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Sant Pol de Mar
The Maresme coast stretches from Barcelona to the beginning of the Costa Brava and is known for its long, sandy beaches. A train line that runs right next to the beach makes this a very accessible day trip to the seaside, as well as a historic ride, as the stretch between Barcelona and Mataró was Spain’s first railway, built in 1848.
Still in Zone One, so reachable with your T10, Ocata is just 30 minutes from Barcelona, but feels like a world away. The beach stretches for one and a half kilometres and at some points is up to 170 metres wide, so there’s always somewhere to put your towel. The fine sand is kept immaculately clean and the water is refreshingly clear. Admire the Barcelona skyline in the distance and enjoy the peace and space that just half an hour of travel gets you. There’s also a path that runs alongside the train track with regular water fountains and shady picnic spots. If you need to stretch your legs, walk up towards Premià de Mar or back towards El Masnou.
This lovely town just beyond Mataró is a popular day trip for Barcelona residents looking for something a little quieter. Caldetes, as it is known locally, was also once a destination for wealthy city dwellers who would go there to enjoy the thermal waters. There is still a spa there now. The two main beaches are wide enough to accommodate lots of people with a decent space between towels. And, when you’ve had enough sun, head into town, where you’ll find 19th-century architecture, an art museum and lots of shady cafés and places to eat. One of the beaches is lined by beautiful Modernista villas on the ‘Passeig dels Anglesos’, built in the early 1900s, when the Barcelona gentry would come for holidays in the summer months.
Sant Pol de Mar
This small fishing town an hour north of Barcelona is about as charming as it gets before you reach the Costa Brava. White fishermen’s cottages cluster in the centre of the town around the ancient church of Sant Pau. The main beach curves round directly in front of the town and the rocky backdrop gives it an intimate feel. There are also secluded rocky areas to be explored by walking north or south from the main beach, following the N-II. The rocks and clean, clear water make these great spots for snorkelling. It’s worth taking some time out from the beach and enjoying a leisurely lunch at one of the excellent seafood restaurants. Sant Pol is also home to Michelin-starred Carme Ruscalleda’s restaurant Sant Pau and Chiringuito Banys Lluís.