In this article, we show you 5 seaside resorts in the immediate vicinity of Barcelona, where you’ll be able to spend a great vacation. Each of these resorts is different: some are ideal for partying, others for relaxing with your family or for enjoying nature. It’s up to you to decide which one best suits your desires.
But before that, we just want to give you 3 reasons why we recommend Spain for your vacations.
3 good reasons to come and sunbathe in Spain
The first reason to come and spend your vacations in Spain, especially near Barcelona, is because the cost of living is affordable. The Italian seaside resorts, for example, have prices that are getting closer and closer to those of the French resorts (we are not there yet, but it is going up…). In Spain, the prices are still really low for our French scholarships, even when you are a student with a small budget, which allows you to enjoy yourself on the spot!
The second reason is that it is easy to speak the local language and to meet people. You will quickly get the taste for trying to speak Spanish, adding O’s and A’s at the end of your sentences and laughing when you say huge bullshit that nobody will understand.
The third reason to go to a Spanish resort is for the quality of the food. Tapas, sangria, olive oil, oranges, … Spain is one of the best eating countries in Europe (at least according to my taste buds sensitive to cold cuts, hehe). And you will enjoy it without breaking the bank. Personally, these three reasons are part of the criteria that made me decide to move to Spain a few years ago.
I could cite other reasons, such as the sunshine all year round, the general good mood on the Mediterranean coast, the ease of access to all these cities from France (or from Barcelona airport), but let’s get to the heart of the matter right now. Here are my top 5 seaside resorts near Barcelona that I recommend for a dream vacation.
Lloret de Mar, 80km from Barcelona: the ideal resort for young people
The first time I heard about Lloret de Mar was from a young colleague named Delphine who had obviously spent a dream vacation there the summer before we met: she came back delighted and kept recommending this destination to me for my next trip (finally I opted for Portugal solo and backpacking, but that’s another story).
If you want to party, meet young people of all nationalities, and enjoy all kinds of beach activities, then Lloret de Mar is the ideal resort for you.
Regarding the price of accommodation, you can find studios between 30 and 50€ per night in the center of this small town (I’ll give you a discount coupon at the end of this article, be careful!)
Access to Lloret de Mar is easy from Girona as well as from Barcelona, ideal if you arrive from Paris-Beauvais with a low-cost flight.
Salou, the lively seaside resort of the Costa Dorada
Located in the Costa Dorada, in the province of Tarragona, the small seaside resort of Salou will delight fans of fine sand beaches and amusement parks. A bit like Benidorm on the Costa Blanca, in fact.
Indeed, this sunny little township is home to PortAventura World, where you can discover attractions on themes as varied as Mexico, the Westerns, and since 2017 on the theme of Ferraris, in Ferrari Land. It’s just huge.
If you are more into lazing around, no worries: there is no lack of beaches here. And as far as nightlife is concerned, you won’t be bored either: bars, pubs, restaurants, and other nightclubs are there to welcome you!
For a vacation rental in Salou, Costa Dorada, prices are a little higher than in Lloret de Mar which I mentioned above. It has to be said that the public is slightly different, older than in Lloret de Mar (it’s still young though), and with more buying power. However, it remains very affordable: between 40 and 60€ per night for a studio in the city center.
Sitges, the most gay-friendly seaside resort in Europe
Let’s change register. I present you Sitges, the most gay-friendly resort in Europe.
While the two previous resorts are really tiny, Sitges already looks more like a city, with real inhabitants in it (for something else than tourism, I mean). The city has 29,000 inhabitants per year. It’s not huge, but compared to the 4000 of Lloret de Mar for example, it’s already substantial.
The city of Sitges is trendy, chic. The new Spanish golden generation comes here to consume their youth in the most crazy nights. Logically, this makes it one of the most expensive cities in Spain. If you have a small budget, it is frankly not the resort that I recommend you in priority. The city is often considered as the “Spanish Saint Tropez”, and you can quickly see it in your wallet if you feel like ordering a mojito on the beach.
Among its assets, Sitges has also the good idea to be located only a few kilometers from the Barcelona-El Prat airport. It’s a great place to be: just off the plane, you can be at your vacation spot within 15 minutes!
Cambrils, the most relaxed resort near Barcelona
If you ask me to choose right now a destination for a week among those of this article, then I choose Cambrils without hesitation. It has an old-fashioned ‘fishing village’ feel to it that I really like (the harbor is full of trawlers). Tourism has only developed there relatively recently, and most tourists go to Salou, which I mentioned above.
In short, even if Cambrils is a tourist resort with all the facilities to make your stay extraordinary, it is a bit more relaxed than its frenetic neighbor. And personally, that’s what I’m looking for nowadays: if I want to party hard, I’ll go down the beers in the cosy pubs of Northern Europe.
The city of Cambrils has 7 km of fine sandy beach. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to putting down your towel. And if you go there out of season, you shouldn’t step on any toes and have relative privacy. Pretty nice too.
Finally, to spoil nothing, the old town of Cambrils is really charming: full of small typically Spanish streets where you can get lost with delight. Perfect for those who also like to wander, and not only to make pancakes on the beach from morning to night.
Ametlla de Mar, the ideal resort for families and nature lovers
Let’s stay on the Costa Dorada. If you want to go with your family to enjoy the Spanish sun while dodging the hordes of young people who have come to party, then Ametlla de Mar is, from this short list anyway, the best choice you could make.
So yes, first of all there are the beaches, the seafront. Fine sand, blue sky, turquoise water. Enough to relax, and spend a great vacation. It’s the base, when you come to Spain, you’ll tell me.
When you want to do something else than lounging in the sand, then follow the seaside walk that takes you to the beaches of Alguer and Pixavaques, passing by many small coves, each more charming than the other. Really nice!
Beyond the beaches, there are also cultural outings to do: besides several museums, don’t miss the Sant Jordi d’Alfama castle, an impregnable fortress built by the Templars in 1201: you really feel out of time there.
There are also many hiking trails that you can follow from Ametlla: the Olive Tree trail, for example. Or the GR 92 for the great walkers. And there is also the Coast Nature Route, where you can observe the richness of the flora and fauna of the Costa Dorada. Great!