Sant Sebastia Beach

Water sports, golden sand and nudists just steps from the Gothic core


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The Mediterranean sun shines down on countless seaside wonders, but no other beach is so closely wired into one of Europe’s coolest cities. Sant Sebastía is a pleasant 15-minute walk from the tangled alleys of Barcelona’s oldest area, past superyachts docked on one side and the charming Barceloneta neighborhood on the other. Convenience translates into crowds, but those willing to jockey for space with a handful of nudists (it’s clothing optional) will still reap the rewards of a day spent baking on the golden sand.

Out on the water, paddle boarders and sailboats skim along the horizon, or on days after a storm has blown through, surfers compete for modest waves near the sail-shaped W Hotel. Tourists pack the lively chiringuitos, or beach bars, that line the shore, but locals often wait until early evening to congregate with beers and guitars. Lounge chairs and umbrellas are available for rent, and public bathrooms and open-air showers are plentiful.

The scene manages to maintain a laidback vibe despite all the action, but those looking for a quieter day with the family will find it by heading further north to one of the beaches that stretch in a continuous line for three miles up the coast.

Photos: Karol Kozlowski Premium RM Collection / Alamy Stock Photo, Westend61 GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo, Peter Unger/Getty Images, Stefano Politi Markovina/Getty Images

Did you know?

Sant Sebastia was the first beach in Barcelona to let men and women bath in the same place.


Tourist mecca
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