Visit La Barceloneta Neighborhood
La Barceloneta is a relatively small seaside neighborhood in Barcelona. It is located in the Ciutat Vella District, between the Port Olympic and the Barcelona Port. This narrow strip of neighborhood is complete with a lively promenade, fantastic and popular beaches, and the freshest of the city’s seafood.
Historically, La Barceloneta was the neighborhood of the fishermen and all the maritime activities. Today, La Barceloneta is more “beach” oriented, while trying to preserve its history and identity.
Book your stay in one of the best hotels in Barceloneta, and you will be perfectly located for enjoying Barcelona’s waterfront and some of the most iconic attractions in the city. Here’s a look at everything that’s cooking in La Barceloneta, Barcelona’s beach neighborhood, and what you should not miss out on!
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What to Do in La Barceloneta, Barcelona
1. Beach Day
It should come as no surprise that the best thing to do in a beach neighborhood – in the right season – is to go to the beach! The beaches of La Barceloneta are the most popular, and they are always a hive of activity, with beachgoers, paddle boarders, and volleyballers out in full force all day.
There are four beaches laid out end to end: San Sebastian Beach, in the furthest south; Sant Miquel and Barceloneta Beach, in the middle; and Somorrostro Beach, to the north, closest to Port Olympic. These beaches are nearly indistinguishable in terrain, but each has a slightly different atmosphere, being Sant Sebastià Beach and Barceloneta Beach the most popular.
Activities like volleyball are limited to the middle section, while nude sunbathing is usually more south. Just beware: bag snatchers and UV rays are equally dangerous here, so stay safe!
2. Explore Barceloneta’s Historical Heart
Historically, La Barceloneta was the neighborhood of sailors and fishermen, where you could find all kinds of activities related to the sea (fishing, construction of boats, and all types of harbor activities). Over the years, the neighborhood has evolved, but it has kept its original charm, which you can still see in some iconic buildings like the Casa de la Barceloneta 1716 and the Sant Miquel del Port Church, narrow streets, and hidden squares.
The Confraria de Pescadors de Barcelona organizes guided tours to the Llotja del Peix (where the Barceloneta seafood is sold) in Catalan and Spanish, and it’s an excellent tour to learn more about the historical Barceloneta.
At the time of writing this post, there are no Barceloneta guided tours in English, but these two segway tours cover La Barceloneta, amongst other locations.
3. Take the Telefèric del Port
The Telefèric del Port in Barcelona is a scenic cable car system that offers a breathtaking aerial view of La Barceloneta and much of the city’s historic area. This 1.5 km Barceloneta cable car system transports passengers from the San Sebastián tower over the port and up to the tranquil slopes of Montjuïc Mountain for great views and more sightseeing.
From Montjuïc, you can take a second cable car up to Montjuïc Castle, visit the Fundació Joan Miró, or head to the Olympic Ring – Click here to book your tickets for the Telefèric del Port
4. Museu d’Història de Catalunya
Immersing oneself in the rich tapestry of Catalonia’s past is an essential part of visiting Barcelona, and you can see it come to life at the Museum of the History of Catalonia, located at Plaça de Pau Vila, 3.
This captivating museum offers an immersive journey through the region’s storied history. As visitors step through its doors, they are greeted by exhibits, artifacts, and multimedia displays that chronicle Catalonia’s evolution over the centuries.
From its ancient origins to its modern-day cultural contributions, the museum paints a vivid picture of the struggles, achievements, and identity that have shaped the unique Catalan region – Click here to book your tickets to Museu d’Història de Catalunya
4. Stroll along the Port Olímpic
Framed by the glistening Mediterranean Sea, this vibrant promenade built for the Summer Olympic Games 1992 is a testament to Barcelona’s dynamic spirit – a duality between an ancient coastal town and a modern metropolitan.
Two iconic skyscrapers, the Hotel Arts and the Torre Mapfre, symbolize the city’s architectural prowess and its role as a global hub.
As you wander further, your gaze is drawn to the magnificent fish sculpture by Frank Gehry, the Peix Olímpic (Olympic Fish). Its gleaming metallic scales catch the sunlight, mirroring the play of waves in the nearby waters. The sculpture’s undulating form captures the essence of the sea, a fitting tribute to the city’s maritime heritage.
The Port Olímpic itself bustles with life, offering a spectrum of waterfront restaurants, bustling cafes, and a lively atmosphere that invites both locals and visitors to savor the coastal delights. The best way to explore this corner of Barcelona is on two wheels, with this 1.5-hour Olympic Segway Tour or as part of a City’s Highlights bike tour.
5. Check out the Whimsical L’Estel Ferit Sculpture
As you stroll down Barceloneta Beach, just past the scores of volleyballers, you will see a curious sculpture rising from the sand – L’Estel Ferit or Wounded Star in English. The four windowed rusty cubes are stacked whimsically, and it looks more like the Weasley house than anything else, but it has a deep significance for the local community.
The sculpture was erected during the Olympic era in Barcelona when many neighborhoods were being revamped and cleaned up. The German artist Rebecca Horn pays homage to Barcelonetta’s humble past of fishermen and harbor workers.
6. Walk to the W Hotel Barcelona
The W Barcelona Hotel is the most recognizable skyscraper in the city. This hotel near Barceloneta Beach sits at the southern edge of La Barceloneta, preceded by two lines of palm trees. For some, the gleaming hotel might be a smidge out of their price range, but they have plenty of events open to non-guests where you can live like the other half, if only for the evening.
On Sundays, you can enjoy DJs around the pool or go up to the 26th-floor club and dance the night away, watching over the city. If all else fails, you can always walk down the promenade and grab a seat at Honest Greens, the city’s most popular healthy restaurant chain. Their outside seating has the best view of the hotel and the beach, served with a side of good coffee.
7. Tapas and Seafood in one of the Sea Restaurants and Bars
Where else will you eat the freshest of the city’s seafood than right next to the beach? There is no shortage of Barceloneta beach bars and restaurants, and there is something for every budget.
One of the most popular things to do in La Barceloneta is stop at one of the xiringuitos (beach bars) that pop up right next to the sand between April and October, like La Deliciosa (Plaça del Mar s/n).
Guingueta Proa a la Mar (Plaça Charles Darwin), beside the Olympic Port, also redefines casual cuisine as a Michelin-starred chef creates indulgent yet refined dishes in a takeaway joint by the sea. Chiringuito Escribà (Avinguda Litoral 62) should be your go-to place for all things paella and rice-related, while Jefferson Beach Bar and Cal Pinxo (Plaça de Pau Vila, 1) are equally decadent but also offer a stunning terrace with a rooftop view.
Bear in mind that some of the Barceloneta beach bars are seasonal, so they might be closed during the winter months (Google them to see their opening days and times).
8. Visit the Room Where It Always Rains
L’Habitació on Sempre Plou (A Room where It Always Rains) is a sculptural group located in Barcelona’s Plaça del Mar, in front of Sant Sebastià beach. The work of Madrid artist Juan Muñoz was commissioned for the Olympic Games in 1992.
The artwork is composed of a cage inspired by the umbracle of the Parc de la Ciutadella, where there are five bronze human figures with their eyes covered, and which, instead of legs, have a spherical base. The cage is trapped under three large trees, which are integrated as another part of the work.
The artist’s idea was for an irrigation system to make it rain permanently, but due to technical difficulties, this irrigation system was not installed. So now, the Room Where It Never Rains would be a more appropriate name, and it is also cool to see if you are around!
9. Admire La Barceloneta from the Water
In addition to walking tours, sea baths, or bike tours, you can also admire La Barceloneta from another point of view: from the water!
To do so, jump on one of the Golondrines (Barceloneta’s iconic boats) for a one-hour sightseeing cruise along the coast of Barcelona. I have very good memories of sunny Sundays with my family exploring the coastline on one of the Golondrines; it was one of my favorite things to do in Barceloneta when I was a kid! – Click here to book your tickets
10. Barceloneta by Night
La Barceloneta is one of the best places for a night out in the city. Here, the party hardly ever stops, and you will find great bars and some of the most captivating clubs in the city on this small strip.
Opiup and Carpe Diem Lounge Club are some of the most popular and exclusive spots in town, and you will regularly find international DJs on their bill. Pacha is equally as extravagant, and these three clubs epitomize the European summer.
If that’s not your scene, you can walk a few meters in any direction, and you will find a cozy pub, tapas bar, or beach bar serving cocktails and Estrella beer into the wee hours of the morning.
And there you have it, the best things to do in La Barceloneta, Barcelona’s beach neighborhood. Which sites and activities of this Barceloneta things-to-do list appeal to you most?