We here at L&A are not beach vacationers. We prefer to explore cities, towns, mountains and forests on foot (or bicycle) as opposed laying on our backs sipping mojitos and getting buzzed while we get burned. Plus, our northern blood, fair skin and Ryan’s red hair means stripping down to bathing suits and laying in the sun can be an unpleasant and downright dangerous activity. But what’s life without a little danger. Since we do enjoy swimming and reading, if the opportunity presents itself we will slather on the SPF 65 and take advantage of a little R and R on the beach.
Barcelona has several beaches and the busiest ones are closest to the city center. Taking the Metro to the Barceloneta station and walking 5 minutes south will get you to a pleasantly crowded stretch of sand and sparkling blue water. After a morning of sight-seeing, a trip to the beach may be just what you need to recharge your batteries. Even if you did not plan on the beach, you can still go and have a good time. If you didn’t bring a towel, renting a chair will run you 6 euros for the day (no matter what time you show up – we tried to bargain – it didn’t work). If you didn’t bring a swimsuit, no worries-wear what you have that most resembles one. There are bathrooms, but they are disgusting to say the least. Didn’t bring a cooler of cold beer? There are guys walking around selling ice cold cervazas and beach side bars serving booze. After an hour or an afternoon of reading, sleeping, swimming and enjoying the beautiful sun and surf, get up and walk 5 minutes back to the metro where you will be whisked back to your hotel in no time.
The disadvantage of being so close to the city center is the constant stream of vendors. The guys selling cold beer are like ones from the ballbark: you hail them and they come over to sell you some ice-cold beer, thus providing you will life-saving hydration. Also, the women offering massages will start touching you if you do not explicitly tell them not to. Never mind that you are sleeping or reading or trying you best to ignore them; they are aggressive, so consider yourself warned. But perspective must be kept, so remember, you are LAYING ON A BEACH NEXT TO THE MEDITERRANEAN.
Getting to beach is easy; just take the metro to the Barceloneta station and follow the people. Using the Metro is easy, too. Be sure buy a T10 card (7.85 euros) from the machines at any station. If you brought a towel, great-just plop it down and head into the water. If you want to rent a chair, just walk over to the guys stacking them and tell them so. There are bathrooms (if they can be called that) near the boardwalk, but no changing houses. So if you are modest, wear your swimsuit for underwear.
If you are beach vacationer, head to the beaches away from the city where it is quieter and more relaxed. If you are looking to give your feet a rest from your itinerary, then this is the spot for you.