The city of so many eccentric and beloved artists, where you can spend much of your time in the cool and hushed halls of the Museu Picasso, or watching the construction of Gaudí’s Sagrada Familía. Catalonia’s capital has no shortage of fascinating historic sights, but this has traditionally relegated its coastline to a sort of side show, rather than a part of the city worth exploring just as intently as the famous Barri Gòtic. Since being thoroughly cleaned up for the 1992 Olympic Games, Barcelona’s beach has finally begun to claim its place among the best Mediterranean resorts. If you’re travelling to Spain’s eastern corner this summer, take a look at our E&V guide to the coastline.
Start your day with an ocean Pilates class, held at Pukas Surf School on Port Vell. Putting an aquatic spin on classical Pilates, you’ll follow a set of warming, stretching and strengthening exercises, all while balancing on a stand-up paddle board. After the class, take a moment to appreciate the cityscape from your vantage point out in the water. The twin skyscrapers Torre Mapfre and the Hotel Arts stand 150 metres tall, marking out the financial district with glittering elegance. In between the two, you’ll see Frank Gehry’s 56-metre long steel goldfish sculpture, an enduring symbol of Barcelona ever since its arrival in honour of the Olympics. To your left, another famous hotel rises up from the boardwalk, as the sail-shaped, mirrored exterior of W Barcelona reflects the sky, sea and city in a wonderful dreamy wash.
Unsurprisingly, some of the best tapas in the world can be found in Barcelona. The beachside restaurants or xiringuitos that once covered the sands have had a fairly substantial upgrade over the past few decades, with Xiringuito Escribà on Bogatell Beach a perfect example. Choose one of their seafood paella dishes to experience perfectly simple and fresh Mediterranean cuisine, served on a shaded terrace alongside generous helpings of Sangria. After lunch, you can join the siesta on the beach, or have a quick game of ping-pong with the locals while soaking up the sun. The city’s Bicing scheme, which allows fast and easy access to rental bikes, has four stations nearby, so it’s easy to set off in the late afternoon for a scenic ride down some of the most beautiful littoral paths in Europe.
To end your day on a relaxing note, join one of Orsom’s renowned Sunset Jazz Cruises, which depart from Port Vell twice a day every weekend in summer. Aboard this beautiful catamaran boat, you can sip some local cocktails while watching the sun dip below the horizon. Sailing up to the Port Olimpic and back in 90 minutes, you’ll be able to watch Barcelona gradually settling down for the evening – that is, until the clubs fill up in the early hours of the morning. The Shoko Restaurant and Lounge Club is famous for hosting star-studded afterparties, and it’s the perfect introduction to Barcelona’s legendary nightlife.
If you’re considering making the Catalonian coast your permanent home, talk to Engel & Völkers. Our friendly and experienced agents will be happy to guide you towards the best areas and assist you with every step of your purchase.