Montgat - a seaside oasis and a stone's throw from Barcelona

An Insider’s Guide to Montgat

Montgat 

Positioned on the coast between Badalona and El Masnou, Montgat lies 15 km away from the centre of Barcelona. The town serves as both a tourist destination and a somewhat exclusive suburb of Barcelona. It is traversed by the C-31 and B-20 motorways, the main N-II road, and the RENFE  railway line. Montgat is also home to the Hamelin-Laie International School which is a prestigious international day and boarding school that is a part of the Nord Anglia Education group, one of the world’s leading international schools networks. With its beautiful former fishermen’s houses along the seafront and long stretch of sandy beaches, Montgat retains the peaceful essence of a coastal village while also offering modern-day amenities and a reputable educational programme.

History & Economy of Montgat

Montgat Old Town

There are several theories regarding the origin of the town’s name. One theory suggests it is of Iberian origin, derived from “Mons-Cot,” meaning “Mount of Stone.”  Excavations have revealed Neolithic settlements in the area, dating back to around 3500 BC. During Roman times, the Turó de Montgat was known as Promontorium Lunarium.

Until 1933, Montgat was part of the Tiana district. It became an independent municipality following a decree by the Generalitat of Catalonia on July 6 of that year, which approved the district’s separation and the formation of an independent city council.

Since the 1960’s, Montgat’s population has grown significantly due to Spanish economic expansion and associated migration, leading to the development of high-rise apartment blocks in areas like Turó del Mar, and neighbourhoods with irregular urban layouts like Les Costes. There are also residential areas such as Pla de Montgat and Residencial Camí d’Alella.

Today, agriculture and fishing, once the primary activities, have nearly disappeared. The town now has industries producing construction materials (cement), porcelain, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and metallurgy. The Les Mallorquines district, formerly industrial and now mostly residential, has merged into an urban continuum with Badalona.

While fishing is not as prominent in Montgat as it once was, it is still a present industry in the area. Montgat lacks a port but it does have a fleet of fishermen who venture out daily. All the fishing is from near the beach and the amount of fish that reaches the fish market is relatively small, but it still reaches the traditional fishing auction every Monday through Friday. Montgat fishermen use the Trasmallo fishing technique which involves a net consisting of three layers to catch different sized fish. This technique requires skills and experience because anglers must understand ocean currents, recognize species behavior, and know the optimal locations and times to cast the net for the best results. This information is typically taught from generation to generation. 

Property in Montgat

House in Montgat

Montgat’s property market is characterised by its attractive coastal location, close proximity to Barcelona (20 minutes by train, 30 minutes by car), and a mix of traditional and modern homes. It offers good value for money compared to central Barcelona, making it a popular choice for both buyers and investors. Whether looking for a permanent residence, a holiday home, or an investment property, Montgat has a lot to offer. There has been growing demand for properties in Montgat due to its desirable location, family-friendly environment and high quality of life. It is also home to Hamelin, one of the few International Schools in Maresme. The town offers a mix of property types, including seafront apartments, new builds, townhouses, and standalone villas. Many properties have sea views or are within walking distance to the beach. As of the latest data, property prices in Montgat are generally lower than in central Barcelona but higher than in some inland or less popular coastal towns. In June 2024, the average price was 3,671/m2€ (Indomnio). Montgat also has a vibrant rental market, catering to both long-term residents and short-term holidaymakers. Rental yields can be attractive for investors, particularly for properties close to the beach and public transport.

Gastronomy in Montgat

Montgat

Emporium Beach Restaurant

The Emporium Beach Restaurant is located on Sant Joan beach in Montgat, offering picturesque views of the sea and a variety if fresh dishes to choose from. They are known for their paella, fideuás, and specialty grilled sardines. El Mirall is another renowned restaurant in Montgat that offers innovative yet traditional gastronomy. They believe in high-quality fresh food therefore they do not have a conventional menu and instead let the seafood market of the day decide what will be served. Celler Berenguer has a cosy environment with Mediterranean tapas, rice dishes, and a special menu on the weekend. If you stay late enough, every Friday evening the restaurant has live music and an array of cocktails. Banys Verge del Carme has preserved its vintage beachfront restaurant aesthetic since 1928 and offers all the traditional Spanish seaside cuisine. It is recommended to make reservations to guarantee a table. Other notable gastronomy in Montgat includes Casa Montgat Tapes, Núvol Kinton Sushi, Bodega El Casquivano, and the Panoramic Bar for drinks and great views of Barcelona. For breakfast or pastries, Montgat Cafe and La Perla Montgat Fleca Cafeteria are two great options.  

Shopping in Montgat

Montgat

Nicolás Andrés Stand at El Mercat de Montgat

The main attraction for shopping in Montgat is El Mercat de Montgat which is a good-sized shopping centre that features various food and services vendors. One of the popular restaurant vendors is Fusion Sushi which serves fresh authentic sushi and a variety of Japanese products. The Nicolás Andrés stand is the perfect place to stop by for fresh produce, their team has been selling locally sourced seasonal fruits and vegetables for more than 65 years.  El Mercat de Montgat even offers services such as The Clinic which is an aesthetic beauty spa providing endless treatments. To view more vendors at the market click here. Hours vary for each seller so be sure to check beforehand! Also stay up to date on events and deals through their Instagram page. 

Beaches of Montgat

Montgat

Playa de Montgat

Montgat is home to the Playa de Montgat, Sant Joan beach and Les Moreres / La Morera beach.  Each of these beaches are easily accessible by public transport and within walking distance of train and bus stops. The Montgat beaches provide an escape from the crowds in Barcelona but still offer a place to listen to music, drink, and eat at the local chiringuitos. One of Montgat’s best facilities is Escola de Mar where tourists or residents can rent surfboards, paddle boards, and sailboats for the day. Additionally, there are public volleyball courts, showers, and sunbeds available to rent. 

Activities in Montgat

Beach near Escolar de Mar

The main activities in Montgat are at the beach whether that is swimming, tanning, or renting a sailboat, paddle board, or surfboard through the Escola de Mar. However, Montgat has some notable historical sites to check out such as the Torre De Ca L’Alsina which was used as a defensive and surveillance tower during the 16th and 17th centuries. Next, the town has a few parks that are worth checking out, especially the Parc Del Turonet because of its amazing coastal views. The park features various spaces designed for multiple uses, including viewpoints, a platform for cultural or festive events, grassy areas with rest and reading zones, and a sports circuit. If you are looking for a more quiet activity, La Biblioteca Tirant Lo Blanc is a nice place to spend the afternoon. They offer a wide range of books for all ages, plenty of spaces to read, study, or do work, and also some small activities for children. Additionally, every Monday through Friday (except holidays) the town hosts a fishing auction at 13:00.  This auction was declared a heritage site of cultural interest in 2012 and is the last remaining traditional auction on the Catalan coast. It is thought to have predated Montgat itself because it occurs in the area where the Tiana fishermen’s houses once stood. Fish that can be bought at the Montgat fishing auction include scorpion fish, cuttlefish, red mullet, squid, rooster, San Pedro fish, prawns, sole, lorikeets, etc. 

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