Barcelona is famously a world-class city with a beach, giving it the edge on a number of other European destinations. But why limit yourself to just one beach while enjoying your holiday to Barcelona? Both the Costa Dorada and Costa Brava lie within striking distance of the city and feature a number of fantastic beach locations.

Read on to find out how you could incorporate one, two or even more of these wonderful beaches into your holiday plans.

Costa Dorada

Sitges

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Located less than an hour’s drive from Barcelona along the coast to the southwest, Sitges is a charming town featuring a number of beaches. Set against the mountain backdrop of the Garraf National Park and with the whole of the Mediterranean stretching out in front, it is a picture postcard scene. Factor in the seafront promenade and a wide selection of restaurants and bars and Sitges has everything you could want from a coastal destination.

If you’d prefer not to drive, you can catch a train from the Franca, Passeig de Gracia or Sants stations in Barcelona. Alternatively, buses leave from Plaza de Espana and Ronda Universitat throughout the day.

Salou

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Further along the Costa Dorada you’ll find the resort town of Salou, which takes less than an hour and a half to drive to. The large Llevant and Ponent beaches are the most famous and therefore busiest in the area, meaning there’s plenty to keep you entertained. If you’re looking to escape the masses, then there are plenty of small coves to discover and relax at almost on your own. A costal path links many of the beaches, making it perfect for a stroll and offering a magnificent vantage point to watch the sunset.

Trains to Salou depart from Barcelona Sants Station, while buses leave from the stop outside the Gaudi masterpiece of Casa Batllo on Passeig de Gracia.

PortAventura

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If you have been thinking of a nice relaxing beach setting, then heading to a theme park may not be what you had in mind. The great thing about PortAventura, however, is that it has everything, including a beach. That may mean that you can really kick back at the Bahamas Beach lagoon inside the resort, while the kids go on all the rides. Alternatively, combine a trip to PortAventura with some time at Salou, which is just a 15-minute drive away.

The train station at PortAventura enables holidaymakers to connect with Barcelona or Salou.

Cambrils

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Drive for an hour and a half along the Costa Dorada and you’ll get to the town of Cambrils, which has slowly grown up from being a humble fishing village. Despite having more amenities these days, it has kept its old town allure, which can be seen whether you wander along the promenade, down a side street or through the regular market stalls. The main draw is the seven kilometres of sand, which is home to no fewer than nine Blue Flag beaches. There are watersports available, but lounging under a parasol and grabbing a bite to eat from a chiringuito right on the beach is far from frowned upon.

Trains to Cambrils leave from Barcelona Sants, Passeig de Gracia and Franca stations.

La Pineda

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More chilled out than Salou, but livelier than Cambrils, La Pineda could be the perfect beach destination on the Costa Dorada if you’re looking to hit the middle ground. You can drive to it in around an hour and a half and find three stunning beaches waiting for you when you arrive. Calm waters and Blue Flag certification make them ideal for swimming, while a family-friendly vibe tops off the reasons for its charm.

You can board a train from Barcelona Sants, Passeig de Gracia and Franca stations to La Pineda or get a bus straight from the airport.

Costa Brava

Lloret de Mar

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The Castle of Sant Joan overlooks the beautiful Mediterranean beaches of Lloret de Mar from its hilltop position. From there it’s hard to see just how lively the resort is, but Lloret de Mar is a very popular beach destination. It must be a combination of the crystal clear water, golden sand, wide promenade and plenty of bars and restaurants to keep everyone fed and watered. The Santa Clotilde Gardens, which occupy a spot on the cliff above the beach add a sense of Renaissance Italian style to the setting. Reaching Lloret de Mar from Barcelona by car takes just over an hour.

Trains from Barcelona Sants and Plaza Catalunya stations go as far as Blanes, which is eight kilometres from Lloret de Mar. From there, you can catch one of the regular buses. Otherwise, you can take the bus the whole way, straight from the airport or from
Barcelona Nord Bus Station.

Malgrat de Mar

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Along the seafront at Malgrat de Mar you’ll find an enchanting mix of old buildings and modern hotels, providing interest and amenities. Wandering along the promenade that connects its four kilometres of beaches, you’ll be presented with three choices. You can decide to chill out with many fellow holidaymakers at the most popular stretch of sand; head to the beach that is favoured by watersports enthusiasts; or go for a dip in Blue Flag-certified waters. Once you’ve tired of beach activities, refuel at any one of the bars and restaurants with a sea view.

Drive from Barcelona on toll roads in just under an hour or take the more scenic route without fees and add an extra 15 minutes or so to your journey. If travelling by public transport, then trains depart from Plaza Catalunya in Barcelona and buses go from the Barcelona Nord Bus Station.

Santa Susanna

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You might not have heard of Santa Susanna, because it is a relatively low-key town, which doesn’t attract large numbers of tourists. This can be especially alluring if you’re keen to have a quiet time with family less than an hour’s drive away from Barcelona. The beaches are backed by a promenade and the restaurants are generally family-run and relaxed, so you’ll feel at home in this hassle-free corner of the Costa Brava.

Trains to Santa Susana leave from Barcelona Sants and buses depart from Barcelona Nord Bus Station.

Tossa de Mar

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While the two large, sandy beaches at Tossa de Mar are a huge attraction, the surrounding area helps to add to its charm. There’s a traditional old town, ancient castle and beautiful countryside if you want to take a break from the beach. Playa Gran, which is the biggest stretch of sand, offers wonderful views of the old fortification, as well as a sheltered swimming area within a horseshoe-shaped bay. Bars and cafes along the prom mean you have everything you could need within striking distance, and all at under an hour and a half by car from Barcelona.

Trains also carry passengers to Tossa de Mar from Barcelona Sants and Franca stations. Buses depart from Barcelona Nord Bus Station, as well as from Sants.

Calella

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Whether you want a chilled out traditional trip or some lively nightlife, Calella has it all, but most importantly it has plenty of sand, sea and sun. With three beaches all within a three-kilometre stretch, you find the perfect spot for you on Garbi, Les Roques or Gran Playa. They’re all Blue Flag accredited and lie just 30 minutes from Barcelona if you’re driving. Venture a further 25 minutes and you’ll get to the peaceful Cala Treumal, which is fringed with pine trees.

Trains from Barcelona to Calella depart from Plaza Catalunya and buses go from Barcelona Nord Bus Station and Numancia-Avenida Roma.

Having started her travelling career at the age of five on a trip to Africa with her family, Emma has gone on to visit more than 45 countries across the globe. Highlights have included taking part in a tango lesson in Argentina, seeing Victoria Falls from both sides and getting lost among the streets of the Albaicin in Granada.

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