Maresme: Top 10 Beaches
The Maresme Coast is the narrow strip of coast between Barcelona and the Costa Brava, with very easy access via rail and road. With over 50km of coastline, the Maresme offers many beaches to choose from, from nudist beaches and secluded, rocky coves to open, sandy beaches with water sports and children’s play areas. Each has its own atmosphere and unique features but all of them have certain things in common – beautiful green hills as a backdrop, the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean and the famous chiringuito beach bars where you can eat, drink and dance with your toes still in the sand! Take this whistle stop tour of the Maresme’s Top 10 beaches to find your perfect spot in the sun this summer.
Sant Pol de Mar
The beach at Sant Pol de Mar is a favourite with many as it has a different feel to the other beaches along the Maresme. Its rocky outcrops, little bays, fishing boats and the winding streets and white houses in the quaint town that backs the beach give Sant Pol the unique charm of a quintessential Mediterranean village. The main beach is literally a few steps away from the Renfe station with trains to the centre of Barcelona in one hour, making it an ideal day trip for city dwellers, looking for a cleaner beach. There are also various little, sandy beaches, surrounded by rocks, including a nudist area behind the train tunnel. Here you will find showers, toilets, sun loungers and umbrellas for rent as well as chiringuitos for refreshments. For a special treat, Banys Lluís restaurant comes highly recommended for its wonderful location right on the beach – in the evening you can enjoy some tasty Mediterranean cooking here by candlelight, looking out over the sea. Magical!
A 2 minute walk from Caldes d’Estrac train station and backed by gorgeous Modernista villas on the promenade called Passeig dels Anglesos, Caldetes is one of the few beaches on the Maresme Coast that is not right in front of the railway and N11 road. The peaceful location and glamorous architecture definitely give this beach a touch of class and it has always been a favourite seaside getaway with Barcelona’s more affluent residents. Apart from all of the usual services, Caldetes has a great little chiringuito cum restaurant called Sal Marina where you can enjoy some quality food and listen to relaxing music to make your perfect day at the beach complete. The town of Caldes d’Estrac is famous for the healing properties of its thermal waters and there are some spa hotels on the seafront where you can enjoy a massage or a dip in a thermal bath if the mood takes you.
The beach right in front of Ocata train station is ideal for those looking for a huge, wide sandy beach with plenty of space and facilities for beach sports such as volleyball. Despite its popularity and proximity to Barcelona, you can always find a place to lay your towel in Ocata. There is also a children’s play area with an enormous spider web climbing frame and a couple of great chiringuitos such as the Calima which puts out toys for children to play with and makes some of the best patatas bravas (wedge chips with a spicy sauce) on the coast. Calima chiringuito also hosts DJs in the evenings at the weekends, transforming this unpretentious little beach bar into a cool beach club by night. This beach is easy to access on foot from the town of El Masnou, by train in just 20 minutes from Barcelona or by car following the N11 road. And if you ever get bored with the beach, El Masnou port is just a few minutes’ walk away with its pretty boats and range of bars and restaurants.
Vilassar de Mar
The beach immediately to the right of Vilassar de Mar train station, known locally as La Playa de los Pescadores, is a tiny but beautiful little beach peppered with fishing boats and home to a delightful chiringuito called El Petit Moll, decorated with seashells and floaty white curtains. This beach is characterised by clean, shallow water and the many cats that wander it in search of a tasty morsel left behind by a fisherman. In the evenings the chiringuito comes alive with music and the occasional live performance by a Cuban band which you can take in whilst enjoying some excellent sardines or mussels. Being right in front of the train station and the N11 road and a 5 minute walk from the centre of Vilassar de Mar, this beach is very easy to reach, whichever direction you are coming from.
Calella is located between Sant Pol and Pineda de Mar, some 56km from Barcelona and is widely recognised as a centre for tourism on the Maresme Coast thanks to its 3km of magnificent beaches with first rate facilities and services for tourists. The beach known as Playa de les Roques, to the south of the town centre, is an area of great natural beauty. Here you will find little, rocky coves with pristine water that is so inviting it is hard not to get in every time you look at it. The Montnegre Natural Park borders this area and adds to the beauty of its surroundings. Here you can enjoy some snorkelling, rock climbing and sunbathing followed by a meal or drink in the local, beachfront, bar-restaurant, La Vinyeta. Les Roques beach has to be accessed on foot from the town heading south. It can be a little tricky at certain times of year but don’t let that put you off – it is well worth the effort and means you can avoid the crowds associated with the larger, sandy beaches in Calella.
Playa de Levante, Santa Susanna
Playa de Levante earned itself a blue flag in 2012 for its cleanliness and ideal swimming conditions, and the flag continues to fly all along the 815m of this golden beach today. The little town of Santa Susanna lies nestled between Pineda to the south and Malgrat to the north. The town is set back from the beaches of Santa Susanna and the Renfe railway station, with regular trains to Barcelona, and is some 800m from Levante beach. If you are travelling by car, take the 122 exit from the C-32 motorway and use the free parking facilities just 2 minutes’ walk from the beach. The Dunes beach in Santa Susanna is closer to the train station and offers a plethora of activities in and out of the water but tends to get more crowded as a result.
Pineda de Mar
The beach at Pineda de Mar is incredibly clean and well-maintained by the city council. There are toilets, bins and some 65 fresh water showers dotted along the attractive seafront promenade where people jog, rollerblade and cycle all year round. Pineda de Mar has a great sailing base with excellent facilities for those looking to take part in some water sports and the children are very well catered for in the summer holidays thanks to the free program of activities organised by ‘Pineda Animació’. Getting to this beach is very easy thanks to the nearby train station and N11 road.
Just a 20 minute train ride away from Barcelona’s Plaça de Catalunya, Montgat has a surprisingly clean beach and is not too crowded. The train stops right at the beach and visitors have 2.5km of waterfront to choose from. You will not find as many beach vendors here as in the city but, for many, that is a plus, and there are a couple of very good chiringuitos where you can get refreshments, although they may be costly. If you are a fan of beach volleyball then this is your place as there are various nets dotted around and players tend to be friendly and open to newcomers. A great, clean beach with fresh water showers and bars just minutes from the bustling centre of Barcelona.
Sant Andreu de Llavaneres
The exclusive town of Sant Andreu de Llavaneres has an equally exclusive chiringuito, El Espigó, situated on the beach directly in front of the train station. The beauty of this beach bar, the chill out music playing softly in the background and its proximity to the water’s edge, are really what make this beach so special – not to mention the excellent food that is served both during the day and at night. This little stretch of sandy beach is backed by a pleasant seafront promenade and is easy to reach on foot for those staying in the town and by train for those coming in from Barcelona, Mataró or the Costa Brava. The attractive Port Balís is located just a stone’s throw away and makes for a pleasant stroll when you have had your fill of the beach.
La Musclera Nudist Beach, Arenys de Mar
Between the towns of Arenys de Mar and Caldes d’Estrac you will find this little nudist beach which stretches some 750m along the coast and is backed by rocks and sand dunes, offering privacy for those who fancy a spot of skinny dipping. The water is usually calm in this area and the sand is fine and golden. La Musclera is easy to reach by car via the C-32 motorway and has a car park of its own. There is a simple chiringuito here and the beach offers all of the usual basic services such as showers, toilets, sunbeds and umbrella rentals and lifeguards. This blue flag beach is cleaned regularly and offers disabled access and access for those with pushchairs via wooden footbridges. A peaceful paradise where you can work on your all over tan!