One question I often get asked is about the best beaches around Barcelona. For me, and for a city beach, both Barceloneta and the Olympic Village beaches are absolutely fine - but then again, I'm lazy and want everything on my doorstep! For those looking for an out-of-town beach, maybe a little quieter, then there are many choices - up towards the Costa Brava there are nudist beaches such as Sant Pol (they have a non-nudist section, too) which involves jumping the train lines to access. Little coves like Begur are wonderful sleepy fisherman's towns which are great places too, but as I've mentioned before in this series, I'm mainly writing these posts for people visiting the city with no transport of their own, and places easily accessible via public transport.
So for me, two of the best beaches you can access easily from Barcelona are Sitges and Casteldefels. The best way to get to either beach is to take the train from the main train station, Sants. The trains going in the direction of the airport usually always stop at Casteldefels and Sitges.
Sitges is a really nice little town, and is famous for it's gay community which light up the streets during Carnaval in February. It also has a great Cinema festival which leans towards horror movies, and is a beautiful little resort. Housing here is very expensive and many footballers and "famous" people live or have lived in and around Sitges. The beach itself is actually quite small, and it's almost like a cove - the church at the top of the town, overlooking the arched beach below. The beach itself is actually quite shallow - i.e. there's not a huge amount of room before you get to the waves, so sometimes it can get a little fight-for-your-towel-space, but it's immaculately kept with grass verges along the boardwalk, and some great little seafood restaurants, too. Sitges for me, also seems to have it's own macro climate, and many a time I've visited with friends and as we've left Barcelona it's been cloudy, and we plan to just have a look around the cobbled streets of the town, but on arrival it's clear skies and glorious sunshine!
Casteldefels actually has two train stops, and depending on how busy you want the beach to be, then you can choose. The stop marked Casteldefels actually drops you in the centre of town. From here, you can walk under the bridge around 10 minutes to the bottom and reach the sea (head towards the petrol station). This beach is huge in comparison to Sitges, with loads of room to lay down or play beach sports. There's only 1 bar, though, so if you plan on having lunch there, or want a little more variety, then maybe the next stop is for you. Casteldefels Platja (beach in Catalan) is the next stop along, and is a lot busier in terms of shops and bars, restaurants, etc. Although you're only around 15 minutes outside Barcelona, it can seem like another kind of holiday altogether, and a real escape from the city.
Coming to Barcelona soon? Check out these apartments for rent in Barcelona and for a quick look at the top sights, see this Barcelona guide.