Girl on beach
Okay I admit it. I don’t like the beach. I’m one of those people who always manages to get sunscreen in her eyes, sand in her mouth (as well as other unfortunate places) and 14 bazillion new freckles set against an unappealing background of 18 new shades of splotchy red.
Now you're thinking that I'm obviously the long-lost twin sister of the Grinch. The one who hated the beach. Dr. Suess wrote a book about me as well but it was deemed to depressing to publish.
But you know who does like the beach? Kids! Kids love the beach and mine are no exception. Actually, kids love getting wet in just about any form and Barcelona has plenty of places to do just that. Here are five great spots to cool off on a hot summer day with your kids. Additionally you can check out this interesting article on the history of Barcelona and its beaches. If only the beaches were still teeming with “pirates, corsairs and crossbowmen”, perhaps then I might find them more to my liking...
1. Mar Bella Beach. If given a choice between an excess of tourists and an excess of naked people, which would you choose? If you said the latter, Mar Bella is a nice little beach for you. Not many tourists and a small, fairly inconspicuous nude area. There is also a children’s play area and nearby grassy spots for picnics. In July and August, they have the biblioplatja, a beach library that offers daily press, magazines, books and comic books (in multiple languages) for all beach goers.
Transport: Bus: 36, 71, 141. Metro: Line 4 - Selva de Mar. Tram: T4 - Selva de Mar
2. Club Natacío Barcelona has been around for more than 100 years and is one of the oldest swimming clubs in the city. It ain’t free (monthly memberships run around 80-90 Euros for adults, 10-20 Euros for children) but there are plenty of perks to be had. In addition to numerous sport options (gyms, tennis courts, beach football, sailing, etc.), there are several pools including one specifically for children under 2.5 years, and a large sea water swimming pool overlooking the beach. There is a also a ludoteca where kids (ages 0-12) can play and do arts and crafts while supervised by a monitor.
3. Zona de Banys, Parc del Fòrum. Advertised in some places as “a beach without sand,” this is the perfect spot for grit-phobics such as myself. The swimming area consists of enclosed sea water pools that can be accessed via a series of concrete slabs and platforms. With no grass nor greenery, it has been described as having the “charm of a U-boat base.” However, the swimming areas are shallow (a relief for the vigilant parent) and there are also lots of fun water activities available for both kids and adults. How to get there: Metro: L4, El Maresme/Fòrum. Bus: 7, 36, 41 and 141. Tram (T4), Selva de Mar or El Maresme.
4. Platja de L'Eixample -Torre de les Aïgues. The interior patio of my apartment building consists of several unattractive concrete divisions topped by a complex network of drying laundry. While the sight of hundreds of pairs of drying socks fluttering in the breeze has its own certain charm, I have to say that if given the choice, I’d rather live in one of the buildings that surround the Torre de les Aïgues in the Eixample. Because do you know what they have in their interior patio?? A historic water tower surrounded by shady trees! And a knee-high wading pool! And sand with buckets and spades provided for children! Luckily I can visit any time I want and it only costs €1.40 (free for children under 1 year old). Hours are 10am-8pm Mon-Sat; 10am-3pm Sun. Aug 10am-8pm Mon-Fri; 10am-3pm Sat, Sun. Entrance to “the beach” at Calle Roger de Llúria, 56 Metro: Girona or Pg. de Gracia. Tel. 637 402 866/ 93 423 4350
5. Parc de La Creueta de Coll This place has become my new favorite place to be on hot summer afternoons. There is a huge wading pool surrounded by enormous atmospheric craggy boulders and my kids love to splash around and swim while I relax with a book on the grass. There is also a cafe and two playgrounds. Hours are Mon-Sat 10am – 8pm. Under 3's Free. Entrance €4.55 adults; €2.85 children. If you go after 6pm, the price drops down to €1.10 for both adults and children. Passeig de La Mare de Deu de Coll 89, Gracia. Metro: Line 3, Penitents or Line 5, El Coll -La Teixonera. Buses: 25,27,28, 92. Tel. 600 453 730