Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Is it possible to have a nice, relaxing beach holiday in Barcelona?
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Monday 08 July 2013
Q My daughter is thinking of going to Barcelona for a week and staying at one of the city's beaches. Is it possible to have a nice, relaxing beach holiday there and travel into the city centre from time to time, or are the city beaches too crowded and horrible to be relaxing?
A While the mile-long stretch of sand backing on to the Barceloneta quarter of the Catalan capital has improved markedly over the past few years, "nice" and "relaxed" are not the words I associate with it. It's more a variant on the city's parks than a beach of the sort you find at "real" Spanish resorts.
In addition, since Barcelona is Spain's No 1 crime city, there are issues with theft. The US State Department warns about a number of specific crime hotspots, and the beach is one of them - the others being the airport, Sants railway station, Metro stations, the Ramblas, the Sagrada Familia area, the Gothic Quarter, Park Güell and the Plaza Real.
However, I can offer a couple of possibilities city-plus-beach combinations that may work for your daughter. First, she could base herself at the resort of Sitges, which is a fun location (with a big gay population) about 40 minutes by train south-west from Barcelona. Calella, to the north-east, is another option. Both have good, cheap train links to the city.
Second, she could take a holiday instead to Valencia, which has far more impressive beaches and a more relaxed ambience; the beaches are about 10km from the city centre, accessible by fast and frequent trams. Valencia has much to recommend it, too, in terms of sights and excellent places to eat and drink - and is far cheaper than Barcelona.
Click HERE to email Simon.
You can also tweet him your questions @SimonCalder
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Saudi Arabia mosque bombing: Two volunteer security guards hailed as heroes for stopping Isis suicide bomber reaching worshippers
- 2 There is something wrong but very right about this Bible illustration
- 3 Remove smartphones from the hands of under-18s and maybe they will grow up to be less dumb
- 4 Tampon tax scrapped in Canada after petition convinces conservative government
- 5 Kate Moss on the naked Calvin Klein shoot and the obsession that ended her relationship
Atlanta travel tips: Where to go and what to see in 48 hours
Inside Travel: Greece 2015 Q&A - should we cancel our Greek holiday? Are our flights safe? And what will we be spending there?
Travel insurance: Is it a fiddle when Rome airport burns?
The most powerful passports in the world
The 10 Best lightweight luggage
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...
£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...
£23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...
£32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...