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The 20 best beaches in Catalonia

Take a dip or sunbathe in exceptional settings

© Sigfrid Campama Puig

From Portbou to Alcanar, Catalonia is bathed by more than 500 kilometres of sea. You can imagine that with a long coastline there is enough space for lots of magnificent beaches and coves: some isolated and surrounded by vegetation, others with a beautiful village behind; some small and rocky and others much bigger with fine sand. If you don't know where to go, check out our selection.

Cala de Cap Roig (Sant Antoni de Calonge)
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Cala de Cap Roig (Sant Antoni de Calonge)

The name comes from the islet of a reddish hue that separates the beach into two areas, two different settings. And, far from the bathers, the islet is crowned by pine trees that add to its personality. And it's thrilling to climb this rock and take photos of the surroundings from up there. The authentic Costa Brava. You can reach this beach on foot by taking the seaside path.

Platja Fonda (Begur)
© Carles Palacio i Berta
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Platja Fonda (Begur)

A small 'wild' cove on the Costa Brava. To get there you have to go down some steps (best choose another beach if you are going with children or elderly people). You'll find water of dark tones, with equally dark thick sand. But what makes it stand out is the cliff that protects the place and provides many hours of shade.

Platja de l'Illot (L'Ametlla de Mar)
Turisme L'Ametlla de Mar
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Platja de l'Illot (L'Ametlla de Mar)

The Costa Daurada boasts many fine sand and gently sloping beaches, those where you have to wade out several metres before the water reaches your belly. But sometimes the coast rebels and serves up surprises, like the Platja de l'Illot (islet), south of L'Ametlla de Mar, a small pebbled cove surrounded by a strip of red rocks where the pine trees almost reach the water. And, of course, the islet, rising from the waves, making the landscape even more picturesque.

Cala Justell (L'Hospitalet de l'Infant)
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Cala Justell (L'Hospitalet de l'Infant)

A cove also known by the name of Gestell, rocky and wild, and with dunes, fine golden sand and pebbles along its 170 metres. The vegetation touches the beach, and it's located in a wet zone classified as a natural wetlands site.

Cala Culip (Cadaqués)
© Club Surcando
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Cala Culip (Cadaqués)

This was a private beach until 2004, when the Club Med closed. Now that we can all bathe in its waters, what better than to go to this cove located in the places associated with Salvador Dalí and enjoy the crystalline waters and the small thick sand beach.

Platja de l'Home Mort (Sitges)
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Platja de l'Home Mort (Sitges)

To the south of Sitges, in the region of El Garraf, you'll find two beaches separated by a small rocky ravine forming an open bay. The Platja de l'Home Mort and the Platja de Roses are 300 metres long but less than 10 metres wide, and once in the water you'll see that the bed is shallow and formed by small rocks and sand.

Platja del Portitxol (between L'Escala and Sant Martí d'Empúries)
© Sergi Ramis
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Platja del Portitxol (between L'Escala and Sant Martí d'Empúries)

Lovely sandy spot with calm waters – ideal for children – and fine sand, surrounded by a forest of pine trees that almost reaches the sea. The beach is protected from side to side by rock formations, and it's no surprise that both the Greeks and Romans chose the place to establish some key settlements. History, heritage and natural beauty come together here.

Cala Tavellera (Port de la Selva)
© Carles Palacio i Berta
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Cala Tavellera (Port de la Selva)

Only accessible on foot through Cap de Creus, the easternmost point of the Iberian Peninsula, the excursion to Cala Tavellera is rewarded by its isolation, beauty and a sea bed with a dense Posidonia meadow. In case you lose track of time, there is even a refuge to spend the night, and watching the dawn from such a spot is, as the song goes, almost a religious experience.

Cala Estreta (Palamós)
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Cala Estreta (Palamós)

Some say that this is the cove of which the people of the region of El Baix Empordà, in northern Catalonia, are most proud. And if you ever visit it you'll understand why: it is beautiful. However, like all good things, it requires an effort, because in the summer months you cannot go there in a motor vehicle and will have to walk for about 45 minutes from the Platja del Castell (another beach, incidentally, well worth a visit). There are often nudists.

Cala de Illa Roja (Begur)
© nito
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Cala de Illa Roja (Begur)

You have to walk along the seaside path to get here. When you see it, you'll recognise it immediately: it is distinguished by the reddish colours of the rock that rises out of the water. It is surrounded by cliffs, you won't hear any noise other than the sea and it is frequented by nudists.

Platja de la Llosa (Cambrils)
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Platja de la Llosa (Cambrils)

This is one of the best known beaches of Cambrils, a town in the heart of the Costa Daurada. It is located in a semi-urban area and boasts fine golden sand, with calm shallow waters. It stands out for its double M-shaped bay protected by breakwaters made of rocks. It is one kilometre in length and also has a promenade ideal for walking or cycling.

Cala de Sa Futadera (Tossa de Mar)
© waldru
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Cala de Sa Futadera (Tossa de Mar)

This is one of those coves of crystalline waters you'll want to bathe in although its temperature might give you the shivers. And more so bearing in mind that to get there you will have to overcome vertigo to descend the cliffs. This is why it's a peaceful cove, even in summer.

Cala Fonda (Tarragona)
© nito
13/20

Cala Fonda (Tarragona)

This is one of the best conserved beaches on the Tarragona coast. It is 200 metres long and 25 wide and is popularly known by the name of Waikiki. It is a nudist beach and, to get there, you have to walk for around three kilometres east from the Platja Llarga.

Platja del Port Bo (Calella de Palafrugell)
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Platja del Port Bo (Calella de Palafrugell)

This is an idyllic beach that has inspired writers, painters and musicians. It is also very well known as the place where the busiest havanera music festival in Catalonia is held, which always takes place on the first Saturday of July. However, the beach itself is very small with boats resting on the sand, so in high season it's almost a miracle to find a space to lay your towel.

Platja del Fangar (Delta de l'Ebre)
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Platja del Fangar (Delta de l'Ebre)

In the north of the Delta d l'Ebre you will find a vast tongue of sand: El Fangar peninsula, a real desert with dunes where even mirages occur. You can enjoy seven kilometres of unspoilt beach. Given the nature of the site, don't forget sun protection, drink, food, a hat... and remember that here the wind usually blows hard!

Platja del Canyadell (Altafulla)
ⒸAna Páez
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Platja del Canyadell (Altafulla)

Small and quiet cove approximately 60 metres long and 35 wide, of fine sand, located at the end of a path that starts at the north of the beach of Altafulla. It is surrounded by a spectacular landscape, a combination of bare rock and typical Mediterranean vegetation. Before or after visiting the beach, have a walk around Altafulla, a charming village.

Platja dels Muntanyans (Torredembarra)
ⒸAna Páez
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Platja dels Muntanyans (Torredembarra)

Immense, over five kilometres long, located in the middle of the Costa Daurada and the perfect place to go with the kids because it is shallow, but also with your partner, friends... There's room for everyone! There is also a space for those who prefer not to wear a bathing costume. This is an unspoilt beach, with dunes and marshes.

Platja del Morer (Sant Pol de Mar)
© Sergi Ramis
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Platja del Morer (Sant Pol de Mar)

In the region of El Maresme, this beach located north of Sant Pol de Mar has 750 metres of thick-grained golden sand and narrows as it advances eastwards. The mountainous rocks provide protection and isolate the beach giving a feeling of tranquillity, even though the train line and the N-II road pass close by.

Cala Crancs (Salou)
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Cala Crancs (Salou)

This is the easternmost beach of the tourist town of Salou, on the Costa Daurada, and is quite busy in high season. Eighty metres long and naturally delimited, the fine sand and gentle slope make it ideal for kids.

Cala Montjoi (Roses)
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Cala Montjoi (Roses)

Beautiful place in the Cap de Creus Natural Park and that the prestigious chef Ferran Adrià, with his restaurant El Bulli, located there, popularised even more. The cove is surrounded by mountains and nature and is quite enclosed, so the waters are calm and yet deep at the same time. Boats come very close to the sand, offering postcard views. There is a holiday resort a few metres from the beach offering many services.

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