious day in the sun.
Opening times: May – October
Address: Avinguda Diagonal, 1, Barcelona, Spain, 08019
How to get there: metro – El Maresme/Fòrum. : 7, 36, 41 and 141. Tram – Selva de Mar or El Maresme.