Barcelona’s most important beaches – past and present

The coast front of Barcelona and its beaches have been one of the areas in town, which went trough major transformation due to the entire development project, dedicated to Olympic Games in Barcelona, 1992.

Barcelona currently has nine beaches: Sant Sebastià , Sant Miquel , Barceloneta, Somorrostro, Nova Icaria, Marbella, Nova Marbella and Llevant. Each of them has it’s own history and also it’s own personality at present.

The first four are the most popular among tourists for being closer to the city centre and for having all kind of services next to them.

San Sebastià Beach and Mar Bella are beaches where nude bathing is permitted; Nova Icaria gives place to plenty of sports activities especially Volley Ball, as also Sailing sports since it is next to the Barcelona’s Municipal Sailing Centre (Centro Municipal de Vela de Barcelona).

Captura de pantalla 2016-06-16 a la(s) 16.47.36

The Somorrostro, was the name of the former neighbourhood behind, now it has many restaurants on the beach coast and some of the best and most vibrant night clubs however this beach has a very different past and deserves our attention.

Somorrostro began to rise above the sand of the beach as a shanty town in the last third of the nineteenth century with a poor immigrant population that had no home or means.

There used to live over 15.000 people who were living in precarious conditions in more than 2.400 huts. It was a big “gipsies” colony being living there.

The famous flamenco dancer Carmen Amaya was born there, and “Los Tarantos”, a well-known movie about flamenco, bringing impressions of the life of Amaya, was filmed there in 1963.

The neighbourhood disappeared in the year 1966, just when Franco had to attend a few naval manoeuvres and as a consequence over 600 huts were destroyed. In continuation, people were moved to a Social Housing project.

In 2011 Barcelona’s Town Hall recovered the Somorrostro denomination to designate the beach stretch where the old quarter was located, between the Hospital del Mar and Port Olimpic (Olympic Harbor).

We recommend a fascinating Picture exhibition about Somorrostro: “El Somorrostro images of an age”. (10.06.16 > 30.07.16) by Ignasi Marroyo.

It is an exhibition included into the Doc Field16 (Festival de Fotografía Documental de Barcelona). Have a look and find our more about Barcelona’s seafront transformation.


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