A coastal haven in Maresme

An Insider’s Guide to El Masnou

The town of El Masnou is known for its wide and sandy beaches and its Modernista homes. It is a popular destination for both tourists and residents seeking a coastal lifestyle close to Barcelona. The town has a relaxed and tranquil ambience, making it an appealing place to live. It has a charming historic centre with narrow streets and classical architecture and where you can find numerous shops, cafes, restaurants, and local amenities. It also boasts a popular marina with a wide variety of restaurants and a range of watersports on offer.
The town of El Masnou benefits from good transport connections. It is located approximately 20 kilometers north of Barcelona, making it easily accessible for commuters who work in the city. The town also has its own train station, providing convenient access to Barcelona and other nearby towns along the coast.

History & Economy of El Masnou

church in El Masnou

The main church in El Masnou

Located just north of Barcelona, El Masnou is located between Montgat and Premià de Mar. The modern town was founded in the early 1800s, but a Roman village known as Cal Ros de les Cabres was one of the first settlements located on the site of the current town. El Masnou is known for its flowers, especially carnations, as well as its connections with the sea. In the past and in the present, the textile industry has also been dominant as have ceramics, glass, and pharmaceutical productsThe town centre is lined with beautiful buildings ranging in different historical styles such as Neoclassical (check out the Casa de La Vila), Modernista, and Noucentista.

Property in El Masnou

colorful street

Colourful street in El Masnou

Modernista homes dominate the seafront in el Masnou and in some of the pretty streets set back from the coast (the Modernista architectural movement is also known as Catalan Art Nouveau which occurred at the turn of the 20th Century). You can also find contemporary new builds as well as renovated apartments throughout the town and more recently constructed homes with gardens and pools. As the town is hilly, many of the properties have fabulous views of the Mediterranean and all are within walking distance of the beaches and train station from which it is a 25-minute journey into Barcelona. 

Gastronomy in El Masnou

terrace by harbor

A harbourside cafe


The local cuisine in El Masnou often features fresh seafood, reflecting its coastal location. The region is known for its excellent quality fish and seafood dishes and you can find a variety of restaurants serving traditional Catalan cuisine as well as international options. For a cosy Mediterranean restaurant in the Port de Masnou head to Restaurante La Santa, which has a great terrace. Saloma is a perfect dinner spot on the Port de Masnou and is always busy. For something a bit fancier, head to Tres Macarrons, a Michelin-star restaurant, which has outstanding food and service. You can also try Restaurant el Nautic for views of the sea, and a wide assortment of tapas, sandwiches, and salads, or the popular Rotunda Chiringuito for cocktails, wine, and food with good music right on the beach  

Shopping in El Masnou

plaza in El Masnou

Plaza in the Port de Masnou

There is plenty of shopping to do in El Masnou, from clothing to food outlets there is something for everyone. Yuppi is a popular store with a wide variety of women’s clothes. For all your footwear head to Zamora –  they have everything from the perfect summer sandals to comfortable practical sneakers. The Mercat Municipal is the perfect place for a range of fresh produce and Molsa Tot Bio is an extensive health food shop located in the centre.  For a wide range of wines, head to El Rebost dels Sentits.

Beaches of El Masnou

playa de Masnou

Playa de Masnou

There are two main beaches in the town of El Masnou, and both are perfect for a quick dip. El Masnou Beach is located steps away from the RENFE station and close to the Port with its wide variety of restaurants. A little further down is the wide and sandy Ocata Beach with calm Mediterranean blue waters and numerous chiringuitos.

For more information on Maresme’s beaches check out our Beach Guide 

Activities in El Masnou

boats in El Masnou harbor

Boats in the Port de Masnou

In terms of recreational activities, apart from the beaches and water sports, El Masnou offers various outdoor opportunities. The surrounding area has hiking trails and natural parks where you can enjoy nature and take in beautiful views of the coastline. One of the major events is the Festa Major de Sant Pere, which is the local festival and normally takes place in June or July. This festival includes popular dances, fireworks, parties, and concerts. Other than the festival there are many other activities including Pas Basic, a renowned dance and fitness studio for adults and kids of all ages. Blanc de Guix is the perfect place for art workshops as well as summer camps for kids. There is also the Museo Municipal de Nautico which is a local museum that highlights the relationship El Masnou has with the sea. Opened in 1962 the museum gets funding from donations. 

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