8 Beautiful, Must-Visit Beaches Near Barcelona

There is no shortage of excellent beaches near Barcelona. Here are the best beaches within two hours of Barcelona to visit on your next trip to Spain.

Castle next to beach in Catalonia

Castell de Tamarit near Tarragona, Costa Dorada, Catalonia in Spain

Photo by LianeM/Shutterstock

Most visitors to Barcelona know its urban beaches, but outside the city is where you’ll really experience all the Catalan coast has to offer. Brimming with appealing seaside towns and spectacular Blue Flag beaches, this stretch of the Mediterranean runs some 360 miles, from the French border to the Ebro Delta in the south. Fortunately, much of the coast is easily accessible by train from the city, which means you can be sunning on the golden sand beaches of the Costa Dorada or the Maresme in under an hour. And while the Costa Brava takes more effort—and a car—to reach, it’s worth it for miles of pristine shoreline and all its rugged cliffs and hidden coves. Here, we’ve rounded up the best beaches near Barcelona to visit on your next trip to Spain.

Playa de Altafulla

Best for: sandy adventures combined with a big dose of history
Location: Around 50 miles southwest of Barcelona | Google Maps

How many beaches have you visited that are home to a full-fledged medieval castle? Lording over this wide, ¾-mile-long strip of sand on the Costa Dorada is Castell de Tamarit, an impressive walled fortress that dates back to the 12th century. Altafulla Beach also has a charming promenade, Botigues de Mar, where a jumble of 18th-century warehouses have been converted into holiday apartments and delightful cafés and restaurants with beachfront terraces. Reserve a table at Voramar Cal Vitali, serving top-notch paella and fideuá (similar to paella but made with noodles instead of rice), coupled with gorgeous Mediterranean views.

How to get there

Trains to Altafulla/Tamarit station leave from several stations in Barcelona (including Sants and Estacio De França) on Renfe. The journey is about 75 minutes.

A painter working at an easel on otherwise empty Sa Tuna beach near Barcelona in Begur

Sa Tuna is one of the three main beaches in Begur.

Photo by Pawel Kazmierczak/Shutterstock


  • Best for: A beach/town day trip
  • Location: 80 miles northeast of Barcelona | Google Maps

Aiguablava, to the south of the town of Begur, features wonderfully soft white sand and turquoise waters framed by hills topped by pine trees. Begur itself is one of the Costa Brava’s most beautiful towns, a labyrinth of steep, narrow, stone streets lined with grand colonial mansions and crowned by a crumbling medieval castle with spectacular Mediterranean vistas.

It’s a long walk from the city center to the sea, so you’ll need to drive, or from Plaça Forgas, near the main tourist office, hop on the shuttle bus.

Distant view of Sa Tuna beach, with small buildings in background

Don’t forget your flippers.

Photo by Pawel Kazmierczak / Shutterstock

Sa Tuna

  • Best for: Discovering underwater creatures
  • Location: 80 miles northeast of Barcelona | Google Maps

Another beach close to Begur, Sa Tuna is set in a delightful little cove and offers clear water perfect for snorkeling. The calm bay is full of small boats and the surrounding hills are dotted with old fishermen’s houses. (Sa Riera is a third beach option near Begur, a more traditional stretch of sand offering several restaurants in close proximity.)

The shuttle bus from the town services all three beaches. If the beaches are too crowded, stroll the Camí de Ronda, a path skirting the coast, and climb down to some of the idyllic coves along the rocky shore.

How to get there

The drive by car from Barcelona to Begur takes around one hour and 45 minutes, depending on traffic.

The arched centuries-old colonnades of Port Bo Beach

The centuries-old colonnades of Port Bo Beach

Photo by funkyfrogstock/Shutterstock

Port Bo

  • Best for: A day of swimming followed by a world-class supper
  • Location: 80 miles northeast of Barcelona | Google Maps

Filled with upscale restaurants, bars, and hotels catering to well-heeled Catalan tourists, the old fishing village turned seaside playground of Calella de Palafrugell is among Costa Brava’s swankiest destinations. (Don’t confuse it with Calella, a big, bustling resort town in Maresme.) Wander through its stone lanes flanked by rustic whitewashed houses, then head down to Port Bo Beach and stroll beneath the centuries-old colonnades, featuring vaulted, wood-beamed ceilings. Calm waters await, ripe for paddleboarding (or simply floating, looking at the sky, and dreaming about living here).

Empty El Golfet beach viewed from water level

El Golfet is harder to reach but rewards those who make the effort.

Photo by Shutterstock

El Golfet

  • Best for: A sliver of sand worth the extra effort to reach
  • Location: 80 miles northeast of Barcelona | Google Maps

Several pretty beaches front the town of Calella de Palafrugell, but for a wilder experience, drive five minutes to El Golfet, a sublime stretch of golden sand and shallow blue waters surrounded by rocky cliffs—reachable only by a steep flight of stairs from the surrounding streets.

How to get there

The drive to Calella de Palafrugell from Barcelona takes about one hour and 40 minutes, depending on traffic.

Half a dozen paddleboarders in green water off Playa de Ocata, with beach in distance

Playa de Ocata is only 10 miles northeast of Barcelona but feels worlds away.

Photo by Bigflick/Shutterstock

Playa de Ocata

  • Best for: Finding space
  • Location: 10 miles northeast of the city| Google Maps

Although it’s just 10 miles northeast of Barcelona, Ocata is far from the city’s perpetually crowded urban beaches. While much of the Maresme shoreline can be narrow, this wonderfully broad, 1.5-mile-long swath of sand ensures you can always find a spot for your towel—and maintain a healthy distance from fellow sun-worshippers. Pop by one of Ocata’s many chiringuitos (beach bars) for drinks and tapas with your toes in the sand, or take a 15-minute walk to the El Masnou marina, home to dozens of restaurants.

How to get there

Trains to Ocata station leave from several stations in Barcelona (including Sants and Plaça de Catalunya) on the Renfe Rodalies R1 line. The ride takes approximately 30 minutes.

Empty brown bench overlooking a stretch of sand near the beach of Sant Pol de Mar

Overlooking a coveted stretch of sand near Sant Pol de Mar

Photo by E.T. Ennelin/Shutterstock

Playa El Morer

  • Best for: That perfect vacation Instagram shot
  • Location: 100 miles northest of Barcelona| Google Maps

Every corner of the fishing village of Sant Pol de Mar, on the Maresme coast, is tailor-made for Instagram: winding stone streets dotted with ancient olive trees, whitewashed houses with flower-filled windows, richly detailed modernista buildings. But it’s the beaches here that truly shine—stretches of fine golden sand framed by dramatic rocky outcroppings and impossibly blue Mediterranean waters. Playa de les Barques, so named because of the many fishing boats along its shore, is mere steps from the train station and thus tends to be busy. Instead, head slightly north and stake out your patch of sand on the quieter Playa El Morer.

How to get there

Trains to Sant Pol de Mar station depart from several stations in Barcelona (including Sants and Plaça de Catalunya) on the Renfe Rodalies R1. The journey is about one hour.

People strolling promenade near Sitges beach, with palm trees

Because of its proximity to Barcelona, Sitges can get crowded on weekends and holidays.

Photo by Madrugada Verde/Shutterstock


  • Best for: A little strolling and shopping with your swimming
  • Location: 24 miles southwest of Barcelona| Google Maps

First, there’s the sheer beauty of Sitges, with its maze of hilly, cobblestone streets lined with whitewashed villas and fanciful art nouveau buildings. Then there are its chic boutiques and galleries, stylish restaurants, classic tavernas, and lively gay bars. Toss in several great beaches like the lively San Sebastian Beach and family favorite Platja de la Fragata—plus a nearly two-mile-long promenade ideal for seafront strolling and biking—and you’ll understand why this coastal town is so wildly popular. Just a half-hour by train from Barcelona, it can get crazy crowded on summer weekends and holidays, so opt for a weekday or off-season visit for a more tranquil vibe.

How to get there

Trains to Sitges depart from several stations in Barcelona (including Sants and Plaça de Catalunya) on the Renfe Rodalies R2 line. The ride takes approximately 30 minutes.

This article was originally published in June 2021. It was updated on August 11, 2023 with new information. Tim Chester contributed reporting.

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