Barcelona City to Beach: A Day Trip to Costa Brava

The vibrant city of Barcelona offers countless possibilities for entertainment and cultural events. Its perfect location right on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea also offers easy access to various city beaches.

If you have planned a free day while visiting Barcelona, we highly recommend going for a beach trip to the Costa Brava coastline which starts an hour’s drive north of Barcelona.

La Costa Brava boasts an extensive network of coastal hiking trails, provides opportunities for water sports, and simply is a stunning coastal paradise with cliffs and gin-clear lagoons.

A full-day beach trip to Costa Brava is a must if you can fit it into your schedule. We are going to share a handful of great beach spots in Costa Brava with you and add some extra practical tips to enjoy your day trip from Barcelona.

Stay tuned and let us know if you need any particular help or advice when planning your day trip to Costa Brava.

Where can I find the best beaches near Barcelona's city center?

Hopping on the public train running Northeas or Southwest of the city is an easy beach trip for anyone to do. The trains run fairly regularly every 20-30 minutes and you have total freedom to pick from dozens of quieter and cleaner beach spots compared to the city.

The two train lines run parallel to the coast. You can either hop on the R1 line heading to El Maresme or the R2 Sud line heading to Sitges and La Costa Daurada.

Our recommendation is to choose a smaller town without a port for better water quality. If you fancy going Northeast our top pick is a small cute village with a spacious beachfront and very chilled atmosphere called Sant Pol de Mar.

On the other hand, if you want to experience the best beach spots in Catalonia you have to travel to La Costa Brava.

Tossa de Mar Costa Brava one day trip
Barcelona city to beach in Costa Brava. Small group day tours to Tossa de Mar available all year round.

Discovering the Best Beaches: Barcelona to Costa Brava

Undoubtedly, one of the most picturesque towns in La Costa Brava is Tossa de Mar.

The Medieval fortress with spectacular sea views, loads of history dating back to Roman settlements, and three great beaches to enjoy once the weather starts to get warm.

Tossa de Mar attracts significant amounts of holidaymakers in the peak season and many local Catalans often wander to this town at the weekend to have a relaxing seaside lunch. Our insider tip for a great and pleasant visit to this coastal Jewell would be to try to plan the day trip a working day.

The famous coastal path El Camino de Ronda (GR 92: Sendero del Mediterráneo) passes through the town too. Hence you can always walk away to discover more secluded bays and beaches in the surroundings of Tossa de Mar. The path is fully signposted and offers some stunning sea views.

Check out our small group day trip to Costa Brava that combines off-the-beaten-path hiking, swimming, and snorkeling experiences and effectively ends in Tossa de Mar. You can count on a rewarding and traditional lunch menu with plenty of time to explore this town in your free time as well.

La Pasiencia viewpoint near Tossa de Mar
Your perfect beach trip to Costa Brava with hiking, swimming and free time to visit Tossa de Mar.

15 Must-Visit Beaches from Barcelona to Costa Brava

There are so many beautiful beaches in Costa Brava. We have put together a curated list of our favorite beaches that will not disappoint. We promise we go there with our clients all year round.

We run private and small group day tours from Barcelona to Costa Brava that often include walking, hiking, kayaking, swimming, and cliff jumping. Let us know if you are interested in organizing a special experience at any of these places while on holiday in Barcelona.

However, if you decide to rent a car and head out exploring on your own have a look at our parking recommendations and other practical tips to have a hassle-free day trip to Costa Brava.

Here are our top 15 list of all-time favorite beaches in Costa Brava from South to North (heading to the French border).

Costa Brava day trip from Barcelona with hiking
Hiking in Costa Brava. Explore La Costa Brava and its hidden gems on the famous GR 92 trail with a guide.

The rule of thumb – the smaller and less accessible the beach you decide to explore, the better the experience. In addition, less touristy beaches are also easier to park in the busy summer season.

The vast majority of towns collect parking fees from mid-June til mid-September. These parking spots are painted blue and you should see a ticket machine nearby with a traffic sign providing additional details about the parking rules.

Make sure you do not exceed the parking time as many towns employ extra people to keep up with this and are quick to issue a parking ticket for the slightest infraction.

If you happen to be parking somewhere on the side of the road in Costa Brava check the signs around again. Make sure your car is not entering into the road. The local town police force – Policia Municipal, is very vigilant and quick to call a towing truck to move your car away. This fine can quickly add up to several hundreds of euros to recover your vehicle.

Last but not least, parking a car on the side of the road is unfortunately an invitation for someone to break in especially if they can see some bags or luggage in the car. Make sure you do not leave the most important documents and cards in the car. If you do get in trouble on your day trip to Costa Brava just call the 112 European helpline and they tell you what to do.

Costa Brava Beach Packing Essentials: Be Prepared!

Wondering what to pack for a day at Costa Brava beach? Apart from the obvious, we are going to give you some cool and practical tips on how to enjoy to the fullest.

Alright, let’s start with the basics – sun protection. Do not forget to pack your sun shades, cap, a light quick dry t-shirt, and plenty of sun cream. Moreover, get a decent piece of string that you can use with your linen beach towel to set up an improvised shade sail.

If you do not have any Aleppo pine trees providing a well-needed break from the midday sun this might be your quick solution. Plus it can be a fun activity to get the kids involved in.

Nevertheless, if you do not intend to make sun shelter having a little bit of string can be useful for other things.

rugged coastline in Costa Brava
A beach trip to Costa Brava from Barcelona. Essential items to pack for a fabulous experience.

Bring enough water. It would be a pity having to leave your splendid beach spot because you have run out of water.

Even better, freeze your filled plastic bottle a day before and use it to keep your picnic and other drinks nice and cool all day long.

Once you arrive at the beach, you can further maintain the cold drinks by digging out a decent hole in the sand and placing all your food and drinks inside. To avoid getting the sand all over your food and drinks just wrap it up in a small towel or reusable bag.

Top it up with the sand leaving a clear mark so that you know where to dig when you get a sudden appetite for a beach snack and your cool drinks.

As the day goes on, the ice will melt and you will have nice refreshing water all day long. We would not bother lugging a cooling box around the coast because it would be really hard to reach those pristine beach spots.

If you had to pack a single item of gear we would suggest bringing swimming goggles or snorkeling gear. By having those in the bag you will be able to fully explore the Mediterranean Sea and dive around the underwater boulders and crevices to see some local wildlife.

Costa Brava is predominantly made of sand rock and granite rock formations and invites anyone for easy bouldering or cliff diving. A pair of climbing or water shoes can make your life a lot easier if you would like to enjoy these activities as well. You can grab a pair in the sports store called Decathlon.

Captivating Coastal Views: Kayaking in Costa Brava

The cliffs, underwater boulders, and gin-clear lagoons truly make Costa Brava a stunning place to visit. One of the most popular ways to get around the coast is by using a seak kayak or standup paddle board (SUP).

There is a wide range of commercial sit-on-top double kayaks that provide maneuverability and a reasonable amount of stability compared to SUPs. Hence anyone keen to explore some hidden coves and caves in Costa Brava can do it.

Explore the hidden treasures in the Costa Brava on our small group kayaking tour from Barcelona
Captivating costal views on the kayaking day trip from Barcelona.

There is a handful of locations that will provide kayak rental services throughout the summer season. We recommend you call them in advance.

Just to make sure they have got their equipment prepared on the beach and they are up and running to provide you with all you might need for your kayaking experience.

Our two favorite spots to go kayaking in Costa Brava are  La Playa de Sant Pol de S’Agaró. You can rent your kayaks from Escola de Vela I Kayak Sant Pol.

Alternatively, if you drive a little further north to La Playa del Castell. You will find Kayaking Costa Brava and Sk Kayak. They will equip you accordingly for your sea kayaking adventure and give you tons of insider tips and recommendations.

We recommend checking the weather forecastBeaufort Wind Scale, and sea temperature before you get out kayaking. Moreover, plan to bring some water and a string to be able to anchor in a cove area.

Holidays in Barcelona and a day trip to La Costa Brava
Costa Brava hiking,, kayaking and snorkeling day trip from Barcelona. Small groups and personalized experiences.

Kayaking is a fun and easy upper-body exercise that does not require any previous experience. However, the sea and wind conditions should never be underestimated and all participants must know how to swim in the sea without lifevest or PFDs.

Check out our family and beginner-friendly Barcelona kayaking experience where our guides give you a taste of kayaking while you enjoy sightseeing in Barcelona.


Come and join our full-day Costa Brava kayaking day trip to fully explore and engage in various activities throughout the day.

We can also tailor-make a private kayaking experience in the single kayaks for more experienced kayakers throughout the year. The availability is strictly governed by the natural powers. Give us a heads up and we will be back with our best options.

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