Best Beaches outside Barcelona - lovely beaches north and south of Barcelona

Best beaches near Barcelona

Best Beaches outside Barcelona

Updated June 2024

Barcelona has nice city beaches, which you can read about here, but there are also many amazing beaches outside Barcelona to the north and south of the city. Beaches outside Barcelona are quite easy and cheap to reach by train or bus. Find the best beaches near Barcelona to the north and south of Barcelona - and how to get to them.

Beaches north of Barcelona

The beaches of Barcelona can be crowded in the summer. If you want more space, wider beaches, nicer sand and clearer water for swimming, then head for the beaches outside Barcelona. The coastline of Catalunya has 114 beaches with the blue flag distinction of quality. Barcelona has around 24 blue flag beaches. To the south Tarragona has 38 blue flag beaches and to the north Girona has 28 blue flag beaches. From Barcelona it is easy and quite cheap to go by train to some very nice beaches on the Maresme coast in comfortable air-conditioned trains that go north up the Catalunya coast to lovely beaches. The railway tracks area along on the beach front, so you will have lovely sea views on the train journey. The coastal trains from Barcelona to the beaches outside Barcelona are modern, safe and air-conditioned. The coast north of Barcelona is called 'El Maresme' and is between Barcelona and the Costa Brava.

Montgat Nord station

To get to the Maresme beaches north of Barcelona by train get on the Renfe Rodalies R1 train line, in the direction of end station Maçenet-Massanes, from the train station Catalunya which is under Placa de Catalunya. The steps down to the station are opposite the big department store building "El Corte Ingles". You can also catch the R1 train line  from other Barcelona stations including Sants, Arc de Triomf or Clot.

Renfe is the name of the national Spanish railway company. 'Rodalies' is the Catalan language name for regional trains. You will also sometimes see the name 'Cercanias' - this is the Spanish name for regional trains.  Look for signs at the station with a red circle and C symbol to find Rodalies trains. Ticket prices depend on how far you are going - there are six zones. It is not very expensive - under 10 euros for a return ticket for most of the beaches north of Barcelona mentioned below. A return ticket is called "ida y vuelta".

You can buy Rodalies train tickets at the station touch screen ticket machines or at the ticket booths There is a different price for each station, so you must decide where you want to get off, before you buy your ticket. For a single ticket choose ida and for a return ticket choose ida y vuelta. The train line for beaches north of Barcelona is R1 blue line trains in the direction Maçenet-Massanes. There are many trains that only go from Barcelona to Mataró and which leave every 10 -12 minutes, so if you pick a beach before Matero, you won’t have to wait long for a train. If you want to go further north than Mataró, then make sure to take the trains to BLANES, or to the end station Maçenet-Massanes.

Note: For safety reasons, as of December 2023 electric scooters, unicycles or similar vehicles are not allowed on these trains. This does not apply to vehicles for people with reduced mobility, or to electric bicycles.

Tickets Renfe cercanias
Website trains Renfe cercanias
PDF map Barcelona Rodalies train network

stations for beaches north barcelona

Best beaches north of Barcelona

If you don’t have much time and just want to get out of the city, then take the train to the closest beaches to the north of Barcelona. The beach at Badalona is long and nice with good facilities and a pier, but a bit like Barcelona, Badalona is also an urban beach. Badalona is Spain’s 4th largest city, so its beach can be crowded.

A quieter and nicer beach outside Barcelona and about 25 minutes by train is to station Montgat Nord. Tip: Don't get off at Montgat station - which is the station before Montgat Nord - that gives you a longer walk to the beach. Instead, get off at station Montgat Nord where you are a few steps from the beach (see photo below).

Continuing up the coast by train after Montgat, there are many great beaches next to the railway line. We can recommend them all for being clean, local and most have little beach cafes called “chiringuitos” which are often more cozy than the chiringuitos on Barcelona's urban beaches. 

Montgat Nord beach

Montgat beach north of Barcelona

Montgat beach is 25 minutes north of Barcelona by train on the R1 Rodalies line from Plaça Catalunya or Arc de Triomf. This is the first beach to the north of Barcelona and Badalona cities. From Montgat you can see Barcelona in the distance so you really get the feeling that you have left the city and found a nicer, quieter beach with clean water. It should be around 8 euro for a return train ticket. Montgat Nord has a nice beach but can still get crowded on weekends in the summer. But again, you’ll find mostly locals and both the sand and sea are cleaner than the Barcelona's city beaches.

Caldes D’Estrach beach

beach Caldes D'Estrac

Caldes D’Estrach has a nice beach area with twenty charming modernist villas lining the beach road called Passeig dels Anglesos. These impressive villas definately add a touch of class to the beach scenery. They were built during Barcelona’s modernist heyday in the late 19th century, when the upper classes started spending holidays in Caldes D'Estrac. Some of the villas were subsequently used as embassies during the civil war and today they are private residences or businesses. The village of Caldes D'Estrach is quaint village (once you have passed the highway and railway) and there are a couple of nice things to do to fill an afternoon. One is the thermal baths where you can enjoy all kinds of massages - and the other is to visit the Palau Foundation art museum in Caldes D'Estrac, which has a small but interesting collection of Picasso notes and sketches and some works by Catalan painters. Next to the museum you can find the entrance to the 'Parc de can Muntanyà' which is a lovely hill park with nice views of the surroundings and the sea. If you go south the Caldes D'Estrach beaches merge into the beaches at Sant Vicenç de Montalt. At Sant Vicenç de Montalt you can park on the beach front road and there are some nice beach bars.


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Sant Pol de Mar beach

beach Sant Pol de Mar north of Barcelona

Lovely beaches with rocky outcrops gives the beach at Sant Pol a sort of "Costa Brava" feel. San Pol de Mar is a nice little village on the beach with fishermans' cottages surrounding the 11th-century church of Sant Pau which also has sections that date back to 6th and 10th centuries. 

Stations / beaches north of Barcelona

The travel times below are for trains that stop at all the stations.

Badalona - nice beach with wooden pier
Montgat Nord - 25 min from Pl Catalunya 
Ocata - big wide beach
Caldes d'Estrac  - 50 minutes from Pl Catalunya - nice beach & village
Arenys de Mar - nice beach
Canet de Mar - nice beach
Sant Pol de Mar 1 hour 5 mins from Pl Catalunya) very nice beach
Calella - resort town - lively beach

Costa Brava beaches north of Barcelona

Costa Brava beaches

Costa Brava beaches. Some of the best beaches near Barcelona are the famous beaches of the Costa Brava coast. But there are no trains to the Costa Brava beaches. You can take buses from Barcelona to most Costa Brava beach resorts and towns from Barcelona, but the journey time is quite long as the Costa Brava coastline starts 1 hour from Barcelona and is 250km long in total stretching all the way to France. Once you get to a Costa Brava town by bus, then you might have to take extra taxis or buses to get to the nicest beaches and coves. If you want to spend a lovely day at Costa Brava but not be on the beach, then consider a  Costa Brava tour from Barcelona by, who organise small group day tours from Barcelona. They will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the Costa Brava and look after you all day.

Best beaches to South of Barcelona

The most popular beaches and closest beaches south of Barcelona by train are Gavamar, Castelldefels, Garraf and Sitges.


The train line for beaches south of Barcelona is R2 or R2 Sud (R2 South) Take these lines from stations Barcelona Sants, Barcelona Passeig de Gracia or Barcelona Estacio de Francia.

Gavamar beach

gavamar beach near barcelona

Gavamar. Bus only. Parking difficult at weekend. Gavà Mar is about 15 km south of Barcelona just past the airport and is about 20 minutes from Barcelona by car or 40 minutes by public bus. The beach at Gavá Mar starts from near the Barcelona airport and extends to join the beach at Castelldefels. See below. If you come by car be early because there is limited parking near the beach at Gavá Mar.  There is no railway station at Gavá Mar, but take bus L95 from bus stop on street Ronda de la Universitat next by Plaza Catalunya, which gets you there in about 40 minutes. Or take a taxi which will cost about €30 each way. Get off anywhere on Av. Europa before or after street Avinguda del Mar and then it's few minutes walk down to the beach. 

Castelldefels beach

castelldefels beach near Barcelona

Castelldefels is 18km south of Barcelona. Castelldefels has two railways stations, which are Castelldefels (town) and Castelldefels-Platja (beach) Both are on the Renfe railway R-2 line. Get off at station Platja de Castelldefels and you will find almost 5km of natural beach with nice sand. There are many beach bars (chiringuitos) and the beach is fully equipped with lifeguards and facilities all summer. If you are coming by car to Castelldefels then take the autopista C-32 and exit on sign Castelldefels Sud - or take the autopista C-31 and exit on sign Castelldefels Platja.  It is not recommended to ride small scooters of 50cc or 120cc on the autopistas to Castelldefels beach and there are no other roads along the coast because of the airport, so the bus or train is recommended. Parking can be a problem at the weekend. Castelldefels beach is a popular place for sailing, windsurfing and kitesurfing. April and May are the best months for kitesurfing on Castelldefels beach. Kitesurfing is generally not permitted in the summer from June to end September on Gava or on Castelldefell beach. There is a small kitesurf zone for experts only in Castelldefels in the summer.

El Garraf beach

Garraf beach near Barcelona

Garraf beach Easy to reach on the Renfe railway R-2 line. Garraf is a fishing village about 25km south of Barcelona on the old coast road between Castelldefels and Sitges. Garraf beach is at the foot of La Falconera cliffs. The beach itself is lined with lovely old fisherman's huts, which are now used as beach huts. There is also an hotel right on the beach and a great restaurant with sea views. By car take the C31 coast road from Castelldefels towards Sitges and Garraf is just at the beginning. Get there early because parking can be very difficult. Garraf is also home to Bodegas Güell (Wine Cellars Güell) by famous architect Antoni Gaudí (Bodegas Güell is not open to public). 

Sitges beaches

Sitges beaches near Barcelona

Sitges is a lovely seaside resort about 39 km south of Barcelona. It has 17 small beaches and coves including some gay beaches and nudist beaches. The Sitges beaches are shallower than the beaches on the Costa Brava and Barcelona, so perhaps a little more fun and safer for small children. The water quality is excellent and there are many nice cafes and restaurants and facilities on the Sitges beaches

Visitor tip: Please keep the beach and Mediterranean sea clean - do not leave plastic waste or litter on the beach.

Best books to read in Barcelona

Best hotels on beaches outside Barcelona

There are some wonderful beachfront hotels on beaches north and south of Barcelona.

AC Hotel Gava Mar Marriott -  Gavamar beachfront - close to Barcelona airport
Hotel Boutique dONNA 4* Superior - boutique hotel in Castelldefels beachfront- 25 mins from Barcelona
Platjador Sitges - cute hotel on Sitges beachfront
Hotel Subur Maritim - lovely hotel on Sitges beachfront
Le Meridien Ra Beach Hotel and Spa - amazing beachfront hotel in El Vendrell
Hotel Eden Roc - romantic sea front hotel on Costa Brava

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 June 2024 10:15