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A Day Trip to Barcelona's Secret Beach


Barcelona's beaches can get pretty crowded so here's the perfect plan for a day trip away.

It’s August. 34 degrees in Barcelona. There’s only one thing to do: go to the beach! Unfortunately, thousands of people have the same idea, so everyone is down at La Barceloneta – the main beach in the city. Fear not! There’s a secret paradise waiting for you only an hour by train…

Our plan is to take the train from Catalonia Square, which is only 15 minutes walk from the Generator Barcelona. But before getting there, we decide to grab some serious snacks to make it through the day. In a frankly Lynchian supermarket we rush through the chips aisle, get some fruit, water and sangria. Why not? With backpacks full of fresh produce, we resume our route. There are only a few bars and cafés up in the coast where we are heading, so it’s a good idea to bring a picnic. 

For a little more than the price of a subway ticket (€5.50) we get in the train heading to Sant Pol de Mar. It feels like a blessing to sit down with the air conditioning. Alan and Cels decide this is a good spot to show off their dancing skills, while Iris rolls up her eyes in disapproval. Impressively enough, we manage to keep our hands off the food for an hour.

Once there, we meet with our two friends Sandra and Marta. We walk for few minutes following the railroad and then right in front of us is the stunning Platja del Morer (Morer beach). There’s barely anyone here. To the right, some people are sunbathing totally naked. To the left, the rocky hills are abruptly cut by the same railroads we just walked.

Within a minute, everyone is taking off their clothes and jumping in the cold water. Iris hangs out by the shore, while the rest struggle to stay afloat on a very slippery inflatable doughnut.

Trains keep passing by, bringing us momentarily back from our sublime break. Is it snack attack time already? Indeed. 

After devouring all the chips we play beach tennis. Cels always goes for the impossible throws. He doesn’t realise how deep the sand is. A few metres down the coast, a couple look at us bemused. It amazes us how few people are here, only forty kilometres away from buzzing Barceloneta.

After sunbathing for a while, we feel as glazed as a turkey on Thanksgiving. One last dive before we pack up and walk around the coastal town. We take the train back only to stop at Vilassar de Mar

The town is in the Maresme region and holds one of Catalonia’s favourite specialities: salsa espinaler. This red, spicy sauce is the main ingredient that ties us all together on the weekends when we meet for a vermut. In Catalonia, vermouth isn’t just a component of martinis; it’s a standalone drink. You normally drink them on a Sunday afternoon – it’s an excuse for a social gathering. We have a few drinks and lots of tapas, most of them spiced up with salsa espinaler.

The sauce was developed after the Spanish Civil War at the Tavern Espinaler, the place where we’re drinking. It’s a mixture of vinegar, red pepper, black pepper and selected spices. The perfect accompaniment to the Galician preserves: white clams, cockles, mussels and tuna!

After filling up with chips, clams, codfish croquettes, octopus and mussels, we decide to go for a walk. Everyone seems over excited. We can’t really tell if it’s the light-headed feeling from the vermouth or the excitement from walking around in this golden hour. Modernist houses line up on the road. Their shiny colours and lush shapes invite us to take a closer look at their gardens and main entrances.

It’s like travelling back to 1875, retracing Gaudi’s footsteps. Pink, yellow and bright blue explode right before our eyes. Filigrees inspired by nature stand defiantly against the passage of time. 

We gaze upon the horizon. Now the sun is going down. Thirty minutes away from here awaits a busy city – its packed streets and lively atmosphere luring us back. Meanwhile, we just enjoy the sudden calm of the waves crashing on the other side of the road. The reflection of the orange sun is amplified by a hundred windows, while we're still relishing the vinegar-ish feeling left in our mouths from the vermouth. 

We are conquistadors of the little pleasures and the unknown. We are explorers, skaters and Instagram addicts. We feel like we just discovered a whole new world, a few miles away from Barcelona. 

Visit Sant Pol de Mar

To get from Generator Barcelona to Sant Pol de Mar, take the R1 train from Catalunya Station. It takes about an hour. Ask at reception for directions.​

All photography by Anders Pribizchuk.