From Barcelona: Catalan beaches
Blogger Jeremy Holland offers a list of Catalan beaches that you can hit to escape from the sweltering heat.
The arrival of July sees temperatures and humidity in Barcelona rise. With air-conditioning in short supply here, the best way to escape the heat is to take your sunscreen and towel, and head for the beach.
The usual spots
In Barcelona there are three main places to layout and bake before hitting a chiringuito. El chiringuito are small bars you´ll find along almost all Spanish beaches and is the perfect spot to cool off and whet the whistle with cold beer, sangria or tinto de verano (red wine with either 7-up, Orange Fanta or lemonade) after roasting in the hot sun. They also serve traditional Spanish dishes like paella and tapas.
Starting with Barceloneta near the port, you can walk north to la playa Icaria by the Hotel Arts and Manfre buildings.
Just beyond it is la playa Marbella -- the only nudist beach in the city. Not natural beaches, they were created as part of the Olympic games to offer those staying in the city easy access to the water, and on summer days they are often packed to capacity, so get there early. Also remember to be careful with your belongings.
Out of the city
If you're looking for something more relaxing, 30 minutes north are las playas de Maresme. You can get there by train from Plaça Catalunya and the fares aren't that expensive. You can use a standard metro pass up to Montgat Nord.
They'll still be crowded on a hot summer's day, but less so than the ones in the city, and you can be a little less paranoid about your belongings. Of these I particularly enjoy Cabrera de Mar and Caldes d'Estrac for a quick day trip, while Santa Susanna is a quaint little beach town that's perfect for a weekend out of the city.
North of Barcelona
Further north is La Costa Brava. To get there, you'll need to catch the bus from the Arc de Triomf metro station, and it'll run you about an hour or two, depending on where you're heading.
The first of these beaches are Lloret and Tossa del Mar, which are particularly popular with the British so be warned, while further north are Palafruguell, L'Estartit and Roses. The water there is crystal blue and the settings awe-inspiring, but there is little in the way of space to sunbath due to the rocky nature of the coast. Still, it's well-worth a visit and a great place to snorkel or scuba-dive, especially las Islas Medas.
South of Barcelona
South of Barcelona also offers some fantastic places to layout and enjoy the sun. Different than the rocky coast of la Costa Brava, they tend to offer lots of space and sand.
The most famous of these is Sitges, which is just under two hours away. A typical Spanish beach town with white houses and tiny streets, its wide sandy beaches and shallow water are perfect for those with small children.
Further south are las Playas of Tarragona, with the most popular being Salou, which reminds me of Benidorm. To get to either of these, you'll again catch the train. You will however need to rent a car if you want to hit the natural and wild beaches of Playa Waikiki or Altafulla.
Jeremy Holland / Expatica
Written by an American expat, From Barcelona, is a blog dedicated to the city, the life and the people of the capital of Catalunya (Catalonia).
Photo credits:Serge Melki; Carquinyol; Eduard Maluquer, Malcom Tredinnick (Catalan Bay)
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