From Montgat to Malgrat, we highlight the best beaches in the region
There are 16 coastal villages in Maresme, all of which offer residents and tourists magnificent beaches, rocky coves and the clear blue of the Mediterranean. If you live in Barcelona City, Maresme offers space and tranquility, often difficult to find on the beaches of Barceloneta, and it’s an easy 25 minute train ride to the first Maresme beach in Montgat.
Increasingly, Maresme is attracting tourists who prefer to stay outside the centre of Barcelona and want to make the most of its wonderful northern coastline. The railway runs along on the beachfront, so you can enjoy wonderful beach life views on your journey (in air conditioned carriages to boot!) All beaches in Maresme are easily accessible from Plaza Catalunya, Sants or Arc de Triomf by the Renfe Rodalies (R1) train line in the direction of end station Maçenet-Massanes, Calella or Blanes or around a half hour car journey. Maresme has ten beaches with the distinctive blue flag including Malgrat de Mar, San Pol de Mar, Caldes d’Estrac, Ocata, Calella and Pineda de Mar.
The year-round mild climate also makes the Maresme coastline ideal for water sports including sailing, scuba diving, fishing, paddle surf or kayaking. Most beaches and the Ports of Masnou, Arenys and Mataro offer these services.
Here are Maresme Connect’s top 10 beaches:
Platja dels Tres Micos, Caldes d’Estrac
Charming modernist villas line the beach road on the famous Passeig dels Anglesos in Caldes d’Estrac, adding a touch of class to the beach scenery. The homes were built during Barcelona’s modernist heyday in the late 19th century, when the upper classes from Barcelona used to spend vacations in Caldes d’Estrac, also known locally as Caldetes. Some were subsequently used as embassies during the civil war but today they are mainly private residences or businesses.
In terms of overall beach experiences, Caldes d’Estrac beach is arguably one of the best north of Barcelona thanks to its long stretches of flat, golden sand, the many beach bars, the clear water, the good facilities and the stunning sunsets. Caldetes is made up of two beaches—Platja dels Tres Micos and Platja de la Riera—measuring 800 meters from one end to the other, so enough space for all of us!
For kids, this beach is great in the summer months, offering inflatables on the water and kayaking. The town of Caldes d’Estrac is famous for the healing properties of its thermal waters and there are locations where you can enjoy a massage or a dip in a thermal bath so you may want to combine your beach trip with a treatment at the Termes MontBrio Hotel.
Platja De l’Estació, Llavaneres
Like many other towns located along the Maresme Coast, Sant Andreu de Llavaneres has spectacular beaches, among which El Balís, Les Barques and La Estació stand out. The attractive Llavaneres marina Port Balís is located just a stone’s throw away and makes for a pleasant stroll and is ideal for a seafood lunch. It is also the nearest point to Mallorca from the northern coast of Barcelona. There are nearly 800 moorings in the port and it is one of the few leisure clubs in Spain that has a helipad. It also has a renowned sailing school and organises many tournaments. It’s advised to get there early as it can get busy in the summer months. Parking can also be challenging, especially in July.
Playa de Montgat Norte, Montgat Nord
Montgat is the first beach in Maresme and is easily reachable from central Barcelona. Montgat Nord beach is slightly less busy than the main beach. The train stops a few moments walk from the beach and there is also (paying) parking nearby. There are several lively chiringuitos, beach volleyball as well as kayaks and paddle boards to hire.
Montgat Nord boasts some charming fishermen’s houses with cute bars and restaurants, so it is worth exploring and is just a couple of minutes from the seafront. It may not reflect the near perfect beaches of the Costa Brava, but it is a lot less crowded than Barceloneta. Soak up the Mediterranean sea breeze and then wander around the cobbled streets of the small whitewashed town, set just back from the sea. For a tasty lunch spot try Emporium (mentioned in our blog Maresme’s top 10 chiringuitos), a restaurant located right on the beach with an extensive menu.
Platja dels Pescadors, Pineda de Mar
The beach at Pineda de Mar is located in the north of Pineda and is close to the train station. Its pretty 3km stretch of coastline is home to four prominent beaches filled with ample beach sports and activities. It has the blue flag stamp of approval and is perfect for families, with showers and sunbed hire. The promenade behind has some lovely spots for lunch and there is windsurfing and wakeboarding available at the water sports centre. Pineda de Mar is a specialised destination in family tourism and has the Family Beach Seal, with free services for the entire family to enjoy during the summer, such as the Baby Centre and the Mini Beach Club.
Playa de Levante, Santa Susanna
Playa de Levante earned itself a Blue Flag in 2012 for its cleanliness and ideal swimming conditions, and the flag continues to fly all along the 815m of this golden beach. The little town of Santa Susanna lies nestled between Pineda de Mar to the south and Malgrat to the north. The town is set back from the beaches and the Renfe railway station, which offers regular trains to and from Barcelona. If you are travelling by car, take the 122 exit from the C-32 motorway and use the parking facilities a short walk from the beach. The Dunes beach in Santa Susanna is closer to the train station and offers a plethora of activities in and out of the water but tends to get more crowded as a result.
Roca Pins Restaurant located on a hidden beach, Calella
Calella is located between Sant Pol and Pineda de Mar, some 56km from Barcelona and is widely recognised as a centre for tourism on the Maresme Coast thanks to its 3km of magnificent beaches with first rate facilities and services for tourists. The town has been accommodating Catalan families for more than 50 years, and the beach is well-equipped with leisure and recreational services as a result. It has dedicated space for beach football, beach volleyball and paddle, as well as boats, banana boats and parasails for hire.
Cala Roca Pins is located to the south of the town centre and is an area of great natural beauty. Here you will find little, rocky coves with pristine water and is ideal for snorkelling. The Montnegre Natural Park borders this area (where you can try your hand at rock climbing) and adds to the beauty of its surroundings. It also has a great chiringuito, Rocapins, which has an extensive menu ideal for families.
Holiday with the locals at the lively cosmopolitan beach of Platja de Garbí in Calella which has continually received Blue Flag status since 2004 because of its golden sand, which is cleaned daily, and glittering blue waters. The Roca Pins beach has to be accessed on foot from the town heading south. It can be a little tricky at certain times of year but don’t let that put you off – it is well worth the effort and means you can avoid the crowds in Calella.
Platja de Ponent, Vilassar de Mar
The beach immediately to the right of Vilassar de Mar train station, known locally as La Playa de los Pescadores, is a beautiful little cove peppered with fishing boats and home to a delightful chiringuito. This beach is characterised by clean, shallow water so is ideal for families and the cats that wander it in search of a tasty morsel left behind by a fisherman. It is a 5-minute walk from the centre of Vilassar de Mar.
The beach right in front of Ocata train station and a 10 minute walk from el Masnou is ideal for those looking for a huge, wide stretche of sand with plenty of space and facilities for sports such as volleyball and mini tennis. The sand is kept immaculately clean and the water is refreshingly clear. There’s also a path that runs alongside the train track with regular water fountains.
If you need to stretch your legs, walk up towards Premià de Mar or back towards el Masnou along the seafront. Measuring about one and a half kilometres there are children’s play areas and several chiringuitos, many of which host DJs in the evenings at the weekends and from which you can admire Barcelona in the distance. There are also life guards on duty. And if you get bored of the beach, el Masnou port is just a few minutes walk away with its pretty boats and good range of bars and restaurants.
Platja Malgrat Centre, Malgrat de Mar
Malgrat de Mar is the last town before the beginning of the Costa Brava, almost halfway between the cities of Barcelona and Girona. Tourism here began in the 1960s, and today Malgrat de Mar is officially recognised by the Generalitat as a Family Holiday Destination. It’s soft, sandy beaches stretch across 4.5 kilometres of coastline and are divided into small bays. Its ‘Central’ Beach has been awarded blue flag status every year since 1997 for cleanliness and safety and offers umbrella and sun lounger rentals.
The quietest of the town’s three beaches is La Conca located at the mouth of the Tordera River with its pristine sand dunes designated as protected area. Astillero beach stretches from the border of Santa Susanna to the Sant Genís de Palafolls Riera: a kilometre-long stretch of coarse sand where you can swim, walk around the shore or enjoy a drink or tapita at one of its chiringuitos. Punta de la Tordera beach is located at Malgrat’s Camping Zone and extends up to the mouth of the Tordera River, a protected space ideal for nature enthusiasts. At the end of the beach there is a nudist zone. Children can enjoy playgrounds on land and inflatables on the water, and handy picnic tables and refreshment stalls make it more comfortable to spend the whole day there. If you need to entertain the kids, Marineland, one of Spain’s leading animal and marine parks, is a short drive away.
Platja de les Barques, Sant Pol de Mar
The charming fishing town of Sant Pol de Mar has 10 beaches. Just a short walk from the railway station is the town’s main beach, a cove shared between bathers and the Club Nàutic, while Platja del Morer is a quieter stretch just north of the centre. The picturesque Platja Rocagrossa is a 20-minute walk from the train station in the direction of Calella, to the north. Continuing north, there are several smaller beaches that offer rocky picnic spots as well as space to sunbathe. At the southern end, Platja de les Roques Blanques is a wilder stretch of beach, (also popular with nudists). The rocky coves and clear water make it a terrific spot for snorkelling.
It’s worth taking some time out from the beach and enjoying a leisurely lunch at one of the excellent seafood restaurants. The beaches have a different feel to the other beaches along the Maresme Coast thanks to its rocky outcrops, little bays, fishing boats and the winding streets of the town. Parking can be tricky in the town especially during the summer but along the coast road above the beaches past the town you can find some parking spots.
The website Costa Barcelona Maresme has a full list of beaches and services.
Find out about some of the best restaurants from Maresme Connect’s insiders in our Best Villages & Towns in Maresme blog