There are many good beaches in Spain, but few with the charm of the Catalunya coastline. The most northeast corner of Spain, was the place where Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso chose to live and be inspired by its nature, stunning landscapes and clear mediterranean waters. Going from south to north, I propose a memorable journey across the best beaches of Catalunya.
Our trip starts in Tarragona. Located only 100 kilometers to the south of Barcelona, this part of the coastline is known as Costa Dourada, because of the golden and soft sand that cover its shores. You will feel like you’re walking in a little Rome, but with a great view to the Mediterranean Sea. The city is completely full of really well kept ancient Roman ruins, and if that is not enough, the downtown also maintains a great deal of medieval alleyways and cobblestone streets. There are so many interesting things to see in Tarragona, that you will definitely need more than two days if you also want to have time to enjoy the beach.
Romans knew it by the name of Tarraco, and maybe its the city with the most ancient ruins in all of Spain. In a short walk along the city centre you may find the Roman Amphitheater, a Roman Circus and Praetorium, a Roman Forum, or the Archaeological tour, which includes the very old Roman Walls and the medieval walls. One kilometer away from the city there is a Roman aqueduct, two Roman Vilas, Els Munts and Centceles, the Tower of Scipio and more. Some of these ruins are right next to the sea, providing a fantastic view and an unmissable photography spot. Depending on the time and the number of sites that you want to visit, it’s very recommendable that you buy a combined ticket, otherwise they will charge you every time you enter a new monument. This will save you a lot of money, and don’t forget to ask for student, child or pensioner discounts.
Further north we find a little town called Sitges, the gay capital of Catalunya. This city is known for housing a lot of events throughout the year, starting with the famous Carnival in February, Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia, the Major Party, Theatre Festivals, The Barcelona-Sitges Vintage Car Rally, and the Harvest Festival to name a few. Sitges is also a great place to stay a few days enjoying the quiet waves and the wild nightlife that takes place during the summer. The town also has a lovely city centre. In the older neighborhood there are many interesting museums, palaces and old churches that are worth a visit. In the newer area there are small boutiques, pubs and cafes to spend the last hours of the day, after a long day in the sun.
Our third stop is Barcelona and it being such a big city I would always recommend to plan ahead and book accommodation in advance, and if possible, prefer AirBNB because it’s such a popular touristic destination, that hotel and hostel prices are usually very high. Once you’re settled, you can start enjoying the city’s wonderful beaches. The most famous one is the Barceloneta, but I would recommend to go further north because it’s always busy and a little dirty. Only a 10 minute walk from the Barceloneta, you will find the Bogatell Beach, where you can lay back and really enjoy the sun and tranquil waters, without being constantly bothered by the tons of peddlers found in the Barceloneta.
The last stop is my personal favourite. Cadaques is a beautiful coastal old town right in the middle of the Costa Brava. Cadaques shores are not sandy and large like the ones mentioned before. On the contrary, they are very rocky and small, and they invite you to walk and discover a place to spend the day among the magical nooks that spread all along the coastline. Maybe this enchanting landscape was what made Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso have their homes next to the sea here. There are a lot of things to do near Cadaques, but there’s one you just can’t miss, and that is to get lost between its narrow and small streets, packed with charming cafes and bars. There, you can make a quick stop to have a beer and then continue discovering this old town. I also recommend to walk along the shore and be enchanted with the small coves of crystal clear waters that bathe them. If you’re lucky, you may also see colorful little fish swimming right beside you.