Spain and more specifically Catalunya has some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world. While Barceloneta is a nice beach- it is unfortunately very crowded and has a lot of tourists that simply are here to party instead of relaxing. Take this challenge and explore Catalunya a bit and find some of the best places to snorkel and enjoy a quite beach! With this challenge, we are focusing on small towns and cities that are relatively close to Barcelona but are perfect for a day trip or just to spend a few hours. Be aware though that when approaching August, these areas may become more and more crowded. It is best to go early to beat the heat- enjoy a small meal or drink to cool off and then jump back in the water in the afternoon! Most of these towns across the Costa Brava will have snorkeling gear as well, in case you forgot yours. There are also plenty of places throughout Barcelona that you can get the latest gear if you wish before you head out!
Blanes is a great little town north of Barcelona along the Costa Brava. It has a wonderful little beach and there are plenty of places to get some food or buy supplies throughout the city. The best areas for snorkeling in this town are going to be around the Sa Palomera, Cala de Sant Francesc, Punta de Santa Anna. Be aware that there is a port in this town, and that you should always stay close to the shore or notify boaters that you are in the area. It will take about an hour or so to get there with a car, and about two hours by bus. So, plan accordingly and if you are not staying the night, be sure to check whenever the last bus comes! In addition, most of these challenges are going to be around small towns, so they will be relatively friendly towards disabled peoples.
Now admittedly, this experience is for someone that is probably spending a bit more time in Catalunya than those that only have a few days in Barcelona. Cadaqués is about 3 hours by bus and 2.5 hours by car from Barcelona. This seaside town is relatively close to the French border, being about 15-20 minutes south of it by car. However, this experience is going to make your discover probably the richest fauna of the region. It's called Cala Jugadora. There are plenty of starfish, silver and colored fish and many other types of marine life. Don’t be afraid, jump on in and see what you can find!
Roses was originally founded by Greek colonists- the name of the town actually means Rhodes in Greek. Roses is a gorgeous town on the other side of the mountain from Cadaqués- so plan accordingly with time and schedules. It is possible to couple the two experiences together and you will really get a great Costa Brava experience. Additionally, be aware that you can overlap these two experiences quite a bit since you will be going to some of the same spots. Roses has a pretty built up tourist and diving scene- so you would expect to see others diving and snorkeling. There are also places to rent kayaks and other types of water activities. Roses offers some excellent spots to snorkel like the Cap de Creus. It also has some incredible restaurants, since it has a big fish industry, be sure to try some great fresh catches of the day.
Of all of the experiences in this challenge, this one is going to be the closest to Barcelona itself. Tossa de Mar can be found about an hour and a half north of the city by bus and by car. And it is the perfect trip for just spending a few hours. It has some excellent calas around it that you should look into as well, since it can get busy during the summer. Under the water, you will be sure to see some brightly colored fish as well as some crusty algae and bryozoans. While swimming in the port and snorkeling around the castle and coast will be fun, there are other activities that you can do as well. In the town, there is boat and beach diving service available, so be sure to check that out if you want to do a bit more than the average snorkeling!
A little bit north of Barcelona, L'Estartit is 2 hours north of the city by car and nearly three hours by bus. It is worth the trip! While this has been a popular tourist attraction for years, it is important to note that the area will have a large number of tourists and will be very popular depending on the time of year. L'Estartit has lost a bit of its small-town charm because of this but underneath the waves are a completely different story. One aspect about this though is that there is plenty of people that will speak multiple languages and there is support supplies in the area. Since the island of Illes Medes have been protected by the Catalan government, there is a lot of gorgeous marine life swimming around the area. Just be aware though that you should check for any areas that are off limits beforehand.