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Barcelona Village

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Beaches

Barcelona is a great city with beaches what more could you ask?

Although Barcelona has beaches, many are artificially created and are increasingly relying on sea defences to stop them being washed away by the spring storms.

Having said that the beaches extend for around 5-6km and provide a huge outlet for the city during the summer months when they can become absolutely crowded. During the summer, bars spring up on the beaches as do the deck chairs for rent.

Unfortunately as city beaches, they do get dirty and the water can get very mucky both from human litter and from city outflows - avoid swimming for 24 hours after a storm or heavy rain as the storm sewers drain straight into the sea. You will notice that even without the rain, the water is always dirtiest in the evening at the weekends. During the summer you should also look out for jellyfish. This year they have started early with relatively large numbers already in May.

The precise beach you go to will depend on what you are looking for. If you like the old fashioned hipness and access to off-beach bars, then Barcelonetta is the best best.

The next beaches along underneath Hospital de Mar are popular, particularly the swimming area just by the boat-side entrance to Port Olimpic. But the sand here is a little stoney and very dusty.

Icaria beach Our favourite beach is the one closest to us - Icaria - from the beach volleyball and foot volleyball (the best area if you are competitive in these sports) it marks the start of the 4 northern beaches of the city. The sand is finer here and the water a little more sheltered. In general though the water in Icaria can get very dirty at the end of a hot summer weekend which combined with jellyfish means you have to be careful about swimming.

Bogotell is popular with surfers, but is suffering from storm damage more than the other beaches. It has the best water in the city by far. Behind Bogotell are the parks and gardens of Poble Nou, so if you are looking for the beach plus something, these may be a little off the beaten track, but they are popular with locals. It's more open than Icaria and the water tends to be cleaner.

If you are someone who likes to take your clothes off, Mar Bella is the city's nudist beach. Most are hidden from public behind an earthern mound, but you will also see naked bathers if you just walk along the promenarde by Mar Bella sports centre, so if flacid men offend you, don't take this walk.

Beyond Mar Bella are the most recently developed beach areas and, being the furthest from the city these are usually the quietest, although if you are driving these have the best access by car.

The alternative to the beach is to go down to the Forum where there is a free sea swimming area designed like a lido. If you like snorkling this would an area to go as the swimming area forms a natural reef and has lots of fish and marine life. Unfortunately, although it is an enclosed swimming area it is also quite deep (around 1.50m) at the shallowest so we didn't think it was very suitable for smaller children.

Now the locals tend to get quite snooty about the beaches. If you really want to go to a beach, then head to the Costa Brava where the water is much cleaner and clearer and the beaches nestle besides traditional fishing villages. If you just want a good sandy beach then south to Costa Dorada for its extremely long soft golden sea front.


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