Sailing in Maresme

Maresme, Barcelona's stunning northern coast

The beautiful Maresme coast, or the Costa del Maresme, covers a narrow strip of land in the north east of Catalonia, between Barcelona and the Costa Brava. The region is made up of 54 beaches and 30 towns, 16 of which are on the coast, with a total population of just under 460,000 inhabitants (2021). It offers 52km of glorious coastline between Montgat (to the south) and Malgrat de Mar (to the north). The capital of Maresme is Mataró, with around 130,000 inhabitants (2021). A 2022 report by the Local Development Observatory of the Maresme Regional Council showed that Maresme had the highest inward migration in the whole of Catalunya (19,874 people migrated inwardly and 15,918 migrated outwardly leaving a a positive net migration of 3956 people). When it comes to foreigners, all municipalities bar 3 had a positive net migration.

The region has a distinctive landscape where the mountains and vineyards meet the beaches of the Mediterranean, as well as unique traditions, a deep-rooted history and fine local cuisine. Maresme boasts golden sandy beaches interspersed with small coves to form an idyllic landscape with warm, dry summers and mild, bright winters.

An enviable quality of life

The Costa del Maresme is renowned for its excellent quality of life with an enviable sunny microclimate, clean air, a low crime rate and an abundance of outdoor pursuits on offer such as horse riding, golf, sailing and hiking. The area features a long stretch of sandy coastline backed by rolling green hills, vineyards and natural parks, making it a highly privileged setting to visit, live permanently or to own a second home.

It is an ideal location for those that make the daily commute to the city for work but wish to come home to an area that provides a relaxed, healthy lifestyle, as both Barcelona City and the airport can be reached easily by road and rail from all Maresme towns and villages (from 20 minutes to 45 minutes by train or car).  These beach towns near Barcelona are all easily accessible by train (RENFE) which is free until the end of 2023.

Events and festivities

The towns near Barcelona in the Costa del Maresme, such as San Pol de Mar, Cabrils, El Masnou, Teià, Alella and many others boast a variety of colourful year-round events including music and culinary festivals, summer beach parties, and national cultural celebrations. Highlights include La Verema, the annual wine festival held in Alella and Cabrils’ summer gastronomic fair. There are also various caminadas (hikes) through the Serrelada Litoral Natural Park and mountain bike excursions. The region’s towns and villages are divided between coastal towns, inland towns de dalt (from above) or de munt (from below), which were originally nuclei created on top of the hills to safeguard against the usual pirate attacks, and each town or village hosts an annual Festa Major with its themed celebrations from its marine history to the famous Maresme pea.

The area also boasts a number of excellent international schools such as Hamelin-Laie International School, SEK International School and ISCAT, The International School of Catalonia and good local schools such as Betlem, Escuela Pino, Montessori Village and Salesians.

Maresme in the media

More recently the Maresme Coast has caught the attention of the international media who see the region’s benefits of being a little further away from the city centre but offering easy access, culture, history and beautiful beaches. The UK newspaper The Guardian talks about the Maresme as ‘perfect as a base for a beach holiday, with quick trips into Barcelona, or as a place to unwind for a few days after a city break’ and The Telegraph describes the region as ‘a hidden holiday home gem beyond Barcelona’. The Wall Street Journal has written about how increasing numbers of foreigners are snapping up properties in Maresme and has featured homes in the sought-after Cabrils.

Elsewhere the region has been featured in Time Out Magazine and a special on Maresme beaches in Barcelona Metropolitan.

 What the founders are saying about Maresme
The Maresme Coast, known for its vineyards, natural parks and beaches, also boasts a rich heritage of 'modernista' architecture which will delight anyone with a cultural interest in the region. The finest examples by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, a native of Mataró, and Barcelona born Lluís Domènech i Montaner can be found in Alella, Argentona, Canet de Mar and Mataró, while villages such as El Masnou and Vilassar de Mar are home to delightful streets of 'casas de pueblo' with high ceilings, original wood features and my personal favourite - 'baldosas hidráulicas', iconic Barcelona floor tiles.
Jane Mitchell
The Maresme Coast has a more 'local' feel all year round unlike other destinations close to Barcelona such as Sitges or Sant Cugat. There is easy access to the Costa Brava and the ski slopes of the Pyrenees and in Spring it is even possible to come off the slopes in the afternoon in time for a sundowner in a chiringuito at dusk. The Serralada Litoral Natural Park - a vast area of woodland that provides the backdrop to the attractive Maresme villages, the renowned local wines, award-winning beaches, the numerous sports clubs and fantastic local restaurants (including Michelin-starred) all add to the region’s growing appeal.
Carrie Frais