What to Expect: Located partly on a peninsula near the old-but-still-working harbor in the traditional fisherman’s quarter of town, this three-quarter-mile-long family- and tourist-friendly beach was once a funky, working-class area with to-die-for seafood restaurants. All that disappeared with the city’s 1992 Olympic renovation, but the new promenade has its own charms, as you’ll see when you stroll along this walkway lined with palm trees and outdoor cafés behind the beach. Walk to the far northeast end, where you can’t miss Peix, a nearly 200-foot-long abstract golden fish sculpture by Frank Gehry.
What to Do: When in Barcelona, do as locals do and snag a seaside table overlooking the sand, order some sangria, and gaze at the Mediterranean. An excellent seaside spot is the family-run restaurant Can Majó, identifiable by its blue-and-white tables. Try Catalonia’s version of seafood paella, called fideuà; instead of rice, it’s made with short vermicelli noodles bathed in briny broth. If you’re hitting the beach and need a good read, check out the Beach Centre in front of the Hospital del Mar. From July through September, it runs an interesting lending library for books and newspapers.