One of the advantages of studying Spanish in Barcelona is the opportunity to alternate the library with a field trip to the beach.
The city is blessed with five kilometers of sandy coastline, which stretches from the glamorous shores of the enigmatic W hotel to the post-industrial Port Forúm area at the city limits. Whilst the ten beaches are punctuated by peers and ports, they are well-connected by paths, bike lanes, and public transport routes, and each has their own personality and advantages as a place to study Spanish outside of class.
Most beaches are well-equipped with showers, lockers and even Wi-Fi, and are manned by lifeguards from mid-April to October. You’ll soon choose your own favorite once you arrive, but this article will give you suggestions to help you find the perfect spot to start studying Spanish in Barcelona and quickly improve your Spanish skills.
Sant Sebastiá, Sant Miquel, la Barceloneta, and El Somorrostro
Barcelona’s international visitors often make the southernmost beaches their first port of call, and there are plenty of reasons to make these three spots your place to study. Easily accessible by public transport, there are three landmarks to make meeting up with classmates as easy as possible: the W hotel, Torre Sant Sebastiá, and L’ Estel Ferit. The sail-shaped W hotel marks the end of the beach, whilst the Torre Sant Sebastiá links the beach to Monjüic via cable car. L’Estel Ferit is a sculpture more commonly known as Los Cubos, or The Cubes, for obvious reasons.
These beaches are lively and frequented all-year round. There are numerous opportunities to get involved in beach sports, and also some zones where nudity is allowed if you want to hit the books in the buff. Barceloneta is home to the Biblioplatja, or Beach Library, where you can borrow books, magazines, and newspapers. If you want to escape from the city between classes to do some simple tasks, or fancy finding other foreigners to socialize with, this area is ideal.
Nova Icària and Bogatell
North of the Vila Olímpica built for the 1992 Olympic Games are Nova Icària and Bogatell. These beaches generally attract an older crowd and are more likely to be frequented by locals as compared to the southernmost shores. The locals refer to beach bars and restaurants as xiringuitos, and some of the best are located in this area. Bogatell is the favorite of the adjacent Poblenou neighborhood, and the surrounding parks are incredibly popular at the weekend with families who pitch up to enjoy a picnic in the shade.
These beaches are quieter and so you can expect a little more peace, especially during the week. The xiringuitos are perfect for meeting up with other students from your class or to organize a language exchange. Sooner or later you should be aiming to immerse yourself in Spanish-speaking environments, and spending time amongst locals at these suburban beaches is your first step.
Mar Bella, Nova Mar Bella, and Llevant
The final section of beaches in Barcelona comprises of Mar Bella, Nova Mar Bella, and Llevant. Mar Bella is known as being a gay-friendly and clothing-optional destination, and has recently begun to attract crowds of wheeled youngsters owing to the installation of an impressive skate park. If you plan to study with a canine companion, there is a designated zone for dogs to enjoy themselves in the sand at the Llevant beach.
These beaches are the furthest from the center of the city, attracting fewer visitors, so you will be largely undisturbed if you would like to do some reading or exercises on your own.
Zona de Banys – El Parc del Fòrum
The final zone to consider visiting when scoping out seaside study spots is the man-made swimming zone at El Parc del Fòrum. Constructed in 2004, the expansive park contains a concrete promenade bordering a limited sea water swimming area, complete with deck chairs and showers. If you want to keep your laptop as far away as possible from the sand of the beaches, this is the perfect place for you to study.
The beach can be the perfect place to study, keep fit, socialize and top up your tan, and with a few important precautions, you can happily return time after time.
Only swim where you’re allowed to do so. A red flag means swimming is prohibited, a yellow flag signifies extra vigilance and a green flag means you’re good to go. Make sure to watch out for the occasional jellyfish!
Look after your belongings. Unfortunately, petty theft is common at the beach, so take advantage of the lockers if you plan to leave your books and to take a swim.
When laying in the sun, enjoying the heat and relaxation, it’s important to remember to protect your skin. UV rates can reach dangerous levels in Barcelona. Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and bring snacks to re energize yourself after laying out in the sun for awhile.
Check out this article to find out more information about proper sun protection and preventing dehydration.