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On the Waterfront

Sandy beaches, seaside frolics and idiosyncratic art
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 2.5 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview :  If you are looking for evidence that urban regeneration works, look no further than Barcelona's waterfront. A couple of decades ago... more »

Tips:  Barcelona has an expanding network of swipe-card operated public bicycle hire points known as "Bicing." If you're drawn to this as a... more »

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Points of Interest

When Columbus returned from his first voyage to the Americas, he docked in Barcelona and set off to explain his discovery to his royal patrons, Ferdinand and Isabella, at whose insistence he had set out to find the Indies. His achievement is marked by a statue that stands on a coronaded globe atop a 50-meter-high Corinthian iron column at the... More

As you walk from the Columbus Monument en route to the newish boardwalk that juts into the sea, you may encounter tourists setting out on Segways from the ornate Port Authority building. As homage to Barcelona's famous boulevard, the boardwalk is called Rambla de Mar.

You may also find yourself overtaken by other travelers on this strange but... More

Children love the 80-meter-long see-through tunnel that lets visitors get disconcertingly close to sleek sharks, almost ethereal rays and strange moonfish, while elsewhere stately seahorses cast their hypnotic spell.

It's a pricey option, so if it's the kind of attraction you can easily visit at home it might be one to put on the back burner in... More

4. 'Gambrinus'/'Cap de Barcelona'

When you walk along the Moll d'Espanya toward the old fishermen's quarter of Barceloneta, steer left slightly at the junction so you can take in two quirky public art projects from the early 1990s. They set the tone for the area as a place where life shouldn't be taken too seriously.

Head back a little along the landscaped promenade, the Moll de... More

As you walk along the Port Vell and Moll de Fusta and on toward the museum, let yourself slide into a resort frame of mind. Street musicians will make your footsteps a little looser and market-stall keepers will grab your attention with colorful displays of fine local craftwork. Prior to its Olympic makeover the old fishermen's quarter of... More

6. The Beach

Take in the vibe of the cafes, surf shop and ice cream parlors along the the long, palm-lined sandy beach, now proudly displaying the European Union Blue Flag that guarantees that the water is regularly tested and meets stringent quality tests. There are boulevard benches, sun loungers to rent or just plonk yourself on the boardwalk or in one of... More

7. Sant Miquel 'L'Estel Ferit'

There are more opportunities to participate in beach sports as you pass along Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta and the Platja de Sant Miquel. If you're more in the mood for quiet contemplation, you'll probably be intrigued by "L'Estel Ferit," or "wounded star," a 10-meter-high art installation by Rebecca Horn that casts a long shadow across the... More

In a city that worships innovative architecture, it's perhaps inevitable that one of the modern age's most acclaimed practitioners should leave his stamp on Barcelona.

Frank Gehry's Guggenheim building in Bilbao is closely associated with that city's cultural renaissance. The structure here is simpler, but no less memorable. As you head along,... More

9. Nova Icària

Beyond the Port Olímpic, Nova Icària is the shortest, but widest of the beaches, that extra distance from the city making it a popular choice for families who want something a little quieter. Nevertheless, at the height of summer there are plenty of adrenalin options, including jet skis and windsurfing.

It has special facilities to allow visitors... More