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Since the 1992 Olympics, the coast around Barcelona has turned into a beach resort with the development of a large beach which stretches from the iconic Hotel Vela as far as the area of the Forum.
Apart from a break which is taken up by the Olympic Port, the sandy coastline is continuous but is actually split into 4 different beaches in Barcelona.
The Sant Sebastià beach overlooks the sea from Barcelona from the neighborhood of Barceloneta: it is reached by getting off at the Barceloneta stop on the metro on the Yellow Line L4, crossing the street and walking down the Passeig de Joan de Borbó ... and then you will find the beach on your left. It is undoubtedly the most famous of Barcelona's beaches as a result of which, it is also the most crowded. It is the perfect place for young people to get together and meet new people or for those who enjoy being surrounded by lots of people. It is full of street vendors and tourists enjoying a drink in one of the beach bars known as chiringuitos.
The Nova Icaria beach is in the area of the Olympic Village, situated just between the two famous towers that overlook the coast. It is also well known for its discotheques and its night life. Here you will be able to get away from the chaos of Barceloneta, but the amount of tourist traffic doesn't change much, the difference being that there is plenty of space and you can enjoy a game of beach volley-ball on the pitch that you can easily reach after leaving your bicycle at the bicing station which is located just behind the beach. Alternatively, you can get there by using the metro and getting off at Ciudadela-Vila Olimpica (Yellow Line L4) and walking in an easterly direction.
Bogatell Beach is the quietest beach which you can easily access from the neighborhood of Poblenou by walking down the wonderful Rambla de Poblenou towards the sea or by walking along the beach with the city behind you. This is the the widest beach which is equipped with a beach volley-ball pitch and is situated close to a lovely area of greenery which is ideal for a picnic.
Barcelona's other two beaches which can be reached from the Forum in that area of the city are slightly different: the first is the gay beach and then there is also the nudist beach. The beauty of these two beaches is precisely the total freedom of expression that they offer visitors, along with a happy co-existence with those who are just passing through, perhaps out jogging or just enjoying a drink at the beach bar called "Be gay", why not?
You will often hear people talking about Barcelona's famous chiringuitos, small bars that sell ice creams, cocktails and a variety of drinks right on the beach at quite high prices, but they are definitely convenient and fun places to spend time. Lots of people don't realize that the word chiringuito comes from South America and is the word for a coffee and cane sugar compound that is prepared in boiling water. Agricultural workers drink this during their breaks. Another curious fact is related to the sand on Barcelona's beaches: this is because the beaches are artificially created which you will quickly discover when you lie down. The consistency of the sand is more like "earth" and is quite sticky. The good news is that access to Barcelona's beaches is free although there are some areas which are laid out with umbrellas and sun loungers. And to finish off, it is worth knowing that in Barcelona you can enjoy the beach all year round. Even in December you will see people in T-shirts who are jogging, playing games or strolling along the beach. However, it is worth bearing in mind that at certain times of the year it can be quite windy: for anyone who's thinking of going to the beach, particularly in October and in May, it is recommended that you put in your case a pair of sunglasses which will help to avoid getting sand in your eyes.