BREAKING NEWS : Allen County Councilman Joel Benz plans to accept TRAA executive director position Full Story

Fall in love with Barcelona

Not only is Barcelona blessed with a great food scene, stunning architecture and superb nightlife, it has beaches.

Posted: May 30, 2018 7:17 PM
Updated: May 30, 2018 7:30 PM

Even without its beaches, Barcelona would be one of Europe's coolest destinations thanks to its groundbreaking food scene, unique architecture and legendary nightlife.

But the cherry on the sundae is the three-mile strip of nearly continuous golden sand, which is so wired into its heart that it's like the entire city's backyard.

Much of the seafront buzzes with a carnival atmosphere year-round, with hawkers tiptoeing around sunbathers to sell cold cans of beer, beach blankets and chintzy trinkets.

Along the pedestrian promenade that runs the length of the waterfront, musicians, street performers and sand sculptors compete for tips among a constant stream of strolling tourists and locals to this part of Spain.

Weaving around them are bikes, Segways, skateboards, motorized scooters, rickshaws, rollerbladers and every other wheeled contraption imaginable.

The most popular beaches are only a 15-minute walk from the tangled alleys of Barcelona's oldest area, and the quieter ones to the north are easily accessible by public transit.

Meanwhile, there's something for every type of beachgoer, from the partying weekender to the family man to the bronzed sunbather looking to relax with a book.

Here's your guide on how to find your kind of beach in the capital of Catalonia:

Barceloneta and Sant Miguel

No matter which beach you choose, the Mediterranean sun shines down about 300 days a year, so you'll always have at least some company. The beaches really start to come alive in April, when dozens of chiringuitos, or beach bars, sprout up along the coastline, and vendors begin renting out umbrellas, lounge chairs and sports equipment.

Another bonus: A public bathroom or outdoor shower is never that far away.

Barceloneta Beach is at the heart of it all, and here's where to come if you're in the mood for a party.

Walk from its namesake metro stop down Passeig Joan de Borbo, past the superyachts docked in the marina, and you'll arrive at Sant Miguel. It won't take long to notice the upbeat music playing among sunburned tourists who've spent a bit too much time flagging down vendors for watered-down mojitos.

Barceloneta is to the north of the 30-foot stack of steel and glass cubes, a statue called The Wounded Shooting Star.

Both beaches are part of one continuous strip, but the top half takes its name from the adjacent neighborhood. It's traditionally been a fishing quarter but now struggles with an overflow of short-term rentals, which explains both the crowds and the blue and yellow flags signaling neighborhood pride that dangle from almost half the balconies.

That bit of tension, however, is hardly evident out on the beach, which maintains a laid-back vibe despite the tourist throng.

The action continues well into the night, when groups of young locals come for an affordable night of hanging out under the floodlights strumming guitars and drinking beers.

Sant Sebastía

This beach is close to the center of action -- just to the south of Barceloneta near the sail-shaped W Hotel -- but it's generally quiet enough to still hear the light shoosh of small, lapping waves over the bicycle bells ringing on the promenade.

Sant Sebastía is one of the oldest swimming areas in the city, and the Club Natació here began hosting dips for the elite in the early 20th century. That history, plus the convenience to the center of town, draws an older crowd and families in the morning. By the time the sun hits its afternoon peak, the crowd gives way to a more boisterous gathering.

The beach is also home to the Pukas Surf School, evidence that on days after a storm, surfers come to vie for modest waves. On calmer days paddleboarders and windsurfers dot the horizon. (Avenida Zurriola 24, 20002 San Sebastian; +34 943 320 068)

Be aware that it's clothing-optional, so you'll see your fair share of nude sunbathers who don't care at all about hundreds of people walking within ogling distance.

In fact, Sant Sebastía has always been liberal and caused quite a stir when it became the first bathing area in the city to allow men and women to swim together.

Somorrostro

This area sits between the outdoor exercise pier that marks the north end of Barceloneta and the twin towers of the Port Olympic. Until the mid-20th century Sorromostro hosted a shantytown that housed up to 15,000 people, but now it's home to the coastline's fanciest restaurants.

A fashionable crowd lounges on plush sun chairs underneath Frank Gehry's lacy, bronze fish statue, nibbling elevated takes on traditional tapas and sipping sangria (try it with sparkling cava instead of wine). Just make sure to put a shirt and shoes back on before trying to get in.

For those who prefer to pass on the pricey cocktails, there are still drink and ice-cream kiosks, and the marina at the north end of Somorrostro beach has a number of restaurants offering more bang for your buck.

There are a couple of fast-food chains and a number of reasonable Middle Eastern options to provide some variety to your Spanish vacation diet of cured ham, olives and fried croquettes.

Nova Icaria and Bogatell

It's hard to believe that these beaches were an industrial wasteland before the city tore up seaside train tracks ahead of the 1992 Olympics.

Sand was imported from Egypt, and a center of beach sports was born. Each summer, the city sets up dozens of volleyball courts along this stretch north of the Port Olímpic but some stay year-round at Nova Icaria. They're free to use, so come early or be prepared to wait. On weekend mornings, you'll also find lessons available.

The line of chiringuitos extends to both beaches, but they also host a handful of proper restaurants along the Passeig de Maritim, where local families come to share a paella on Sunday afternoons.

At the north end of Bogatell, the Nautica Base Barcelona offers lessons for windsurfing, kitesurfing and sailing plus kayaks and catamarans that shove off from a pier into open water, past all the swimmers. (Av. del Litoral, s/n, 08005 Barcelona; +34 932 21 04 32)

There's also a no-frills cafe that's good value compared to many of the other beachfront places.

The ease of access to two more Metro stops and the variety of activities make these a good option for families without a car, or for a vacationer looking for a more relaxed atmosphere than the packed beaches to the south.

Mar Bella

From Mar Bella and farther north, things tend to be even quieter, cleaner, and with fewer vendors walking the beach. Both Mar Bella and Nova Mar Bella, one beach north, have been designated as blue-flag beaches for their quality. They're also less obviously attached to the city, though still well served by public transit.

Besides pristine sand and the cleanest segment of water in the city, Mar Bella also displays another example of the city's liberal attitude. On one end of the beach is a rope pyramid for kids and a small playground with a slide; on the other is a nudist section.

Unlike at Sant Sebastía, a man-made hill separates the nude area of the beach from the pedestrian promenade, which runs next to a park where you can seek some midday shade. The park also has a network of skateboard ramps used mostly by kids on razor scooters, which is always fun for people-watching.

This beach also draws gay sun worshipers and a beach bar called Chiringuito BeGay opens here up every summer. But it's a mixed crowd, so all are welcome. (Paseo Marítimo de la Mar Bella, s/n, 08005 Barcelona; +34 608 30 24 54)

Nova Mar Bella and Llevant

Amenities like restaurants become a little more sparse in these northernmost beaches, though there are still bathrooms and showers. But what is lacking in services is made up with parking. A 15-foot-high wall separates the beach from the car lots and the most modern towers of Barcelona's skyline, so it's still easy to focus on the clear Mediterranean.

Other than the ease of shuttling the kids to shore, other activities make it an ideal destination for a family with a car to spend a full day. In the morning you could hit up the BosGrac Urba, which is Catalan for urban forest, a covered adventure park in the Forum complex with zip lines, bungee cords and rope bridges. (Parc del Forum, s/n, 08019 Barcelona; +34 931 17 34 26)

A few blocks away from the sea, there's the Museu Blau, a natural science museum that recently featured an exhibit on the Spinosaurus, "the lost giant of the Cretaceous." (Plaza Leonardo da Vinci, 4-6, 08019 Barcelona; +34 932 56 60 02)

There are also play areas for kids, beach volleyball courts and clubs where senior citizens play dominoes or cards. A sand-free swimming area called Banys Forum sits just to the north, enclosed by piles of concrete blocks with steps that lead into the water.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 941120

Reported Deaths: 15315
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1282511983
Lake633041097
Allen53609758
Hamilton43827447
St. Joseph41906590
Elkhart33545490
Vanderburgh30383448
Tippecanoe26820249
Johnson23609417
Hendricks22250341
Porter21737346
Clark17409229
Madison17366384
Vigo16108281
Monroe14466191
LaPorte14311239
Delaware14070221
Howard13865272
Kosciusko11418135
Hancock10841165
Warrick10674177
Bartholomew10542168
Floyd10430205
Wayne9959226
Grant9130204
Morgan8865160
Boone8389111
Dubois7710123
Dearborn762289
Henry7608130
Noble7413101
Marshall7362128
Cass7176117
Lawrence6957153
Shelby6584111
Jackson656785
Gibson6156107
Harrison603786
Huntington600195
Montgomery5805105
DeKalb574291
Knox5494104
Miami542488
Putnam536768
Clinton533665
Whitley524953
Steuben497268
Wabash483592
Jasper479160
Jefferson470092
Ripley454277
Adams444068
Daviess4169108
Scott405865
White391857
Clay390857
Greene388392
Decatur385296
Wells384983
Fayette374278
Posey359941
Jennings353156
Washington332047
LaGrange321375
Spencer317835
Fountain316555
Randolph312888
Sullivan307449
Owen283863
Starke280064
Fulton277553
Orange275859
Jay254837
Perry251652
Carroll243729
Franklin239338
Rush234130
Vermillion233250
Parke219820
Tipton209655
Pike207639
Blackford168334
Pulaski163551
Crawford146018
Newton144345
Benton142516
Brown135346
Martin128217
Switzerland125810
Warren114616
Union96911
Ohio79711
Unassigned0479

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1365800

Reported Deaths: 21596
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1522221560
Cuyahoga1344852327
Hamilton976051320
Montgomery670271141
Summit562091047
Lucas50900863
Butler47417655
Stark41580976
Lorain31567532
Warren30001331
Mahoning26963639
Clermont25628292
Lake24585417
Delaware22313145
Licking20487241
Fairfield20420221
Greene20309272
Trumbull19866509
Medina19796287
Clark17879328
Richland16314234
Portage16130229
Wood15681208
Allen14115256
Miami13786253
Muskingum12641152
Wayne11946238
Columbiana11708241
Tuscarawas10953269
Marion10725148
Pickaway10465129
Scioto10324127
Erie9747171
Ross9436176
Lawrence8755125
Hancock8458141
Ashtabula8317185
Geauga8173156
Belmont8140187
Jefferson7527172
Huron7423128
Union731851
Washington7183120
Athens697165
Sandusky6848134
Darke6756136
Knox6671122
Seneca6358137
Ashland5948113
Auglaize587188
Shelby5727101
Brown564171
Mercer557890
Defiance5483101
Madison543371
Crawford5425114
Highland541581
Fulton530683
Clinton525580
Logan512182
Preble4994110
Putnam4833106
Guernsey470364
Williams459282
Perry449852
Champaign445964
Ottawa436884
Jackson425362
Pike388843
Morrow383851
Fayette375853
Coshocton374766
Adams360675
Hardin359069
Gallia347356
Holmes3259108
Henry324668
Van Wert314670
Hocking301769
Wyandot280658
Carroll262652
Paulding242243
Meigs213942
Monroe189749
Noble169340
Morgan165829
Harrison157940
Vinton138118
Unassigned05
Fort Wayne
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 43°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 50°
Huntington
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 43°
Decatur
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 43°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
51° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 51°
Sunshine and warmer air return to round out the work week, but the warm-up is brief.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events