North of Barcelona: Costa Brava
Heading North of Barcelona are the famous beaches of the Costa Brava. Before arriving at the most charming section of the coast however, you will pass many beaches on your way. The closest of these is Badalona, just a stone’s throw from the centre of Barcelona. Here you will already notice a much more relaxed atmosphere amongst the beach goers. The fact that the railway line actually separates the beach from the bars and cafes adds to the calmness of these beaches. Further north along the railway line you’ll reach Masnou and Premia del Mar, simple beaches where the local residents escape their daily chores, but the real gems lie further north. Passing stony and sandy beaches, this route will lead you to Blanes and Lloret del Mar. Tread these waters with much care as they tend to fill to the brim with holiday goers looking for a piece of the Costa Brava. Lloret del Mar is well known for its nightlife and is packed with clubs and bars where the crowd can expel all that sun energy gathered during the day. Don’t be surprised to find more English spoken on the streets than Spanish or Catalan!
Just a stone throw further north you’ll get to Tossa del Mar. Here you have the same quality beaches with fewer people and the added benefit of some historical heritage, in the ancient castle of Tossa del Mar. In between Lloret del Mar & St. Feliu de Guixols are some of the most enchanting alcoves to be found on the Costa Brava. The coastline winds its way north like a never ending serpent and in each bend is hidden a small beach or bay either accessible via private roadways or on foot. Where there is a road leading down, expect to find a family owned business running the car park and regulating the amount of people coming to the beach. Obviously, the family makes more money the more people park in their parking area and few can be fooled by parking outside of the reach of their property. The benefit to this two sided coin is that these beaches have a built in max factor as the parking spaces available can only be bent so far by the greed of the holding families and if the car does not fit, it does not fit. Due to the privacy and intimacy at these beaches, many go beyond the topless tanning, opting for no tan lines at all! However none of the beaches are actually nudist beaches per se, so nobody really cares if you wear clothes or not.
Further up the winding coast you’ll hit the Platja d’Aro and Palamos, some of the more famous beaches of the Costa Brava. Palamos has several beaches and bays other than the main beach which is referred to as Plaja Gran. If you head north from the main beach past the many bigger and smaller beaches you will finally arrive at Cala Estreta and the magical scenery will teach you the reason why so many people rate the Costa Brava to be one of the most beautiful Coastal lines in Spain. With shallow waters which take on colours ranging from the deepest blue to near green, tastefully coloured by the underlying rock foundation, a white sandy beach closed off by a pine forest it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful beaches to be found along the coast. If time permits you should visit this beach during the week to avoid the weekend crowds.
Finally the beaches in the Golf de Roses will charm you with their blue waters and L’Escala and Empuries are famous for their underwater scenery. Many scuba diving organizations can be found in these cities which will take you down exploring coral reefs, sunken boats and underwater life. Above the surface, jet ski and parasailing activities will keep the adventurous busy. With its many caves and alcoves, it has also offered itself as a prime spot for kayaking. While most beaches between Tarragona and Blanes can be reached by train from Barcelona, the more enchanting ones north of Blanes are not easily accessed via public transport and the use of a car is highly advised. All this to say that it is well worth your while to get out and explore beyond the city, que disfruten!